Family White-eyes and Yuhinas (Zosteropidae)

Least Concern

Lemon-bellied White-eye (Zosterops chloris)


French: Zostérops à ventre citron German: Molukkenbrillenvogel Spanish: Anteojitos ventrilimón

Z[osterops]. chloris


, 1850,

Banda Archipelago, Banda Sea


Has sometimes been treated as conspecific with Z. flavus, Z. citrinella and Z. luteus. Described races majauensis (from Mayu I) and tudjuensis (Tujuh I) merged with nominate; solombensis (Masalembu Is), zachlora (Laut Kecil Is) and periplectus (Lombok) subsumed into maxi; and sumbavensis (Bima, in E Sumbawa) and kalaotuae (Kalaotoa I) synonymized with intermedius. In Sulawesi, racial identity of birds in NE arm of mainland, on Dodepo I (in N Tomini Bay) and on Kabaena I (off SE Sulawesi) unclear; all provisionally placed with intermedius, but those on Dodepo and Kabaena possibly represent undescribed races. Five subspecies currently recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • Z. c. chloris Bonaparte, 1850 – Mayu I (halfway between Sulawesi and Halmahera), Schildpad Is (N of Misool), Tujuh (off N Seram), Banda, Manuk, Seram Laut, Tayandu, Kai, Taam (off Kai), and outliers of Aru Is (Babi, Karang, Enu).
  • Z. c. mentoris Meise, 1952 – NC Sulawesi. Recently discovered population in SE Sulawesi provisionally assigned to this subspecies#R.
  • Z. c. flavissimus E. J. O. Hartert, 1903 – Tukangbesi Is, off SE Sulawesi.
  • Z. c. intermedius Wallace, 1864 – E & S Sulawesi, Dodepo I, Kabaena, Muna, Butung, small islands in Flores Sea (Tanakeke, Selayar, Tanahjampea, Kalao, Bonerate, Kalaotoa, Madu), and C Lesser Sundas (Sumbawa, Komodo, Rinca, Flores, Palu, Besar, Sabolan Besar, Solor#R, Pantar#R).
  • Z. c. maxi Finsch, 1907 – Karimata Is (off W Borneo), islets S & E of Belitung, islands in Bay of Jakarta (Seribu Is), Karimunjawa Is, Gili (off Bawean I), Laut Kecil Is, Kangean Is, Menjangan (off NW Bali), Nusa Penida, and Lombok.
  • Descriptive notes

    11–12 cm; 9–14 g. Nominate race has base of forehead and supraloral line almost pure yellow, eyering white, lores and streak below eyering dusky, ear-coverts... read more


    Song a weak, though rich and beautiful jumbled mixture of rapid high-pitched musical seesawing and... read more


    Secondary forest and open woodland, scrub, mangroves, strand forest and coastal thickets,... read more

    Food and feeding

    Varied. Fruits from banyan tree Ficus benjamina, and Eugenia trees, also from shrub Lantana camara and herb ... read more


    On Sulawesi Jan–Feb in C, Sept–Apr (possibly throughout year) in S, Sept–Oct on Muna and Butung; Sept in Java and Apr... read more


    Resident; some local movement. On Menjangan (off NW Bali) some post-breeding movement in dry season... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened (Least Concern). Generally common. Locally abundant, e.g. Tanahjampea I, Madu I, Besar I, outliers of Aru Is, Taam; most common bird species on Butung... read more

    Recommended citation

    van Balen, B. (2019). Lemon-bellied White-eye (Zosterops chloris). 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).