Ranongga white-eye Zosterops splendidus, photographed by Josep del Hoyo.

Belongs within: Yuhina.

Zosterops contains the typical white-eyes, a diverse group of small birds found in Africa, Asia and Australasia. Zosterops species possess slender pointed bills, generally green upperparts and pale greyish underparts, and usually a ring of small white feathers around each eye. Species boundaries within the genus have often been contentious, with authors differing on whether closely related allopatric forms should be treated as separate species. This is partly due to a lack of strong morphological differentiation between many species, but there are exceptions. For instance, four species from the Gulf of Guinea in Africa have been classified as a separate genus Speirops due to their lack of the green and yellow coloration of other species, but phylogenetically they are nested within Zosterops.

Zosterops Vigors & Horsfield 1827 B94
    |--+--+--Z. atrifrons MF09
    |  |  `--Z. chloris MF09
    |  |--+--+--Chlorocharis emiliae MF09
    |  |  |  `--Z. montanus MF09
    |  |  `--+--Z. atricapilla MF09
    |  |     `--+--Z. abyssinica MF09
    |  |        `--Z. erythropleura MF09
    |  `--+--Z. nigrorum MF09
    |     `--+--+--Z. japonica MF09
    |        |  |    |--Z. j. japonica VP89
    |        |  |    `--Z. j. simplex VP89
    |        |  `--Z. palpebrosus MF09
    |        |--+--Z. olivaceus JT12
    |        |  `--+--Z. borbonicus JT12 [=Certhia borbonica S66]
    |        |     `--Z. mouroniensis JT12
    |        `--+--Z. mayottensis JT12
    |           `--+--+--Z. maderaspatanus MF09
    |              |  |--Z. modestus JT12
    |              |  |--Z. pallidus JT12
    |              |  `--Z. virens MF09
    |              `--+--Speirops MF09
    |                 |    |--S. brunneus MF09
    |                 |    |--S. leucophoeus JT12
    |                 |    |--S. lugubris JT12
    |                 |    `--S. melanocephalus MF09
    |                 `--+--+--Z. kikuyuensis JF06
    |                    |  `--Z. poliogastrus JT12
    |                    `--+--Z. senegalensis MF09
    |                       `--+--Z. conspicillatus JF06
    |                          `--Z. saypani JF06
    `--+--+--Z. citrinellus MF09
       |  |    |--Z. c. citrinellus M03
       |  |    `--Z. c. albiventris M03
       |  `--Z. luteus Gould 1843 MF09, WS48 [=Z. lutea WS48]
       |       |--Z. l. luteus [incl. Z. lutea hecla Mathews 1912, Z. lutea tribulationis Mathews 1912] WS48
       |       `--Z. l. balstoni Ogilvie-Grant 1909 (see below for synonymy) WS48
       `--+--+--+--Z. metcalfi JT12
          |  |  `--Z. stressemani MF09
          |  `--+--Z. ugiensis MF09
          |     `--+--Z. vellalavella MF09
          |        `--+--+--Z. fuscicapillus MF09
          |           |  `--+--Z. flavifrons MF09
          |           |     `--Woodfordia MF09
          |           |          |--W. lacertosa JT12
          |           |          `--W. superciliosa MF09
          |           `--+--Z. rotensis JT12
          |              `--+--Z. cinerea MF09
          |                 `--+--Z. oleaginea JT12 [=Rukia oleaginea JF06]
          |                    `--Rukia MF09
          |                         |--R. longirostra JT12
          |                         |--R. ruki FP64
          |                         `--R. sanfordi FP64
          `--+--+--Z. luteirostris MF09
             |  `--+--Z. splendidus MF09
             |     `--+--Z. kulambangarae MF09
             |        `--Z. rendovae MF09
             |             |--Z. r. rendovae MF09
             |             `--Z. r. teteparius MF09
             `--+--Z. lateralis (Latham 1801) MF09, R85 [incl. Z. caerulescens S13]
                |    |--Z. l. lateralis S13
                |    |--Z. l. chlorocephalus M03
                |    |--Z. l. cornwalli [incl. Z. familiaris] M03
                |    |--Z. l. griseonota S13
                |    |--Z. l. melanops Gray 1859 S13
                |    |--Z. l. nigrescens Sarasin 1913 S13
                |    |--Z. l. ochrochrous M03
                |    |--Z. l. pinarochrous [incl. Z. halmaturina] M03
                |    |--Z. l. vegetus [incl. Z. ramsayi] M03
                |    `--Z. l. westernensis M03
                `--+--+--Z. griseotinctus MF09
                   |  `--Z. murphyi MF09
                   `--+--Z. inornatus MF09
                      `--Z. rennellianus MF09

