Updated: Jul 15, 2019
Sitting on the bird bath
The Silvereye is a small bird with a conspicuous ring of white feathers around the eye, and belongs to a group of birds known as white-eyes. The Silvereye shows interesting plumage variations across its range. The grey back and olive-green head and wings are found in birds through the east, while western birds have a uniformly olive-green back. Breeding birds of the east coast have yellow throats, pale buff flanks (side of the belly) and white on the undertail. Tasmanian birds have grey throats, chestnut flanks and yellow on the undertail. To complicate this, the birds in the east have regular migrations within Australia and may replace each other in their different areas for parts of the year. Birds in Western Australia have yellowish olive, rather than grey, backs.
There is only one similar species found on Australia's mainland. The Yellow White-eye, Z. luteus, lives in Australia's north and north-west. It is more brightly coloured above, is lemon yellow below and has a smaller white eye-ring. The ranges of the two species do overlap slightly.
Silvereyes are more common in the south-east of Australia, but their range extends from Cape York Peninsula, Queensland, through the south and south-west to about Shark Bay, Western Australia. They are also found in Tasmania.
Silvereyes may occur in almost any wooded habitat, especially commercial orchards and urban parks and gardens.
In the south of their range, Silvereyes move north each autumn, and move back south in late winter to breed.
Silvereyes feed on insect prey and large amounts of fruit and nectar, making them occasional pests of commercial orchards. Birds are seen alone, in pairs or small flocks during the breeding season, but form large flocks in the winter months.
Silvereye pairs actively defend a small territory. The nest is a small, neatly woven cup of grasses, hair, and other fine vegetation, bound with spider web. It is placed in a horizontal tree fork up to 5m above the ground. The nest is constructed by both sexes, who both also incubate the bluish-green eggs. If conditions are suitable two to three clutches will be raised in a season.