, Volume 46, Issue 7, pp 755–758 | Cite as

Depolarization of natural skylight disrupts orientation of an avian nocturnal migrant

  • A. J. Helbig
Research Articles


Given a view of clear evening skies, migratory blackcaps (Aves:Sylvia atricapilla) orient appropriately in the absence of meaningful information from the geomagnetic field. When the intensity of natural skylight polarization patterns was reduced with pseudodepolarizers by over 90%, test birds were disoriented, and their migratory restlessness in autumn was drastically reduced.

Key words

Orientation skylight polarization bird migration pseudodepolarizer Sylvia atricapilla 


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Copyright information

© Birkhäuser Verlag Basel 1990

Authors and Affiliations

  • A. J. Helbig
    • 1
  1. 1.Zoologisches InstitutUniversität Frankfurt/M.Frankfurt(Federal Republic of Germany)

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