Family White-eyes and Yuhinas (Zosteropidae)

Least Concern

African Yellow White-eye (Zosterops senegalensis)


French: Zostérops jaune German: Senegalbrillenvogel Spanish: Anteojitos senegalés

Zosterops senegalensis


, 1850,



Races gerhardi and jacksoni have in past been included in Z. poliogastrus; jacksoni sometimes considered a separate species. Race stenocricotus differs vocally from others and may merit species status. Taxa and populations treated under this species have been the subject of recent molecular reviews#R#R#R with the current taxonomic arrangement shown to be unsustainable. However, incomplete sampling, lack of use of morphological and acoustic evidence, and complicated preliminary findings—with authors themselves not reaching clear conclusions—render revisions premature and unstable (but some insights will doubtless stand and some subspecies be accorded species rank). Races intergrade widely, e.g. nominate with demeryi, stenocricotus and stuhlmanni, and quanzae with kasaicus, heinrichi and anderssoni, etc. Races phyllicus from W Cameroon (Tatum, Bamenda Highlands) and poensis from Bioko (Gulf of Guinea) synonymized with stenocricotus. Fourteen subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • Z. s. stenocricotus Reichenow, 1892 – Forest White-eye – SE Nigeria, highlands of Cameroon and SW Central African Republic S to C Gabon and NW Congo; also Bioko.
  • Z. s. senegalensis Bonaparte, 1850 – African Yellow White-eye – extreme S Mauritania (Guidimaka), Senegal and Guinea E to S Chad, Central African Republic (except SW), S Sudan, South Sudan, NW Ethiopia and N Eritrea.
  • Z. s. demeryi Büttikofer, 1890 – Sierra Leone, Liberia and Ivory Coast.
  • Z. s. gerhardi van den Elzen & König, 1983 – extreme S South Sudan and NE Uganda.
  • Z. s. toroensis Reichenow, 1904 – NE DRCongo and W Uganda.
  • Z. s. reichenowi A. J. C. Dubois, 1911 – E DRCongo (highland forests W of L Kivu and NW of L Tanganyika).
  • Z. s. stuhlmanni Reichenow, 1892 – SC Uganda S to NW Tanzania.
  • Z. s. jacksoni Neumann, 1899 – highlands of Kenya and N Tanzania (Loliondo).
  • Z. s. stierlingi Reichenow, 1899 – highlands of E Zambia, S & E Tanzania, Malawi and N & NW Mozambique.
  • Z. s. kasaicus Chapin, 1932 – C DRCongo S to NE Angola.
  • Z. s. heinrichi Meise, 1958 – NW Angola.
  • Z. s. quanzae Meyer de Schauensee, 1932 – C Angola.
  • Z. s. anderssoni Shelley, 1892 – savannas of SE DRCongo, SW Tanzania, W Malawi and W Mozambique S to S & E Angola, N Namibia, N & NE Botswana, Zimbabwe Plateau and N South Africa (E Limpopo lowveld).
  • Z. s. tongensis Roberts, 1931 – lowlands of SE Zimbabwe, S Mozambique and NE South Africa (NE KwaZulu-Natal).
  • Also recorded (race unknown) in extreme W DRCongo#R.

    Descriptive notes

    11·5 cm; 6·8–14·1 g. Nominate race has broad area of yellow on forehead and above eye, rather narrow white eyering, black on loral area extending... read more


    Song from top of tall forest tree, at and shortly after dawn (seldom continues for long after... read more


    Wide variety of habitats, from woodland (Isoberlinia, Brachystegia, Baikiaea... read more

    Food and feeding

    Mainly small arthropods, e.g. aphids (Aphidoidea), small moths and many caterpillars (Lepidoptera), flies (Diptera) and termites (Isoptera... read more


    Probably mainly Sept–Oct in W, C & S parts of range, and Sept–Mar (occasionally to Jul) in E, but in many places breeding... read more


    Resident; may move locally during non-breeding period, e.g. reportedly more common in winter (... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Frequent to locally common, and generally widespread throughout range. Rather unevenly distributed in W Africa, where uncommon in some areas.... read more

    Recommended citation

    van Balen, B. (2019). African Yellow White-eye (Zosterops senegalensis). 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 19 August 2019).