Press Releases

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Hearing in 3D

April 23, 2019
In order to recognize spatial structures, bat echolocation uses similar cues as our sense of sight more
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Interview with Martin Wikelski about how humans continue to restrict the range of motion of animals. more
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Songbirds that cooperate to raise their young coordinate their attention and intentionally communicate with each other more
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Although the raising of the young is a matter for men in these birds, parenthood is less expensive for the fathers than thought more
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Researchers record the behaviour of these threatened hunters with underwater cameras and motion sensors more
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800 hectares of new forest per year could grow from the seeds disseminated by the bats more
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Precipitation and temperature can be used to predict the colouring of birds more
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Similarities and differences between avian and mammalian sleep and possibly memory consolidation more
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Are fish aware of themselves?

February 07, 2019
Cleaner wrasse seem to recognize themselves in the mirror more
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The scientists believe that the relevant legislative amendments could halt the disappearance of insects and birds in Bavaria more
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No egg is like another

January 04, 2019
Female age and laying order drive variation of egg quality in blue tits more

Males that neutralize free radicals with an enzyme are less likely to survive the next winter

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Appearance is deceiving

November 13, 2018
Bib of house sparrow does not signal its fighting ability more
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The birds are able to combine individual parts to form a long-distance reaching aid more
Both sexes of a songbird called the blue-capped cordon-bleu intensify courtship performances in the presence of an audience more
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Parrots think in economic terms

September 01, 2018
These birds can forgo an immediate reward in favour of a greater reward in the future. more
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Spacewalk for Icarus

August 15, 2018
Antenna for Russian–German experiment installed on International Space Station more
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Brood failure in blue tits is almost always due to the loss of a parent more
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Storks on the wing

May 24, 2018
Scientists can predict which storks will migrate to Africa in autumn and which will remain in Europe more
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A new joint research centre of the Max Planck Society and Yale University will promote the study and protection of biodiversity more
Being all ear: Greater Horseshoe bats use multiple streams of acoustic information simultaneously

Bats do not only use the information of their echolocation calls for foraging but may also simultaneously analyse acoustic signals from their potential prey. Researchers of the Max Planck Institute for Ornithology in Seewiesen found that Greater Horseshoe bats use such combined acoustic stimuli to considerably extend the limited reach of their echolocation calls. more

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In populations with an unbalanced adult sex ratio, male plovers take care of the young more
In monogamous species, a compatible partner is more important than an ornamented one

The colour of bands attached to the legs of birds for individual identification does not have an effect on the birds’ behaviour, physiology, life-history or fitness. This result of a study from the Max Planck Institute for Ornithology in Seewiesen contradicts long established text-book “knowledge” and questions whether ornaments play a major role in mate choice of monogamous species. more

How barbastelle bats trick moths that are able to hear their echolocation calls

In the evolutionary arms race between bats and their insect prey, some moths have developed ears to detect echolocating bats and avoid being caught. Conversely, barbastelle bats are known to counter moth hearing by using quiet, 'stealthy' calls to search for prey in the dark. Recording the hunting behaviour of this intriguing species, researchers have now found that barbastelle bats sneak up on unsuspecting moths by gradually emitting even fainter calls as they come closer. more

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Interview with Martin Wikelski on the successful mission to transport the Icarus antennas to the International Space Station more
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Ears for Icarus

February 13, 2018
Russian rocket delivers antenna for animal tracking system to the International Space Station more
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Biologists detect reduction in animal movements in areas with a high human footprint more
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Blackbirds that spend the winter in the south are more likely to survive the cold season than their conspecifics in central Europe more
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The tiny mammals reduce the size of their organs in the winter and can even decrease and rebuild bones more
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Icarus lifts off

October 17, 2017
The Icarus on-board computer, the first component of the global animal observatory system, has gone into space more
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For the common noctule, wind speed, wind direction and air pressure trigger its set off for its summer territories more
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Researchers unravel the role of individual characteristics in the collective behaviour of animal groups more
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Bats fail to detect smooth, vertical surfaces when they are in a rush more
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Researchers outline a new way to define and classify how groups of animals hunt together more
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Gene inversion gives reproductive advantage to zebra finches more
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Phenotypic plasticity of gecko calls reveals the complex communication of lizards more
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The shorebirds have a huge breeding range across the Arctic more
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Wolfgang Fiedler, an ornithologist at the Radolfzell Ornithological Station, pleads for more research leading to a better understanding of transmission paths more

Parents need to synchronize the care for their offspring. This leads to extreme and unexpected diversity in how parents attend their nest in shorebirds, finds an international team led by Max Planck researchers. Some pairs switched duties 20 times a day, while in others one parent sat on the nest for up to 50 hours. The key factor underlying this variation is risk of predation, not risk of starvation. Surprisingly, the rhythm of nest attendance often did not follow the 24-h day.    more

