Family White-eyes and Yuhinas (Zosteropidae)

Least Concern

Mountain Black-eye (Chlorocharis emiliae)


French: Zostérops à lunettes noires German: Schwarzring-Brillenvogel Spanish: Anteojitos ojinegro

Chlorocharis emiliae


, 1888,

Mount Kinabalu, Borneo


Geographical variation somewhat clinal, from large, long-tailed and dark in N of range to smaller, relatively shorter-tailed and paler in S, but genetic variation among populations suggests existence of two main clades broadly corresponding to subspecific morphological groups (emiliae and trinitae vs moultoni and fusciceps)#R. Four subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • C. e. emiliae Sharpe, 1888 – Mt Tambuyukon and Mt Kinabalu, in N Borneo.
  • C. e. fusciceps Mees, 1954 – Maga Mts (S part of Crocker Range), in N Borneo.
  • C. e. trinitae Harrisson, 1957 – Mt Trus Madi, in N Borneo.
  • C. e. moultoni Chasen & Kloss, 1927 – mountains of N & W Borneo: Mulu, Murud, Tama Abu Range and Poi (Pueh) Range (in Sarawak) and Mt Niyut (in W Kalimantan).
  • Descriptive notes

    11–12 cm; one unsexed specimen 13·9 g. Nominate race has top of head and upperparts dark olive-green with distinct blackish cast (blackish very pronounced on... read more


    Song, often heard in dawn choruses, a melodious “wit-a-wit, wit wit wheer”, not unlike... read more


    Montane moss forest and stunted growth at higher elevations. On Mt Kinabalu above 3300 m... read more

    Food and feeding

    Insects and vegetable matter. Insects preferred, include e.g. grasshoppers (Orthoptera), perhaps ants (Formicidae). Vegetable matter taken... read more


    Feb–Mar, Jun and Sept. Nest a rather flat compact cup of tendrils and coarse dead grasses with some lichens and staghorn moss (... read more


    Some vertical movement; downhill movements during droughts, e.g. in 1983 recorded at 1500 m on... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Restricted-range species: present in Bornean Mountains EBA. Locally common; much the commonest bird species above 2300 m on Trus Madi and above 3300... read more

    Recommended citation

    van Balen, B. (2019). Mountain Black-eye (Chlorocharis emiliae). 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).