Wild Birds

Robust White-eyes

Robust White-eyes


The Robust White-eyes (Zosterops strenuus), also known as the Lord Howe White-eye or Robust Silvereye, and locally as the “Big Grinnell“, was a species of bird in the Zosteropidae family.

Two Robust White-eyes Perching In The Tree
Two Robust White-eyes Perching In The Tree


It was endemic to the lowland forests of Lord Howe Island, east of Australia.



It was a mainly green bird, around 7.6 cm long, with a white belly and yellow throat, which separated it from other species of white-eye.


Breeding / Nesting

The Robust White-eye built loosely-constructed, cup-shaped nests out of palm fibre and dried grasses, which were sometimes found in shrubs overgrown with vines.



Sadly this made the species vulnerable to predation by Black Rats (Rattus rattus), which were accidentally introduced in 1918 following the grounding of the steamship SS Makambo on the island. Although once common, the bird was extinct by 1923.

Despite its small size, the bird was known to islanders as “Big Grinnell”, to differentiate it from the much smaller but related “Little Grinnell”, or Lord Howe Silvereye Zosterops lateralis tephropleurus, a subspecies of the Silvereye. This subspecies hangs on, but is threatened with extinction.



  • Day, David (1981), The Encyclopedia of Vanished Species, London, Universal Books Ltd, pp109–110, ISBN 0-947889-30-2
  • BirdLife International 2004. Zosteropsstrenuus. 2006 IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Downloaded on 27 July 2007.

Copyright: Wikipedia. This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from Wikipedia.org


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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.

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