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Zosterops atricapilla 2.jpg
Black-capped white-eye
Zosterops atricapilla
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Passeriformes
Family: Zosteropidae (disputed)
Genus: Zosterops
Vigors & Horsfield, 1827

Some 75, see text.

Zosterops (meaning "eye-girdle"[1]) is a genus of birds containing the typical white-eyes. They are traditionally placed in the white-eye family, Zosteropidae, which, however, is now considered part of the Timaliidae.[2][3]

This genus has the highest number of species among the white-eyes by far. They occur in the Afrotropic ecoregion, the Indomalaya zone, and the Australasia ecozone. Typical white-eyes can reach a length between 8 and 15 cm. Their most characteristic feature is the conspicuous white feather ring around the eye, though some species lack it. The species in this group vary in the structural adaptations of the tongue.[4]


A review of new DNA sequence data (Jønsson & Fjeldså 2006) suggests the genus might not be monophyletic. Few species have been researched, however, with the highest density of sampled taxa being from Micronesia. There, it appears, a more distinct eastern lineage and a western one closer to East Asian species occur. The relationships of the former to the Rukia white-eyes need investigation.


  1. ^ Carnaby, Trevor (2008). Beat about the bush: Birds (1st ed.). Johannesburg: Jacana. p. 31. ISBN 9781770092419. 
  2. ^ Jønsson, Knud A.; Fjeldså, Jon (2006). "A phylogenetic supertree of oscine passerine birds (Aves: Passeri)". Zool. Scripta. 35 (2): 149–186. doi:10.1111/j.1463-6409.2006.00221.x. 
  3. ^ Christidis L & Boles WE (2008) Systematics and Taxonomy of Australian Birds. CSIRO, Canberra.
  4. ^ Moreau RE, Mary Perrins & J. Trevor Hughes (1969). "Tongues of the Zosteropidae (White-eyes)" (PDF). Ardea: 29–47. 

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