The Swinhoe's white eye

Writer: Isaac Cohen  |  Editor: Liu Minxia  |  From: Shenzhen Daily

A Swinhoe's white eye perches on a tree branch in Xiangmi Park in Futian District on Jan. 2, 2021. 

The Swinhoe’s white eye (Zosterops simplex) is one of the most beautiful birds in Shenzhen, and if I am not wrong about my memory, one of the first ones I spotted when I arrived in the city and definitely the one I found to be the most astonishing due to its evident beauty.


The Swinhoe’s white eye is a very small olive green and yellow bird with a white ring around the eyes. Both females and males are very similar, having an average size of 10 cm. The female has the ability to lay up to six eggs, but normally will lay four on a nest built usually by the female using grass, twigs, mosses and even spider webs. However, males can help in the building of nests and definitely helps in the process of incubation, which lasts around 10 days before the little chicks are ready to hatch.


A Swinhoe's white eye perches on a tree branch in Litchi Park in Futian District on Jan. 17, 2021.

These fascinating birds are seen jumping from branch to branch over any kind of vegetation and moving very fast from tree to tree looking for whatever comes their way to feed on. They can be seen feeding on fruits, buds, flowers, seeds and a variety of insects.


A Swinhoe's white eye perches on a tree branch along the Dongbao River in Bao'an District on Jan. 13, 2021.

White eyes are very abundant in Shenzhen and they are also distributed throughout most of Southeast Asia. It is an animal we can see and enjoy in basically every single corner of the city. Its presence is not limited to the mountains or the big parks, so people can easily enjoy the beauty of their chirping across the whole region, which also means it is our great responsibility to take care of every single corner of our city to keep providing a clean suitable space for every single species to thrive in our beautiful urban ecosystems.