Zosterops incertae sedis:
  Z. albogularis Gould 1837 WH02
  Z. anomalus JT12
  Z. atriceps JT12
  Z. auriventer S89
  Z. australasiae (Vieillot 1817) WS48 (see below for synonymy)
  Z. buruensis JT12
  Z. ceylonensis JT12
  Z. chloronotus Gould 1840 JT12, WS48 [=Z. lateralis chloronotus M03]
  Z. consobrinorum JT12
  Z. curvirostris G68
  Z. everetti JT12
  Z. explorator JT12
  Z. ficedulinus Hartlaub in Dohrn 1866 JT12, D66 [=Z. ficedulina D66]
  Z. finschii JT12
  Z. flavifrons JT12
  Z. flavus JT12
  Z. gibbsi JT12
  Z. grayi JT12
  Z. griseovirescens JT12
  Z. haesitata [incl. Certhia olivacea] S66
  Z. hypolais JF06
  Z. hypoxanthus JT12
  Z. kuehni JT12
  Z. kulambangrae JT12
  Z. madagascariensis S66
  Z. mauritiana G68
  Z. meeki JT12
  Z. mesoxantha Salvadori 1889 S89
  Z. meyeni JT12
  Z. minor H03
    |--Z. m. minor H03
    `--Z. m. tenuifrons H03
  Z. minutus JT12
  Z. mysorensis JT12
  Z. natalis M03
  Z. nehrkorni R02
  Z. novaeguineae JT12
  Z. salvadorii JT12
  Z. samoensis JT12
  Z. sanctaecrucis JT12
  Z. semperi JF06
  Z. somadikartae JT12
  Z. stalkeri JT12
  Z. strenua S13 [=Z. tenuirostris strenuus M03]
  Z. tenuirostris Gould 1837 WH02
  Z. tephropleura S13 [=Z. lateralis tephropleurus M03]
  Z. uropygialis JT12
  Z. vaughani JT12
  Z. westernensis S13
  Z. xanthochroa S13

Zosterops australasiae (Vieillot 1817) WS48 [=Sylvia australasiae WS48; incl. Z. australasiae edwini Mathews 1923 WS48, Z. gouldi M03, Z. shortridgii Ogilvie-Grant 1909 WS48, Z. gouldi warreni Mathews 1916 WS48]

Zosterops luteus balstoni Ogilvie-Grant 1909 [incl. Z. lutea headlandi Mathews 1923, Z. lutea montebelloensis Ashby 1925] WS48

*Type species of generic name indicated


[B94] Bock, W. J. 1994. History and nomenclature of avian family-group names. Bulletin of the American Museum of Natural History 222: 1-281.

[D66] Dohrn, H. 1866. Synopsis of the birds of Ilha do Principe, with some remarks on their habits and descriptions of new species. Proceedings of the Zoological Society of London 1866: 324-332.

[FP64] Fisher, J., & R. T. Peterson. 1964. The World of Birds: A comprehensive guide to general ornithology. Macdonald: London.

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[MF09] Moyle, R. G., C. E. Filardi, C. E. Smith & J. Diamond. 2009. Explosive Pleistocene diversification and hemispheric expansion of a "great speciator". Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the USA 1006 (6): 1863-1868.

[R02] Riley, J. 2002. Population sizes and the status of endemic and restricted-range bird species on Sangihe Island, Indonesia. Bird Conservation International 12: 53-78.

[R85] Robertson, C. J. R. (ed.) 1985. Reader’s Digest Complete Book of New Zealand Birds. Reader’s Digest: Sydney.

[S89] Salvadori, T. 1889. Viaggio di Leonardo Fea nella Birmania e nelle regioni vicine. XIX. – Uccelli raccolti nei Monti Carin a nord-est di Tounghoo, nel Pegù presso Rangoon e Tounghoo e nel Tenasserim presso Malewoon. Annali del Museo Civico di Storia Naturale di Genova, Serie 2a 7: 369-438.

[S13] Sarasin, F. 1913. Die Vögel Neu-Caledoniens und der Loyalty-Inseln. In Nova Caledonia: Forschungen in Neu-Caledonian und auf den Loyalty-Inseln. A. Zoologie vol. 1, Heft I (F. Sarasin & J. Roux, eds) pp. 1-78, pl. 1-3. C. W. Kreidels Verlag: Wiesbaden.

[S66] Schlegel, H. 1866. Communication from, on mammals and birds collected in Madagascar. Proceedings of the Zoological Society of London 1866: 419-426.

[VP89] Viney, C., & K. Phillipps. 1989. Birds of Hong Kong 5th ed. Government Printer: Hong Kong.

[WS48] Whittell, H. M. & D. L. Serventy. 1948. A systematic list of the birds of Western Australia. Public Library, Museum and Art Gallery of Western Australia, Special Publication 1: 1-126.

[WH02] Worthy, T. H., & R. N. Holdaway. 2002. The Lost World of the Moa: Prehistoric life of New Zealand. Indiana University Press: Bloomington (Indiana).

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