Western spindalis

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Western spindalis
Spindalis zena -Ciego de Avila Province, Cuba-8.jpg
Male in Ciego de Avila Province, Cuba
Spindalis zena -Ciego de Avila Province, Cuba-8 (1).jpg
Conservation status
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Passeriformes
Family: See text
Genus: Spindalis
Species: S. zena
Binomial name
Spindalis zena
(Linnaeus, 1758)

The western spindalis (Spindalis zena), formerly called the stripe-headed tanager, is a songbird species. S. zena formerly included other species of spindalis, as well.

The spindalises were traditionally considered aberrant tanagers of the family Thraupidae, but like the equally enigmatic bananaquit (Coereba flaveola), they are often treated as incertae sedis (place uncertain) among the nine-primaried oscines.

The male is brightly colored with a black and white horizontally striped head and contrasting burnt orange throat, breast and nape. The remainder of the belly is light grey. There are two color variations: green-backed (generally northern) and black-backed (generally northern).[2] The female has similar markings on the head, but washed out to a medium grey. She is olive-grey above and greyish-brown below, with a slight orange wash on the breast, rump, and shoulders.[3] They are 15 cm (5.9 in) long and weigh 21 g (0.74 oz).[2]

The species is found in the Bahamas, the Cayman Islands, Cuba, and the Turks and Caicos Islands. It is a rare visitor of extreme southern Florida, where the subspecies S. z. zena successfully bred in 2009.[4]

Its natural habitats are subtropical or tropical moist lowland forests, subtropical or tropical moist montane forest, and heavily degraded former forest. It is not considered a threatened species by the IUCN. The subspecies zena is found in pine forest of the northern Bahamas.


  1. ^ BirdLife International (2012). "Spindalis zena". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2013.2. International Union for Conservation of Nature. Retrieved 26 November 2013. 
  2. ^ a b Sibley, David Allen (2000). The Sibley Guide to Birds. New York: Knopf. p. 460. ISBN 0-679-45122-6. 
  3. ^ Garrido, Orlando H.; Kirkconnell, Arturo (2000). Field Guide to the Birds of Cuba. Ithaca, NY: Comstock, Cornell University Press. p. 205. ISBN 978-0-8014-8631-9. 
  4. ^ Manfredi, Larry. "Western Spindalis nesting, first U.S. record!". southfloridabirding.com. 

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