In separate expression pattern and micro-array screens the zinc finger containing factor, znfl2, has been previously implicated in hematopoiesis. Here we analysed znfl2 expression in detail and performed genetic epistatic analysis in a series of hematopoietic mutants and transient gain-of-function models. znfl2 expression in the hematopoietic intermediate mesoderm and derived erythrocytes required early genes cloche and spadetail, but not gata1. Expression was up-regulated in scl gain-of-function embryos, identifying znfl2 as an early erythroid factor that is regulated upstream or independently of gata1. Furthermore, we identified a duplicate znfl2 gene in the genome (znfl2b) which was expressed in early mesendoderm and weakly in the lateral plate mesoderm, overlapping in expression with znfl2. The production of loss-of-function models for znfl2, znfl2b and znfl2/znfl2b together suggested that these erythrocyte specific zinc finger genes are dispensible for erythropoiesis.