Malagasy white-eye

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Malagasy white-eye
Zosterops malgache.png
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Passeriformes
Family: Zosteropidae
Genus: Zosterops
Species: Z. maderaspatanus
Binomial name
Zosterops maderaspatanus
(Linnaeus, 1766)
Eggs of Zosterops maderaspatanus MHNT

The Malagasy white-eye (Zosterops maderaspatanus) is a species of bird in the Zosteropidae family. It is found in Comoros, Madagascar, Mayotte, and Seychelles.[1] Its natural habitats are subtropical or tropical dry forests, subtropical or tropical moist lowland forests, subtropical or tropical mangrove forests, and subtropical or tropical moist montane forests.


The Malagasy white-eye grows to a length of about 10 cm (4 in). The upper parts, wings and tail are a dark olive green, the throat is yellow and the breast and belly pale grey. The white eye ring is incomplete, there being a gap at the front of the reddish-brown eye. The upper mandible of the beak is black and the lower mandible is grey. The legs and feet are greyish-blue.[2]

Distribution and habitat[edit]

The Malagasy white-eye occurs in Madagascar, Mayotte, the Comoros and the Seychelles.[1] Small groups of these birds can be found in woodland, foraging among the branches and flitting between the trees, calling constantly to each other with a soft "pee-u".[2]


The Malagasy white-eye is a lively and agile bird. Its flight is strong but jerky, each flight covering only a short distance. It feeds in the open during the day and moves deeper into the forest at night. It likes to bathe in pools and also makes use of water trapped in hollows in trees for this purpose. Mutual preening sometimes takes place, with two birds almost leaning on one another as they preen around the head, face and chin.[3]

This bird feeds mainly on invertebrates and fruits, as well as nectar, pollen, flower buds and other vegetable matter. Insects are found by gleaning on twigs and branches, the bird sometimes clinging upside-down to the trunk of a tree. Prey is sometimes caught in the air by hawking, and the bird may hover briefly while taking food, and probe into inflorescences and lichens, sometimes becoming dusted with pollen.[3]

Breeding takes place in the austral summer. The nest is a cup-shaped structure hung from the fork of a branch or built in the middle of a bush. It is made from grass stems and flower-heads, fine rootlets, slender fibres, hairs and moss. Two to three eggs are laid.[3]


The Malagasy white-eye has a very wide range and is described as common. No particular threats have been recognised and the International Union for Conservation of Nature has evaluated its conservation status as being of "least concern".[1]


  1. ^ a b c d BirdLife International (2012). "Zosterops maderaspatanus". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2016.2. International Union for Conservation of Nature. Retrieved 30 October 2016. 
  2. ^ a b Adrian Skerrett; Tony Disley (2016). Birds of Seychelles. Bloomsbury Publishing. p. 140. ISBN 978-1-4729-4601-0. 
  3. ^ a b c Roger Safford; Frank Hawkins (2013). The Birds of Africa: Volume VIII: The Malagasy Region: Madagascar, Seychelles, Comoros, Mascarenes. A&C Black. p. 798. ISBN 978-0-7136-6532-1.