White eye lines

To: birding-aus <>
Subject: White eye lines
From: jenny spry <>
Date: Sun, 13 May 2012 11:06:15 +1000
Hi all,

I have a curiosity question. In the sporting world, baseball for example,
players are known to paint a black strip on their cheekbone. It is meant to
stop the glare of the sun reflecting off the cheek and interrupting their
view of the ball, target, whatever. As I look through my photos and the
field guides I am noticing a reverse strategy. Lots of bird species have
either a row of white dots or a white line on or near the bottom eyelid. As
it appears on many birds across many families I don't imagine that it is
just a cosmetic predilection for white eyeliner.

Birds I have noticed it on include Aus Spotted Crake, White-browed
Scrubwren, Black Noddy, Common Noddy, Southern Emu-wren, Shy Heathwren,
Male Magpie-lark (but not the female) etc etc. Does anyone know if there is
a reason for these small white lines near the bottom eyelid on some but not
all dark-headed species? Oh, and I don't include birds with large white
patches on the cheek or around or near the eye, just the ones with a small,
discrete, white mark or row of white dots on or near the bottom eyelid.



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