Family White-eyes and Yuhinas (Zosteropidae)

Least Concern

Mountain White-eye (Zosterops montanus)


French: Zostérops montagnard German: Gebirgsbrillenvogel Spanish: Anteojitos montano
Other common names: Oriental Mountain White-eye

Z[osterops]. montana


, 1850,

Mount Merapi, west Sumatra


Montane sibling of Z. palpebrosus. Despite enormous number of proposed names and isolation of many populations, hardly any constant geographical variation exists; some authors prefer to recognize just two races (nominate and obstinatus) in Wallacea, and some include most or all of Sumatran, Javan and Philippine races in nominate. Race pectoralis appears to represent a transitional population from pale-bellied to yellow-bellied, but sufficiently homogeneous to justify own name. Birds on Panay (WC Philippines) may represent an as yet unnamed race, and those in Sula Archipelago of uncertain racial identity#R, provisionally included in nominate; further study required. Birds from Marinduque (NC Philippines) described as race gilli and formerly placed with present species, but now regarded as synonym of nominate race of Z. meyeni. Otherwise, proposed Moluccan races seranensis (described from Mt Pinaia, on Seram) and ternatanus (Ternate) both synonymized with obstinatus; sarasinorum (Mt Klabat, NE Sulawesi), oriochares (Latimojong Mts, SC Sulawesi), origenes (Wawa Karaeng, S Sulawesi), foghaensis (Mt Madang, Buru), korinchi (Mt Kerinci, Sumatra), sindorensis (Mt Tjerima, W Java), minimus (Mt Papandayan, W Java), neglectus (near Tosari, E Java), florensis (Geli Mutu, Flores) and steini (Mt Ramelan, E Timor) all subsumed into nominate; and, in Philippines, finitimus (Cuernos de Negros, S Negros) merged with pectoralis. Nine subspecies currently recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • Z. m. whiteheadi E. J. O. Hartert, 1903 – highlands of N Luzon, in N Philippines.
  • Z. m. halconensis Mearns, 1907 – Mindoro (NC Philippines).
  • Z. m. parkesi duPont, 1971 – mountains of Palawan, in W Philippines.
  • Z. m. pectoralis Mayr, 1945 – Negros (Canlaon Volcano, Cuernos de Negros), in WC Philippines.
  • Z. m. diuatae Salomonsen, 1953 – N & NW Mindanao (Diuata Mts, Mt Malindang, Civolig, Daggayan, Misamis Oriental), in S Philippines.
  • Z. m. vulcani E. J. O. Hartert, 1903 – C Mindanao (Mt Kitanglad, Mt Apo).
  • Z. m. difficilis Robinson & Kloss, 1918 – Mt Dempo, in S Sumatra.
  • Z. m. montanus Bonaparte, 1850 – mountains in C Sumatra, Java (E from Mt Papandayan), Bali, Lesser Sundas (Lombok, Sumbawa, Flores, Timor; recently found on Alor, Atauro and Wetar#R), Sulawesi (including Taliabu, in Sula Archipelago) and S Moluccas (Buru).
  • Z. m. obstinatus E. J. O. Hartert, 1900 – Ternate, Tidore and Bacan (off Halmahera) and Seram. Probably this subspecies on Obi#R.
  • Descriptive notes

    11·5–12 cm; 9·4–12·6 g. Nominate race has forehead and supraloral region yellow, white eyering of medium width interrupted at front by... read more


    Song in Sulawesi a two-syllable “peet-peet” followed by light trill, in Sumatra low but... read more


    Primary montane forest, moss forest and ericaceous shrubs, forest edge, secondary growth, and in... read more

    Food and feeding

    Fruits and small insects. Recorded fruits include those of the tree Myrica javanica, the herb Polygonum chinense, and the... read more


    Birds with enlarged gonads in Jan–May in Philippines, where also nest with two young ready to fly in Jan in N Luzon, and on Negros... read more


    Not known.  

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Common throughout range. Generally common to very common in Wallacea, but uncommon on Sumbawa; in Sulawesi rare in Mt Mengkoka and Mt Matinan, but... read more

    Recommended citation

    van Balen, B. (2019). Mountain White-eye (Zosterops montanus). 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).