Austrian Ornithological Centre (AOC)

A nuthatch (Sitta europaea) is released after being ringed. (Photo K. Svadlenak/ Vetmeduni Vienna)
A nuthatch is released after being ringed. 1

The Austrian Ornithological Centre (AOC) is a scientific institution dedicated to basic and applied research on birds. Its aim is to further deepen knowledge about the behaviour, physiology and ecology of birds. The AOC supports the activities of other institutions, scientists and interested persons in order to improve the living conditions of all bird species in Austria and other countries, and to ensure their continued existence.

More about us 2




White-tailed eagle population on the rise in Austria

Young eagles in the nest, equipped with transmitters, in the March-Thaya floodplains. Photo © Stefan Knöpfer / WWF
young white-tailed eagles in the nest with GPS transmitters

20 years ago Austria's heraldic animal, the white-tailed eagle, was still considered extinct in this country. The white-tailed eagle population has now grown to around 45 breeding pairs. A great success for nature conservation, which goes back to the strict Europe-wide protection. The research and protection programme of the nature conservation organization WWF is an essential part of this. Six young eagles in Lower Austria and Burgenland have now been equipped with GPS-GSM transmitters. The Donau-Auen National Park and Esterhazy Betriebe GmbH are important cooperation partners for this year's young birds. Together with the WWF, transmitters were attached to them at three locations - in the Danube floodplains, west of Lake Neusiedl along the Leithagebirge, and in the WWF reserve in the March-Thaya floodplains.

The feather-light telemetry tags do not impact the eagles´ movements and fall off by themselves after three to four years. Rings of the Austrian Ornithological Centre, which were also attached to the legs, ensure that the animals can be identified throughout their lifetime.

Press release of the WWF 3

(in German)
(Web editor, 22 June 2021)


Avian fitness: birds go easy on their pectoral muscles

Common quails (Photo: G. Pola)
two quails in a bed of straw 4

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 5“ by Valeria Marasco, Manrico Sebastiano, David Costantini, Gianni Pola and Leonida Fusani was published in the Journal of Experimental Biology.


More info 6

(Web editor, 30 March 2021)


5 years AOC – an Update, 25 March 2021

Photo K. Svadlenak/AOC
Bird flying from hand 7

25 March 2021, 7-8 p.m.


In a Zoom-Webinar you can learn more about the work of the AOC. (The event is held in German.)

Meeting-Link: 7

Meeting-ID: 976 1080 0452

Registration not required



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)


News Archive AOC 11



A new home for the little owl: with your support!

Photo Andy Chilton
little owl

Please help us with your donation 12 and give the little owl a second chance. Every contribution counts!



Recovered a bird ring?

Photo of bird rings

Please report your recovery here 13.


Woodpecker Conference 2021

Woodpecker (Photo by W. Vogl)

Conference of the expert group on woodpeckers of the German Ornithological Society

Due to the pandemic the conference will take place online on 26 June 2021.

More information 14


To top