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Abstract

Conspecific recognition is essential for sexually reproducing species. Captive zebra finches (Taeniopygia guttata) are a model system in which the behavioural, ontogenetic and neurobiological bases of own-species (conspecific) recognition have been studied in detail. To assess the potential role of phylogeographic effects on species recognition, we examined the spatial preferences of unmated captive-bred female zebra finches between unfamiliar captive males of conspecific and estrildid heterospecific male stimuli. In accordance with prior studies using domesticated Bengalese finches (Lonchura striata vars. domestica), we found significant spatial and behavioural preference for conspecific males by female zebra finches, irrespective of heterospecific male phylogeographic origin mating status, or individual behaviour. This result has ramifications for the interpretation of social and mate preferences in this model species as it implies a consistency of species discrimination by captive female zebra finches.