Experientia

, Volume 49, Issue 2, pp 167–170

Magnetic inclination compass: A basis for the migratory orientation of birds in the Northern and Southern Hemisphere

  • W. Wiltschko
  • U. Munro
  • H. Ford
  • R. Wiltschko
Research Articles

DOI: 10.1007/BF01989423

Cite this article as:
Wiltschko, W., Munro, U., Ford, H. et al. Experientia (1993) 49: 167. doi:10.1007/BF01989423

Abstract

We conducted orientation experiments with Silvereyes,Zosterops lateralis, Australian passerine migrants, to see whether birds living in the Southern Hemisphere in a magnetic field with an upward inclination orient in the same way as birds in the Northern Hemisphere that experience a downward inclination of the magnetic field. Tested indoors in the local geomagnetic field, the birds preferred southerly directions corresponding to their migratory direction in spring. In a magnetic field with a reversed vertical component, they reversed their directional tendencies. This shows that the magnetic compass of Silvereyes also functions as an inclination compass based on the inclination of the field lines instead of the polarity.

Key words

Bird migration southern hemisphere migrants migratory orientation geomagnetic field magnetic compass inclination compass Zosterops 

Copyright information

© Birkhäuser Verlag 1993

Authors and Affiliations

  • W. Wiltschko
    • 1
  • U. Munro
    • 2
  • H. Ford
    • 2
  • R. Wiltschko
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of ZoologyUniversity of FrankfurtFrankfurt a. M.(Federal Republic of Germany)
  2. 2.Department of ZoologyUniversity of New EnglandArmidale(Australia)