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Mountain Black-eye - BirdForum Opus

Photo by Karim Madoya
Tambunan, Sabah, Malaysia, September 2007

Alternative names: Black-eye; Olive Black-eye

Zosterops emiliae

Chlorocharis emiliae


11-12 cm.

  • Prominent dark mask bordered with lighter yellow
  • Dark olive-green top of head and upperparts with blackish cast
  • Lighter and more yellowish underparts
  • trinitae brighter and more yellow than nominate and with almost pure yellow belly, moultoni is smaller and more yellowish in colour, fusciceps similar to moultoni but darker

Sexes similar.


Endemic to Borneo.
A locally common restricted-range species.


This is a polytypic species[1] consisting of 4 subspecies.


  • Z. e. emiliae
  • Z. e. trinitae
  • North Borneo (Mount Trus Madi)
  • Z. e. fusciceps
  • Mountains of northwest Borneo (northeast Sarawak)
  • Z. e. moultoni
  • Mountains of northwest Borneo (west Sarawak) and Mount Niyut (in west Kalimantan)


Found in montane moss forest and stunted growth at higher elevations, at Mount Kinabalu up close to the bare summit.
Occurs from 1250 (mainly above 1600) up to 4000 m.



Feeds mainly on insects (grasshoppers, perhaps also ants). Takes sometimes vegetable matter like small fruit or nectar.
Forages in tree crowns and in small bushes. Usually in small flocks of up to five birds or in pairs.


Breeding recorded from February to March, in June and September. The nest is a flat cup made of coarse dead grasses, tendrils, lichens and some heather roots. It's placed 1-8 m above the ground in a tree fork in dense heath.


Some downhill movements recorded during droughts.


  1. Clements, J. F., T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, S. M. Billerman, T. A. Fredericks, J. A. Gerbracht, D. Lepage, B. L. Sullivan, and C. L. Wood. 2021. The eBird/Clements checklist of Birds of the World: v2021. Downloaded from https://www.birds.cornell.edu/clementschecklist/download/
  2. Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive (retrieved November 2015)

Recommended Citation

External Links

GSearch checked for 2020 platform.