A taxonomic review of the genus Zosterops in East Africa, with a revised list of species occurring in Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania

  • David J. Pearson
  • Donald A. Turner


Species limits among East African white-eyes Zosterops are reviewed. Recent  molecular studies have revealed that arrangements such as those of Britton (1980), with just three species, and Fry (2000), with four species, are unsatisfactory. Most of the isolated highland forms which have been grouped under Z. poliogaster evolved independently and warrant treatment as full endemic species. Forms hitherto treated as subspecies of Z. senegalensis have been recovered within two divergent African clades. Within a northern clade Z. stuhlmanni appears best split pro tempore from Z. senegalensis (sensu stricto). Within a southern clade, stierlingi and anderssoni may be treated as subspecies of Z. anderssoni. The pale yellow-bellied forms, included until now within Z. abyssinicus, were found in a different lineage from northeast African grey-bellied forms, and must be treated under Z. flavilateralis. With the inclusion of Z. vaughani of Pemba Island this results in a total of eleven East African species. These are listed with details of all constituent subspecies, distributions and synonyms. Occurrence within Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda is summarized in an appendix.

Journal Identifiers

eISSN: 2313-1799
print ISSN: 0250-4162