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Birds Guide


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Male Puerto Rican Spindalis
Male Puerto Rican Spindalis
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Subphylum: Vertebrata
Class: Aves
Order: Passeriformes
Family: Thraupidae
Genus: Spindalis
Jardine and Selby, 1837
Spindalis zena
Spindalis portoricensis
Spindalis dominicensis
Spindalis nigricephala

Spindalis is a non-migratory genus of tanagers (Thraupidae family) comprised of 4 species. The genus is considered endemic to the Greater Antilles; a population on Cozumel Island, off the Yucatan Peninsula's east coast, is part of that island's West Indian fauna.

Historically, the genus consisted of a single polytypic species, Spindalis zena, 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 Gonave 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.[1]

Spindalis males are characterized by bright plumage while females are duller and have a different coloration.

The nests of Spindalis are cup-shaped.[2]


  1. ^ Garrildo, et al, p.588-89.
  2. ^ Garrildo, et al, p.587.


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