Zanpakuto Spirits usually reside inside a zanpakuto weapon that are wielded by their shinigami partner. However, they can lead a life of their own when and if their shinigami dies or if they are released by a kido or some other technique.
When a zanpakuto is freed from it's form as a sword, either from it's shinigami partner dying or by being released by a special kido or technique, it will assume the human form of it's spirit. The spirit retains it's name and personality as it's previous state and can use it's powers and both it's shikai and bankai form by materializing it's sword form. The spirit can use it's abilities far better than it's former shinigami due to it being it's own technique instead of the shinigami using it at the strength level that particular shinigami can control. They can use shunpo and they can sense reiatsu.
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|Known spirits:||Jiǔjīnsèmáo Zìyóushǒunǎo · Shuāngrìxīnyuè · Kunkiri · Saitatsu · T'an Gong Suriak · Hsü Yün · Sode no Yorunemuri · Tenpa Jyōsai · Antei · Jiéjīng Xióngmāo · Uji Yuh'sien · Xījíshēngxùnwúdàliándāo Nǎliwǒpòhuài · Amakuni · Akewataru · Sukurīchi · Kimera · Suigetsu · Ryukenmaru · Tsukuyōmaru · Kohonō Nyo'ei · Hakurei · Denkatsu · Zatokopasu · Koryu Koren · Shunryu · Shion · Raiden · Kanāji Fūshin · Hanullim · Tsukimegami Gaitōyami|