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Ecologie sensorielle des rapaces : vision et olfaction

Sensory ecology of raptors
  • Simon Potier
Publishing year: 2016
Language: French
Document type: Dissertation

Abstract english

The vision is certainly the most developed sense in raptors, and these birds are cosidered as the vertebrates with the greatest visual acuity. However, raptors are among the most frequent victims of collisions with wind turbines and other human features. Given the conservation issues and the cost of conservation operations , it is essential to understand how sensory abilities of raptor affect their foraging ecology and interactions with human features (eg at which altitude / distance vultures can detected graves and potential obstacles and how optimize the measure of habitats management). But vision is not the only sense that raptor may have. Olfaction in birds was historically neglected, but recent evidence suggests that many bird species, from passerines to seabirds, use olfaction. Consequently, it make sense that olfaction may lead some behaviours in raptor too. To date however olfaction has been searched and shown only in the American vultures. Our project aims to study the sensory ecology of raptors based primarily on captive animals and condition protocols. The originality of our project is to combine the experience of vision and olfaction, on a wide variety of raptor species present in French zoos, with different phylogenetic origin, diets, and different foraging ecologies. The first step will takes place under controlled aviaries conditions, with operant conditioning experiments: responses of birds to different visual and odor stimuli. In a second phase, flight experiments will be conducted on birds trained to perform free flights, whose precise movements can be tracked in three dimensions by GPS tags coupled with accelerometers and cameras videos. It would then be possible to determine precisely the sensory capabilities used for food research for each species, and analyze the flight behaviour with respect to aerology


  • Zoology
  • Ecology
  • Vision
  • olfaction
  • foraging ecology
  • Raptors


  • Francesco Bonadonna
  • Olivier Duriez
Simon Potier
E-mail: simon [dot] potier [at] biol [dot] lu [dot] se

Postdoctoral fellow

Functional zoology


Research group

Lund Vision Group


Bird visual ecology

Postdoc host

Almut Kelber

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