Family White-eyes and Yuhinas (Zosteropidae)

Least Concern

Black-crowned White-eye (Zosterops atrifrons)


French: Zostérops à front noir German: Sulabrillenvogel Spanish: Anteojitos frentinegro

Zosterops atrifrons


, 1864,

Manado, north Sulawesi


Formerly sometimes treated as conspecific with all of Z. nehrkorni, Z. stalkeri, Z. chrysolaemus, Z. minor, Z. meeki and Z. hypoxanthus. Ecologically and behaviourally close to Z. anomalus, with vocal resemblance also, and in past considered its sibling species in N Sulawesi. Situation complex and does not warrant recognition of subspecies groups#R. Race subatrifrons appears to be vocally distinct#R, but better sampling needed; this might support split of races into two, nominate with surdus and sulaensis with subatrifrons; latter would include birds found near L Matano (N end of SE peninsula of Sulawesi, > 100 km from nearest known population), with relatively long tail and distinctive plumage (distinct yellow rump, golden-yellow throat, yellow undertail-coverts, white rest of underparts, legs dark grey), presumed to represent an undescribed race (but voice unknown)#R. Four subspecies currently recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • Z. a. atrifrons Wallace, 1864 – N Sulawesi.
  • Z. a. surdus Riley, 1919 – NC Sulawesi.
  • Z. a. subatrifrons A. B. Meyer & Wiglesworth, 1896 – Banggai Archipelago (Peleng, Banggai), off E Sulawesi.
  • Z. a. sulaensis Neumann, 1939 – Sula Is (Taliabu, Seho, Mangole, Sanana).
  • Descriptive notes

    11–12 cm; 8·3–9·7 g, one 12 g. Nominate race has fairly wide white eyering interrupted at front by black spot, black continuing half-way down under... read more


    On Sulawesi, usual call a loud and characteristic double note followed by rapid tinkling twitter,... read more


    Primary and secondary lowland forest and hill forest, selectively logged and heavily degraded... read more

    Food and feeding

    Arthropods, fruits; seeds found in stomach contents. Not very gregarious, sometimes in small flocks (Sulawesi), or in flocks of up to 20... read more


    Apr–May; male with enlarged gonads in Jan. Nest a cup-shaped structure suspended in fork of twig by means of fibres, cobweb, etc.... read more


    Not known.  

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Generally common. Common in C Sulawesi to 1400 m, and common on Taliabu I. Occurs in Lore Lindu National Park.  

    Recommended citation

    van Balen, B. (2019). Black-crowned White-eye (Zosterops atrifrons). 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 21 August 2019).