Ian’s Bird of the Week – Christmas Island White-eye

Christmas Island White-eye (Zosterops natalis) by Ian

Ian’s Bird of the World – Christmas Island White-eye ~ by Ian Montgomery

Newsletter ~ 12/23/14

Here is a Christmas Island endemic to celebrate the festive season appropriately. It’s not the most spectacular bird but all the other birds with ‘Christmas’ in the name that I’ve photographed have already featured as bird of the week.
Happily, it’s quite partial to posing beside spectacular flowers, first and third photos and its endemic status gives it special significance. The first two photos were taken at the Christmas Island Resort on the eastern side of the island, – that’s Christmas Island in the Indian Ocean, not Christmas Island (Kirimati part of Kiribati) in the Pacific. The resort used to be a casino for Indonesian high-rollers, opened by an enterprising entrepreneur in 1993 following the closure in 1981 of the three licensed Indonesian casinos in Jakarta, a mere one hour away by private jet. It closed in 1998, a victim of the Asian financial crisis and was empty when we visited it in 2006. It has recently reopened as an ordinary resort, promoting more socially acceptable activities such as honeymoons and bird watching.

The White-eye is quite abundant on the island. The third photo was taken in the grounds of Government House, where the Governor used to live. It was also empty in 2006, the Administrator choosing to live in more democratic surroundings. Government House is just across the bay from Flying Fish Cove and it is good for bird watching. If I were Administrator, I would prefer to live there. There is supposed to be a small population persisting in the Cocos (Keeling) Islands, introduced between 1885 and 1900, but there is disagreement between Handbook of Birds of the World and BirdLife International as to where it survives (Horsburgh Island or around the settlement on West Island, respectively).

Anyway, below is my best wishes for Christmas and New Year. I’m avoiding ‘Merry’ as it suggests drunkeness and ‘Prosperous’  as it seems a bit greedy, so interpret the message how it accords best with you.

I think the bird on the left is a Grey Heron as it has a crest and the one on the right a White Stork  a well-loved bird in Strasbourg. We did go looking for them in a park in early October where they occur, but they had already left for the winter and we had to wait until we got to the Pyrenees before we caught up with any:

Greetings
Ian
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Ian Montgomery, Birdway Pty Ltd,
454 Forestry Road, Bluewater, Qld 4818
Tel 0411 602 737 ian@birdway.com.au
Bird Photos http://www.birdway.com.au/
Where to Find Birds in Northern QueenslandiTunesGoogle Play Kobo Books
Recorder Society http://www.nqrs.org.au

Lee’s Addition:

“But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him. (1 Corinthians 2:9 KJV)

This was a pleasant surprise article from Ian. Wasn’t expecting one so soon. How appropriate though. I especially love that first picture.

White-eyes are members of the Zosteropidae – White-eyes Family. There are 128 species that make up the family, of which 96 are White-eyes.

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Birds of the World – Kingfishers, Australasian Warblers, White-Eyes and Doves

Blue-breasted Kingfisher (Halcyon malimbica) at LPZ by Lee

Blue-breasted Kingfisher (Halcyon malimbica) at LPZ by Lee – taken last week

Many, O LORD my God, are thy wonderful works which thou hast done, and thy thoughts which are to us-ward: they cannot be reckoned up in order unto thee: if I would declare and speak of them, they are more than can be numbered. (Psalms 40:5 KJV)

I have been working away on the different families of the Birds of the World. In the last few days, I was able to complete three more families at 100% and have one that needs five more images. Three of them have at least a photo or drawing of each of them. 100% done. That is a nice feeling. What beautiful birds are in those families. When the Lord created the birds, He used much variety in sizes, behaviors and colors. Even though it takes lots of time, it is enjoyable to be able to view so many of them. I am keeping an Excel spreadsheet of the families that shows each family, the number of species, how many are needed, and number seen so far. There are “10,476 extant species and 149 extinct species classified in 40 Orders,  231 Families (plus 6 Incertae Sedis) and 2268 Genera.” (IOC 3.3 Version) according to the IOC statement. Yet, when you add up the number of species of each family, they add up to 10,615. (10476+149=10,625) Somewhere there are 10 miscounted birds. Either way (10615 or 10,625), thats a lot of birds that are flying around the world for all of us to enjoy watching.

