Use of visual familiar cues in anosmic pigeons

Gagliardo A, Pollonara E, Wikelski M. 2020. Use of visual familiar cues in anosmic pigeons. Movebank Data Repository.
Anosmic birds' homing ability is impaired when challenged to navigate over unfamiliar areas. Nevertheless, anosmic pigeons, Columba livia, show unimpaired navigation when released within a familiar area, suggesting that they may rely on familiar visual landmarks for navigation. However, direct evidence for the reliance on familiar visual landmarks during homing in anosmic birds has never been provided. In this study we tracked pigeons subjected singly to one training flight from each of three locations. Prior to their second release from each site, half of the birds were made anosmic while the others were not manipulated. The level of route fidelity was analysed separately for three phases of the homing process, in which familiar visual cues may have different relevance and may be used within different cognitive strategies: (1) ‘Initial decision making’; (2) ‘En route navigation’; (3) ‘Local navigation around home’. Compared to control birds, the anosmic birds flew significantly closer to previously overflown locations in the ‘En route navigation’ phase, while no difference in route fidelity emerged during phases (1) and (3). Our results showed that a single experience is sufficient for pigeons to learn release site features, and that familiar visual landmarks constitute a critical source of navigational information in olfactorily deprived birds during the homing process.
animal movement,animal navigation,animal tracking,Columba livia,GPS logger,homing pigeons,olfaction
Related Workflows
  title = {Use of visual familiar cues in anosmic pigeons},
  author = {Gagliardo, A and Pollonara, E and Wikelski, M},
  year = {2020},
  URL = {},
  doi = {doi:10.5441/001/1.702j854s/1},
  publisher = {Movebank data repository}
ID  - doi:10.5441/001/1.702j854s/1
T1  - Use of visual familiar cues in anosmic pigeons
AU  - Gagliardo, Anna
AU  - Pollonara, Enrica
AU  - Wikelski, Martin
Y1  - 2020/09/24
KW  - animal movement
KW  - animal navigation
KW  - animal tracking
KW  - Columba livia
KW  - GPS logger
KW  - homing pigeons
KW  - olfaction
KW  - Columba livia
PB  - Movebank data repository
UR  -
DO  - doi:10.5441/001/1.702j854s/1
ER  -