Sangkar White-eye Zosterops melanurus

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

Diet and Foraging

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Diet and Foraging

Omnivorous. Vegetable matter includes small buds, seeds, fruits, and nectar; animal food mostly insects.


Main Foods Taken

Fruit, insects, and nectar.

Microhabitat for Foraging

Generally forages high up in tree canopy. In Java, the exotic Sesbania grandiflora is favorite tree for insect-hunting (BvB).

Food Capture and Consumption

Often forages by hover-gleaning (BvB). They probe flowers for nectar, and pierce the skin of large fruit to sip the content inside; known to widen the narrow openings of tubular flowers and rolled-up leaves using their mandible to access the content inside (20).


Major Food Items

Fruits taken include those of the trees Trema orientalis, Trema cannabina, Elaeocarpus sphaericus, and Ficus religiosa, of the shrubs Rhamnus, and Vaccinium varingifolium, the liana Zizyphus oenoplia, and the exotic shrub Lantana camara; reported also as swallowing unexpectedly large fruits of the introduced Cordia cylindristachya. Documented feeding on nectar from Erythrina subumbrans, Erythrina orientalis, Elaeocarpus grandiflorus, Madhuca trees, Woodfordia shrubs, flowering coconut, mangrove trees (including Sonneratia alba and Bruguiera), strandline bushes (e.g. Hibiscus tiliaceus), and mistletoe (Dendrophthoe pentandra); also forages for nectar from the exotic Grevillea robusta, Bombax, eucalypt (Eucalyptus) trees, Holmskioldia sanguinea and Calliandra haematocephala shrubs, and Euphorbia pulcherrima hedge plants. Especially favors the exudation of petioles of banyan trees and ripe peepul figs (Ficus religiosa). Also takes fleshy arils of Acacia mangium fruits and feeds fledglings with Acacia auriculiformis fruits. Animal food includes praying mantis larvae (Mantodea), weevils (of genus Tanymecus), stick-insects (of genus Phyllium), predatory bugs (Anthocoridae), the ants Camponotus compressus, Pheidole malinsi, and Polyrhachis simplex, caterpillars (bagworms and other moth larvae, possibly tineid moths), flower-bugs, and small Drosophila-like flies; also spiders (Araneae) and mites (Acarina) (BvB). Also reported to feed on Artocarpus elasticus, Breynia microphylla, and Parasponia sp. in Merapi National Park (R. Widodo, personal communication).

Quantitative Analysis

A study of fecal content in Subang, West Java (22) found 6 species of shrub seeds from 128 birds: Redberry (Rubus chrysophyllus), Breynia (Breynia microphylla), Blue tongue (Melastoma affine), Koster’s curse (Clidemia hirta), Javanese elder (Sambucus javanicus), and West Indian lantana (Lantana camara). Blue tongue is described as the most numerous seed found in feces, with an average number of 27.65 ± 114.31 seeds/bird, followed by Koster's curse (7.17 ± 84.17 seeds/bird). Average germination rates of these seeds (22.86-31.43%) tended to be higher compared to control (14.29-17.29%).

Food Selection and Storage

No information.

Nutrition and Energetics

No information.

Metabolism and Temperature Regulation

No published information.

Drinking, Pellet-Casting, and Defecation

Little information. Mist-netted bird reported to defecated after being put inside bird bag for less than 60 minutes (22).

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