Vanikoro White-eyes

 
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he Vanikoro White-eye (Zosterops gibbsi) is a species of bird in the Zosteropidae family. It is endemic to Vanikoro in the Santa Cruz Islands of Temotu Province in the south-east of the Solomon Islands chain. The species is named for David Gibbs who discovered it.

 

Description

The Vanikoro White-eye differs from its geographically closest congener, the Santa Cruz White-eye (Zosterops sanctaecrucis), by several features including a much longer bill and different eye-ring and leg colouring.

 

Habitat

The Santa Cruz Islands lie in the Vanuatu rain forests ecoregion. Within its range the Vanikoro White-eye is common in upland forests although it also occurs in degraded lowland forests.

 

Behavior

Observations of the nest of the Vanikoro White-eye suggest that it is a cooperative breeder, with additional helpers aiding the breeding pair, an unusual trait in Zosterops white-eyes. The nest of this species is a deep bowl of woven grass stems. The species forages in trees and frequently feeds on the trunks of trees and on the underside of branches.

 

Status

This species has been assessed by BirdLife International in 2009. The upland forests that comprise its main habitat are not thought to be threatened by deforestation and the island is seldom visited, reducing opportunities for the accidental introduction of dangerous invasive species, so the species is probably not threatened at the moment.

 

References

  1. Dutson, Guy. (2008). A new species of White-eye Zosterops and notes on other birds from Vanikoro, Solomon Islands. Ibis 150(4): 698-706.

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