White-eyes (Zosteropidae)

Silvereye (Zosterops lateralis) - HBW 13, p. 467

French: Zostérops à dos gris German: Graumantel-Brillenvogel Spanish: Anteojitos Dorsigrís
Other common names: Grey-backed/Grey-breasted/Western White-eye; Western Silvereye (chloronotus); Grey-backed Silvereye (“halmaturinus”); Grey-breasted Silvereye (lateralis); Capricorn Silvereye (chlorocephalus); Lord Howe (Island) White-eye (tephropleurus)

Taxonomy: Sylvia lateralis Latham, 1801, Port Jackson, New South Wales, Australia.
Member of a species group which includes also Z. tenuirostris, Z. albogularis and Z. inornatus. Australian races sometimes grouped into three separate species, differing in plumage characters, size and vocalizations; all mainland forms, however, intergrade through broad zones, and DNA-DNA analysis indicates that neighbouring races are each other’s closest relatives. Lord Howe race tephropleurus sometimes treated as a further separate species. In Australia, birds in W of range previously known as race gouldi, but chloronotus has priority.. View all taxonomy...

Taxonomy: Sylvia lateralis Latham, 1801, Port Jackson, New South Wales, Australia.
Member of a species group which includes also Z. tenuirostris, Z. albogularis and Z. inornatus. Australian races sometimes grouped into three separate species, differing in plumage characters, size and vocalizations; all mainland forms, however, intergrade through broad zones, and DNA-DNA analysis indicates that neighbouring races are each other’s closest relatives. Lord Howe race tephropleurus sometimes treated as a further separate species. In Australia, birds in W of range previously known as race gouldi, but chloronotus has priority and not preoccupied by “chloronothos”. Recent taxonomic review has led to several changes to the previously accepted arrangement: in E Australia, population in N Queensland (S to Mackay region) formerly known by name ramsayi (but type description based on intergrade specimens) and those from Mackay region S to E Victoria as familiaris (which appears to consist of two intergrading races), hence N populations of ramsayi now known as race vegetus and S populations along with most of familiaris replaced by name cornwalli; S populations of former familiaris now known as westernensis; S populations (CS South Australia E to SW New South Wales and W Victoria) formerly treated as race halmaturinus, but that name invalid (type material seems to represent intergrades between chloronotus and dull birds from SE South Australia), hence birds in E of that range described as new race pinarochrous; in addition, birds on King I (in Bass Strait), formerly included in nominate, considered to differ sufficiently to warrant racial separation, and thus described as new race ochrochrous; further research, including genetic analyses, required as a priority to enable better understanding of racial limits. Otherwise, proposed race macmillani (from Tanna, in S Vanuatu) is considered synonymous with vatensis. Sixteen subspecies currently recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution:

  • chloronotus Gould, 1841 - SW & S Western Australia (S from Point Cloates and Shark Bay, and from Wongan Hills) E (S of Nullarbor Plain) to S South Australia.
  • vegetus E. J. O. Hartert, 1899 - NE Queensland (E Cape York Peninsula) in NE Australia.
  • cornwalli Mathews, 1912 - EC & SE Queensland and NE New South Wales.

     See all 16 subspecies
  • chloronotus Gould, 1841 - SW & S Western Australia (S from Point Cloates and Shark Bay, and from Wongan Hills) E (S of Nullarbor Plain) to S South Australia.
  • vegetus E. J. O. Hartert, 1899 - NE Queensland (E Cape York Peninsula) in NE Australia.
  • cornwalli Mathews, 1912 - EC & SE Queensland and NE New South Wales.
  • chlorocephalus A. J. Campbell & S. A. White, 1910 - Capricorn Group (notably Heron I) and Bunker Group, in S Great Barrier Reef, off SE Queensland.
  • westernensis (Quoy & Gaimard, 1830) - SE New South Wales (from upper Lachlan R) S to E Victoria.
  • pinarochrous Schodde & Mason, 1999 - SE South Australia, SW New South Wales and W Victoria.
  • tephropleurus Gould, 1855 - Lord Howe I, off E Australia.
  • ochrochrous Schodde & Mason, 1999 - King I (W Bass Strait).
  • lateralis (Latham, 1801) - Flinders I (Furneaux Group, in E Bass Strait), Tasmania, Norfolk I, New Zealand (both main islands, all smaller adjacent islands) and Chatham Is; non-breeding also SE Australia.
  • valuensis Murphy & Mathews, 1929 - Mota Lava, in E Banks Is (in extreme NE Vanuatu).
  • tropicus Mees, 1969 - Torres Is, Banks Is (except Mota Lava) and NW Vanuatu (Malo, Espíritu Santo).
  • vatensis Tristram, 1879 - C & S Vanuatu (Malakula, Ambrym, Paama, Lopévi, Épi, Émaé, Tongariki, Tongoa, Makura, Éfaté, Erromanga, Tanna, Aniwa).
  • griseonota G. R. Gray, 1859 - New Caledonia.
  • nigrescens F. Sarasin, 1913 - Beautemps Beaupré, Ouvéa and Maré, in Loyalty Is.
  • melanops G. R. Gray, 1860 - Lifou, in C Loyalty Is.
  • flaviceps Peale, 1848 - Fiji Is (main islands and all adjacent smaller islands from Vanua Levu and Taveuni S to Viti Levu and Kadavu; also Koro, Gau and Moala).