The Silvereye is a small bird that is widely distributed in Eastern and Southern Australia all the way across to the South West of Western Australia. They are omnivorous feeding on insects as well as fruit and nectar.
The most significant thing about the Silvereye is the ring of white feathers around its eye. It makes it so conspicuous there is no mistaking this bird.
A small bird 11 to 13 cm in length and around 10 g in weight, it has a conspicuous ring of white feathers around its eye. There are a number of plumage variations depending on the sub-species. Generally it has olive-green wings and either a grey or olive-green back, a lighter coloured throat – yellow or grey, flanks that range from chestnut to pale buff, and an undertail that may be white or yellow. Within Australia there are seasonal migrations and the ranges of the sub-species overlap.
Silvereyes breed in spring and early summer (mainly between September and December), making a tiny cup of grass, moss, hair, spiderweb, and thistledown, suspended from a branch fork in the outer reaches of small trees or shrubs. They lay two to four pale blue eggs, and two (or sometimes three) broods may be raised during each breeding season. The eggs hatch after about 11 days, and the young fledge after another 10 days. The juveniles are independent at 3 weeks and able to breed at 9 months.
In late summer silvereyes gather into flocks and many Australian birds migrate, making their way north along the coast and ranges, foraging busily during the day with much calling and quick movement through the shrubbery, then flying long distances through the night.
Most of the Tasmanian population crosses the Bass Strait (an astonishing feat for 12 cm birds weighing only a few grams) and disperses into Victoria, New South Wales, and south-eastern Queensland. The populations of these areas tend to head further north; while the northernmost birds remain resident all year round. In western Australia they have been recorded moving between the mainland and offshore islands.