Robust Silvereye

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image: robustsilvereye.jpg

Common Name: Robust Silvereye
Scientific Name: Zosterops strenuus

Size: 4½ to 6 inches (10-15 cm)

Habitat: Australia; Lord Howe Island. Found in woodland areas and forest edges.

Status: Extinct. Global Population: 0. It's extinction was due to the release of an invasive non-native species, the black rat (Rattus rattus) on the island, which fed on eggs and nestlings.

Diet: Silvereyes are highly flexible foragers. Foliage gleaning is the most common mode of foraging, but they also hawk, snap prey from a substrate (even small insects caught in spiders' webs), probe small clefts in clumps of leaves, bark, buds, flowers, and nests of other birds by forcefully opening the bill to widen the clefts in search of arthropod prey, and scavenge on the ground. Flocking in winter helps to locate sources of food in woodlands as well as to detect predators. They collect nectar with a brush-tipped tongue, peck succulent fruit, and swallow berries. They are known to disperse figs and other seeds of trees and shrubs.

Breeding: The nest is cup-shaped and mostly made of plant fibers. It is usually slung in a slender fork under cover of vegetation at any height.

Cool Facts: Silver or White-Eyes get their names from rings of white feathers around their eyes.

The Robust Silvereye was a common bird to Lord Howe Island until 1918. In that year, a shipwreck occurred on the island releasing the non-native black rat onto the island. Within three years, the Robust Silvereye went extinct due to nest predation.

John Gould, the famed Australian ornithologist wrote of the Silvereyes in 1865 'The present new species is the largest member yet discovered of a group of birds comprising numerous species'.


Found in Songbird Remix Threatened Endangered Extinct 2 and Songbird ReMix Australia Volume III

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