email a friend
printable version
Splendid White-eye Zosterops luteirostris
BirdLife is updating this factsheet for the 2016 Red List
Please email us with any relevant information
BirdLife Species Champion Become a BirdLife Preventing Extinctions Programme Supporter
For information about BirdLife Species Champions and Species Guardians visit the BirdLife Preventing Extinctions Programme.

This species is estimated to have a very small population which is likely to be declining through habitat loss, leading to its categorisation as Endangered. If its range were judged to be severely fragmented, it may be classified as Critically Endangered; conversely if it were found to be highly tolerant of habitat perturbation it may be downlisted to Vulnerable.

Taxonomic source(s)
Sibley, C. G.; Monroe, B. L. 1990. Distribution and taxonomy of birds of the world. Yale University Press, New Haven, USA.

Taxonomic note

12 cm. Bright, warbler-like bird with orange-yellow bill and legs. White eye-ring contrasts with black lores and dark olive upperparts whilst underparts are bright yellow. Similar spp. Female Olive-backed Sunbird Nectarinia jugularis has long, dark bill and no eye-ring. Voice Strong, short melodic song and loud tcheup contact calls. Hints Easily seen where the cross-Ghizo roads pass tall native trees and scrub.

Distribution and population
Zosterops luteirostris is endemic to Ghizo in the Solomon Islands, where the remaining tall or old-growth forest is very fragmented and totals less than 1 km2. Birds were found to be locally common in these forest patches but less common elsewhere (Buckingham et al. 1995, Gibbs 1996, G. Dutson pers. obs. 1998, M. Iles verbally 1998). A maximum of 14 have been seen in one patch of forest, and 20 from a cross-island transect (extrapolated to a population density of 46 birds per km2) (Buckingham et al. 1995). It has declined with past and ongoing habitat degradation, forest clearance and human habitation, which has increased markedly since the 2007 tsunami, particularly in the interior of Ghizo (C. Filardi in litt. 2012). Areas around Gizo Town, which previously supported the species, have been further degraded since the tsunami, and were not found to support the species in 2012 (C. Filardi in litt. 2012). Comprehensive surveys have not yet been conducted in the interior, but are urgently needed to assess the status of the species and determine the magnitude of the suspected decline.

Population justification
The population is estimated to number 250-999 mature individuals based on an assessment of known records, descriptions of abundance and range size. This is consistent with recorded population density estimates for congeners or close relatives with a similar body size, and the fact that only a proportion of the estimated Extent of Occurrence is likely to be occupied. This estimate is equivalent to 375-1,499 individuals in total, rounded here to 350-1,500 individuals.

Trend justification
There are no data on population trends; however, the species is suspected to be declining due to habitat degradation, particularly since the 2007 tsunami. The likely rate of decline has not been estimated.

It is most common in forest edge, regrowth and mature secondary forest, and less common in scrub close to large trees and in plantations. It is not known whether these latter two habitats support sustainable breeding populations (Buckingham et al. 1995, G. Dutson pers. obs. 1998, M. Iles verbally 1998, Dutson 2011).

The very little tall old-growth forest left on Ghizo is still under some threat from clearance for timber (for local use), firewood and gardens. The areas of other secondary growth, suboptimal habitats for this species, are under considerable threat from clearance for agricultural land and extensive development on this very densely populated island. The area of and future plans for the plantations are unknown (Buckingham et al. 1995, G. Dutson pers. obs. 1998, M. Iles verbally 1998).

Conservation Actions Underway
None is known. The species is likely to respond very positively to fairly minimal forest restoration efforts if they are imposed island-wide (C. Filardi in litt. 2012).
Conservation Actions Proposed
Map the species distribution across Ghizo. Map and assess changes to forest habitats on Ghizo. Relate distribution to habitat-types. Monitor numbers along line-transects. Monitor number of singing males in discrete forest blocks. Assess breeding success in various habitats. Improve forest protection laws and enforcement. Support expansion of suitable forestry plantations. Coordinate all conservation action through public awareness discussions. Publicise this species as endemic to Ghizo and ensure government engagement in conservation efforts.

Buckingham, D. L.; Dutson, G. C. L.; Newman, J. L. 1995. Birds of Manus, Kolombangara and Makira (San Cristobal) with notes on mammals and records from other Solomon Islands.

Dutson, G. 2011. Birds of Melanesia: Bismarcks, Solomons, Vanuatu and New Caledonia. Christopher Helm, London.

Gibbs, D. 1996. Notes on Solomon Island birds. Bulletin of the British Ornithologists' Club 116: 18-25.

Further web sources of information
Alliance for Zero Extinction (AZE) species/site profile. This species has been identified as an AZE trigger due to its IUCN Red List status and limited range.

Click here for more information about the Alliance for Zero Extinction (AZE)

Explore HBW Alive for further information on this species

Search for photos and videos, and hear sounds of this species from the Internet Bird Collection

Text account compilers
Derhé, M., Dutson, G., Ekstrom, J., Mahood, S., Stattersfield, A.

Dutson, G., Iles, M., Filardi, C.

IUCN Red List evaluators
Butchart, S., Symes, A.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2016) Species factsheet: Zosterops luteirostris. Downloaded from on 27/10/2016. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2016) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from on 27/10/2016.

This information is based upon, and updates, the information published in BirdLife International (2000) Threatened birds of the world. Barcelona and Cambridge, UK: Lynx Edicions and BirdLife International, BirdLife International (2004) Threatened birds of the world 2004 CD-ROM and BirdLife International (2008) Threatened birds of the world 2008 CD-ROM. These sources provide the information for species accounts for the birds on the IUCN Red List.

To provide new information to update this factsheet or to correct any errors, please email BirdLife

To contribute to discussions on the evaluation of the IUCN Red List status of Globally Threatened Birds, please visit BirdLife's Globally Threatened Bird Forums.

Key facts
Current IUCN Red List category Endangered
Family Zosteropidae (White-eyes)
Species name author Hartert, 1904
Population size 250-999 mature individuals
Population trend Decreasing
Distribution size (breeding/resident) 35 km2
Country endemic? Yes
Links to further information
- Additional Information on this species