Zosteropidae – White-eyes, Yuhinas & Allies

Orange River White-eye Zosterops pallidus ©Trevor Hardaker Website

Zosteropidae are small passerines native to tropical, subtropical and temperate Sub-Saharan Africa, southern and eastern Asia, and Australasia. They inhabit most tropical islands in the Indian Ocean, the western Pacific Ocean, and the Gulf of Guinea. Discounting some widespread members of the genus Zosterops, most species are endemic to single islands or archipelagos. The Silvereye, Zosterops lateralis, naturally colonised New Zealand, where it is known as the ‘wax-eye’ or tauhou (stranger), from 1855. The Silvereye has also been introduced to the Society Islands in French Polynesia, while the Japanese White-eye has been introduced to Hawaii.

White-eyes are mostly of undistinguished appearance, the plumage being generally greenish olive above, and pale grey below. Some species have a white or bright yellow throat, breast or lower parts, and several have buff flanks. As their common name implies, many species have a conspicuous ring of tiny white feathers around their eyes. The scientific name of the group also reflects this latter feature, being derived from the Ancient Greek for ‘girdle-eye’. They have rounded wings and strong legs. Like many other nectivorous birds, they have slender, pointed bills, and brush-tipped tongues. The size ranges up to 15 cm in length.

All the species of white-eyes are sociable, forming large flocks which only separate on the approach of the breeding season. They build tree nests and lay two to four unspotted pale blue eggs. Though mainly insectivorous, they eat nectar and fruits of various kinds. The silvereye can be a problem in Australian vineyards, through piercing the grape allowing infection or insect damage to follow.

White-eyes are the city bird of Kurayoshi City, in Tottori, JAPAN.

There are, according to the IOC, 127 extant species of White-eyes and allies in the family Zosteropidae; they are:

Striated Yuhina Yuhina castaniceps
Indochinese Yuhina Yuhina torqueola
Chestnut-crested Yuhina Yuhina everetti
White-naped Yuhina Yuhina bakeri
Whiskered Yuhina Yuhina flavicollis
Burmese Yuhina Yuhina humilis
Stripe-throated Yuhina Yuhina gularis
White-collared Yuhina Yuhina diademata
Rufous-vented Yuhina Yuhina occipitalis
Taiwan Yuhina Yuhina brunneiceps
Black-chinned Yuhina Yuhina nigrimenta

Chestnut-faced Babbler Zosterornis whiteheadi
Luzon Striped Babbler Zosterornis striatus
Panay Striped Babbler Zosterornis latistriatus
Negros Striped Babbler Zosterornis nigrorum
Palawan Striped Babbler Zosterornis hypogrammicus

Giant White-eye Megazosterops palauensis

Bonin White-eye Apalopteron familiare

Golden White-eye Cleptornis marchei

Teardrop White-eye Rukia ruki
Long-billed White-eye Rukia longirostra

Flame-templed Babbler Dasycrotapha speciosa
Mindanao Pygmy Babbler Dasycrotapha plateni
Visayan Pygmy Babbler Dasycrotapha pygmaea

Golden-crowned Babbler Sterrhoptilus dennistouni
Black-crowned Babbler Sterrhoptilus nigrocapitatus
Rusty-crowned Babbler Sterrhoptilus capitalis

Rufescent Darkeye Tephrozosterops stalkeri

Grey-hooded White-eye Lophozosterops pinaiae
Mindanao White-eye Lophozosterops goodfellowi
Streak-headed White-eye Lophozosterops squamiceps
Mees’s White-eye Lophozosterops javanicus
Cream-browed White-eye Lophozosterops superciliaris
Crested White-eye Lophozosterops dohertyi

Spot-breasted Heleia Heleia muelleri
Thick-billed Heleia Heleia crassirostris

Pygmy White-eye Oculocincta squamifrons

Bare-eyed White-eye Woodfordia superciliosa
Sanford’s White-eye Woodfordia lacertosa

