White-eye (Family: Zosteropidae) - Wiki
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[Photo] Silvereye (Zosterops lateralis), adult (right) and juveniles. English: A pair of juvenile silvereyes - Zosterops lateralis - being fed fruit (Русский: Австралийская белоглазка (Zosterops lateralis) кормит своих птенцов ягодами). Author benjamint444 http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:Benjamint444
The white-eyes are small passerine birds native to tropical and sub-tropical Africa, southern Asia and Australasia. They also inhabit most of the islands in the Indian and Pacific Oceans (though not Far Polynesia). Many white-eye species are endemic to single islands, and the brown-backed species only occur on islands, but some have a very wide distribution. The Silvereye, Zosterops lateralis, naturally colonised New Zealand, where it is known as the "Wax-eye" or Tauhau ("stranger"), from 1855.
The birds of this group are mostly of undistinguished appearance, the plumage above being generally either some dull color like greenish olive, but some species have a white or bright yellow throat, breast or lower parts, and several have buff flanks. But as indicated by their scientific name, derived from the Ancient Greek for girdle-eye, around the eyes of many species is a conspicuous white ring. They have rounded wings and strong legs. The size ranges up to 15cm (6 inches) in length.
All the species of white-eyes are sociable, forming large flocks which only separate on the approach of the breeding season. They build tree nests and lay 2-4 unspotted pale blue eggs. Though mainly insectivorous, they eat nectar and fruits of various kinds. The Silvereye can be a problem in Australian vineyards, through piercing the grape allowing infection or insect damage to follow.
The white-eyes were long considered a distinct family Zosteropidae because they are rather homogenous in morphology and ecology, leading top little adaptive radiation and divergence. The genus Apalopteron, formerly placed in the Meliphagidae, was transferred to the white-eyes on genetic evidence. It differs much in appearance from the typical white-eyes, Zosterops, but is approached by some Micronesian taxa; its color pattern is fairly unique save the imperfect white eye-ring.
In 2003, Alice Cibois published the results of her study of mtDNA cytochrome b and 12S/16S rRNA sequence data. According to her results, the white-eyes were likely to form a clade also containing the Yuhinas, which were until then placed with the Old World babblers, a large "wastebin" family. Previous molecular studies (e.g. Sibley & Ahlquist 1990, Barker et al. 2002) had together with the morphological evidence tentatively placed white-eyes as the Timaliidae's closest relatives already. But some questions remained, mainly because the white-eyes are all very similar birds in habitus and habits, while the Old World babblers are very diverse (because, as we now know, the group as formerly defined was polyphyletic).
Combined with the yuhinas (and possibly other Timaliidae), the limits of the white-eye clade to the "true" Old World babblers becomes indistinct. Therefore, the current (early 2007) opinion weighs towards merging the group into the Timaliidae, perhaps as a subfamily ("Zosteropinae"). Few white-eyes have been thoroughly studied with the new results in mind, however, and almost all of these are from Zosterops which even at this point appears over-lumped. Also, many "Old World babblers" remain of unresolved relationships. Whether there can be a clear delimitation of a white-eye subfamily or even a young or emerging family is a question that requires a more comprehensive study of both this group and Timaliidae to resolve.(Jønsson & Fjelds?? 2006)
For example, a revision of the yuhinas and the genus Stachyris (Cibois et al. 2002), based on the same genes as Cibois (2003), revealed that the Philippine species placed in the latter genus by some were actually yuhinas. However, when the review by Jønsson & Fjelds?? (2006) was published, no study had tried to propose a phylogeny for the newly-defined yuhinas including the white-eyes. Therefore, Jønsson & Fjelds?? (2006) give a rather misleading phylogeny for the group. It appears as if the yuhinas are polyphyletic, with the White-collared Yuhina being closer to the ancestor of the Zosterops white-eyes than to other yuhinas including the species moved from Stachyris (Cibois et al. 2002).
Fernando Po Speirops, Speirops brunneus
Principe Speirops, Speirops leucophoeus
Black-capped Speirops, Speirops lugubris
Cameroon Speirops, Speirops melanocephalus
Genus Zosterops - typical white-eyes (some 75 species, 1-3 recently extinct; polyphyletic)
Genus Rukia - Eastern Carolines White-eyes
Long-billed White-eye, Rukia longirostra
Truk White-eye, Rukia ruki
Golden White-eye, Cleptornis marchei
Rufescent White-eye, Tephrozosterops stalkeri
Rufous-throated White-eye, Madanga ruficollis
Dark-crowned White-eye, Lophozosterops dohertyi
Mindanao White-eye, Lophozosterops goodfellowi
Javan Grey-throated White-eye, Lophozosterops javanicus
Grey-hooded White-eye, Lophozosterops pinaiae
Streak-headed White-eye, Lophozosterops squamiceps
White-browed White-eye, Lophozosterops superciliaris
Pygmy White-eye, Oculocincta squamifrons
Flores White-eye, Heleia crassirostris
Timor White-eye, Heleia muelleri
Mountain Black-eye, Chlorocharis emiliae
Sanford's White-eye, Woodfordia lacertosa
Bare-eyed White-eye, Woodfordia superciliosa
Genus Megazosterops - sometimes placed in Rukia
Giant White-eye, Megazosterops palauensis
Cinnamon White-eye, Hypocryptadius cinnamomeus
Genus Apalopteron - Bonin White-eye (formerly "Bonin Honeyeater")
Genus Yuhina - yuhinas
If the white-eyes are maintained as a separate family or subfamily, this genus would have to be included there too.
Genus Yuhina - yuhinas. Possibly polyphyletic.
White-collared Yuhina, Yuhina diademata
Pygmy Yuhina, Yuhina plateni - formerly in Stachyris; tentatively placed here
Golden-crowned Yuhina, Yuhina dennistouni - formerly in Stachyris
Black-crowned Yuhina, Yuhina nigrocapitata - formerly in Stachyris; tentatively placed here
Rusty-crowned Yuhina, Yuhina capitalis - formerly in Stachyris; tentatively placed here
Chestnut-faced Yuhina, Yuhina whiteheadi - formerly in Stachyris
Luzon Striped Yuhina, Yuhina striata - formerly in Stachyris
Panay Striped Yuhina, Yuhina latistriata - formerly in Stachyris; tentatively placed here
Negros Striped Yuhina, Yuhina nigrorum - formerly in Stachyris; tentatively placed here
Palawan Striped Yuhina, Yuhina hypogrammica - formerly in Stachyris; tentatively placed here
Striated Yuhina, Yuhina castaniceps
Chestnut-crested Yuhina, Yuhina everetti
White-naped Yuhina, Yuhina bakeri
Whiskered Yuhina, Yuhina flavicollis
Burmese Yuhina, Yuhina humilis
Stripe-throated Yuhina, Yuhina gularis
Rufous-vented Yuhina, Yuhina occipitalis
Taiwan Yuhina, Yuhina brunneiceps
Black-chinned Yuhina, Yuhina nigrimenta
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