Journal of Ornithology

, Volume 156, Supplement 1, pp 3–14 | Cite as

Routes to genes: unravelling the control of avian migration—an integrated approach using Northern Wheatear Oenanthe oenanthe as model organism

  • Franz Bairlein
  • Cas Eikenaar
  • Heiko Schmaljohann


Numerous studies in both the field and laboratory illustrate factors involved in the endogenous, intrinsic and environmental control of avian migration, but we are lacking an integrated individual-based approach, connecting field and laboratory studies in a single species. The Northern Wheatear Oenanthe oenanthe appeared very feasible for an integrated individual-based one-species approach in the study of the control of bird migration as it can be studied individually in the field as well as kept indoor under controlled ‘common-garden’ conditions. We here present a brief overview of the results collected in our wheatear studies on the intrinsic disposition and extrinsic factors that control migratory behavior in an obligate migratory species.


Migration Endogenous rhythms Migratory restlessness Zugunruhe Fueling Protandry Corticosterone Competition Wind 



This work was supported financially by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (BA 816; SCHM 2647). We are also very grateful to the many other supporters who are listed in the respective publications.


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Copyright information

© Dt. Ornithologen-Gesellschaft e.V. 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Franz Bairlein
    • 1
  • Cas Eikenaar
    • 1
  • Heiko Schmaljohann
    • 1
  1. 1.Institute of Avian Research “Vogelwarte Helgoland”WilhelmshavenGermany

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