Behavioural responses to video playbacks by zebra finch males

Behav Processes. 2007 Jan 10;74(1):21-6. doi: 10.1016/j.beproc.2006.09.002. Epub 2006 Oct 11.


A major problem for communication research is to provide standardized stimuli and to disentangle the relative contribution of different sensory channels to the compound signal and its effectiveness. Video techniques have frequently been used for this purpose. Fifty Hertz cathode ray tube (CRT) screens cannot be used for birds because their flicker frequency is lower than the time resolution of at least songbirds. Thin film transistor (TFT) screens have successfully been used to present video clips of behaving conspecifics. We show here that they are indeed transmitting video images in a way that enables zebra finches to react appropriately to live video images of conspecifics and that the test birds are able to detect small differences in the behaviour of the stimulus animals. Adding acoustic information strongly enhanced the reaction to the video clips.

MeSH terms

  • Animal Communication
  • Animals
  • Behavior, Animal*
  • Female
  • Finches
  • Male
  • Sexual Behavior, Animal
  • Videotape Recording*