Press Releases

Icarus is switched on

Icarus is switched on

July 08, 2019

After a test phase lasting several months, the animal observation system is to commence operation at the end of the year more

Each moth escapes its own way

Species-specific escape strategies of moths make hunting difficult for bats more

A portrait of the first nine Lise Meitner Group Leaders more

The brains of birds synchronize when they sing duets

Vocal control areas in the brain of weaver birds fire in time when they sing together more

Every bat travels differently

Noctule bats follow individual routes to their nursery roosts more

Straw-coloured fruit bats provide valuable ecological services for humans more

New Max Planck Institute of Animal Behavior

Scientists will investigate collective behaviour and movement patterns of animals more

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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
'We can't simply lock up animals in protected areas'

Interview with Martin Wikelski about how humans continue to restrict the range of motion of animals. more

Attention skills in a nonhuman cooperative breeding species

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
Seal hunting with the Great White Shark

Researchers record the behaviour of these threatened hunters with underwater cameras and motion sensors more

Fruit bats are reforesting African woodlands

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
Are fish aware of themselves?

Are fish aware of themselves?

February 07, 2019

Cleaner wrasse seem to recognize themselves in the mirror more

Max Planck researchers support referendum on species diversity

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
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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
Spacewalk for Icarus

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
Storks on the wing

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

Inauguration of centre for research into animal migrations

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

Ears for Icarus

Ears for Icarus

February 13, 2018

Russian rocket delivers antenna for animal tracking system to the International Space Station more

“In ten years we’ll know which animals are able to predict natural disasters”

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

Humans limit animal movements

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
Shrews shrink in winter and regrow in spring

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

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

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

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

Bats are not just skilful aviators, they can also reach record-breaking speeds more

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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