Heuglin's White-eye Zosterops poliogastrus Scientific name definitions

Natalia C. García, Bas van Balen, Josep del Hoyo, Nigel Collar, and Guy M. Kirwan
Version: 2.0 — Published May 20, 2022

Diet and Foraging


Very little information available for poliogastrus and kaffensis; available data is mostly for subspecies kulalensis from Mt. Kulal in Kenya (3, 21), and indicates this species feeds mostly on fruits during the dry seasons and insects during the wet seasons.


Main Foods Taken

Small berries, and invertebrates; also nectar. Subspecies kulalensis is mainly frugivorous during the dry season and insectivorous during the wet season (Mt. Kulal usually receives heavy rains in April– May and November, but rains are unpredictable and highly variable from year to year, 21); it is frequently observed foraging on Leonotis flowers in September and November.

Microhabitat for Foraging

A study found that in the dry season (October 1998), kulalensis foraged at significantly greater height (average 8.4 m) than during the wet season (November–December 1997, average 4.8 m), as well as at greater relative height on plants (dry = 0.83 vs. wet = 0.73). Birds also fed more frequently in the inner tree parts (twigs, moss) and on fruit, and spent less time searching among lichens and leaves during the dry season (21).


Stomach contents of 11 specimens of Zosterops poliogastrus kulalensis comprised tiny insects, spiders, nectar, and small Loranthus fruits (3).

Another study on the same subspecies recorded 30 observations of birds feeding on fruiting plants during the dry season (October 1998) and 5 during the wet season (November–December 1997). Identified fruiting plants used during dry season were Ehretia cymosa (30%), Dovyalis abyssinica (20%), Vitaceae sp. (16.7%), Ficus thonningi (6.7%), Cussonia holsti (3.3%), Pistacia aethiopica (3.3%), Ficus sur (3.3 %), and Psychotria oreophila (3.3%). Identified fruiting plants used during wet season were Searsia [Rhus] natalensis (20%) and Pittosporum viridiflorum (60%) (21).

Food Selection and Storage

No information available.

Nutrition and Energetics

No information available.

Metabolism and Temperature Regulation

No information available.

Drinking, Pellet-Casting, and Defecation

No information available.

Recommended Citation

García, N. C., B. van Balen, J. del Hoyo, N. Collar, and G. M. Kirwan (2022). Heuglin's White-eye (Zosterops poliogastrus), 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.heuwhe2.02