Seychelles White-eyes

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The Seychelles White-eye (Zosterops modestus) is a rare warbler-like perching bird from the family of white-eyes (Zosteropidae). It is endemic to the Seychelles.


Description

This ten to eleven centimetre long bird has a plumage with olive grey upperparts and dull colored underparts.

It is further characterized by a white narrow eye-ring, a rather long dark grey tail and a small sharp bill.


Diet / Feeding

Its diet consists of insect larvaes, locusts, and grasshoppers as well as berries and seeds.


Breeding / Nesting

The breeding season is from September to April and a clutch of two to seven eggs is laid into a cup-shaped nest. The incubation time is thirteen to fifteen days and the young are fully fledged after eleven to sixteen days. After that the parents are looking after them another two months. Its melodious and complex song consists of nasal tones. Due to its ecology and foraging in the canopy of high trees it is difficult to observe.


Threats

It was thought to be extinct between 1935 and 1960 until it was rediscovered in the highland of Mahé. Even in 1996 it was considered as one of the rarest birds in the world with a population of only 25 to 35 individuals. The dramatically decline was caused by the extensive forest clearings and the competition of introduced bird species like the Common Myna and the preying through rats. In 1997 there was a rediscovery of about 250 individuals on the Seychelles island of Conception. In 1998 the population on Mahé was increased to 50. Currently the population on Conception Island consists between 244 and 336 individuals. In 2001 there was a reintroducing project on the Seychelles island of Frégate. Currently there is a population of 60 specimens on that island.


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