What conditions are necessary for a Wither Skeleton to spawn naturally, and can I manipulate those conditions to increase the chance of them spawning?

I want to make a Wither Skeleton spawning pad in the Nether but I'm having trouble finding Wither Skeletons. I've only heard that they spawn in Nether Fortresses.

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    Well, when a mommy wither skeleton and a daddy wither skeleton love each other very much... – gnovice Feb 28 '13 at 23:09

They naturally spawn in Nether Fortresses, light level 7 or less where their lower half will be.

To increase the chances of one spawning, make sure the light level condition is met, and fill any holes in the floor. It doesn't matter about material, wither skeletons will spawn whether there is nether brick or not.

In nether fortresses, skeleton eggs/spawners will spawn Wither skeletons 80% of the time.

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    What constitutes the 'nether fortress' if not blocks? Is it purely area, i.e. X,Z co-ords? – Pureferret Oct 27 '12 at 12:18
  • Very good question! I opened one for it... gaming.stackexchange.com/questions/90363/… – Mose Oct 28 '12 at 6:54
  • How do you know when you have 11 or less light? – user42197 Feb 10 '13 at 7:11
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    @minecraftrocks2me The block a torch is in has level 14. Count down by one for each block away from it (in any direction). – Kevin Reid Feb 10 '13 at 17:50

According to the wiki:

"Wither skeletons only naturally spawn in nether fortresses. Brick type does not matter with naturally spawned Withers (e.g., replacing a Nether Fortress' bricks with normal stone bricks will still allow wither skeletons to spawn); they follow the same spawning conditions as naturally spawning Blazes: light level 11 or less where their lower half will be (needs confirmation).

When used in the Nether, Skeleton spawn eggs are able to spawn Wither Skeletons instead of the normal skeletons 80% of the time. Similarly, when a spider is spawned in the Nether (whether via spawn egg or a mob spawner), it has a slight chance of spawning with a wither skeleton jockey instead of an ordinary skeleton."

Based on that information you can use eggs or a mob spawner to get them to show up in the Nether.

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