Family White-eyes and Yuhinas (Zosteropidae)

Least Concern

Vanuatu White-eye (Zosterops flavifrons)


French: Zostérops à front jaune German: Gelbstirn-Brillenvogel Spanish: Anteojitos frentigualdo
Other common names: Yellow-fronted White-eye

Muscicapa flavifrons

J. F. Gmelin

, 1789,

Tanna Island, Vanuatu


Affinities obscure. Race perplexus sometimes synonymized with macgillivrayi, and efatensis with gauensis; further study needed. Among other findings, recent DNA study recommended race majusculus for species status and suggested that race efatensis comprises two taxa, one of them an unnamed subspecies#R. Seven subspecies currently recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • Z. f. perplexus Murphy & Mathews, 1929 – extreme N & NE Vanuatu from Banks Is (Vanua Lava, Mere Lava) S to Maewo, Aoba, Pentecost, Ambrym, Paama, Lopevi, Epi, Tongoa and Emae.
  • Z. f. gauensis Murphy & Mathews, 1929 – Santa María I (Gaua), in N Vanuatu.
  • Z. f. brevicauda Murphy & Mathews, 1929 – Espiritu Santo and Malo, in NW Vanuatu.
  • Z. f. macgillivrayi Sharpe, 1900 – Malakula, in NC Vanuatu.
  • Z. f. efatensis Mayr, 1937 – Nguna, Éfaté and Erromango, in SC Vanuatu.
  • Z. f. flavifrons (J. F. Gmelin, 1789) – Tanna, Aniwa and Futuna (Erronan), in S Vanuatu.
  • Z. f. majusculus Murphy & Mathews, 1929 – Anatom (Aneityum), in extreme S Vanuatu.
  • Descriptive notes

    11·5–12·5 cm; 10·9–11·9g. Nominate has yellowish forehead and supraloral region, broad white eyering interrupted at front by small... read more


    Pleasant, often repeated warbling song. Contact call a short, high-pitched “chip-chip”... read more


    Primary forest, secondary forest, plantations, scrub, scattered bushes, trees, second growth and... read more

    Food and feeding

    Arthropods, fruits, nectar, fruit seeds, probably also small buds. Insects include beetles (Coleoptera), also eggs and larvae, e.g.... read more


    Season Sept–Jan, sometimes to Mar; young just out of nest in Dec in NW (race brevicauda), and birds with enlarged gonads in... read more


    Not known.  

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Restrictedrange species: present in Vanuatu and Temotu EBA. Common and widespread; perhaps the most numerous bird species in Vanuatu. Occurs on... read more

    Recommended citation

    van Balen, B. (2019). Vanuatu White-eye (Zosterops flavifrons). 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).