Family White-eyes and Yuhinas (Zosteropidae)


Seychelles White-eye (Zosterops modestus)


French: Zostérops des Seychelles German: Mahébrillenvogel Spanish: Anteojitos de Seychelles
Other common names: Seychelles Grey White-eye

Zosterops modesta

E. Newton

, 1867,

Mahé, Seychelles


Bears closest resemblance to Z. olivaceus and Z. chloronothos, with which it shares similar wing-flicking action and staccato calls; DNA studies, however, suggest Z. maderaspatanus as closest relative. Birds on Mahé on average larger (longer wing and tarsus) than those on Conception, with a 28% genetic difference recorded. Monotypic.


Inner Is (Mahé and adjacent Conception), in NE Seychelles.

Introduced on Frégate I, North I and Cousine I.

Descriptive notes

10–11 cm; 11·5–13 g. Has inconspicuous white eyering with tiny gap at front; dark olive-grey to brown above, paler on yellowish-washed rump; throat dirty... read more


Song, from perch throughout day (most often at dawn during breeding season, and sometimes... read more


Thick-foliaged broadleaved trees and dense shrubs in well-wooded country, mixed secondary forest,... read more

Food and feeding

Diet largely based on invertebrates, and berries and seeds; nectar also taken. Recorded items include tiny insects such as ants (Formicidae... read more


Oct–Apr (sometimes from late Jul). Co-operative breeder, helpers contributing to nest-building and brood-rearing duties; complex... read more


Exchanges between different subpopulations on Mahé shown by colour-ringing.  

Status and conservation

VULNERABLE. Restricted-range species: present in Granitic Seychelles EBA. Global population estimated at 500–650 individuals in 2013 (an increase on the 330–450... read more

Recommended citation

van Balen, B. & Sharpe, C.J. (2019). Seychelles White-eye (Zosterops modestus). 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).