Today, the Zebra Finch is Australia’s most studied bird and the focus of intensive multi-million dollar research projects throughout the world. Here we briefly summarise the history of the Zebra Finch in science and document the way in which studies of this species have proliferated and dominated a number of quite different fields within the biological sciences. The importance of the Zebra Finch is likely to increase still further after the recent publication of its genome sequence – only the second bird to be the focus of such an intensive research effort – and providing an amazing resource for understanding this species and genome evolution more generally. Finally, we highlight the contribution made by the late Richard Zann with his studies of the ecology, physiology and behaviour of the wild Zebra Finch and his tremendous enthusiasm for the species. Richard would have welcomed the status that the Zebra Finch currently enjoys in science, and looked forward to the many exciting research opportunities that this supermodel species will continue to provide in the future.