Zosteropidae is a family of birds that includes the Ashy-bellied white-eye. This species is sometimes called pale white-eye, pale-bellied white-eye, Pale Silvereye, or Pale-bellied Silvereye. Nonetheless, it shouldn’t be confused with pale-bellied white eyes (Zosterops consobrinorum). A Pale White-eye calls with a soft chirped whistle in contact with the ground. Warbles, whistles, and trills are heard from a perch in thickets in the song of this white-eyed bird.
This species is restricted to small offshore islands along Cape York Peninsula’s east coast and in Torres Strait. There, they live in small groups of between six and seven in shrubby thickets. To find insects and berries, the birds forage among low trees and shrubs. As they feed, they whistle a soft mewing that is characteristic of white eyes. As they dash from shrub to shrub in undulating swoops, they are often given this to keep in touch.
Pale White-eyes are rare and difficult to identify; little is known about their habits. They are occasionally confused with brightly colored Silvereyes in northeastern Queensland. A White-eye, however, can be distinguished by its deeper yellow throat and plain citrine back. There are gray bands across the backs of the Silvereyes.
Ashy-bellied white eyes measure about 100-110 mm in length. There is no difference between the sexes. A light citrine-green color is found on the upper parts of the male, with a yellower hue on the forehead. Dusky gray-edged citrine feathers on wings and tail. There is a narrow white ring around the eye; a black line runs from the lores to the line under the eye.
Undertails and throat are clear deep yellow; lower breasts and belly are off-white; flanks are gray-washed. The eye is a medium brown color. Grayer at the lower base of the bill, the bill is black-grey. There is a leaden grey color to the feet. The immature is a bit duller; the throat is lemon-yellow in color.
During the wet season of December to June, nesting and breeding take place primarily. This nest is shaped like a cup made of dried skeletons of leaves bound with cobwebs. On the outside, there are broad, thin strips of paperbark covering the nest which is lined with fine grass. The nest is suspended from the horizontal fork of the shrub and measures 80 mm in diameter and 50 mm in depth.
There are two to four eggs laid by the bird, which are pale blue-green in color. Eggs measure about 17 x 13 mm and are oval or tapered-oval in shape. Ashy-bellied white-eye is found primarily in the Lesser Sunda Islands, a group of small, wooded islands located off eastern Cape York Peninsula and Palfrey Island, near Cooktown, Queensland. Locally common. Also Lesser Sundas and Tanimbar. There are three races in the world, but only one exists in Australia. Read More – Regent Bowerbird