100 Percent of Images

Alcedinidae – Kingfishers – 95 Species

Acanthizidae – Australasian Warblers – 65 Species

Zosteropidae – White-eyes – 128 Species

The Pigeon and Doves have five photos that need to be found. After extensive search, they are still avoiding all the great photographers and artists out there. If any know of a source for these evaders, please leave a comment as to where to find a link to them. At least looking through these inspired the Birds of the Bible – Coat of Many Colors article.

Columbidae – Pigeons, Doves – 335 Species

** Need Photo **

  • Ryukyu Wood Pigeon (Columba jouyi †) Extinct
  • Rodrigues Pigeon (Nesoenas rodericana †) Extinct
  • Sulu Bleeding-heart (Gallicolumba menagei)
  • Mindanao Brown Dove (Phapitreron brunneiceps) 
  • Comoros Green Pigeon (Treron griveaudi)

Below are a few of the birds from each family.

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Click on any of the Families to see the complete list of the species.

Alcedinidae – Kingfishers 

Acanthizidae – Australasian Warblers 

Zosteropidae – White-eyes

Columbidae – Pigeons, Doves

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Wordless Birds

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Oriental White-eye – The Grace Seeker..

Oriental White-eye (Zosterops palpebrosus) by Nikhil Devasar

Oriental White-eye (Zosterops palpebrosus) by Nikhil Devasar

Oriental White-eye – The Grace Seeker.. ~ by a j mithra

The Oriental White-eye (Zosterops palpebrosus) is a small passerine bird in the white-eye family.

It is a resident breeder in open woodland in tropical Asia, east from the Indian Subcontinent to Southeast Asia, extending to Indonesia and Malaysia. They forage in small groups, feeding on nectar and small insects.

They are easily identified by the distinctive white eye-ring and overall yellowish upperparts. Several populations of this widespread species are named subspecies and some have distinctive variations in the extent and shades of yellows in their plumage.

This bird is small (about 8–9 cm long) with yellowish olive upper parts, a white eye ring, yellow throat and vent. The belly is whitish grey but may have yellow in some subspecies. The sexes look similar.

If we are called Christians, we need to look like Christ..

  • But, do we look like Christ or do people see Christ in us and through us?

We have just stepped into a new year, where many of us would have taken resolutions to eat less, quit smoking, stop watching porn stuff and maybe a resolution to stop taking resolutions…

  • But have we ever taken a resolution to walk like Christ, to talk like Christ and be like Christ?

People around us are watching us and expecting us to show Christ. You know?

Now is the time to take a resolution to be like Christ isn’t it?

For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ. (Galatians 3:27)

Japanese White-eye (Zosterops japonicus) by W Kwong

Japanese White-eye (Zosterops japonicus) by W Kwong

The species is widespread and is part of a superspecies complex that includes Zosterops japonicus, Zosterops meyeni and possibly others. The species is found in a wide range of habitats from scrub to moist forest.

They sometimes occur on mangrove areas such as in the Karachi area. and on islands they may lead a more insectivorous life. They are somewhat rare only in the drier desert regions of western India. A feral population was detected in San Diego, California in the 1980’s and subsequently eradicated.

These white-eyes are sociable, forming flocks which only separate on the approach of the breeding season. They are highly arboreal and only rarely descend to the ground.

God too expects us to be highly arboreal (living in a tree)..

  • Adam tried to live on the tree of life but was chased away from God’s presence..
  • We have a tree, the CROSS TREE, where Christ – the Vine hung to make us more like Him..
  • Now is the time to check if we are Arboreal?

I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ lives in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me. (Galatians 2:20)

The breeding season is February to September but April is the peak breeding season and the compact cup nest is a placed like a hammock on the fork of a branch. The nest is made of cobwebs, lichens and plant fibre.
The nest is built in about 4 days and the two pale blue eggs are laid within a couple of days of each other. The eggs hatch in about 10 days. Both sexes take care of brooding the chicks which fledge in about 10 days Though mainly insectivorous, the Oriental White-eye will also eat nectar and fruits of various kinds.

They call frequently as they forage and the usual contact call is a soft nasal cheer.

They pollinate flower when they visit them for flower insects (such asthrips) and possibly nectar that form their diet. The forehead is sometimes coloured by pollen leading to mistaken identifications.

  • Do we visit Rose of Sharon and the Lilly of the valley every day and help in pollination?
  • If yes, why is that people are not able to witness pollen grains (Word of God) on most of our foreheads?

