|Male in Ciego de Avila Province, Cuba|
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). 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. They are 15 cm (5.9 in) long and weigh 21 g (0.74 oz).
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.
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.
- BirdLife International (2012). "Spindalis zena". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2013.2. International Union for Conservation of Nature. Retrieved 26 November 2013.
- Sibley, David Allen (2000). The Sibley Guide to Birds. New York: Knopf. p. 460. ISBN 0-679-45122-6.
- 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.
- Manfredi, Larry. "Western Spindalis nesting, first U.S. record!". southfloridabirding.com.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Spindalis zena.|
|Wikispecies has information related to: Spindalis zena|
- BirdLife species factsheet for Spindalis zena
- Spindalis zena on Avibase
- Western spindalis videos, photos, and sounds at the Internet Bird Collection
- Western spindalis photo gallery at VIREO (Drexel University)
- Western spindalis species account at NeotropicalBirds (Cornell University)
- Interactive range map of Spindalis zena at IUCN Red List maps
- Audio recordings of Western spindalis on Xeno-canto.
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