Sri Lanka White-eyes

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Sri Lanka White-eye, Zosterops ceylonensis

Sri Lanka White-eye, Zosterops ceylonensisThe Sri Lanka White-eye (Zosterops ceylonensis) - previously referred to as Ceylon White-eye - is a small passerine bird in the white-eye family. It is a resident breeder in forests, gardens and plantations which is endemic to Sri Lanka, mainly in the highlands.


This bird is slightly larger than the Oriental White-eye (about 11 cm long) which it replaces above 4000 ft.

The upper parts of the body and sides of neck are dark olive green. The rump appears paler green while the crown while the crown and forehead appear darker. The wings and tail are brown edged with green on the back. The typical ring of tiny white feathers around the eye is present. The lores are dark and there is a dark streak below the eye. The chin, throat and upper breast are greenish-yellow as are the thighs and vent. The belly region is grayish white. The dark bill has a slaty base to the lower mandible (beak). The legs are dark. The iris is yellow to reddish-brown.

This species can be distinguished from the widespread Oriental White-eye, Zosterops palpebrosus, by its larger size, duller green back and more extensive yellow on the breast. It has a darker patch between the eye and the bill.

It is sociable, forming large flocks which only separate on the approach of the breeding season. It builds a tree nest and lays 3 unspotted pale blue eggs.

Though mainly insectivorous, Sri Lankan White-eye will also eat nectar and fruits of various kinds.

The English and scientific names refer to the conspicuous ring of white feathers round the eyes, Zosterops being Greek for girdle-eye.

In Culture

This bird appears in a 35c Sri Lankan postal stamp.

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