Family White-eyes and Yuhinas (Zosteropidae)

Least Concern

Abyssinian White-eye (Zosterops abyssinicus)


French: Zostérops d’Abyssinie German: Somalibrillenvogel Spanish: Anteojitos abisinio
Other common names: White-breasted White-eye

Zosterops abyssinicus


, 1843,



Until recently considered conspecific with Z. flavilateralis. Race socotranus very weakly differentiated in morphology#R, but genetically quite distinct#R. Four subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • Z. a. abyssinicus Guérin-Méneville, 1843 – NE Sudan (region of Erkowit), Eritrea and N & C Ethiopia.
  • Z. a. arabs L. Lorenz von Liburnau & Hellmayr, 1901 – SW Saudi Arabia, Yemen and S Oman.
  • Z. a. socotranus Neumann, 1908 – N Somalia and Socotra.
  • Z. a. omoensis Neumann, 1904 – W Ethiopia and possibly adjacent NE South Sudan.
  • Descriptive notes

    10·2 cm; 7·2–12 g. Nominate race has yellow supraloral stripe extending to yellow area above bill, narrow blackish-brown line from lores to below narrow... read more


    Sweet and lilting song of burry quality, like that of Afrotropical congeners. Buzzing and... read more


    Broadleaf woodland and thorn-woodland (e.g. Adenium, Ziziphus on Socotra), wooded... read more

    Food and feeding

    Aphids (Aphidoidea) and other small insects, including caterpillars 10–38 mm long; fruits. Nestling diet exclusively insects, mainly... read more


    Mainly Feb–Jul, but towards end of year on Socotra I. Nest built by both sexes, a small open cup or hammock of fine bark strips,... read more


    Mainly sedentary; in most of N Tanzania (race flavilateralis) moves out of forest-edge... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Common throughout most of its range. Occurs in several protected areas, including Serengeti National Park, in Tanzania.  

    Recommended citation

    van Balen, B. & de Juana, E. (2019). Abyssinian White-eye (Zosterops abyssinicus). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from on 20 August 2019).