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Bats are not just skilful aviators, they can also reach record-breaking speeds more
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The normally diurnal birds don't need time to adjust their circadian clocks before departing for their winter habitats more
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A team of scientists headed by Niels Rattenborg from the Max Planck Institute for Ornithology in Seewiesen has demonstrated, for the first time that birds can fly in sleep mode more
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Female white-browed coucals have to suffice with a single mate more
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Singing in the flight lane

September 08, 2016
Birds adjust their singing activity around airport noise more
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In cities birds have fewer and smaller offspring than in rural areas more
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Birds engage in all types of sleep in flight, but in remarkably small amounts more
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The Max Planck Society's 67th Annual Meeting wrapped up with a panel discussion the "Internet of Things" more
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Gestural communication in bonobos and chimpanzees shows turn-taking and clearly distinguishable communication styles more
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Explorative great tits have fewer chances to survive in high population densities more
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Initiation of joint travel in mother-infant dyads is communicated via gestures and vocalisations more
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No silent night

January 04, 2016

Bats adapt their echolocation calls to noise

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Lost the beat

December 29, 2015
Mice suffer from a decrease in biological fitness if their internal clock is mixed up more
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Without their sense of smell, lesser black-backed gulls are unable to compensate for deviations from their natural migratory corridor more
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Explaining variation in plumage colour of male and female birds more
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Singing developes independent from gender differences in the brain more
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Gone with the wind

October 20, 2015
Migratory birds need less time to travel longer routes when they optimize for wind support. more
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When searching for food, African straw-coloured fruit bats cover greater distances than any other bat species studied to date more
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Harmonic pillow talk

October 06, 2015
Zebra finches change their call communication pattern in groups according to their reproductive status more
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Bats frequently come into contact with infectious diseases, but surprisingly rarely suffer from them more
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Zebra finches allowed to breed with their preferred partner achieved a 37 percent higher reproductive success compared to pairs that were forced to mate more
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Late-hatched canaries learn their songs as well as early-hatched birds more
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The case of Cecil shows: with the help of satellite transmitter systems, researchers can determine the cause of death of animals almost in real time more
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In a baboon group, any member can set the direction - not just the highest-ranking animal more
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Differences in personality influence survival in field crickets more
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Light pollution influences the seasonal start of bird vocalisations more
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Long-term study in house sparrows shows a transgenerational age effect more
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Mapping of the canary genome

February 04, 2015
Hormone sensitive gene regulation in seasonal singing birds more
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The ambitious and globally unique ICARUS project receives funding from ROSKOSMOS more
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Zebra finches use their specialised song system for simple communication more
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Risky metabolism

September 29, 2014
Risk-taking behaviour depends on metabolic rate and temperature in great tits more
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Max Planck scientists discover new sensory capability in a mammal more
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Max Planck scientists discover the secret for a long life in birds more
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Brain activity during slow-wave-sleep differs between mammals and birds more
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Cuckoos stay on course

January 13, 2014
On their loop migration covering thousands of kilometres to their winter quarters in Central Africa, the birds hardly deviate from their path more
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Hands off – please

November 26, 2013
Friendly information signs reduce vandalism on scientific equipment more
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Super song learners

October 23, 2013
Researchers uncover a mechanism for improving song learning in juvenile zebra finches more
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Researchers find striking similarities between bird song and human music more
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Just ask the animals!

October 16, 2013
Using animal behaviour data to better inform mathematical models of animal movements more
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Like father, not like son

October 02, 2013
Brain and song structure in zebra finches are strongly influenced by the environment more
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Owlets spend more time in REM sleep than adult owls more
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A computer model links migratory movements with environmental data from satellites more
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Diverse activity patterns of birds during the Arctic breeding season more
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City-life changes blackbird personalities

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Young zebra finches are able to learn their fathers’ song via their brothers more
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Fast beat of the city

June 05, 2013
Blackbirds’ biological rhythms are altered in an urban setting more
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Brush finches fly more slowly if they are reproducing and moulting at the same time more
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Audiences influence future status of quails following fights between rivals more
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Can extra-pair relationships give rise to sexual dimorphism? more
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Swallow-tailed gulls hunt most often under a new moon, when fish come to the surface under the cover of darkness more
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For their first migratory flight, juvenile birds rely on their genetically inherited internal compass more
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Blackbirds in the spotlight

February 13, 2013
City birds that experience light at night are ready to breed earlier than their rural cousins more
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Clamorous city blackbirds

January 11, 2013
Birds can sing louder at higher frequencies and thereby make themselves heard in traffic noise more
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The large, dominant male Galapagos giant tortoises usually start their annual migration at the beginning of the dry season more
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Experiment in females uncovers male hormonal mechanism more
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Cuckolded males sing louder

August 23, 2012
Rock sparrows indicate their age and their reproductive success with their songs and react to infidelity with a higher song volume more
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You snooze, you lose

August 09, 2012
Less sleep leads to more offspring in male pectoral sandpipers more
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Noisy wing movements during mating make flies an easy prey more
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Agoutis disperse tree seeds in the rain forest of Latin America more
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For great tits spring does not always start at the same time more
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