Significance to humans

White-eyes are valued as cage birds for their songs in some Asian countries. Because they are difficult to breed in aviaries they are trapped legally or illegally in the wild each winter. The trappers and dealers must know how to tell the sex of the birds, as only the males sing. They are also considered pests in vineyards and orchards in Southern Africa and Australia, though they consume large quantities of aphids and other pest insects as well as soft fruit.

1. Japanese white-eye (Zosterops japonicus); 2. Seychelles gray white-eye (Zosterops modestus); 3. Cape white-eye (Zosterops pallidus). (Illustration by Wendy Baker)

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