Zebra finch

The zebra finch is one of the most widely studied birds in the world, with most of that research focused on domesticated birds in laboratories. We are the only group that are also conducting a long-running research project on a wild population, that we have studied at Fowlers Gap since 2004.

composite zebrafinchstudyThe zebra finch is a highly gregarious species that is widespread throughout the arid inland of Australia. We are currently working on questions relating to communication, social behaviour, reproductive physiology and ecology.


Publications arisng from our work on the zebra finch:

Hurley LL, McDiarmid CS, Friesen CR, Griffith SC, Rowe M (2018) Experimental heatwaves negatively impact sperm quality in the zebra finch Proceedings of the Royal Society, Series B, London, 285 20172547; DOI: 10.1098/rspb.2017.2547

Crino OL, Jensen SM, Buchanan KL, Griffith SC (2017) Evidence for condition mediated trade-offs between the HPA- and HPG-axes in the wild zebra finch. General and Comparative Endocrinology, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ygcen.2017.11.025

Andrew SC, Hurley LL, Mariette MM, Griffith SC (2017) Higher temperatures during development reduce body size in the zebra finch in the lab and in the wild. Journal of Evolutionary Biology, 30, 2156–2164. doi: 10.1111/jeb.13181

Sheldon EL, McCowan LSC, McDiarmid CS, Griffith SC (2018) Measuring embryonic heart rate in wild birds: an opportunity to take the pulse on early development. Auk, 135, 71-82. DOI: 10.1642/AUK-17-111.1

Hurley, LL, Fanson KV, Griffith SC (2017) Variation in the number of sperm trapped on the perivitelline layer of the egg in three species of estrilid finch. Auk, 134, 832-841.

Kim K-W, Bennison C, Hemmings N, Brookes L, Hurley LL, Griffith SC, Burke T, Birkhead TR, Slate J (2017), A sex-linked supergene controls sperm morphology and swimming speed in a songbird. Nature Ecology & Evolution, 1, 1168–1176 doi:10.1038/s41559-017-0235-2

Griffith SC, Crino OL, Andrew SC (2017) Commentary: The challenge of being ecologically relevant in captivity. Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution, 5:21. doi:10.3389/fevo.2017.00021

Knief U, Schielzeth H, Backström N, Hemmrich-Stanisak G, Wittig M, Franke A, Griffith SC, Ellegren H, Kempenaers B, Forstmeier W (2017) Association mapping of morphological traits in wild and captive zebra finches: reliable within but not between populations. Molecular Ecology, 26, 1285–130526. doi: 10.1111/mec.14009

Boucaud I, Perez E, Ramos L, Griffith SC, Vignal C (2017) Acoustic communication in zebra finches signals when mates will take turns with parental duties. Behavioral Ecology, 28, 645-656. doi:10.1093/beheco/arw189

Crino OL, Buchanan KL, Fanson BG, Hurley LL, Smiley KO, Griffith SC (2017) Divorce in the socially monogamous zebra finch: hormonal mechanisms and reproductive consequences. Hormones and Behavior, 87, 155-163. doi.org/10.1016/j.yhbeh.2016.11.004

Prior NH, Yap KN, Mainwaring MC, Adomat HH, Crino OL, Ma C, Guns ES, Griffith SC, Buchanan KL, Soma KK (2017) Sex steroid profiles in zebra finches: effects of reproductive state and domestication. General and Comparative Endocrinology, 244, 108-117. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ygcen.2016.02.018.

Crino OL, Buchanan KL, Trompf LBS, Mainwaring MC, Griffith SC (2017) Stress reactivity, condition, and foraging behavior in zebra finches: effects on boldness, exploration, and sociality. General and Comparative Endocrinology, 244, 101-107. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ygcen.2016.01.014

Griffith SC, Crino OL, Andrew SC, et al. (46 others) (2017) Variation in reproductive success across captive populations: methodological differences, potential biases and opportunities. Ethology, 123, 1-29 doi 10.1111/eth.12576

Knief U, Hemmrich-Stanisak G, Wittig A, Franke A, Griffith SC, Kempenaers B,  Forstmeier W. (2016) Fitness Consequences of Polymorphic Inversions in the Zebra Finch Genome. Genome Biology, 17:199. DOI 10.1186/s13059-016-1056-3

