Mauritius Olive White-eyes

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The Mauritius Olive White-eye (Zosterops chloronothos) is one of the rarest birds found on the island of Mauritius. It belongs to the Whiteeye (Zosteropidae) family.

It mostly occurs in the Black River Gorge National Park and the Macchabée-Bel Ombre Biosphere Reserve, where it is usually seen in evergreen bushes and forests.


Description

The Mauritius Olive White-eye averages 4 inches (10 cm) in length. The upper plumage is dull olive-green and the under plumage is a paler color. The abdomen and vent have a yellow hue. The eyes are surrounded by conspicuous white rings.

Males and females look alike.

Similar Species:

The Mascarene White-eye occurs within its range. Its plumage varies from grey to brown and the rump is white.


Diet / Feeding

Their main diet consists of insects, fruits and nectar. They are valuable pollinator for local orchids.


Breeding / Nesting

Most nesting activities are observed in the southern summer - between September and March. The average clutch consists of 2 pale-colored eggs laid in a cup-shaped nest padded with plant material. The nest is well hidden in the foliage. Both parents share the task of incubating the eggs. Most often, only one chick is raised. The chick fledges when it is about 14 days old.


Status

Their home range consists of only about 10m² (25 km²) and between 1975 and 2002, their numbers declined from 350 pairs to only 120 pairs.

Their decline is attributed to the introduction of rats and monkeys (Macaques), which destroy the nests. Additionally, introduced plants are spreading across the island which has led to the decline of their major feeding plant.

The Mauritian Wildlife Foundation is currently monitoring this species.

Species Research by Sibylle Johnson



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