Australian Silver Eyes (Portrait)


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The glorious blossoms that herald the arrival of Spring have long been on my wish list of subjects to paint. Such delicate and beautiful flowers deserve a small and dainty bird to adorn them.

Interestingly, there is a bird found in Japan (the Warbling White-eye), which is from the same family (Zosteropidae) and looks nearly identical to these birds. It has been depicted in Japanese art on numerous occasions, often perched in pink blossom! So this could quite feasibly be a Japanese scene.

Silvereyes are small, gold-green and grey warblers with a conspicuous ring of white feathers around the eyes. Their tongues are brush-tipped for mopping up sugary liquids. They also feed on insects.

Australian Silvereyes are a highly variable species with 9 currently recognised subspecies all with small plumage variations. I've depicted subspecies "westernensis", found in south-eastern Australia.


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