Family White-eyes and Yuhinas (Zosteropidae)

Least Concern

Pygmy White-eye (Heleia squamifrons)


French: Zostérops pygmée German: Zwergbrillenvogel Spanish: Anteojitos pigmeo
Other common names: Pygmy Heleia

Zosterops squamifrons


, 1892,

Mount Dulit, Sarawak, Borneo


Previously included in genus Oculocincta, but this species is imbedded within same clade as others traditionally placed in Lophozosterops#R (for which Heleia has priority). Monotypic.


Hills and mountains of Borneo, ranging from Mt Kinabalu S along spinal chain to Mt Kenepai, and including Mt Magdalena, Kelabit Plateau, Mt Dulit, Hose Mts, Mt Penrissen, Long Laat, and Bangau.

Descriptive notes

9–9·5 cm; three unsexed specimens 6·5–7·1 g. Plumage is olive-brown above, forehead with white-edged feathers (giving unkempt look); thin... read more


Described as “chit-chit-chit”, or high-pitched “tsee-tsee…”.


Hill forest and lower montane moss forest, especially edge vegetation, kerangas forest, sandy... read more

Food and feeding

Small fruits, small white and green berries, seeds; tiny insects also taken. Seen in flocks of 4–8 or more individuals; associates... read more


Males with enlarged testes in Jun and Jul. No other information.


Resident; wanders in search of fruiting trees.

Status and conservation

Not globally threatened. Restricted-range species: present in Bornean Mountains EBA. Locally quite common, but inconspicuous. Fairly common in Kelabit Highlands.

Recommended citation

van Balen, B. (2019). Pygmy White-eye (Heleia squamifrons). 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).