Family White-eyes and Yuhinas (Zosteropidae)

Least Concern

Ashy-bellied White-eye (Zosterops citrinella)


French: Zostérops pâle German: Zitronenbrillenvogel Spanish: Anteojitos pálido
Other common names: Pale White-eye

Z[osterops]. citrinella


, 1850,



Has sometimes been treated as conspecific with Z. flavus, Z. chloris and Z. luteus, and sometimes with Z. palpebrosus. Birds of this species recorded on Lembata (EC Lesser Sundas) of uncertain racial identity, provisionally included in harterti; those from Lucipara Is (in Banda Sea) provisionally included in albiventris. Proposed race intercalatus (Sumba) merged with nominate; griseiventris (Tanimbar Is), bassetti (Damar I) and lettiensis (Leti I) subsumed into albiventris. Species name sometimes emended to citrinellus but this is unjustifed, as citrinella is a noun (and therefore invariable) both by usage and by default#R#R#R. Three subspecies currently recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • Z. c. citrinella Bonaparte, 1850 – Sumba, Savu, Timor, Semau#R and Roti (including islets of Ndana and Ndao).
  • Z. c. harterti Stresemann, 1912 – Lembata and Alor, in EC Lesser Sundas.
  • Z. c. albiventris Reichenbach, 1852 – Lucipara Is and Gunungapi (in Banda Sea), Wetar, Romang, Damar, Teun, Kisar, Leti, Moa, Luang, Sermata, Babar, Tanimbar Is (Molu, Lutur, Yamdena, Larat, Selaru); islands in Torres Strait (Warrior, Deliverance, Cairncross), and islets off extreme NE Australia (Eborac S to Rocky Islets, off NE Cape York Peninsula).
  • Descriptive notes

    10–11 cm. Nominate race has forehead and supraloral region distinctly yellow, blackish loral line extending under white eyering, eyering of average width and broken at... read more


    Song on Timor a series of rather weak, sweet, moderately high-pitched twittering notes, 0·8... read more


    Scrub, forest edge, secondary growth, primary and secondary forest, heavily degraded forest, open... read more

    Food and feeding

    Insects, berries. Gregarious, forms roaming flocks of 3–10 individuals, sometimes up to 20; also singly and in pairs. Also in mixed-... read more


    Probably Dec–Jun on Timor and islets off NE Australia; Jan in Tanimbar Is and Apr on Roti; laying female in May on Sumba. Nest a... read more


    Resident; record from Booby I (in Torres Strait), lacking suitable habitat, suggests some local... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally theatened. Generally common. Common and widespread on Roti I; common in Tanimbar Is; status on Alor not known.

    Recommended citation

    van Balen, B. (2019). Ashy-bellied White-eye (Zosterops citrinella). 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).