Ringing Reports

Members of the Station

Avian Ecology and Behaviour


Last updated:
24 January 2019

Nikita Chernetsov


Born 28 September 1972 in Leningrad, USSR.


Research interests include bird migration, orientation and navigation, with a focus on navigational map of long-distance migrants and compass systems of migrating birds. Studies physiological mechanisms of magnetoreception in birds. Apart from work at the Biological Station Rybachy, is a full professor at the Department of Vertebrate Zoology, Faculty of Biology, of St. Petersburg State University.

Nikita Chernetsov is also working on avian ecology and behaviour at migratory stopovers. This research includes studies of landfall and departure decisions, methods of estimating stopover duration and fuel deposition rate, habitat requirements of migrants at stopovers. It has been summarised in the monograph published by Springer Verlag:
Chernetsov N. 2012. Passerine migration: stopovers and flight. Springer Berlin Heidelberg. 184 p.


  • 2014 – present: senior researcher, since 2016 full professor Department of Vertebrate Zoology, Faculty of Biology, St. Petersburg State University.
  • 2005: Post-doc at the Department of Behavioural Ecology, Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznan.
  • 2000–2002: Post-doc at the Max Planck Institute for Ornithology (Vogelwarte Radolfzell), Germany, with Prof. Peter Berthold.
  • 1999 – present: junior research fellow at the Zoological Institute, Russ. Acad. Sci. Research fellow since 2000, senior research fellow since 2004, leading researcher fellow since 2009, director of the Biological Station Rybachy since 2015.
  • 1994–1996: research assistant at the Biological Station Rybachy, Zoological Institute.


  • 2000: Awarded a Ph.D. on 'Migratory strategies of Acrocephalus warblers within Europe' from the Zoological Institute, Russian Academy of Sciences, St. Petersburg.
  • 1994: Master of Science (diploma with honours) in Biology from St. Petersburg State University.

Grants (as a PI):

  • Russian Foundation for Basic Research 18-04-00265; 2018-2020. Calibration of compass systems in migratory birds
  • Russian Science Foundation 16-14-10159; 2016-2018. Magnetic compass mechanism in migrating birds. Done at the Sechenov Institute of Evolutionary Physiology and Biochemistry of the Russian Academy of Sciences
  • Russian Foundation for Basic Research 15-04-05386; 2015-2017. Impact of oscillating magnetic fields of different frequency on orientation behaviour in passerines
  • Russian Foundation for Basic Research 15-34-50151; 2015. Role of magnetic declination in the navigation system of songbirds
  • Russian Foundation for Basic Research 14-34-50046; 2014. Study of star compass in migrating birds
  • Integrated interdisciplinary project of the Presidium of the St. Petersburg Research Centre of Russian Academy of Sciences, 2013. Study of the physical mechanism of compass orientation of birds in the geomagnetic field
  • Russian Foundation for Basic Research 12-04-00296-а; 2012-2014. Hierarchy and calibration of compass systems during orientation of migrating birds
  • Russian Foundation for Basic Research 09-04-00208-а; 2009-2011. Mechanism of longitudinal navigation of migrating birds

Complete list of my publications in Google Scholar

Profile in ResearcherID

Profile in ORCID

Selected publications:

Chernetsov N., Pakhomov A., Kobylkov D., Kishkinev D., Holland R.A., Mouritsen H. 2017. Migratory Eurasian reed warblers can use magnetic declination to solve the longitude problem. Current Biology 27 (17): 2647–2651.

Pakhomov A., Bojarinova J., Cherbunin R., Chetverikova R., Grigoryev P.S., Kavokin K., Kobylkov D., Lubkovskaja R., Chernetsov N. 2017. Very weak oscillating magnetic field disrupts the magnetic compass of songbird migrants. J. R. Soc. Interface 14: 20170364.

Komolkin A.V., Kupriyanov P., Chudin A., Bojarinova J., Kavokin K., Chernetsov N. 2017. Theoretically possible spatial accuracy of geomagnetic maps used by migrating animals. J. R. Soc. Interface 14: 20161002.

Pakhomov A., Anashina A., Chernetsov N. 2017. Further evidence of a time-independent stellar compass in a night-migrating songbird. Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology, 71:48.