Therefore shall you lay up these my words in your heart and in your soul, and bind them for a sign upon your hand, that they may be as frontlets between your eyes. (Deuteronomy 11:18)

When nesting, they may mob palm squirrels but being small birds they are usually on the defensive. Their predators include bats (esp. Megaderma lyra) and birds such as the White-throated Kingfisher. Like some other white-eyes, they sometimes steal nest material from the nests of other birds Cases of interspecific feeding have been noted with white-eyes feeding the chicks of a Paradise Flycatcher.

They have been observed bathing in dew accumulated on leaves.

  • Do we remember, Israelites collected manna covered with the morning dew?

Which means feasting of Manna at dawn increases His grace in our life isn’t it? His grace is like early morning dew, this is what the Bible says right?

  • Without His grace it is unlikely for us to survive..

It is of the LORD’S mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness. (Lamentations 3:22-23)

Oriental White-eye (Zosterops palpebrosus) ©WikiC

Oriental White-eye (Zosterops palpebrosus) ©WikiC

Although not strong fliers, they are capable of dispersing in winds and storms to new areas including offshore islands. Though these birds are not strong fliers, they still are able to disperse in wind and storm..

  • When we are weak , we need to remember that God uses the weak and the weary..
  • When you face a storm is life, just think of these birds and disperse in the storm…
  • For God always makes us lie down in green pastures and leads us beside still waters..
  • What storm is for others will be still waters for you and me, cos our Lord is our good Shepherd!

Apostle Paul had a thorn in His flesh, you know what God said?

And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me (2 Corinthians 12:9)

Lets seek for His bountiful grace each dawn to fly high above troubled waters..

Have a grace filled day!

Yours in YESHUA,
a j mithra

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Lee’s Addition:

Read more from a j mitha

The White-eyes are in the Zosteropidae – White-eyes Family.

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Some Christmas Birds

Christmas White-eye (Zosterops natalis) by Ian

Christmas White-eye (Zosterops natalis) by Ian

Luke 2:15-20 KJV

(15) And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us.

(16) And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger.

(17) And when they had seen it, they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child.

(18) And all they that heard it wondered at those things which were told them by the shepherds.

(19) But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart.

(20) And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told unto them.

Flag of Christmas Island

Flag of Christmas Island©WikiC

While searching to find birds to write about with a Christmas theme, I came across the Territory of Christmas Island which belongs to Australia. It is in the Indian Ocean and only has a population of 1,403 residents who live in a number of “settlement areas” on the northern tip of the island.

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Abbott's Booby (Papasula abbotti) by Ian

Abbott's Booby (Papasula abbotti) by Ian

The island’s geographic isolation and history of minimal human disturbance has led to a high level of endemism (or state of being unique to a defined geographic location, such as an island, nation or other defined zone, or habitat type, and found only there) among its flora and fauna, which is of significant interest to scientists and naturalists. 63% of its 135 square kilometres (52 sq mi) is an Australian national park. There exist large areas of primary monsoonal forest.

Christmas Frigatebird (Fregata andrewsi) by Ian

Christmas Frigatebird (Fregata andrewsi) by Ian

Christmas Island is a focal point for sea birds of various species. Eight species or subspecies of sea birds nest on the island. The most numerous is the Red-footed Booby that nests in colonies, in trees, on many parts of the shore terrace. The widespread Brown Booby nests on the ground near the edge of the seacliff and inland cliffs. Abbott’s Booby nests on tall emergent trees of the western, northern and southern plateau rainforest. The Christmas Island forest is the only nesting habitat of the Abbott’s Booby left in the world. The endemic Christmas Island Frigatebird (listed as endangered) has nesting areas on the north-eastern shore terraces and the more widespread Great Frigatebirds nest in semi-deciduous trees on the shore terrace with the greatest concentrations being in the North West and South Point areas. The Common Noddy and two species of bosuns or tropicbirds, with their brilliant gold or silver plumage and distinctive streamer tail feathers, also nest on the island.

Christmas Imperial Pigeon (Ducula whartoni) by Ian Montgomery

Christmas Imperial Pigeon (Ducula whartoni) by Ian Montgomery

Of the ten native land birds and shorebirds, seven are endemic species or subspecies. This includes the Christmas Island Thrush, and the Christmas Island Imperial Pigeon. Some 86 migrant bird species have been recorded as visitors to the Island.