Evans JK, Griffith SC, Klasing K, Buchanan KL (2016) Impact of nest sanitation on the immune system of parents and nestlings in a passerine bird. Journal of Experimental Biology, 219, 1985-1993. doi: 10.1242/jeb.130948

Perez, E, Mariette MM; Cochard P, Soulage CO, Griffith SC, Vignal C (2016) Corticosterone triggers the emission of high-pitched begging calls and affects parental investment in the wild zebra finch. Behavioural Ecology, 27, 1665-1675 doi:10.1093/beheco/arw069

Griffith SC, Mainwaring MC, Sorato E, Beckmann C, (2016) High atmospheric temperatures and ‘ambient incubation’ drive embryonic development and lead to earlier hatching in a passerine bird. Royal Society Open Science, 3, 150371, pp 1-14, DOI: 10.1098/rsos.150371    [PDF]

Prior NH, Yap KN, Adomat HH, Mainwaring MC, Fokidis HB, Guns ES, Buchanan KL, Griffith SC, Soma KK (2016) Sex steroid profiles and pair-maintenance behavior of captive wild-caught zebra finches (Taeniopygia guttata). Journal of Comparative Physiology A, 202, 35-44. DOI 10.1007/s00359-015-1050-3

Singhal S, Leffler EM, Sannareddy K, Turner I, Venn O, Hooper DM, Strand AI, Li Q, Raney B, Balakrishnan CN, Griffith SC, McVean G, Przeworski M (2015) Stable recombination hotspots in birds. Science, 350, 928-932. DOI: 10.1126/science.aad0843

Perez EC, Fernandez MSA, Griffith SC, Vignal C, Soula HA (2015) Impact of visual contact on vocal interaction dynamics of pair bonded birds. Animal Behaviour, 107, 125-137.

McCowan LC, Griffith SC (2015) Active but asocial: exploration and activity is linked to social behaviour in a colonially breeding finch. Behaviour, 152, 1145-1167. DOI:10.1163/1568539X-00003272

McCowan LC, Mariette MM, Griffith SC (2015) The size and composition of social groups in the wild zebra finch. Emu,113, 191-198. http://dx.doi.org/10.1071/MU14059

McCowan LC, Mainwaring MC, Prior N, Griffith SC (2015) Personality in the wild zebra finch: exploration, sociality and reproduction. Behavioral Ecology, 26, 735-746 doi:10.1093/beheco/aru239

Knief U, Hemmrich-Stanisak G, Wittig M, Franke A, Griffith SC, Kempenaers B, Forstmeier W (2015) Quantifying realized inbreeding in wild and captive animal populations. Heredity, 114, 397-403. doi:10.1038/hdy.2014.116

Mariette MM, & Griffith SC (2015) The adaptive significance of provisioning and foraging coordination between breeding partners. The American Naturalist, 185, 270-280. DOI: 10.1086/679441

McCowan LC, Rollins LA & Griffith SC (2014) Personality in captivity: more exploratory males reproduce better in an aviary population. Behavioural Processes, 107, 150-157. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.beproc.2014.08.020

McCowan LC & Griffith SC (2014) Nestling activity levels during begging behaviour predicts activity level and body mass in adulthood. PeerJ 2:e566   [PDF]

Dall SRX & Griffith SC (2014). An empiricist guide to animal personality variation in ecology and evolution. Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution 2:3.    [PDF]

Griffith SC & Gilby AJ (2013). Egg development time in the Zebra Finch Taeniopygia guttata varies with laying order and clutch size. Ibis, 155, 725-733.

Gilby AJ, Mainwaring MC & Griffith SC (2013). Incubation behaviour and hatching synchrony differ in wild and captive populations of the zebra finch. Animal Behaviour, 85,1329-1334. doi.org/10.1016/j.anbehav.2013.03.023

Mainwaring MC & Griffith SC (2013). Looking after your partner: sentinel behaviour in a socially monogamous bird. PeerJ 1:e83; DOI 10.7717/peerj.83   [PDF]

Mariette MM & Griffith SC (2013). Does coloniality improve foraging efficiency and nestling provisioning? A field experiment in the wild zebra finch. Ecology, 94, 325-335.

