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Sao Tome Spinetail - BirdForum Opus

Alternative name: Sao Tome Spine-tailed Swift

Zoonavena thomensis


With only 10cm a very small Spinetail.

  • Black-brown upperparts with broad pale rump-band
  • Heavily streaked whitish underparts with brown throat
  • Spinetail winge shape: hooked in outer wing and bulging in midwing
  • Square tail
  • Retrix spines 1 to 2.5mm beyond web


Endemic to Sao Tomé and Principe in the Gulf of Guinea, Africa.
Common on both islands.


Was previously considered to be conspecific with Sabine's Spinetail.


A forest species which is also seen at forest edge or over cultivated land and plantations near forest.


Feeds on insects and small beetles, taken in flight. Forages in small groups, on Principe also mixed groups with Little Swift. On Sao Tomé however mixed flocks are not recorded.
Breeding season in August and October on Sao Tomé and in September on Principe. Nests solitary in a hollow tree, building a open, cupped nest. Lays 2 to 3 eggs.

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