Information from the geomagnetic field triggers a reduced adrenocortical response in a migratory bird

Ian Henshaw, Thord Fransson, Sven Jakobsson, Susanne Jenni-Eiermann, Cecilia Kullberg
Journal of Experimental Biology 2009 September 15, 212 (18): 2902-7
Long-distance migrants regularly pass ecological barriers, like the Sahara desert, where extensive fuel loads are necessary for a successful crossing. A central question is how inexperienced migrants know when to put on extensive fuel loads. Beside the endogenous rhythm, external cues have been suggested to be important. Geomagnetic information has been shown to trigger changes in foraging behaviour and fuel deposition rate in migratory birds. The underlying mechanism for these adjustments, however, is not well understood. As the glucocorticoid hormone corticosterone is known to correlate with behaviour and physiology related to energy regulation in birds, we here investigated the effect of geomagnetic cues on circulating corticosterone levels in a long-distance migrant. Just as in earlier studies, juvenile thrush nightingales (Luscinia luscinia) caught during autumn migration and exposed to the simulated geomagnetic field of northern Egypt increased food intake and attained higher fuel loads than control birds experiencing the ambient magnetic field of southeast Sweden. Our results further show that experimental birds faced a reduced adrenocortical response compared with control birds, thus for the first time implying that geomagnetic cues trigger changes in hormonal secretion enabling appropriate behaviour along the migratory route.

Full Text Links

Find Full Text Links for this Article


You are not logged in. Sign Up or Log In to join the discussion.

Related Papers

Available on the App Store

Available on the Play Store
Remove bar
Read by QxMD icon Read

Search Tips

Use Boolean operators: AND/OR

diabetic AND foot
diabetes OR diabetic

Exclude a word using the 'minus' sign

Virchow -triad

Use Parentheses

water AND (cup OR glass)

Add an asterisk (*) at end of a word to include word stems

Neuro* will search for Neurology, Neuroscientist, Neurological, and so on

Use quotes to search for an exact phrase

"primary prevention of cancer"
(heart or cardiac or cardio*) AND arrest -"American Heart Association"