Christmas Boobook (Ninox natalis) by Ian

Christmas Boobook (Ninox natalis) by Ian

The list of birds from the I.O.C., which I use, lists five birds starting with Christmas. The Christmas Boobook (or Christmas Island Hawk-Owl), Christmas Frigatebird, Christmas Imperial Pigeon, Christmas Shearwater, and the Christmas White-eye.

Christmas Shearwater (Puffinus nativitatis) ©WikiC

Christmas Shearwater (Puffinus nativitatis) ©WikiC


Red-footed Booby (Sula sula) by Bob-Nan

Red-footed Booby (Sula sula) by Bob-Nan

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Some information from Wikipedia and other internet sources.

See Also:

Christmas Island – Wikipedia

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White-eyes – Zosteropidae Family

Silvereye (Zosterops lateralis) by Ian

Silvereye (Zosterops lateralis) by Ian

I find the White-eyes fascinating little birds that have such a neat visible eye. The Lord has created another bird kind that has been obeying the command that it was given.

So God created great sea creatures and every living thing that moves, with which the waters abounded, according to their kind, and every winged bird according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. And God blessed them, saying, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the waters in the seas, and let birds multiply on the earth.” (Genesis 1:21-22 NKJV)

Cape White-eye (Zosterops pallidus) by Ian

Cape White-eye (Zosterops pallidus) by Ian

The white-eyes are small passerine birds native to tropical, subtropical and temperate Sub-Saharan Africa, southern and eastern Asia, and Australasia. White-eyes inhabit most tropical islands in the Indian Ocean, the western Pacific Ocean, and the Gulf of Guinea. Discounting some widespread members of the genus Zosterops, most species are endemic to single islands or archipelagos. The Silvereye, Zosterops lateralis, naturally colonised New Zealand, where it is known as the “Wax-eye” or Tauhau (“stranger”), from 1855. The Silvereye has also been introduced to Hawaii as well as the Society Islands in French Polynesia.

White-eyes are mostly of undistinguished appearance, the plumage being generally greenish olive above, and pale grey below. Some species have a white or bright yellow throat, breast or lower parts, and several have buff flanks. As their common name implies, many species have a conspicuous ring of tiny white feathers around their eyes. The scientific name of the group also reflects this latter feature, being derived from the Ancient Greek for “girdle-eye”. They have rounded wings and strong legs. Like many other nectivorous birds, they have slender, pointed bills, and brush-tipped tongues. The size ranges up to 15 cm (6 in.) in length.

Matthew 6:26 says, “…yet your heavenly Father feeds them.” He has made a special tongue for them to accomplish this feat.

(YouTube by Ichiro0402Nakano)

All the species of white-eyes are sociable, forming large flocks which only separate on the approach of the breeding season. They build tree nests and lay 2-4 unspotted pale blue eggs. Though mainly insectivorous, they eat nectar and fruits of various kinds. The Silvereye can be a problem in Australian vineyards, through piercing the grape allowing infection or insect damage to follow.

The White-eyes were in the Timaliidae (Babblers) Family but now are in the Zosteropidae (White-eyes) Family. (They are  constantly shuffling the families around and it is hard to maintain the web pages.) At the present time the Yuhinas and Babblers are not in with them. One thing that has kept this busy is that the White-eyes have been diversifying with rapid speciation.

“…the scientists suggest, white-eyes form new species rapidly because of their sociability, ability to survive in a variety of habitats, and a short time between generations relative to other birds. Some white-eye species may also have minimized further dispersal and gene flow by becoming sedentary over the course of evolution, similar to historically dispersive human populations that ‘settled down,’ the researchers said. “Our results indicate that high rates of diversification may have as much to do with a species’ ‘personality’ as they have to do with more classical geographic or geological drivers of ‘speciation,’ Filardi said.” (From National Geographic)

According to National Geographic’s Complete Birds of the World, the Silver-eye has migrated across 1,250 miles of open sea from between southeast Australia to Tasmania, New Zealand. That is quite a feat for birds that are only 3-6 inches long. Again, God has created much ability in these little birds.

Behold, the eye of the LORD is on those who fear Him, On those who hope in His mercy, (Psalms 33:18 NKJV)

Below is a video by Keith Blomerley of a Cape White-eye.

Birds of the World – Zosteropidae Family

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