Magnetic Compass of European Robins

See allHide authors and affiliations

Science  07 Apr 1972:
Vol. 176, Issue 4030, pp. 62-64
DOI: 10.1126/science.176.4030.62


The magnetic compass of European robins does not use the polarity of the magnetic field for detecting the north direction. The birds derive their north direction from interpreting the inclination of the axial direction of the magnetic field lines in space, and they take the direction on the magnetic north-south axis for "north" where field lines and gravity vector form the smaller angle.

Stay Connected to Science