Zebra finches have the technical advantages of both avian models (i.e., amenability to experimental embryology through in ovo manipulation) and genetic models (i.e., sequenced genome, availability of molecular tools, transgenic strategies).​

The  zebra finch (Taenopygia guttata) is an Australian songbird widely used in behavioral and developmental neurobiology. Contrary to other avian models (chick), it displays a sharp typical dorso-ventral color pattern: dark grey wings / upper body and light ventrum. Males also have a black and white striped chest, which gave this bird group its name.

The zebra finch genome:

Article in Nature

Genome browsing


Transgenesis in zebra finches:

Article in PNAS


Zebra finches in science:




We study color pattern variation within members of the Lonchurinae subfamily of Estrildid finches, small paserine birds all distributed in Australia. We focus on non-threatened species that are tractable in the field, reproduce in captivity and display typical color domains with little sexual dimorphism.