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File:Zosterops atricapilla 2.jpg
Black-capped White-eye
Zosterops atricapilla'
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Clade: Inopinaves
Order: Passeriformes
Suborder: Passeri
Superfamily: Sylvioidea
Family: Zosteropidae
Genus: Zosterops
Vigors & Horsfield, 1827
  • East Indian Clade
  • African Clade
  • Australian/Oceanic Clade

Zosterops is a genus of birds containing the typical white-eyes. They are traditionally placed in the white-eye family, Zosteropidae, which may actually be a part of the Timaliidae, however.[1] The latest comprehensive review of Australian bird taxonomy by Christidis and Boles also places this genus in the Timaliidae.

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.[2]


A review of new DNA sequence data (Jønsson & Fjeldså 2006) suggests that 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.


Blue means uncertain placement, while Red means extinct.

East Indian Clade[]

African Clade[]

Oriental white-eyes[]

Ancient Indian Ocean white-eyes (A)[]

Socotra White-eye (B)[]

Middle African white-eyes (F)[]

Abyssinian White-eye (D)[]

Gulf of Guinea white-eyes (C)[]

Southern African white-eyes (E2)[]

East African white-eyes (E1)[]

Recent Indian Ocean white-eyes (E3)[]

Australian/Oceanic clade[]

East Asian/Oceanic white-eyes[]

West Australian white-eyes[]

East Australian white-eyes[]

Micronesia/Melanesian white-eyes[]

Moved to Heleia[]


  1. ^ (Jønsson & Fjeldså 2006)
  2. ^ (Moreau et al. (1969)
  3. ^ Alström et al. (2015)
  4. ^ Cibois et al. (2002)
  5. ^ Cornetti et al. (2015)
  6. ^ Cox (2013)
  7. ^ Cox et al. (2014)
  8. ^ Melo et al. (2011)
  9. ^ Gelang et al. (2009)
  10. ^ Hayes et al. (2016)
  11. ^ Moyle et al. (2009)
  12. ^ Moyle et al. (2012)
  13. ^ Slikas et al. (2000)
  14. ^ Springer et al. (1995)
  15. ^ van Balen (2008)
  16. ^ Warren et al. (2006)
  17. ^ Zhang et al. (2007)


  • Alström, P., K. Jønsson, J. Fjeldså, A. Ödeen , P.G.P. Ericson, and M. Irestedt (2015a). "Dramatic niche shifts and morphological change in two insular bird species". Royal Soc. Open Sci. 2. doi:10.1098/rsos.140364. 
  • Cibois, A., M.V. Kalyakin, L.-X. Han, and E. Pasquet (2002). "Molecular phylogenetics of babblers (Timaliidae): revaluation of the genera Yuhina and Stachyris". J. Avian Biol. 33: 380–390. 
  • Cornetti, L., L.M. Valente, L.T. Dunning, X. Quan, R.A. Black, O. Hébert, and V. Savolainen (2015). "The Genome of the "Great Speciator" Provides Insights into Bird Diversification". Genome Biol. Evol. 7 (volume): 2680–2691. doi:10.1093/gbe/evv168. 
  • Cox, S.C. (2013). "Molecular Systematics and Diversification of African Zosteropidae (Aves: Passeriformes)." (Doctoral thesis). UCL (University College London). 
  • Cox, S.C., R.P. Prys-Jones, J.C. Habel, B.A. Amakobe, and J.J. Day. "Niche divergence promotes rapid diversification of East African sky island white-eyes (Aves: Zosteropidae)". Mol. Ecol. 23: 4103–4118. doi:10.1111/mec.12840. 
  • Jønsson, Knud A. & Fjeldså, Jon (2006). "A phylogenetic supertree of oscine passerine birds (Aves: Passeri).". Zool. Scripta. 2: 149–186. doi:10.1111/j.1463-6409.2006.00221.x. 
  • Moreau RE, Mary Perrins & J. Trevor Hughes (1969). "Tongues of the Zosteropidae (White-eyes)" (PDF). Ardea: 29–47. 

External links[]

Eurasian Spoonbill This article is part of Project Bird Genera, a All Birds project that aims to write comprehensive articles on each genus, including made-up genera.

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