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#ABArare – Western Spindalis – Florida

This morning (5/4)  Corey Callaghan found an gorgeous adult male Western Spindalis (ABA Code 4) in Palm Beach County, Florida, on the Atlantic coast. The bird was well-photographed by Callaghan. This is the first record of this species, now semi-annual, in Florida this year.

Photo by Corey Callaghan, Used with permission

Photo by Corey Callaghan, Used with permission

The bird was seen at Seacrest Scrub Natural Area, in Boynton Beach. The street address is 3400 S. Seacrest Boulevard. Park is on the east side of road. From the parking lot proceed onto the sandy trail and split off of the sidewalk trail. Continue on this sandy trail for about 200 yards and pass an intersection with stakes that have yellow reflectors on it. About 20 yards past this intersection an area is marked on the trail with two sticks and this is the general area where the bird was observed.

Western Spindalis is known in the ABA Area from several records, all from Florida and most from the window between December and mid-May, a pattern that suggests spring dispersal from the Bahamas (Howell et al). The species has bred in the ABA Area before, on Long Pine Key in 2009.

The species has 5 subspecies scattered across the Caribbean, but only two of those subspecies have ever been documented in the United State. This individual’s dark back places it most likely as zena ssp, of the southern Bahamas.


Howell, Steve N. G., Ian Lewington, and Will Russell. 2014. Rare Birds of North America: Princeton UP.

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Nate Swick

Nate Swick

Editor, Social Media Manager at American Birding Association
Nate Swick is the editor of the American Birding Association Blog, social media manager for the ABA, and the host of the American Birding Podcast. He lives in Greensboro, North Carolina, with his wife, Danielle, and two young children. He is the author of Birding for the Curious and The ABA Field Guide to Birds of the Carolinas.
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