Mountain Blackeye Chlorocharis emiliae

Fernando Po Speirops Zosterops brunneus
Forest White-eye Zosterops stenocricotus
Principe Speirops Zosterops leucophaeus
Black-capped Speirops Zosterops lugubris
Mount Cameroon Speirops Zosterops melanocephalus
Chestnut-flanked White-eye Zosterops erythropleurus
Japanese White-eye Zosterops japonicus
Lowland White-eye Zosterops meyeni
Oriental White-eye Zosterops palpebrosus
Sri Lanka White-eye Zosterops ceylonensis
Rota White-eye Zosterops rotensis
Bridled White-eye Zosterops conspicillatus
Citrine White-eye Zosterops semperi
Plain White-eye Zosterops hypolais
Enggano White-eye Zosterops salvadorii
Black-capped White-eye Zosterops atricapilla
Everett’s White-eye Zosterops everetti
Yellowish White-eye Zosterops nigrorum
Mountain White-eye Zosterops montanus
Yellow-ringed White-eye Zosterops wallacei
Javan White-eye Zosterops flavus
Lemon-bellied White-eye Zosterops chloris
Ashy-bellied White-eye Zosterops citrinella
Pale-bellied White-eye Zosterops consobrinorum
Pearl-bellied White-eye Zosterops grayi
Golden-bellied White-eye Zosterops uropygialis
Black-ringed White-eye Zosterops anomalus
Cream-throated White-eye Zosterops atriceps
Sangihe White-eye Zosterops nehrkorni
Black-crowned White-eye Zosterops atrifrons
Togian White-eye Zosterops somadikartai
Seram White-eye Zosterops stalkeri
Black-fronted White-eye Zosterops minor
Tagula White-eye Zosterops meeki
Bismarck White-eye Zosterops hypoxanthus
Biak White-eye Zosterops mysorensis
Capped White-eye Zosterops fuscicapilla
Buru White-eye Zosterops buruensis
Ambon White-eye Zosterops kuehni
Papuan White-eye Zosterops novaeguineae
Yellow-throated White-eye Zosterops metcalfii
Christmas White-eye Zosterops natalis
Canary White-eye Zosterops luteus
Louisiade White-eye Zosterops griseotinctus
Rennell White-eye Zosterops rennellianus
Vella Lavella White-eye Zosterops vellalavella
Gizo White-eye Zosterops luteirostris
Ranongga White-eye Zosterops splendidus
Solomons White-eye Zosterops kulambangrae
Dark-eyed White-eye Zosterops tetiparius
Kolombangara White-eye Zosterops murphyi
Grey-throated White-eye Zosterops rendovae
Malaita White-eye Zosterops stresemanni
Santa Cruz White-eye Zosterops sanctaecrucis
Vanikoro White-eye Zosterops gibbsi
Samoan White-eye Zosterops samoensis
Fiji White-eye Zosterops explorator
Vanuatu White-eye Zosterops flavifrons
Small Lifou White-eye Zosterops minutus
Green-backed White-eye Zosterops xanthochroa
Silvereye Zosterops lateralis
Slender-billed White-eye Zosterops tenuirostris
Large Lifou White-eye Zosterops inornatus
Kosrae White-eye Zosterops cinereus
Grey-brown White-eye Zosterops ponapensis
Olive-colored White-eye Zosterops oleagineus
Dusky White-eye Zosterops finschii
Abyssinian White-eye Zosterops abyssinicus
Cape White-eye Zosterops virens
Orange River White-eye Zosterops pallidus
African Yellow White-eye Zosterops senegalensis
Montane White-eye Zosterops poliogastrus
Kikuyu White-eye Zosterops kikuyuensis
Taita White-eye Zosterops silvanus
Reunion Grey White-eye Zosterops borbonicus
Mauritius Grey White-eye Zosterops mauritianus
Principe White-eye Zosterops ficedulinus
Sao Tome White-eye Zosterops feae
Annobon White-eye Zosterops griseovirescens
Malagasy White-eye Zosterops maderaspatanus
Kirk’s White-eye Zosterops kirki
Mayotte White-eye Zosterops mayottensis
Seychelles White-eye Zosterops modestus
Karthala White-eye Zosterops mouroniensis
Reunion Olive White-eye Zosterops olivaceus
Mauritius Olive White-eye Zosterops chloronothos
Pemba White-eye Zosterops vaughani

Species Links
  • Norfolk Island White-eye Zosterops albogularis - The ghost birds of Norfolk Island

    Species Account EXTINCT
    Norfolk and Lord Howe Islands have by far the worst record of bird extinctions in Australia, which continues to this day. The kaka and pigeon were exterminated by hunting and forest loss, but the latest wave of extinctions has been largely from rats and cats. The last island thrush (guavabird) was seen in the 1970s and the white-chested white-eye is on the verge of extinction….
  • Orange River White-eye Zosterops pallidus

    BirdLife Species Account
  • Orange River White-eye Zosterops pallidus

    HBW Species Account
  • Orange River White-eye Zosterops pallidus

    Species Account
    Sound archive and distribution map.
  • Orange River White-eye Zosterops pallidus

    Species Account
    The Orange River white-eye (Zosterops pallidus) is a species of bird in the family Zosteropidae. It is found on the western side of South Africa and Namibia. It used to be considered conspecific with the Cape white-eye.
  • Taiwan Yuhina Yuhina brunneiceps

    BirdLife Species Account
  • Taiwan Yuhina Yuhina brunneiceps

    Species Account
    A medium-sized, 13 cm yuhina. Spiky, crested crown chestnut bordered on each side by a black line; lores, cheeks, ear coverts, and nape are white.
  • Taiwan Yuhina Yuhina brunneiceps

    HBW Species Account
    Taxonomy: Yuhina brunneiceps Ogilvie-Grant, 1906, Mount Morrison, central Taiwan. Monotypic.
  • Taiwan Yuhina Yuhina brunneiceps

    Species Account
    Sound archive and distribution map.
  • Taiwan Yuhina Yuhina brunneiceps

    Species Account
    The Taiwan yuhina (Yuhina brunneiceps), formerly known as "Formosan yuhina", is a small songbird endemic to the island of Taiwan.
Other Links
  • White-eyes Zosteropidae

    (Nice) Images + The White-eyes are a mostly homogeneous, Old World tropical family of small arboreal birds. The name comes not from a white iris, but from a white-feathered ring that is a prominent feature around the dark eye of many of these otherwise plain little green birds. Many species are isolated on oceanic islands, as is the Caroline Islands White-eye (left); endemic to Truk (Chuuk); Palau & Pohnpei in Micronesia…
Photographers & Artists
  • Japanese White-eye Zosterops japonicus

    (Very beautiful) Image

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