Family White-eyes and Yuhinas (Zosteropidae)

Least Concern

Ethiopian White-eye (Zosterops poliogastrus)


French: Zostérops alticole German: Bergbrillenvogel Spanish: Anteojitos serrano etíope
Other common names: African Montane White-eye, Montane White-eye, Broad-ringed White-eye (when lumped with species previously included herein)

Zosterops poliogastra


, 1861,

highlands of Ethiopia


Previously treated as conspecific with Z. kaffensis, Z. kulalensis, Z. kikuyuensis, Z. eurycricotus, Z. mbuluensis, Z. silvanus and Z. winifredae, all but one (Z. kaffensis) of which have been considered a full species at some stage; recent molecular reviews#R#R#R reveal that that arrangement is unsustainable. Application of the Tobias criteria allows all eight taxa to be considered full species; moreover, recent research suggests most of these taxa are also vocally distinct from one another#R, although work is needed to assess the levels of divergence involved. Monotypic.


Eritrea, and Ethiopian highlands (except SW) S to Addis Ababa (also Yabello) and E to Harar; and locally in mountains of SE South Sudan (Imatong, Dongotona, Didinga).

Descriptive notes

11·5–12 cm, 11–11·3 cm (silvanus); 9–14 g. Nominate race has distinct yellow forehead and forecrown extending to between eyes, white... read more


Song in C Kenya (race kikuyuensis) described as "zhree zhree zhri zhree zhri zhree... read more


Highland forest, forest edge, bamboos and wooded gardens, Euphorbia and olive trees (... read more

Food and feeding

Small berries, pieces of figs (Ficus), papaw (Carica) pulp; also invertebrates, especially aphids (Aphidoidea); also nectar (of... read more


Nov–Apr in Sudan, Apr–Dec (mainly Apr) in Ethiopia, and Feb–Jun (mainly Apr–May) in E Africa; double-brooded in... read more


Mainly sedentary. In N Kenya, race kulalensis descends in dry season from montane habitat... read more

Status and conservation

Not globally threatened. Locally common to rare. Race silvanus (sometimes treated as full species) previously considered Critically Endangered, subsequently... read more

Recommended citation

van Balen, B. (2019). Ethiopian White-eye (Zosterops poliogastrus). 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 16 September 2019).