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2011-10-02
Aves Bird of the week - Cape White-eye - Zosterops pallidus


The Cape White-eye - Zosterops pallidus, is Endemic to Southern Africa. Traditionally, the Cape White-eye and the Orange River White-eye have been treated as separate species. It is found in a wide range of densely to lightly wooded habitats. Most populations are resident, but some perform minor seasonal movements. This is a sociable species forming large flocks outside the breeding season.

 

This bird has a conspicuous ring of white feathers round the eye. The upperparts are green, the throat and vent are bright yellow, the breast and belly grey.

 

They are very vocal. The song consists of repeated long jerky phrases of sweet reedy notes, varying in pitch, volume and temp, usually starting off with teee teee or pirrup pirrup notes, then becoming a fast rambled jumble of notes, which may incorporate mimicked phrases of other birdcalls.

 

The breeding season is from September to December. Both sexes construct the nest in about 5 to 9 days. It is a small cup built of materials collected near the nest site. The nest is typically concealed in the foliage of a tree or bush, slung between a few branches and well hidden. The egg-laying season peaks from October to December. Two or four unspotted pale blue eggs are laid and incubated by both sexes. The eggs hatch between 11 and 13 days and the young fledge in another 12 to13 days. Both parents brood and feed the chicks that remain in the foliage surrounding the nest for some time. During this period they are very vulnerable to predator attacks.

 

The Cape White-eye feeds mainly on insects, but also soft fleshy flowers, nectar, fruit and small grains. It readily comes to bird feeders. It eats a variety of invertebrates (especially aphids), fruit and nectar, foraging in pairs or small parties year-round. It mainly gleans prey from leaves and branches, occasionally plucking an insect from the air or ground.

 

Not threatened, in fact it has benefited from the introduction of suburban gardens.


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