Maps in Birds: Representational Mechanisms and Neural Bases

Curr Opin Neurobiol. 2002 Dec;12(6):745-50. doi: 10.1016/s0959-4388(02)00375-6.


The often extraordinary navigational behavior of birds is based in part on their ability to learn map-like representations of the heterogeneous distribution of environmental stimuli in space. Whether navigating small-scale laboratory environments or large-scale field environments, birds appear to be reliant on a directional framework, for example that provided by the sun, to learn how stimuli are distributed in space and to represent them as a map. The avian hippocampus plays a critical role in some aspects of map learning. Recent results from electrophysiological studies hint at the possibility that different aspects of space may be represented in the activity of different neuronal types in the avian hippocampus.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Birds*
  • Columbidae
  • Functional Laterality
  • Hippocampus / physiology*
  • Learning / physiology
  • Orientation / physiology*
  • Solar System
  • Space Perception / physiology*