A Social Relations Model for the Colonial Behavior of the Zebra Finch

  • Aurelio José Figueredo (University of Arizona)
  • Sally Gayle Olderbak (University of Arizona)
  • Vanya Alessandra Moreno (University of Arizona)


A social relations model was developed for 5 years of behavioral recordings from a captive colony of Zebrafinches (Taeniopygia guttata). A quantitative ethogram was applied, using one-zero focal animal sampling on an ethologically comprehensive checklist of 52 behavioral items (Figueredo, Petrinovich, & Ross, 1992). Of the 9 ethological factors previously identified, only 4 of the 6 social factors (Social Proximity, Social Contact, Social Submission, and Social Aggression) were used. Major results were as follows: (1) Individual finches showed systematically different response dispositions that were stable over a 5-year period as both subjects and objects of behavior; (2) Interactions between finches differed systematically by the sexes of both the subjects and the objects of behavior; (3) Behavioral interactions between finches and their mates differed systematically according to the subjects' sex, but also differed systematically from those with other members of the objects' sex; (4) Behavioral interactions between finches and their relatives differed systematically between different discrete categories of relatives, but did not vary as a systematic function of either graded genetic relatedness or familiarity due to common rearing; and (5) Behavioral interactions between finches and their relatives showed an overall bias towards preferential interactions with male relatives.

Keywords: social relations modeling, Zebra finch, ethological factor modeling, longitudinal, multiple-P-type factor analysis

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Published on
13 Oct 2010
Peer Reviewed