Gilby AJ, Sorato E, Griffith SC (2012) Maternal effects on begging behaviour: an experimental demonstration of the effects of laying sequence, hatch order, nestling sex and brood size. Behavioral Ecology & Sociobiology, 66, 1519-29 DOI 10.1007/s00265-012-1407-3

Immler S, Griffith SC, Zann R, & Birkhead TR (2012) Intra-specific variance in sperm morphometry: a comparison between wild and domesticated Zebra Finches Taeniopygia guttata. Ibis, 154, 480-487. doi: 10.1111/j.1474-919X.2012.01232.x

Mariette MM & Griffith SC (2012) Nest visit synchrony in a bird with bi-parental care. Journal of Avian Biology, 43, 131-140. DOI: 10.1111/j.1600-048X.2012.05555.x

Woodgate JL, Mariette MM, Bennett ATD, Griffith SC & Buchanan KL (2012) Male song structure predicts reproductive success in a wild zebra finch population, Animal Behaviour, 83, 773-781.

Mariette MM & Griffith SC (2012) Conspecific attraction and nest site selection in a nomadic species, the zebra finch. Oikos, 121, 823-834. DOI: 10.1111/j.1600-0706.2011.20014.x

Tschirren B, Postma E, Rutstein AN & Griffith SC (2012) When mothers make sons sexy: Maternal effects contribute to the increased sexual attractiveness of extra-pair offspring. Proceedings of the Royal Society, London, Series B, 279, 1233-1240. doi:10.1098/rspb.2011.1543

Griffith SC, Pariser EC, Tschirren B & Astheimer LB (2011) Resource allocation across the laying sequence in the wild zebra finch. Journal of Avian Biology, 42, 480-484.

Gilby AJ, Mainwaring MC & Griffith SC (2011) The adaptive benefit of hatching asynchrony in wild zebra finches. Animal Behaviour, 82, 479-484.

Mariette MM, Pariser EC, Gilby AJ, Magrath MJL, Pryke SR, Griffith SC (2011) Linking offspring provisioning and foraging behaviour of a wild passerine using an electronic monitoring system. Auk, 128, 26-35.

Gilby AJ, Mainwaring MC, Griffith SC (2011) Parental care in wild and captive zebra finches: measuring food delivery to quantify parental effort. Animal Behaviour, 81, 289-295.

Elie JE, Mariette MM, Soula HA, Griffith SC, Mathevon N & Vignal C (2010) Vocal communication at the nest between mates in wild zebra finches: a private vocal duet? Animal Behaviour, 80, 597-605.

Griffith SC & Buchanan K (2010) The zebra finch: the ultimate Australian supermodel. Emu, 110, v-xii.

Griffith SC & Buchanan K (2010) Maternal effects in the zebra finch: a model mother reviewed. Emu, 110, 251-267.

Mainwaring, MC, Hartley, IR, Gilby, AJ & Griffith SC (2010) Hatching asynchrony and growth trade-offs within domesticated and wild zebra finch. Biological Journal of the Linnean Society, 100, 763-773.

Pariser EC, Mariette MM & Griffith SC (2010) Artificial ornaments manipulate intrinsic male quality in wild-caught zebra finches (Taeniopygia guttata). Behavioral Ecology, 21, 264-269.

Griffith SC, Holleley CE, Mariette MM, Pryke SR & Svedin N (2010) Low level of extrapair parentage in wild zebra finches. Animal Behaviour, 79, 261-264.

Tschirren B, Rutstein AN, Postma E, Mariette M & Griffith SC (2009) Short- and long-term consequences of early developmental conditions: a case study on wild and domesticated zebra finches. Journal of Evolutionary Biology, 22, 387-395.

Griffith SC, Pryke SR, & Mariette M (2008) Nest box use by the zebra finch Taeniopygia guttata: implications for reproductive success and research. Emu, 108, 311-319.

Rutstein AN, Brazil-Boast J, Griffith SC (2007) Evaluating mate choice in the zebra finch. Animal Behaviour, 74, 1277-1284.