Sri Lanka white-eye

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Sri Lankan white-eye
Sri Lanka Hill White-Eye.jpg
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Passeriformes
Family: Zosteropidae
Genus: Zosterops
Species: Z. ceylonensis
Binomial name
Zosterops ceylonensis
Holdsworth, 1872

The Sri Lanka white-eye (Zosterops ceylonensis) is a small passerine bird in the white-eye family. It is a resident breeder in forests, gardens and plantations which is endemic to Sri Lanka, mainly in the highlands.


Comparison with Oriental white-eye (above)

This bird is slightly larger than the Oriental white-eye (about 11 cm long) which it replaces above 4000 ft. The upper parts of the body and sides of neck are dark olive green. The rump appears paler green while the crown and forehead appear darker. The wings and tail are brown edged with green on the back. The typical ring of tiny white feathers around the eye is present. The lores are dark and there is a dark streak below the eye. The chin, throat and upper breast are greenish-yellow as are the thighs and vent. The belly region is grayish white. The dark bill has a slaty base to the lower mandible. The legs are dark. The iris is yellow to reddish brown.[2]

This species can be distinguished from the widespread Oriental white-eye, Zosterops palpebrosus, by its larger size, duller green back and more extensive yellow on the breast. It has a darker patch between the eye and the bill.

It is sociable, forming large flocks which only separate on the approach of the breeding season. It builds a tree nest and lays 3 unspotted pale blue eggs.

Though mainly insectivorous, Sri Lankan white-eye will also eat nectar and fruits of various kinds.

The English and scientific names refer to the conspicuous ring of white feathers round the eyes, Zosterops being Greek for girdle-eye.

In culture[edit]

In Sri Lanka, this bird is known as Lanka Sithasiya in the Sinhala language. This bird appears in a 35c Sri Lankan postal stamp first issued in 1983.[3]


  1. ^ BirdLife International (2012). "Zosterops ceylonensis". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2013.2. International Union for Conservation of Nature. Retrieved 26 November 2013. 
  2. ^ Wait, Walter Ernest (1922). "The passerine birds of Ceylon". Spolia Zeylanica. 12: 182. 
  3. ^ Scharning, Kjell (20 November 2011). "Bird stamps from Sri Lanka". Retrieved 7 February 2012.