Western spindalis

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Western spindalis
Western spindalis (Spindalis zena pretrei) male.JPG
male S. z. pretrei
Viñales, Cuba
Spindalis zena -Ciego de Avila Province, Cuba-8 (1).jpg
female S. z. pretrei
Ciego de Ávila, Cuba
Scientific classification edit
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Passeriformes
Family: Spindalidae
Genus: Spindalis
S. zena
Binomial name
Spindalis zena

Fringilla zena Linnaeus, 1758

male S. z. pretrei
showing feathers on back, Cuba

The western spindalis (Spindalis zena) is a songbird species. It was formerly considered conspecific with the other three species of spindalis, with the common name stripe-headed tanager.

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

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 southeastern Florida and the western Caribbean (Cozumel, the Cayman Islands, Cuba, the Bahamas 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. The subspecies zena is found in pine forest.

It is not considered a threatened species by the IUCN.


  • S. z. zena: Central Bahamas
  • S. z. townsendi: Grand Bahama Island, the Abacos and Green Turtle Cay
  • S. z. pretrei: Cuba, Isle of Pines and adjacent offshore cays
  • S. z. salvini: Grand Cayman Island
  • S. z. benedicti: Cozumel Island


  1. ^ BirdLife International (2012). "Spindalis zena". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. IUCN. 2012. 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!". South Florida Birding.

External links[edit]