Wild Birds

Mascarene White-eyes or Grey White-eyes

The Mascarene White-eyes (Zosterops borbonicus) – also known as Grey White-eye – is endemic to the islands of Mauritius and Réunion located in the Indian Ocean, east of Madagascar.

This noisy species inhabits woodlands, forests and gardens.


The Mascarene White-eyes averages 3.7 inches (9.5 cm) in length.

The plumage exhibits a color morph (genetic mutation) which varies from grey to brown;  the rump is white and the rest of the body is blue grey. It has conspicuous rings of white feathers around the chestnut-colored eyes – hence the species name. The legs are dark grey to blackish.

Males and females look alike.

Similar Species: The Mauritius Olive White-eye occurs within its range. The upper plumage is a dull-olive green and the belly and vent have a yellow hue.

Diet / Feeding

Small groups of six to twenty birds are commonly seen foraging for food. Their main diet consists of insects, fruits and nectar. They are also valuable pollinator for local orchids.

Breeding / Nesting

Most nesting activities are observed in the southern summer – between September and March. The average clutch consists of 2 – 4 pale-blue eggs laid in a cup-shaped nest padded with plant material.

The nest is well hidden in the foliage. Both parents share the task of incubating the eggs. The chicks fledge when it is about 14 days old.

Further Reading


Gordon Ramel

Gordon is an ecologist with two degrees from Exeter University. He's also a teacher, a poet and the owner of 1,152 books. Oh - and he wrote this website.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Check Also
Back to top button