Susan Farabaugh, Ph.D.

Associate Director

Dr. Susan Farabaugh serves San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance as Associate Director of Recovery Ecology. In this role, she oversees staff and programs at the Keauhou and Maui Bird Conservation Centers in Hawaii and the San Clemente Loggerhead Shrike Breeding Facility on San Clemente Island, California. Susan’s main research interests relate to reintroduction and recovery of endangered species. Using an understanding of species’ biology and behavior, she is interested in how we can adjust the captive setting to enhance the development of a bird’s natural behavior and best prepare it for life in the wild.

Susan joined the San Clemente loggerhead shrike breeding program in 1999 as the lead behavioral biologist, and moved to program manager in 2006. During this time, she conducted extensive behavioral monitoring of pairing and mating, and developed a database for managing husbandry and breeding data. In 2015, her duties expanded to include oversight of our Hawaii Endangered Bird Conservation Program, which seeks to recover several species of Hawaiian forest birds, including the ‘alala, through breeding and release.

Susan earned her bachelor’s degree in Biology from Occidental College, and her doctorate in Zoology from the University of Maryland, College Park. Her dissertation research focused on duet song in tropical wrens at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in Panama and field sites in Venezuela. Following this, she traveled to Massey University, New Zealand and Griffith University, Australia to study song in group-living Australian magpies. She has also studied hearing and perception of learned song and neural control of song learning during postdoctoral appointments at the University of Maryland, College Park and Auckland University, New Zealand.