Sangkar White-eye Zosterops melanurus

Panji G. Akbar and Bas van Balen
Version: 2.0 — Published June 18, 2020

Demography and Populations

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Demography and Populations

Not well understood. Quantitative population estimates do not exist and total population estimate cannot be calculated from population density estimates due to the presence of extensive trapping (15).

Life Span and Survivorship

Not well understood. Reports of life span from captive breeders varied between 5-6 years, with an exceptional bird that survived for 8 years (PGA).

Disease and Body Parasites

Surprisingly not well known despite the number of birds in captivity. Report from captive breeder shows several symptoms such as diarrhea and tick infestation, but the exact disease or pathogen involved is largely unknown, as most breeders are reluctant to use vet services. At least Salmonella and Haemophilus has been (informally) reported (PGA).

Population Status


Current population unknown (15), but considered to be common island-wide (3). Reported to be the one of the most abundant species of bird in six different studies in West and Central Java in 2008-2015 (32, 17, 33, 34, 35, 36). Up to 600 individuals were observed in garden habitats at Cibinong Science Center, Cibinong, West Java during 2005-2009 and 2014, with density up to 22 individuals/ha (36). At Mount Sawal, West Java, up to 160 individual were encountered during a survey in March 2012, with an estimated density of 295.39 individuals/km2. Density estimated to be up to 105 individuals/ha in abandoned tea plantation in Subang, and 45 individuals/ha in nearby secondary forest (17). The density is much lower in the Paliyan neighborhood in Gunungkidul, Yogyakarta in 2007, with 3.6 individuals/ha in community forest (secondary forest), 1.7 individuals/ha in agroforestry, and 0.7 individuals/ha in agriculture area (32).


Decreasing (15), assumed to have lost 30% of its total population in the last 10 years (9). Massive trapping efforts in 2009-2012 are believed to have caused local extinction of Sangkar White-eye in Sukapura and Resmi Tinggal Village, Kertasari, Bandung, West Java (14). Not a single individual was found during a study from February to March 2018, despite it being dominant bird in the area in 1997(37) and 2006 (38). In Yogyakarta, trapping in recent years has made this species increasingly difficult to find, and its existence is probably only safe in several protected areas across the province (13).

Recommended Citation

Akbar, P. G. and B. van Balen (2020). Sangkar White-eye (Zosterops melanurus), 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.sanwhe2.02