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Zosterops lateralis

Zosterops lateralis (*)

Cladus: Eukaryota
Supergroup: Opisthokonta
Regnum: Animalia
Subregnum: Eumetazoa
Cladus: Bilateria
Cladus: Nephrozoa
Cladus: Deuterostomia
Phylum: Chordata
Subphylum: Vertebrata
Infraphylum: Gnathostomata
Superclassis: Tetrapoda
Classis: Aves
Subclassis: Carinatae
Infraclassis: Neornithes
Parvclassis: Neognathae
Ordo: Passeriformes
Subordo: Passeri
Parvordo: Passerida
Superfamilia: Sylvioidea
Familia: Zosteropidae
Genus: Zosterops
Species: Zosterops lateralis
Subspecies: Z. l. chlorocephalus - Z. l. chloronotus - Z. l. cornwalli - Z. l. familiaris - Z. l. flaviceps - Z. l. gouldi - Z. l. griseonotus - Z. l. halmaturinus - Z. l. lateralis - Z. l. macmillani - Z. l. melanops - Z. l. nigrescens - Z. l. ochrochrous - Z. l. pinarochrous - Z. l. ramsayi - Z. l. tropicus - Z. l. valuensis - Z. l. vatensis - Z. l. vegetus - Z. l. westernensis


Zosterops lateralis (Latham, 1802)


Supplementum indicis ornithologici p.lv

Vernacular names
English: Silvereye, White-eye, Wax-eye
Español: Pájaro de anteojos
Français: Zostérops à dos gris
Māori: Tauhou
Suomi: Hopearilli

The Silvereye or Wax-eye (Zosterops lateralis) is a very small passerine bird native to Australia, New Zealand and the south-west Pacific islands of Lord Howe, New Caledonia, Loyalty Islands, Vanuatu, and Fiji. It is common to abundant throughout the relatively fertile south-west and south-east parts of Australia (including Tasmania and the Bass Strait islands), and through the well-watered coastal zone of tropical Queensland, including Cape York Peninsula. In Australia and New Zealand its common name is sometimes shortened to White-eye, but this name is more commonly used to refer to all members of the genus Zosterops, or the entire family Zosteropidae.


There are 16 subspecies:[1]

* Z. l. chlorocephalus A. J. Campbell & S. A. White, 1910 (Capricorn Silvereye)– Capricorn and Bunker Group, central Queensland, Australia
* Z. l. chloronotus Gould, 1841 (Western Silvereye) – south-west Western Australia from Carnarvon southwards coastally and subcoastally to South Australia at the head of the Great Australian Bight
* Z. l. cornwalli Mathews, 1912 – east-central and south-east Queensland to north-east New South Wales
* Z. l. flaviceps Peale, 1848 – Fiji
* Z. l. griseonota G. R. Gray, 1859 – New Caledonia
* Z. l. lateralis (Latham, 1801) – Flinders Island, Tasmania; Norfolk Island; New Zealand and Chatham Islands; also a non-breeding migrant to south-eastern Australia
* Z. l. melanops G. R. Gray, 1860 – Lifou, Loyalty Islands, New Caledonia
* Z. l. nigrescens F. Sarasin, 1913 – Loyalty Islands, New Caledonia
* Z. l. ochrochrous Schodde & Mason, 1999 – King Island, Tasmania
* Z. l. pinarochrous Schodde & Mason, 1999 – south-east South Australia, south-west New South Wales and western Victoria
* Z. l. tephropleurus Gould, 1855 (Lord Howe Silvereye) – Lord Howe Island, Tasman Sea
* Z. l. tropicus Mees, 1969 – Torres Islands and Banks Islands (except Mota Lava), and Malo and Espíritu Santo, north-west Vanuatu
* Z. l. valuensis Murphy & Mathews, 1929 – Mota Lava, Banks Islands, Vanuatu
* Z. l. vatensis Tristram, 1879 – central and southern Vanuatu
* Z. l. vegetus E. J. O. Hartert, 1899 – north-east Queensland
* Z. l. westernensis (Quoy & Gaimard, 1830) – south-east New South Wales to eastern Victoria


Silvereyes breed in spring and early summer (mainly between September and December), making a tiny cup of grass, moss, hair, spiderweb, and thistledown, suspended from a small tree or shrub, and laying 2 to 4 pale blue eggs. Two broods may be raised during this, the breeding season. Once the young have fledged, Silvereyes gather into flocks and many migrate north during late summer, making their way north along the coast and ranges, foraging busily during the day with much calling and quick movement through the shrubbery, then flying long distances into the night.

Most of the Tasmanian population crosses Bass Strait (an astonishing feat for 12 cm birds weighing only a few grams) and disperses into Victoria, New South Wales, and south-eastern Queensland. The populations of these areas tend to head further north; while the northern-most birds remain resident all year round. In New Zealand, the Silvereye was first recorded in 1832. It arrived in greater numbers in 1856, and it is assumed that a migrating flock was swept eastwards by a storm. However, it is also possible that they followed a ship across the Tasman as other birds sometimes do, or were accidentally transported aboard a ship. Since there is no evidence that it was artificially introduced into New Zealand, it is somewhat ambiguously classified as a native species there and is consequently protected. Its Māori name, Tauhou, means "little stranger".

Silvereyes are omnivorous but have a particular fondness for fruit. Some orchardists, grape growers, and home gardeners regard them as a serious pest particularly as, being so small, they simply ignore bird nets, popping in and out through the netting at will. They destroy a wide range of fruit species, including amongst others, apples, citrus, feijoas, figs, grapes, pears and persimmons.



1. ^ Handbook of the Birds of the World.


* BirdLife International (2004). Zosterops lateralis. 2006. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. IUCN 2006. www.iucnredlist.org. Retrieved on 10 May 2006. Database entry includes justification for why this species is of least concern
* "Silvereye (Zosterops lateralis)". Internet Bird Collection. Handbook of the Birds of the World (HBW 13, p.467). http://ibc.lynxeds.com/species/silvereye-zosterops-lateralis. Retrieved 2010-06-16.

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