Réunion grey white-eye

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Réunion grey white-eye
Zosterops borbonicus borbonicus p1180876.jpg
Réunion grey white-eye
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Passeriformes
Family: Zosteropidae
Genus: Zosterops
Species: Z. borbonicus
Binomial name
Zosterops borbonicus
JR Forster, 1781

The Réunion grey white-eye (Zosterops borbonicus) is a small passerine from the family Zosteropidae,[1] which is native to the islands of Réunion.[2]


The taxon mauritianus, by most authorities previously considered a subspecies, is now usually considered a separate monotypic species, the Mauritius grey white-eye, (Zosterops mauritianus). Together, both species were called Mascarene white-eye.[3]

There is some uncertainty about the number of subspecies on Réunion, with most authorities only accepting a single, the nominate (Z. b. borbonicus), while some also accept Z. b. alopekion, and Z. b. xerophilus. When only a single Réunion subspecies is accepted, alopekion and xerophilus are considered to represent morphs of the nominate.[citation needed]


It has a length of 9.5 cm. Its plumage exhibits a colour morph which varies from gray to brown. The rump is coloured conspicuous white, the rest of the body is blue grey. The legs are nearly blackish. There is also a conspicuous ring of white feathers around the chestnut coloured eyes.


It inhabits woodlands, forests, and gardens. It is the only endemic bird from Réunion which has adapted to man-made conditions. Its diet consists of insects, fruits and nectar. It is also the pollinator for orchids like Angraecum striatum or the endemic Trochetia species. It moves often in small groups from six to twenty birds in search of food. They are very noisy. The breeding period is in the southern summer. The female lays two to four pale blue eggs in a cup-shaped nest which is padded with plant material.


  1. ^ del Hoyo, J.; Elliot, A. & Christie D. (editors). (2008). Handbook of the Birds of the World. Volume 13: Penduline-tits to Shrikes. Lynx Edicions. ISBN 978-84-96553-45-3
  2. ^ Gill F. and Donsker D. (eds), Family Zosteropidae, in IOC World Bird Names (ver 6.2), International Ornithologists’ Union, 2016. URL [1]
  3. ^ Otto Finsch: Zosteropidae (Volume 15), 1901.


  • France Staub: Birds of the Mascarenes and Saint Brandon. LABAMA HOUSE, Port Louis, Mauritius, 1976.
  • France Staub: Fauna of Mauritius and associated flora. Précigraph Limited, Port Louis, Mauritius, 1993.
  • Claire Micheneau, Jacques Fournel & Thierry Pailler: Bird Pollination in an Angraecoid Orchid on Reunion Island (Mascarene Archipelago, Indian Ocean). Annals of Botany 97: S. 965–974, 2006 doi:10.1093/aob/mcl056 PDF fulltext

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