Vanuatu White-eye
Zosterops flavifrons

Passeriformes Order – Zosteropidae Family

The Vanuatu White-eye is endemic to Vanuatu Islands, and seven subspecies share this restricted range. The species frequents forests, plantations and gardens from sea-level to mountains. It feeds on insects, nectar and fruits.
The Vanuatu White-eye is common and widespread and currently not threatened.

Length: 12 cm

The Vanuatu White-eye has yellowish-olive upperparts but wings and tail are darker, mostly blackish-brown with yellow-olive edges to feathers.
Chin, throat and underparts are bright yellow with olive wash on flanks.
On the head, forehead and supraloral area are yellowish. We can see a conspicuous white eyering broken at front by small blackish spot extending below the eyering. The crown is yellow-olive.
The two-tone bill has brown upper mandible and pinkish-brown lower mandible. The eyes are brown. Legs and feet are greyish.
Male and female are similar. The juvenile is not described.

The Vanuatu White-eye has seven subspecies. They vary little, mainly in brightness of plumage colour, amount of yellow on forehead, body size and tail length. The nominate race described above is slightly larger than others, with stronger bill.
The nominate race occurs on Tanna, Aniwa and Futuna in S Vanuatu. The six other races occur from extreme N and NE Vanuatu, through NC and SC and NW of the archipelago.
This classification will probably change in next future.

The Vanuatu White-eye frequents a variety of forest habitats including degraded forest, but it can be seen in scrub, gardens, plantations and bushes in more open habitats. The species occurs from sea-level to mountains, and tends to be more common in hill country than in lowlands.

The Vanuatu White-eye has short, high-pitched contact call, “chip” or “tzeep” given continuously.
The song is a repeated warbling, a melodious series of 10-15 soft notes.

The Vanuatu White-eye feeds on insects, nectar, fruits and berries, especially lantana berries and wild figs. It takes small arthropods, their eggs and larvae, caterpillars and spiders.
It is very active while foraging at all levels in bushes and trees. It can be seen sometimes on the ground in the undergrowth of tall forests.
It is often seen in large noisy flocks, but also in pairs and small groups.

The Vanuatu White-eye is usually heard at dawn, when it utters its melodious warble. Mutual preening probably occurs between mates during the breeding season.

The Vanuatu White-eye is probably sedentary in Vanuatu.
The flight is mostly weak and undulating.

The breeding season occurs between September and January/March.
The Vanuatu White-eye builds a neat cup-shaped structure with fine grasses, pieces of bark and spider webs. It is lined inside with some feathers and plant fibres.
The nest is usually attached by the rim to a thin horizontal fork or between two leaf stems, and placed 2-5 metres above the ground.
The female lays 3 pale blue eggs. The incubation lasts 12-13 days. The chicks leave the nest about 11-15 days after hatching.  

The Vanuatu White-eye is common and widespread throughout Vanuatu Islands where it is present on all major islands.
More information is required about the impacts of habitats changes on population sizes.
But currently, the Vanuatu White-eye is not globally threatened and evaluated as Least Concern.
Fr: Zostérops à front jaune
Ang: Vanuatu White-eye
All: Gelbstirn-Brillenvogel
Esp: Anteojitos Frentigualdo
Ita: Occhialino frontegialla
Nd: Vanuatubrilvogel
Sd: vanuatuglasögonfågel  

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 Melanesia: Bismarcks, Solomons, Vanuatu and New Caledonia Par Guy Dutson – Editeur : Bloomsbury Publishing, 2011 – ISBN: 1408152460, 9781408152461

Avibase (Denis Lepage)

Birdlife International

HBW Alive

Wikipedia, the free encyclopaedia

Fatbirder - linking birders worldwide... Zosteropidae - White-eyes, Yuhinas & Allies


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