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Madagascar Spinetail - BirdForum Opus

Alternative names: Malagasy Spinetail; Madagascar Spine-tailed Swift; Malagasy Needletail

Zoonavena grandidieri


With 12cm a small Spinetail

  • Black brown upperparts with heavily streaked white rump
  • Pale grey-brown underparts
  • Spinetail winge shape: hooked in outer wing and bulging in midwing
  • Square tail
  • Retrix spines up to 3mm in male and 1.5mm in female


Only found on Madagascar and Grand Comoro in Comoro Islands.
Rather common, especially in the east.


Formerly placed in genus Chaetura.
Two subspecies recognized:


Occurs mainly over forest. Prefers forests with huge trees, but also seen over paddies. In Madagascar a lowland species and only accidentaly found higher than 1000m. On Grand Comoro usually found between 400 and 1750m.


Feeds on insects, taken in flight. Forages close to ground and low over canopy, usually alone, in pairs or in small flocks.
Breeding season believed to be from April to January, but maybe a year-round breeder. Nests in tree hollows, wells or rock niches. Nest build with vegetable matter and twigs.

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