Northern yellow white-eye

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Northern yellow white-eye
Yellow white-eye (Zosterops senegalensis).jpg
Kakamega Forest, Kenya
Scientific classification edit
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Passeriformes
Family: Zosteropidae
Genus: Zosterops
Z. senegalensis
Binomial name
Zosterops senegalensis

The northern yellow white-eye (Zosterops senegalensis), formerly the African yellow white-eye is a species of bird in the family Zosteropidae. It is found across sub-Saharan Africa, from Senagal in the west across to southern Sudan in the east and south to northern Angola.


The northern yellow white-eye formerly included additional subspecies. These were split to create the southern yellow white-eye and the green white-eye based partly on the results of a molecular phylogetic study in 2013.[3][4][5]

There are seven subspecies:[5]

  • Z. s. senegalensis Bonaparte, 1850 – Mauritania and Senegal to northwest Ethiopia
  • Z. s. jacksoni Neumann, 1899 – west Kenya and north Tanzania
  • Z. s. demeryi Büttikofer, 1890 – Sierra Leone, Liberia and Ivory Coast
  • Z. s. gerhardi Elzen & König, C, 1983 – south Sudan and northeast Uganda
  • Z. s. kasaicus Chapin, 1932 – central D.R. Congo to northeast Angola
  • Z. s. heinrichi Meise, 1958 – northwest Angola
  • Z. s. quanzae Meyer de Schauensee, 1932 – central Angola


A small yellow bird with a prominent white eye ring surrounding a dark eye. The underparts and head are yellow, with a black loral stripe, black bill, the flight and tail feathers are brown edged with yellowish olive. Some subspecies are greener, especially those occurring in forest. Juveniles are darker.[6] This bird measures 11·5 cm in length and the weight varies from 6.8 to 14.1g.[7]


The northern yellow white-eye is widely distributed in sub-Saharan Africa from Senegal, Gambia and Mauritania in the west east to Ethiopia and Eritrea then south to northern Angola.[7][8]


The northern yellow white-eye is a bird which prefers well-wooded habitats, especially thorn scrub, savanna woodland, lowland and montane forest, also occupying swamps with interspersed trees, Eucalyptus plantations, suburban parks and gardens.[6][8]


The northern yellow white-eye has been recorded as a host of the brood parasite green-backed honeybird.[8]

The northern yellow white-eye has a diet that mainly consists of insects; caterpillars, aphids and termite alates have all been recorded, supplemented with some fruit including those of figs and the cabbage tree Cussonia spp. It forages among the canopy of trees, gleaning prey from foliage and bark. It is frequently recorded as a member of mixed-species foraging flocks.[8] Also takes nectar from flowers.[6]

The nest is a small cup made out of dried grass and small twigs, placed among the foliage in a small tree about 3.5m above the ground and secured with spider web. The clutch of 2-4 eggs is laid from August–January, with most being laid in September–October. Incubation takes about 11–12 days and both sexes share this duty as well as the feeding of the nestling young which fledge after around two weeks If disturbed in the nest the young will often panic and jump out of the nest.[8]


  1. ^ BirdLife International (2012). "Zosterops senegalensis". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2013.2. International Union for Conservation of Nature. Retrieved 26 November 2013.
  2. ^ "Zosterops senegalensis Bonaparte, 1850". Integrated Taxonomic Information System (ITIS) ( Retrieved 2016-11-09.
  3. ^ Cox, S.C. (2013). Molecular Systematics and Diversification of African Zosteropidae (Aves: Passeriformes) (PhD). University College London.
  4. ^ Pearson, D.J.; Turner, D.A. (2017). "A taxonomic review of the genus Zosterops in East Africa, with a revised list of species occurring in Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania". Scopus. 37: 1–13.
  5. ^ a b Gill, Frank; Donsker, David, eds. (2019). "Sylviid babblers, parrotbills, white-eyes". World Bird List Version 9.1. International Ornithologists' Union. Retrieved 24 January 2019.
  6. ^ a b c Borrow, Nik; Demey, Ron (2001). Birds of Western Africa. A & C Black. p. 699. ISBN 0-7136-3959-8.
  7. ^ a b "African Yellow White-eye (Zosterops senegalensis)". HBW Alive. Lynx Edicions. Retrieved 2016-11-09.
  8. ^ a b c d e "Zosterops senegalensis (African yellow white-eye)". Biodiversity Explorer. Iziko Museums of South Africa. Retrieved 2016-11-09.

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