Ergen A.G., Chernetsov N., Lundberg M., Åkesson S., Bensch S. 2017. The use of molecular diagnostics to infer migration directions of Willow Warblers in the southeast Baltic. Journal of Ornithology 158:737-743.

Chernetsov N. 2017. Compass systems. Journal of Comparative Physiology A 203:447-453.

Kishkinev D., Chernetsov N., Pakhomov A., Heyers D., Mouritsen H. 2015. Eurasian reed warblers compensate for virtual magnetic displacement. Current Biology 25 (19): R822-R824.

Chernetsov N. 2015. Avian compass systems: do all migratory species possess all three? Journal of Avian Biology 46 (4): 342–343.

Kishkinev D.A., Chernetsov N.S. 2015. Magnetoreception systems in birds: a review of current research. Biology Bulletin Reviews 5: 46-62.

Kavokin K., Chernetsov N., Pakhomov A., Bojarinova J., Kobylkov D., Namozov B. 2014. Magnetic orientation of garden warblers (Sylvia borin) under 1.4 MHz radiofrequency magnetic field. J. R. Soc. Interface 11: 20140451.

Pakhomov A., Chernetsov N. 2014. Early evening activity of migratory Garden Warbler Sylvia borin: compass calibration activity? Journal of Ornithology 155: 621-630.

Chernetsov N. 2013. Body mass of European Robins Erithacus rubecula at migratory stopovers is strongly habitat-related. Avian Ecology and Behaviour 23: 15-21. PDF

Kishkinev D., Chernetsov N., Heyers D., Mouritsen H. 2013. Migratory reed warblers need intact trigeminal nerves to correct for a 1,000 km eastward displacement. PLoS ONE 8 (6): e65847.

Mettler R., Schaefer H.M., Chernetsov N., Fiedler W., Hobson K.A., Ilieva M., Imhof E., Johnsen A., Renner S.C., Rolshausen G. Serrano D., Wesolowski T., Segelbacher T. 2013. Contrasting patterns of genetic differentiation among blackcaps (Sylvia atricapilla) with divergent migratory orientations in Europe. PLoS ONE 8(11): e81365.

Chernetsov N. 2012. Passerine migration: stopovers and flight. Springer Berlin Heidelberg. 184 p.

Chernetsov N. 2011. Daytime movements of nocturnal migrants at stopover between two nearby capture sites. J. Ornithol. 152: 1007-1011.

Chernetsov N., Kishkinev D., Kosarev V., Bolshakov C.V. 2011. Not all songbirds calibrate their magnetic compass from twilight cues: a telemetry study. J. Exp. Biol. 214: 2540-2543.

Kishkinev D., Chernetsov N., Mouritsen H. 2010. A double-clock or jetlag mechanism is unlikely to be involved in detection of east-west displacements in a long-distance avian migrant. Auk 127: 773-780.

Chernetsov N. 2010. Recent experimental data on the energy costs of avian flight call for a revision of optimal migration theory. Auk 127: 232-234.

Chernetsov N. 2010. Migratory stopovers of Wrens Troglodytes troglodytes on the south-eastern Baltic coast. Avian Ecology and Behaviour 17: 13-22. PDF

Chernetsov N., Sokolov L.V., Kosarev V. 2009. Local survival rates of Pied Flycatchers Ficedula hypoleuca depend on their immigration status. Avian Ecology and Behaviour 16: 11-20. PDF

Grinkevich V., Chernetsov N., Mukhin A. 2009. Juvenile Reed Warblers Acrocephalus scirpaceus see the world but settle close to home. Avian Ecology and Behaviour 16: 3-10. PDF

Chernetsov N., Kishkinev D., Gashkov S., Kosarev V., Bolshakov C.V. 2008. Migratory programme of juvenile pied flycatchers, Ficedula hypoleuca, from Siberia implies a detour around Central Asia. Animal Behaviour 75: 539-545.

Mukhin A., Chernetsov N., Kishkinev D. 2008. Acoustic information as a distant cue for habitat recognition by nocturnally migrating passerines during landfall. Behavioral Ecology 19: 716-723.

Chernetsov N., Kishkinev D., Mouritsen H. 2008. A long-distance avian migrant compensates for longitudinal displacement during spring migration. Current Biology 18: 188-190.

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