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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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Avian fitness: birds go easy on their pectoral muscles

Common quails (Photo: G. Pola)
two quails in a bed of straw 8

A European research team led by Vetmeduni Vienna has discovered a protective mechanism in migratory birds. According to the study, common quails are able to specifically safeguard their pectoral muscles from oxidative stress during migration. The researchers believe this mechanism is an essential factor in the ability of migratory birds to successfully complete their long flights.

The article „Controlled expression of the migratory phenotype affects oxidative status in birds 9“ by Valeria Marasco, Manrico Sebastiano, David Costantini, Gianni Pola and Leonida Fusani was published in the Journal of Experimental Biology.


More info 10

(Web editor, 30 March 2021)


The migration of Austrian blackcaps decoded

Blackcap equipped with a geolocator. Photo: W. Vogl/Vetmeduni Vienna
Blackcap in hand 11

The blackcap (Sylvia atricapilla) is one of the most common songbird species in Europe - and also in Austria. In their area of ​​distribution, the small birds show a variety of different migration strategies. Ivan Maggini and Wolfgang Vogl, experts from the Austrian Ornithological Centre (Konrad Lorenz Institute of Ethology, Vetmeduni Vienna), examined these migration strategies in cooperation with colleagues from Germany (Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Biology, Plön) using geolocators, which were attached to the backs of birds. During the study, the researchers found that some blackcap populations over-winter in the UK. It seems that blackcaps discovered the more favorable climatic conditions in Great Britain very quickly and adapted their migration behavior accordingly within a short period of time.

According to Maggini and Vogl, this study shows how the common blackcap helps to understand the flexibility and adaptability of migrating bird species to rapidly changing environmental conditions.

The article “Individual variability and versatility in an eco-evolutionary model of avian migration 12” by Delmore K. et al. was published inProceedings of the Royal Society B veröffentlicht.

More info 13

(Web editor, 22 March 2021)


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Recovered a bird ring?

Bird rings of various sizes

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