Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Zebra Finches, the male on the right.
The Zebra Finch (Taeniopygia guttata) is the most common and familiar estrildid finch of Central Australia and ranges over most of the continent, avoiding only the cool moist south and the tropical far north. Zebra finches inhabit open steppes with scattered bushes and trees, but have adapted to human disturbances, taking advantage of human-made watering holes and large patches of deforested land.
There are two distinct sub-species. Taeniopygia guttata guattata, the Timor Zebra Finch, extends from Lombok in the Lesser Sunda Islands or Nusa Tanggara in Indonesia to Sermata in addition to coastal areas around the continent of Australia. The other sub-species is Taeniopygia gutatta castanotis. This species is found over the wide range of continental Australia.
The morphological differences between the sub-species include differences in size. Taeniopygia guttata guttata is smaller than Taeniopygia guttata castanotis. In addition, the T.g. guttata males do not have the fine barring found on the throat and upper breast of T.g. castanotis as well as having small breast bands.
The Zebra finch breeds after substantial rains in its native habitat, which can occur at any time of the year. Birds in captivity are ready to breed year-round. Wild birds are adaptable and varied in their nesting habits, with nests being found in cavities, scrub, low trees, bushes, on the ground,in termite hills, rabit burrows, nests of other birds, and the in cracks, crevices, and ledges of human structures. Outside of the breeding time, brood nests are constructed for sleeping in.
"Zebra Finches are extremely gregarious birds that are never met singly in their native habitat but are always found in groups of several pairs. The closest bond is between the cock and the hen... these two do things separately only while the eggs and nestlings have to be kept warm. However, despite the close contact with their mates, adult females indulge in bodily contact only rarely. Males in full coloration never do" - Hans-Jürgen Martain, 'Zebra Finches'
Zebra finches were sometimes used as avian model organisms to their prolific breeding, an adaptation to their usually dry enviornment. This ability also makes them popular as pet songbirds, and they are usually found at relatively inexpensive prices.
- 1 cent Australia Zebra Finch postage stamp.
The contents of this article is licensed from www.wikipedia.org under the GNU Free Documentation License. Click here to see the transparent copy and copyright details