White-eyed Tody-Tyrant/ Todirostre zostérops/ Hemitriccus zosterops


The masculine generic name «Hemitriccus» derives from the Greek «hēmi»: small, and «trikkos»: small unidentified bird; in ornithology, «triccus» means «tyrant flytrap» 8 and the species name «zosterops» comes from the Greek «zōstēros»: ring and «ōpos»: eye; meaning «with eye ring.»


The white-eyed marmoset is 11.2 cm of lenght. Its upper parts are olive-brown in color, with the forehead and sides of the head more greyish. Its throat is grayish and its strong, pointed beak is black. It has fine white eye rings that give it its name. Its wings are blackish striped in light yellow. Their underparts and the underside of their remiges are light yellowish, with an olive green dotted chest and flanks.

Distribution and habitat

It is found in a strip that extends through the north of the Amazon basin and that of the Orinoco River. It is distributed from the south of Colombia, towards the east by the north of Brazil (north of the Amazon River), south of Venezuela, Guyana, Suriname and French Guiana, towards the south by the east of Ecuador and northeast of Peru.

This species is considered uncommon in its natural habitat, the middle and lower strata of the humid tropical forests, up to 1000 meters of altitude.


Original description

The species H. zosterops was first described by the Austrian ornithologist August von Pelzeln in 1868 under the scientific name Euscarthmus zosterops; the type locality is: «Marabitanas, Río Negro, Brazil».


Formerly classified in the genus Euscarthmornis and more recently in Idioptilon, both now obsolete. It was long considered conspecific with Hemitriccus griseipectus, but the two exhibit notable differences in plumage and voice. The eastern Amazon populations are vocally distinct from those west of the Branco and Negro rivers, suggesting that there may be two species involved; Birds of French Guiana were described as the subspecies rothschildi (currently synonymous with the nominal) and such a name would be available for the eastern form, if proven to be a separate species. The limits between the nominal subspecies and flaviviridis are uncertain, and their union has been proposed by some authors.

The present species was divided into H. zosterops and H. griseipectus following the South American Classification Committee (SACC) (2005).


According to the classifications of the International Ornithological Congress (IOC) and Clements Checlist v. 2018, two subspecies are recognized, with their corresponding geographical distribution:

  • Hemitriccus zosterops zosterops (Pelzeln, 1868) – southeast of Colombia (Caquetá, Vaupés), east of Ecuador and northeast of Peru (Loreto) through southern Venezuela (southern Amazonas) and most of Brazil north of the Amazon River ( Amazonas, northwest of Pará, Amapá) to eastern Suriname and French Guiana.
  • Hemitriccus zosterops flaviviridis (J. T. Zimmer, 1940) – northern Peru (central Amazonas, northern San Martín).


This is a dull little tyranid from the high dense forests. Inconspicuous bird that perches solitary or in pairs in the middle layer of the canopy, easy to be ignored until the song of the male is recognized.


The chant, repeated endlessly, is a simple staccato «pik, pik-pik-pik-pik» sometimes sped up to «pik-pik-pik-pikpikpikpik.»