Reunion Olive White-eye
Zosterops olivaceus

Passeriformes Order – Zosteropidae Family

The Reunion Olive White-eye is endemic to Reunion Island where it frequents natural forest at high elevations, up to 2,300 metres.
It feeds primarily on nectar and is rarely found far from flowers, both native and introduced plant species. It also consumes insects while feeding around flowers, and some fruits too.
This species is monogamous and the courtship consists mainly in song. The nest is cup-shaped and placed in fork or on tree branch.
The Reunion Olive White-eye is relatively common within its restricted range and it is not currently threatened.

Length: 11 cm
Weight: 7,7-11,5 g

The Reunion Olive White-eye has dull, dark olive-green upperparts with brighter rump. The flight-feathers are greyish and the uppertail is greyish-olive.
The underparts are pale grey with browner flanks, whereas undertail-coverts are yellowish. When the feathers of both breast and flanks are fluffed out, we can see a pale stripe below the sides, involving “epaulette” effect.

On the head, forehead, lores and crown are blackish. Chin, cheeks and ear-coverts are grey. There is a conspicuous, broad, white eyering. Hindcrown and nape are like the upperparts.
The long, decurved bill is blackish, with pale grey base of lower mandible. The eyes are dark brown. Legs and feet are dark grey.
Male and female are similar.
The juvenile resembles adults, but the very young bird lacks the white eyering.  

The Reunion Olive White-eye is endemic to Reunion Island in the Indian Ocean.

The Reunion Olive White-eye occurs mainly in native forest, scrub-forest and heaths, but it also frequents degraded forest and secondary growths close to native forest. It may occasionally visit orchards with Citrus. In the west of the island, it avoids the cloud forest.
It is mainly present up to 2,300 metres of elevation, but it is rare below 500 metres.

The Reunion Olive White-eye’s usual call is a single “tsip” or repeated “tu-tu-tu” notes, or sometimes “trrrt… trrrt trrrtrr” in irregular sequences.
When the bird is excited or aggressive, it produces an emphatic “tchip-tchip-tchip” also given in flight.
The song is a loud, fast warble, often including bill-snapping interspersed with “tu” and “tchip” notes.

The Reunion Olive White-eye feeds on nectar and insects, but it also takes small amounts of sap and fruits.
The nectar is usually taken from perch, but the bird may also hover. It approaches the flower from the front, but some flowers may be pierced at the base of the corolla.
Small insects are taken too, especially caterpillars when it is feeding the young. It gleans in foliage to catch insects. Aerial flycatching is sometimes observed.

The Reunion Olive White-eye is usually seen in isolated pairs all year-round, and rarely in flocks. It is very territorial and aggressive throughout the year. The birds often perform aggressive chases while calling around rich food sources vigorously defended. This species is mainly arboreal and descends rarely to the ground.

The Reunion Olive White-eye is monogamous. The courtship displays are not very conspicuous, but the birds sing loudly. Mutual preening occurs between mates.
The nest is a small cup built 1,5-2 metres above the ground in trees.

The Reunion Olive White-eye is resident but it performs altitudinal movements to lower elevations from March to May, related to flowering of food plants.
The flight is weak and undulating.

The breeding season takes place between June and January.
The Reunion Olive White-eye builds a small cup-shaped structure with moss, plant stems and white vegetal down. The cup itself is entirely made with fine grass stems or very small heath branches when it is placed in tree-heath.
The nest is placed in fork or on horizontal branch, sometimes in tree-heath of genus Erica, at 1,5-2 metres above the ground.

The female lays 2-3 pale blue or greenish-blue eggs without markings. From several observations, the peak laying may occur in October-December. No more information.  

The Reunion Olive White-eye is a restricted-range species described as reasonably common. It is now rare in lowlands and has declined in mountains.
The population was estimated to number 154,000 individuals in 1970s.
The Reunion Olive White-eye is not globally threated and currently evaluated as Least Concern.

Fr: Zostérops de la Réunion
Ang: Reunion Olive White-eye
All: Olivbrillenvogel
Esp: Anteojitos de Reunión
Ita: Occhialino di Reunion
Nd: Olijfgroene Réunionbrilvogel
Sd: réunionglasögonfågel

Text by Nicole Bouglouan


HANDBOOK OF THE BIRDS OF THE WORLD Vol 13 by Josep del Hoyo-Andrew Elliot-Jordi Sargatal - Lynx Edicions – ISBN: 9788496553453

Birds of Madagascar and the Indian Ocean Islands Par Roger Safford, Adrian Skerrett, Frank Hawkins – ISBN: 1472924118, 9781472924117- Editeur: Bloomsbury Publishing, 2015

OISEAUX DE LA REUNION par Armand Barau - Nicolas Barré - Christian Jouanin - Editions Orphie - ISBN : 2877632636

OISEAUX des ÎLES DE L’OCÉAN INDIEN De Ian Sinclair – Editeur : Penguin Random House South Africa, 2013 – ISBN : 1775840727, 9781775840725 – 263 pages

The Birds of Africa: Volume VIII: The Malagasy Region: Madagascar, Seychelles, Comoros, Mascarenes - Par Roger Safford, Frank Hawkins – ISBN: 1408190494, 9781408190494- Editeur: A&C Black, 2013

Avibase (Denis Lepage)

Birdlife International

HBW Alive

CREAGUS@Monterey Bay (Don Roberson)

Wikipedia, the free encyclopaedia


Home page

Page Passeriforme Order

Summary Cards