Family White-eyes and Yuhinas (Zosteropidae)

Least Concern

Australian Yellow White-eye (Zosterops luteus)


French: Zostérops à ventre jaune German: Mangrovebrillenvogel Spanish: Anteojitos australiano
Other common names: Canary White-eye

Zosterops luteus


, 1843,

Greenhill Island, Van Diemen Gulf, Northern Territory, Australia


Formerly considered conspecific with Z. flavus, Z. chloris and Z. citrinella. Geographical variation in plumage and size clinal across entire range, this further complicated by local variation in colour; races intergrade considerably and their validity perhaps doubtful, but genetic data suggest a split between W & E populations#R. Two subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • Z. l. balstoni Ogilvie-Grant, 1909 – coastal NW Australia from Shark Bay (including Dirk Hartog I) E to Wotjulum (King Sound) and N Kimberley district.
  • Z. l. luteus Gould, 1843 – coastal N Australia from N Kimberley district E, including coastal islands of Melville, Bickerton, Groote Eylandt and Sir Edward Pellew Group, to W Cape York Peninsula (Edward R); isolated population in E Queensland (region of Ayr–mouth of Burdekin R).
  • Descriptive notes

    9·5–11 cm; 8·4–11·3 g. Nominate race has forehead and supraloral region yellow, white eyering interrupted at front by blackish loral stripe,... read more


    Song described as a high, sonorous and variable strophe, or a series of piping melodious notes,... read more


    Purely coastal: chiefly mangroves, but also acacia (Acacia) thickets, adjacent eucalypts... read more

    Food and feeding

    Insects including larvae, most importantly Diptera (mosquitoes and midges), small beetles (Coleoptera), bugs (Hemiptera), Lepidoptera, also... read more


    Mainly Oct–Mar; no obvious seasonality and throughout year (except Nov) in Darwin region, with possible peak in late dry season (Sept... read more


    Seemingly nomadic locally outside breeding season, when wanders inland (never farther than several... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Common locally; dependent on mangroves. One of the four most abundant species in mangroves of Darwin area (Northern Territory), with densities of 5... read more

    Recommended citation

    van Balen, B. (2019). Australian Yellow White-eye (Zosterops luteus). 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).