Tag Archives: Cape White-eye

Cape White-eye

Zosterops virens

Cape White-eyes are familiar birds in many South African suburbs, where their confiding attitude and characteristic song make them a well-loved garden bird. They inhabit a wide variety of naturally woody habitats, from forests to mountain scrub, as well as plantations and orchards. They feed primarily on insects, but will include fruits, flowers and nectar in their diet.

Cape White-eyes are social little birds, weighing only about 11g and growing to 12cm in length and usually seen in pairs or small flocks. They breed throughout the year, though mostly in summer, with both pair mates constructing the small cup-shaped nest from fine materials and spider web, well hidden deep in the dense foliage of a tree or shrub. Clutches contain 2-4 eggs and are incubated by both parents for almost 2 weeks, with the chicks taking to the wing for the first time when they’re about 14 days old.

The Cape White-eye occurs widely over Lesotho, Swaziland and South Africa (with the exception of the more arid parts of the Northern Cape, Free State and North West provinces), with a few scattered records from Botswana and Mozambique. The IUCN lists the Cape White-eye as being of least concern.