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Ashy-bellied White-eye - BirdForum Opus

Photo by mehdhalaouate
Sumba, Indonesia, November 2005
Zosterops citrinella



  • Distinctly yellow forehead and supraloral region
  • White eye-ring
  • Blackish loral line extending under eyering
  • Pale olive-yellow crown and uppeparts, slightly more yellow on rump
  • Blackish-brown flight-feathers and tail feathers with broad greenish margins
  • Pale yellow chin, throat, upper breast and undertail-coverts
  • Pale-greyish rest of underparts, darkest on flanks, almost pure white towards centre of belly
  • harterti with yellower rump than nominate, albiventris with a slightly heavier and larger bill
Subspecies albiventris
Photo by The Bosun
Green Island, Far North Queensland, May 2011

Sexes similar. Immatures are paler than adults.


Found on the Lesser Sundas in southeastern Indonesia, on Timor and on small islets off northeast Australia.
Generally common.



  • Z. c. unicus:
  • Z. c. citrinella:
  • Z. c. harterti:
  • Z. c. albiventris:
  • Tanimbar Islands and islands off northern Queensland south to Lizard Island. In Australia, it is known as the Pale White-eye, or the Pale-bellied White-eye. Michael Morcombe reports this bird on islands further south to Cooktown.

This species has previously been lumped with Lemon-bellied White-eye, but all major authorities now consider these two different species. Subspecies unicus was transferred from the former Oriental White-eye


Scrub, forest edge, primary and secondary forest, scrubby farmland, mangroves and coastal casuarinas. It prefers small islands. Occurs from sea-level up to 1000m on Alor, up to 1200 on Timor, up to 2000m on Lesser Sundas.
In Australia, it inhabits scrub thickets and trees. It prefers small islands in the Torres Strait and inside the Great Barrier Reef in Far North Queensland. It is not established on the Australian mainland or larger islands.


Feeds on insects and berries.
A gregarious species often in flocks of 3 to 10 birds, sometimes up to 20. Joins also mixed-species flocks.
Forages acitvely in canopy and lower.
Breeding season from December to June on Timor and on small islands off Australia, January in Tanimbar and recorded laying in May on Sumba. The nest is a small, neat cup made of fine grass or long trheads from palmyra leaves. It's suspended by a rim 1.5m above the ground in a slender fork of shrub or of the foliage of a tree. Lays 2 to 4 eggs.
A resident species.


  1. Clements, JF. 2011. The Clements Checklist of Birds of the World. 6th ed., with updates to August 2011. Ithaca: Cornell Univ. Press. ISBN 978-0801445019. Spreadsheet available at http://www.birds.cornell.edu/clementschecklist/downloadable-clements-checklist
  2. Del Hoyo, J, A Elliott, and D Christie, eds. 2008. Handbook of the Birds of the World. Volume 13: Penduline-tits to Shrikes. Barcelona: Lynx Edicions. ISBN 978-8496553453
  3. Avibase
  4. Morcombe, Michael - Field Guide to Australian Birds
  5. Birdforum thread which from about post 80 discusses the taxonomic changes leading to redefining the former Oriental White-eye

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