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Rota bridled white-eye

Zosterops rotensis

Photo by Lainie Berry (Rota Avian Behavioral Ecology Program)

Common name
Rota bridled white-eye (en); olho-branco-de-Rota (pt); zostérops de Rota (fr); anteojitos de la Rota (es); rotabrillenvogel (de)

Order Passeriformes
Family Zosteropidae

This species is endemic to the island of Rota in the Northern Mariana Islands, where it is mostly restricted to the Sabana plateau.

These birds are 10 cm long and weigh 9-10 g.

The Rota bridled white-eye is found in native wet limestone forests, preferring Hernandia labyrinthica mixed forest and Merrilliodendron megacarpum forests. They are present at altitudes of 100-490 m.

They feed on insects, fruits, seeds and nectar. Their prey include moths and caterpillars, snails, spiders, beetles, mayflies and katydids.

These birds breed in December-August. The nest is a small cup made of rootlets, grasses, plant fibres, spider webs and moss. The nest is suspended between the branches and leaf petioles of trees such as Hernandia, Merrilliodendron, and Elaeocarpus. The female lays 1-3 eggs, which are incubated by both parents for 10-12 days. The chicks are fed by both parents and fledge 10-12 days after hatching.

IUCN status – CR (Critically Endangered)
The Rota bridled white-eye has an extremely small breeding range and a global population estimated at just 730 individuals. In the 1980s and 1990s the population was estimated to have declined at a dramatic rate of 50-75% per decade, but there is some anecdotal evidence that it may have increased in recent years. The main threats include habitat loss and degradation
owing to agricultural activities, development, typhoons and use of pesticides, as well as the introduction of predators such as the brown tree snake Boiga irregularis, the Asian house rat Rattus tanezumi, the Polynesian rats Rattus exulans and the black drongo Dicrurus macrocercus.

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