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Western spindalis (Spindalis zena)
Scientific classification Edit this classification
Domain: Eukaryota
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Passeriformes
Superfamily: Emberizoidea
Family: Spindalidae
Barker, Burns, Klicka, Lanyon, & Lovette, 2013[1]
Genus: Spindalis
Jardine & Selby, 1837
Type species
Spindalis nigricephala

See text

Spindalis is a genus consisting of four non-migratory species of bird. It is the only genus in the family Spindalidae. The species are mostly endemic to the West Indies; exceptions include populations of western spindalises on Cozumel Island, off the Yucatán Peninsula's east coast, and in extreme southeastern Florida. The species were traditionally considered aberrant members of the tanager family Thraupidae. Taxonomic studies recover them as a sister group to the Puerto Rican tanager (family Nesospingidae), and some group Spindalidae and Nesospingidae within the Phaenicophilidae.[2]

Males are characterized by bright plumage while females are duller and have a different coloration. The nests are cup-shaped.[3]


The genus contains four species:[4]

Male Female Common Name Scientific name Distribution
Hispaniolan spindalis Spindalis dominicensis Hispaniola (Haiti and the Dominican Republic)
Jamaican spindalis Spindalis nigricephala Jamaica
Puerto Rican spindalis Spindalis portoricensis Puerto Rico
Western spindalis Spindalis zena southeastern Florida and the western Caribbean (Cozumel, the Cayman Islands, Cuba, the Bahamas and the Turks and Caicos Islands)


Historically, the genus consisted of a single polytypic species, Spindalis zena (with the common name of stripe-headed tanager), with eight recognized subspecies—S. z. townsendi and S. z. zena from the Bahamas, S. z. pretrei from Cuba, S. z. salvini from Grand Cayman, S. z. dominicensis from Hispaniola and Gonâve Island, S. z. portoricensis from Puerto Rico, S. z. nigreciphala from Jamaica, and S. z. benedicti from Cozumel Island. In 1997, based primarily on morphological and vocalization differences, three of the subspecies (portoricensis, dominicensis and nigricephala) were elevated to species status. S. zena remained a polytypic species with five recognized subspecies—S. z. pretrei, S. z. salvini, S. z. benedicti, S. z. townsendi, and S. z. zena.[5]


  1. ^ Barker, F.K.; Burns, K.J.; Klicka, J.; Lanyon, S.M.; Lovette, I.J. (2013). "Going to extremes: contrasting rates of diversification in a recent radiation of New World passerine birds". Systematic Biology. 62 (2): 298–320. doi:10.1093/sysbio/sys094. PMID 23229025.
  2. ^ Oliveros, C.H.; et al. (2019). "Earth history and the passerine superradiation". Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States. 116 (16): 7916–7925. doi:10.1073/pnas.1813206116. PMC 6475423. PMID 30936315.
  3. ^ Garrido et al. 1997, p. 587.
  4. ^ Gill, Frank; Donsker, David; Rasmussen, Pamela, eds. (July 2020). "Enigmatic Oscines". IOC World Bird List Version 10.2. International Ornithologists' Union. Retrieved 18 October 2020.
  5. ^ Garrido et al. 1997, pp. 588–589.


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