Animal Database
Animal Database
13 35 068 Zosterops maderaspatanus maderaspatanus.jpg
Malagasy White-eye (Zosterops maderaspatanus)
Scientific Classification
Kingdom Animalia
Phylum Chordata
Class Aves
Order Passeriformes
Family Zosteropidae (disputed)

Zosteropidae or white-eyes, is a family of small passerines native to tropical, subtropical and temperate Sub-Saharan Africa, southern and eastern Asia, and Australasia. White-eyes 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 (5.9 in) 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.



Genus: Speirops (3 species)
Genus: Zosterops (75 species, 1–3 recently extinct; polyphyletic)
Genus: Rukia (2 species)
Genus: Cleptornis (Monotype)
Genus: Tephrozosterops (Monotype)
Genus: Lophozosterops (6 species)
Genus: Oculocincta (Monotype)
Genus: Heleia (2 species)
Genus: Chlorocharis (Monotype)
Genus: Woodfordia (2 species)
Genus: Megazosterops (sometimes placed in Rukia)
Genus: Hypocryptadius (Monotype)
If the white-eyes are maintained as a separate family or subfamily, this yuhinas would have to be included there too.
Genus: Yuhina (11 species)
Genus: Dasycrotapha (3 species) (formerly in Stachyris; tentatively placed here)
Genus: Zosterornis (5 species) (formerly in Stachyris
Genus: Sterrhoptilus (3 species) (formerly in Stachyris; tentatively placed here)