Family White-eyes and Yuhinas (Zosteropidae)

Least Concern

New Guinea White-eye (Zosterops novaeguineae)


French: Zostérops de Nouvelle-Guinée German: Papuabrillenvogel Spanish: Anteojitos papú
Other common names: Papuan White-eye

Zosterops novaeguineae


, 1878,

Arfak Mountains, New Guinea


Possibly related to Z. kuehni; formerly suggested affinity to either Z. montanus or Z. lateralis not supported by morphological or ecological characters. Lowland races (aruensis, wuroi and magnirostris) smaller than montane ones (nominate, wahgiensis, oreophilus, crissalis), but the two groups have no phylogenetic significance and all of the taxa currently included in this species might be of disparate origin; some possess distinctive voices#R. Birds in Kumawa Mts are of uncertain racial identity, provisionally placed in nominate; race aruensis recently postulated to be synonymous with latter#R. Seven subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • Z. n. novaeguineae Salvadori, 1878 – Arfak Mts and (race dubious) Kumawa Mts, in NW New Guinea.
  • Z. n. aruensis Mees, 1953 – Aru Is.
  • Z. n. wuroi Mayr & Rand, 1935 – Trans-Fly region from Bensbach R E to Fly R mouth, in lowland S New Guinea.
  • Z. n. magnirostris Mees, 1955 – Awar, opposite Manam I, perhaps also lower parts of Adelbert Range, in NE New Guinea.
  • Z. n. oreophilus Mayr, 1931 – Saruwaged Mts (Huon Peninsula), in NE New Guinea.
  • Z. n. wahgiensis Mayr & Gilliard, 1951 – Wahgi Valley E to Okapa area, and surrounding mountains, Mt Wilhelm and Mt Orata (Eastern Highlands Province), in E New Guinea.
  • Z. n. crissalis Sharpe, 1884 – mountains of SE New Guinea.
  • Descriptive notes

    11 cm; 11–13·5 g. Nominate race has rather narrow white eyering, dark grey lores; top of head and upperparts dark yellowish olive-green; remiges and rectrices... read more


    Song in Arfak Mts (nominate race) of several notes varying in pitch, followed by high-pitched note... read more


    Rainforest, monsoon forest (Trans-Fly only) and edge, bushes of secondary growth, patches of... read more

    Food and feeding

    Stomach contents included spiders (Araneae), insects, fruits and seeds. Occurs in small to large parties of up to 50 or more individuals;... read more


    Recorded in Aug, Sept, Dec–Jan and Apr. Nest a basin-shaped cup, externally c. 7 cm wide and 3·7–4·5 cm high,... read more


    Probably nomadic, and absent from some breeding areas during parts of year. Commonly in flocks in... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Locally common to very common.  

    Recommended citation

    van Balen, B. (2019). New Guinea White-eye (Zosterops novaeguineae). 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).