Sunday, September 11, 2011

Lanka Sithasiya - The Ceylon White-Eye (Zosterops ceylonensis)


Size of Loten's Sunbird-i.e. smaller than the sparrow, but noticeably larger than the Hin Malkurulla, from which it is readily distinguished by its darker green plumage. Sexes alike.


It is even more sociable than the other birds, forming very large, scattered flocks except in the breeding season, when the birds pair off.Always on the move, it spends its waking hours in an almost caseless search for small caterpillars (the tea tortix, Homona coffearia, being a special favourite), tiny moths, etc.,and in visiting nectar-producing blossoms and berry-bearing shrubs. 

The breeding season is from March to May. Sometimes they have a second season in August-September. The nest is large and not quite solidly built. It is a neat cup, composed of fine fibers, moss and fluff, slung hammock-wise in a fork of a leafy twig. They lay two eggs that measure about 16.2×11.3mm. The eggs are very pale prussian blue in color.


It is found only in the Sri Lankan mountains above 3,000 feet; at the higher elevations, above about 5,000 feet, it is, I think unquestionably, the commonest bird. 


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