Using on-board sound recordings to infer behaviour of free-moving wild animals

Stefan Greif, Yossi Yovel*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Technological advances in the last 20 years have enabled researchers to develop increasingly sophisticated miniature devices (tags) that record an animal’s behaviour not from an observational, external viewpoint, but directly on the animals themselves. So far, behavioural research with these tags has mostly been conducted using movement or acceleration data. But on-board audio recordings have become more and more common following pioneering work in marine mammal research. The first questions that come to mind when recording sound on-board animals concern their vocal behaviour. When are they calling? How do they adjust their behaviour? What acoustic parameters do they change and how? However, other topics like foraging behaviour, social interactions or environmental acoustics can now be addressed as well and offer detailed insight into the animals’ daily life. In this Review, we discuss the possibilities, advantages and limitations of on-board acoustic recordings. We focus primarily on bats as their active-sensing, echolocating lifestyle allows many approaches to a multi-faceted acoustic assessment of their behaviour. The general ideas and concepts, however, are applicable to many animals and hopefully will demonstrate the versatility of on-board acoustic recordings and stimulate new research.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberjeb184689
JournalJournal of Experimental Biology
StatePublished - Feb 2019


FundersFunder number
Sagol School of Neuroscience
Horizon 2020 Framework Programme679186
European Research Council
Minerva Foundation


    • Acoustic behaviour
    • Acoustic recording
    • Animal-borne
    • Bats
    • Environmental acoustics
    • Foraging
    • On-board
    • Predator–prey
    • Sensory ecology
    • Tag


    Dive into the research topics of 'Using on-board sound recordings to infer behaviour of free-moving wild animals'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

    Cite this