Wednesday, September 10, 2014

The amazing Tasmanian Silvereye!

Silvereye Zosterops lateralis, Race lateralis
These little guys are amazing. I read that in early Autumn many of them migrate from Tasmania across Bass Strait to the Australian mainland only to return in August-October. I was observing this group feeding on small green insects in the northern Tasmanian town of Evandale in April this year. If I had been more cognizant of this amazing fact at the time I would have been more awe-struck in their presence! This little group may have been about to embark on a remarkable journey!

Little is known of the reasons why and how they migrate. It is wondered if they island hop along the eastern Bass Strait islands. This in turn raises another theory that this migration may be an evolutionary hangover of when Tasmania was connected to the mainland! There is a piece about the Mystery Migration of the Tiny Silvereye at ABC Science.

I have very little confidence that I could tell a Tasmanian silvereye from a mainland one (and I suspect in Southern Victoria we may share the Tasmanian race lateralis) but I'll be having a closer look from now on! A whiter throat (as distinct from yellow) and browner flanks makes your Silvereye more likely to be a Taswegian Traveller.

According to the books they'd be on their way back to Tassie now for this year's return trip but watch for them next winter along south eastern Australia!

Sharing with Wild Bird Wednesday

Bird on!


  1. Such tiny birds to make such a long migration! I wonder if they wait for favorable weather. Great photos showing their delicate shading of colors.

  2. They are splendid little birds - and, like you, I am never sure if I am looking at a Tasmanian or a mainland bird!

    Hope my blog is more than just educational!

    Cheers - Stewart M - Melbourne

  3. These are wonderful images! The birds are beautiful with their colorful plumage...and amazing as well. Thank you for sharing!

  4. They are unique. Thanks for showing them. Great shots.

  5. Beautiful photos of these pretty little birds!

  6. Great post, these birds are really cute and I like the way you captured them.

  7. Your shots are fabulous! They are so small and adorable.

  8. That was incredibly informative Pete! I had no idea. I wonder if there is any difference in those up my way?

  9. What a gorgeous little bird! The eye is so distinctive. These are wonderful photos.