Capped White-eye Zosterops fuscicapilla Scientific name definitions

Natalia C. García, Bas van Balen, Josep del Hoyo, David Christie, and Nigel Collar
Version: 2.0 — Published May 13, 2022


Field Identification

A small passerine, about 9.5–11 cm, almost uniformly yellowish-olive green, except for the black forehead and the white eye-ring typical of its genus. Subspecies Zosterops fuscicapilla crookshankii is slightly larger and has a wider eye-ring.

Similar Species Summary

The nominate subspecies of Capped White-eye can be differentiated by its yellow underparts; all other white-eyes on New Guinea have whitish underparts.

Similar Species

Considering all species of white-eyes in the greater New Guinea region; the Biak White-eye (Zosterops mysorensis), Lemon-bellied White-eye (Zosterops chloris), Louisiade White-eye (Zosterops griseotinctus), and Tagula White-eye (Zosterops meeki) are confined to smaller islands for which there is only one species of white-eye present. On New Guinea, the Black-fronted White-eye (Zosterops minor) is widespread in intermediate hill altitudes, but absent in the lowlands (1, 2), with both New Guinea White-eye (Zosterops novaeguineae) and Capped White-eye present in montane habitats (although New Guinea White-eye is, somewhat anomalously, also present in lowlands [3]). The distributions of Capped White-eye and New Guinea White-eye in montane habitat do not seem to overlap very much, with Capped White-eye predominantly in the west of the New Guinea, and the New Guinea White-eye mainly in the east.

All three species (Black-fronted White-eye, Capped White-eye, and New Guinea White-eye) have been reported in the Kumawa Mountains, the Arfak Mountains, and both Capped White-eye and New Guinea White-eye have been reported from the Bird’s Head (Papua Barat) (3, 4). On the D’Entrecasteaux archipelago, subspecies crookshanki replaces the Black-fronted White-eye (Zosterops minor) pallidogularis in forests above 800 m elevation (4).

Wherever overlap occurs, all subspecies of the Capped White-eye are best differentiated by the yellow underparts (vs. white in all other species).

Although they do not overlap in distribution, the nominate subspecies is strikingly similar to the (formerly conspecific) Black-headed White-eye (Zosterops hypoxanthus), but the latter has the chin, throat, and underparts bright yellow (vs. yellowish olive green in the present species).

Recommended Citation

García, N. C., B. van Balen, J. del Hoyo, D. A. Christie, and N. Collar (2022). Capped White-eye (Zosterops fuscicapilla), version 2.0. In Birds of the World (S. M. Billerman and B. K. Keeney, Editors). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA. https://doi.org/10.2173/bow.capwhe3.02