Chickens orient using the magnetic compass

Rafael Freire, Ursula Munro, Lesley Rogers, Roswitha Wiltschko, Wolfgang Wiltschko

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

54 Citations (Scopus)
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Although behavioural experiments show that a wide range of animals use the earth's magnetic field as a compass for orientation, evidence from conditioning experiments has proved elusive [1]. In birds, the only two successful attempts of operant conditioning to magnetic stimuli [2,3] both involved magnetic anomalies rather than changes in magnetic direction. By using the young domestic chicks' motivation to locate a hidden social stimulus [4], we have demonstrated the first conditioned magnetic compass response in birds and show that the ability to orient using magnetic cues has been retained after thousands of years of domestication [5].
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)R620-R621
JournalCurrent Biology
Issue number16
Publication statusPublished - 2005

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