|Location of the Togian Islands with islands where the species has been found marked in red
The Togian white-eye (Zosterops somadikartai) is a species of bird in the family Zosteropidae.
It is found in the Togian Islands of Indonesia, where it is endemic. The species was first spotted by University of Indonesia researcher Mochamad Indrawan and his colleague Sunarto in 1997,and formally described in 2008. The species is named after Soekarja Somadikarta, a prominent Indonesian ornithologist. Unlike most species in the genus it lacks a white-ring around the eye.
The species is believed to be endangered,although it has not yet been assessed by the IUCN.
The Sulawesi region is believed to have at least 9-10 species that are found in isolated islands. This isolation has led to speciation with differences in morphology and vocalizations. This new species is most similar to the black-crowned white-eye (Zosterops atrifrons) but lacks the white eye ring which is narrow but conspicuous even in juvenile black-crowned white-eyes. The Togian white-eye has a less extensive black cap, clearer yellow throat, distinct pale base to the bill and reddish (brown in the black-crowned) iris. The species is separated from Zosterops surdus of the west-central Sulawesi by the paler and brighter olive above and clearer yellow on the throat. It differs from Zosterops subatrifrons of Peleng and Banggai Islands by the lack of the white eye ring, greyer breast and less extensive black crown. Zosterops anomalus of southern Sulawesi also lacks a white eye ring but it has tiny white specks around the orbital skin. Differences in the pitch and modulation of the song of Z. somadikartai are noted in comparisons with other Zosterops species known from the region.
The holotype was collected from Pulau Malenge close at an elevation of about 50 m above sea level. It has also been observed on Malenge, Binuang, Talatakoh Island and two sites at Batudaka Island all at locations near the coast. The habitats included mangrove to secondary vegetation and gardens consisting of coconut, clove, cacao and durian. The birds were found to be gregarious, moving in flocks of twos and threes.
The birds were not detected on the Togian and the Walea Islands. Surveys suggested that the entire population was found in an area of less than 5000 km2 and therefore fulfilling the IUCN criteria for "Endangered" status (EN, B, 1, a, b, iii).
Zosterops is a genus of passerine birds containing the typical white-eyes in the white-eye family Zosteropidae. The genus has the largest number of species in the white-eye family. They occur in the Afrotropical, Indomalayan, and Australasian realms. Typical white-eyes have a length of between 8 and 15 cm. Their most characteristic feature is a conspicuous white feather ring around the eye, though some species lack it. The species in this group vary in the structural adaptations of the tongue. The Zosterops [griseotinctus] group is an example of a "great speciator" inhabiting a vast area and showing a remarkable morphological differentiation on islands, some of which maybe as close as 2 km (1.2 mi) apart.
The Indian white-eye, formerly the Oriental white-eye, is a small passerine bird in the white-eye family. It is a resident breeder in open woodland on the Indian subcontinent. They forage in small groups, feeding on nectar and small insects. They are easily identified by the distinctive white eye-ring and overall yellowish upperparts. The range previously extended eastwards to Southeast Asia, Indonesia and Malaysia. Their name was recently changed due to previous members of Zosterops palpebrosus in Southeast Asia being renamed to a new species, making the Indian White-eye a more geographically accurate term for this species.
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The Togian Islands are an archipelago of 56 islands and many offshore islets, situated in the Gulf of Tomini, off the coast of Central Sulawesi, in Indonesia. The largest islands are Batudaka, Togean, Talatako and Una-Una. There are 59 villages on the islands, with one settled by the Bajau people, more commonly known as the sea gypsies.
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Soekarja Somadikarta is an Indonesian ornithologist and a professor emeritus at the University of Indonesia. He has been described as "the father of Indonesian Ornithology who also pioneered the forerunner of systematic bird observation research in Indonesia."
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