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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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The migration of Austrian blackcaps decoded

Blackcap equipped with a geolocator. Photo: W. Vogl/Vetmeduni Vienna
Blackcap in hand 8

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 9” by Delmore K. et al. was published inProceedings of the Royal Society B veröffentlicht.

More info 10

(Web editor, 22 March 2021)


How to motivate a mouse to sing

House mice (Photo: Bettina Wernisch)
Haus mice in the lab

Males often vocalize during courtship in a wide variety of taxa, including insects, amphibians, birds and mammals, but the courtship songs of male house mice are ultrasonic, and inaudible to human ears. Studying the ultrasonic vocalizations or USVs of mice therefore requires special microphones and spectrograms to visualize the characteristic features of different calls. Researchers from the Penn-Zala Group at the Konrad Lorenz Institute of Ethology (University of Veterinary Medicine, Vienna) recently developed an improved method for automating the detection of mouse USVs, which they now used to investigate a way of inducing male mice to vocalize.

The article “Primed to vocalize: wild-derived male house mice increase vocalization rate and diversity after a previous encounter with a female 11” by Sarah M. Zala, Doris Nicolakis, Maria Adelaide Marconi, Anton Noll, Thomas Ruf, Peter Balazs, and Dustin J. Penn was published in Plos one.

More info 12

(Web editor, 14 December 2020)


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Recovered a bird ring?

Bird rings of various sizes

Please report your recovery here 15.


Wilhelminenberg Seminar


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