The Mauritius Olive White-eye (Zosterops chloronothos often mistakenly spelled Zosterops chloronothus) is a very rare passerine from the family of white-eyes (Zosteropidae). It is endemic to the island of Mauritius.
This species was first described in 1817 by French ornithologist Louis Jean Pierre Vieillot as Zosterops chloronothos in . It can reach a size of about 10 cm. The upperparts are dull olive-green, the underparts are coloured paler. Belly and vent have a yellow hue. The eyes are surrounded by a conspicuous white ring. Males and females are coloured similar. Its habitat are evergreen bushes and forrests in the area of the Black River Gorge National Park and the Macchabée-Bel Ombre Biosphere Reserve. Its diet consists of nectar and insects.
During the breeding period from September to March two pale eggs are laid in a cup-shaped nest which is well hidden in the foliage. Males and females share brooding tasks. Normally only one juvenile is reared which became fully fledged in about 14 days.
The Mauritius Olive White-eye is one of the rarest birds on Mauritius. The hard to observe birds inhabited an area of only 25 km². The main threats are introduced rats and Crab-eating Macaques which are destroying the nests. In only 27 years the population declined dramatically from 350 pairs in 1975 to only 120 pairs in 2002. Another reason for its rarity it its adaptivity for the nectar of several endemic flowers from Mauritius. Therefor that invasive plants have replaced the host plants the decline of the flowers has led to a severely decreasing of the birds too. Currently there is a monitoring by the Mauritian Wildlife Foundation for every found nest.
Notes and References
- ^ Staub, F. (1993). Fauna of Mauritius and associated flora. Port Louis: Précigraph Limited. 103 p.
- ^ The species was first described and named Zosterops chloronothos by Viellot in Nouveau Dictionnaire d'Histoire Naturelle Appliquée Aux Arts... vol. 9, p.408.
- ^ Sibley and Monroe's checklist of the Birds of the World, 1993.
- ^ Alan P. Peterson's checklist of the Birds of the World.
- ^ BirdLife Species Factsheet.
- ^ (2007) Rare Birds Yearbook 2008. England: MagDig Media Lmtd, 208. ISBN 978-0-9552607-3-5.
- BirdLife International (2004). Zosterops chloronothus. 2006 IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. IUCN 2006. Retrieved on 11 May 2006. Database entry includes justification for why this species is critically endangered
- BirdLife Species Factsheet.
- Encyclopedia mauritania factsheet (engl.)