Chemical Analyses Reveal Family-Specific Nest Odor Profiles in Zebra Finches (Taeniopygia guttata): A Pilot Study

Kohlwey, S.; Krause, Eike Tobias GND; Baier, M.C.; Müller, C.; Caspers, B.A.

Several bird species, including zebra finches, have been shown to be able to recognize their own nest, based on olfactory cues. This suggests that differences in nest odor profiles exist. One might assume that these differences are due to differences in food or nesting material. However, laboratory studies led to the assumption that individual body odors of parents and offspring are causing the nest odor differences. In a pilot study, we collected volatile nest odors of zebra finch nests using closed-loop stripping and analyzed them by gas chromatography coupled with mass spectrometry (GC-MS). Our analysis revealed the existence of family-specific nest odor profiles that vary in concentrations of different compounds, providing the basis for odor-based nest recognition.

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Kohlwey, S. / Krause, Eike Tobias / Baier, M.C. / et al: Chemical Analyses Reveal Family-Specific Nest Odor Profiles in Zebra Finches (Taeniopygia guttata): A Pilot Study. 2015.

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