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The Konrad Lorenz Institute of Ethology is a biological research institute for the study of animal behavior. Ethology (or Behavioral Biology) is an integrative field that addresses questions about how and why animals do what they do. Since spring 2015 it is also the headquaters of the Österreichischen Vogelwarte/Austrian Ornithological Centre (AOC).

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Successful reintroduction of the Ural owl

Stephan Pernkopf, Petra Winter, Richard Zink and Alfred Riedl with a Ural owl. Photo © NLK Reinberger
Stephan Pernkopf, Petra Winter, Richard Zink and Alfred Riedl with a Ural owl 8

It has been a decade since the first 22 young Ural owls were released in 2009.  Currently there are about 30 stable Ural owl pairs living in the wild in Lower Austria.  The species had become extinct in the wild in Austria in the 1950s.  The long-term engagement of forestry, conservation groups, and hunting organizations has been successful.  On 17 June the Austrian Ornithological Centre´s branch in Seebarn celebrated a decade of successful reintroduction of this charismatic owl species. 

Project leader Richard Zink is optimistic that Ural owls have a good chance to establish themselves permanently in the Austrian woods.  Forestry and agriculture measures can support this process.  The Ural owl is well adapted to texture-rich mixed broadleaf forests with native tree species.  

An international breeding network provides the foundation for the reintroduction programme.  In Austria there is a long-term cooperation with the Schönbrunn Zoo and 12 more zoos and breeding stations.  They support the project and provide owl chicks for release into the wild. 

More info 9 (in German)

(Web editor, 18 June 2019)



Pheromones and social status: Machos smell better

The scent marks of dominant males are more appealing to female house mice than those of subordinate males. (Photo: © B. Wernisch / Vetmeduni Vienna)
The mouse lab setup with the mice and a chromatogram (chemical analyses of volatile pheromones) (Photo: © B. Wernisch/ Vetmeduni Vienna)
Mouse laboratory experiment setup with chromatogram 11

Male house mice are territorial and scent-mark their territories with urine – and dominant, territorial males have much greater reproductive success than other males. A study conducted by researchers around Dustin Penn from the Konrad Lorenz Institute of Ethology of the Vetmeduni Vienna was recently published in Scientific Reports.  It shows that female mice display preferential olfactory attraction to the scent of dominant males, and that dominant males have higher pheromone production than subordinates.

The present study is the first to demonstrate that dominant, territorial males upregulate their pheromone production.

The article "Regulation of volatile and nonvolatile pheromone attractants depends on social status 12" by M. Thoss, K.C. Luzynski, V.M. Enk, E. Razzazi-Fazeli, J.Kwak, I. Ortner, and D.J. Penn has appeared in Scientific Reports.

More info 13

(Web editor, 11 March 2019)


Sensational catch during bird monitoring at Wilhelminenberg: Great Spotted Woodpecker in Vienna almost breaks the age record

12-year old great spotted woodpecker female (Photo © Johannes Hloch)

At the end of January 2019, the Austrian bird ringing center at the Konrad Lorenz Institute of Ethology (KLIVV) caught a very special bird in the net during its annual bird monitoring: a  ringed great spotted woodpecker female of the considerable age of at least 12 years!

The data from the long-term monitoring program show that this bird was ringed at KLIVV in 2008. This is all the more remarkable when you consider that the average life expectancy of this species is 7 to 8 years and that the current known age record for wild spotted woodpeckers is 12 years and 8 months!

As luck would have it, on this very day a professional photographer was on site, who was also able to portray the beautiful woodpecker female.  The female bird was still very fit, so there is hope that it will grace Vienna´s Wilhelminenberg for a while longer and maybe even break the current age record.

(Web editor, 6 February 2019)


Foxes in the city: citizen science helps researchers to study urban wildlife

A citizen science Project highlighted that foxes prefer specific city areas and Environments in Vienna. (© L. Hamelbeck-Galle/ stadtwildtiere.at)
Fox on a house roof 14

A team of researchers around wildlife ecologist Theresa Walter has analyzed more than 1100 fox sightings in Vienna within the framework of the citizen science project StadtWildTiere 15. The scientists from the Vetmeduni and colleagues from the University of Life Sciences (BOKU) in Vienna  were able to show that foxes prefer certain neighbourhoods and habitats.  For wild animals, cities consist of a mosaic of land use classes, such as parks, gardens and streets, which differ with regard to their percentage of green area as well as in the way they are used by people. The analysis of fox sightings shows that the probabilities of encountering foxes were significantly higher in gardens, areas with a low building density, parks or squares as compared to agricultural areas, industrial areas or forests.   The research also showed that socioeconomic characteristics of city residents (such as education level) have an influence on whether sightings of wildlife are reported.

The article “Fox sightings in a city are related to certain land use classes and sociodemographics: results from a citizen science project 16” by Theresa Walter, Richard Zink, Gregor Laaha, Johann G. Zaller and Florian Heigl was publiched in BMc Ecology

More Info 17

(Web editor, 17 Decmeber 2018)


Vetmed Magazin special report: Ethology and veterinary medicine

Cover of the Vetmed Magazine edition 03/18 18

In the latest edition of the Vetmed Magazine readers will find an interesting article about the work of the Konrad Lorenz Institute of Ethology (KLIVV) at Wilhelminenberg.  The article describes the most important milestones in the history of the research institute, starting with its foundation as a "biological station" by Otto and Lilli König in 1945.  In 2011 the KLIVV was integrated into the Vetmeduni.  The article also presents examples of some current research topics at the institute. 

See Vetmagazin 03/2018 (in German) 18

(Web editor, 13 December 2018)


News Archive... 19



Savoyenstraße 1a, A-1160 Vienna
Tel:   +43 (1) 25077-7900
Fax:  +43 (1) 25077-7941

How to find us 20


Recovered a bird ring?

Bird rings of various sizes

Please report your recovery here 21.


Wilhelminenberg Seminar

Every Wednesday during the university semester we hold the "Wilhelminenberg Seminar", a colloquium where leading international scientists present their latest research results.

Seminar programme 22


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