Original paper: O’Connell, D. P., et al. (2019): A sympatric pair of undescribed white-eye species (Aves: Zosteropidae: Zosterops) with different origins, Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society, Volume 186, Issue 3, Pages 701–724.

If you want to find out more, here is the paper!

Guess who has been playing hide-and-seek until 2019?

Look at that – a Wangi-Wangi White-Eye is peaking out behind these bushes on Wangi-Wangi island, close to South-East Sulawesi in Indonesia. It can be found on only this one tiny island, where it probably feeds on a diet of fruits, flowers and insects. The (provisionally named) Wangi-Wangi White-Eye (Aves: Zosteropidae: Zosterops) has remained largely unnoticed until recently, when it was discovered to be a separate species by researchers from Trinity College in Ireland. The research team has been cataloguing the biodiversity of Sulawesi and its offshore islands for 20 years. Their discovery is even more remarkable as Wangi-Wangi is a densely populated and environmentally degraded island. That the Wangi-Wangi White-Eye lives in mixed flocks with a different, distantly related species may have contributed to it staying ‘hidden’ for so long. However, its closest related species actually lives around 3000km away, which makes the Wangi-Wangi White-Eye’s evolutionary origins a bit of a mystery.


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Alina Loth