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Light-vented Bulbul

From Opus

Photo © by Guy R.H. Miller Lamma Island, Hong Kong, 02 February 2005
Photo © by Guy R.H. Miller
Lamma Island, Hong Kong, 02 February 2005

Alternative name: Chinese Bulbul

Pycnonotus sinensis


[edit] Identification

18-19 cm (7-7½ in)

  • Black crown
  • Black moustachial stripe
  • Broad white postocular stripes extending across nape.
  • White spot on ear coverts
  • Gray mantle and rump
  • Olive-green wing coverts and tail.
  • Underparts whitish with broad gray or brownish chest band
  • Eye, bill and feet dark.

Juvenile similar to adult, but head and underparts uniform gray. Immature like adult but head and breast pattern paler and more blended.

ImmaturePhoto © by Joseph Morlan Naha, Okinawa, Japan, 4 September 2019
Photo © by Joseph Morlan
Naha, Okinawa, Japan, 4 September 2019

[edit] Distribution

Asia: found in China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, southern Japan
Southeast Asia: Indochina, Laos, Vietnam

[edit] Taxonomy

[edit] Subspecies

JuvenilePhoto © by Neil Fifer Hong Kong, 21 June 2005
Photo © by Neil Fifer
Hong Kong, 21 June 2005

There are 4 subspecies[1]:

  • P. s. sinensis:
  • Central and eastern China (Sichuan and southern Shaanxi) east to Jiangsu, and south to Guangxi, Guangdong and Fujian; also isolated sites in Beijing and Hebei); partially migratory, some moving in winter to central Vietnam, Hainan, and South Korea
  • P. s. hainanus:
  • South China (south-western Guangdong and southern Guangxi); northern Vietnam; Hainan
  • P. s. formosae:
  • P. s. orii:
  • South Ryukyu Islands (Yonaguni and Ishigaki)

Previously recognized P. s. hoyi from Middle Yangtze River Valley (Sichuan, Hubei and Hunan) was described from a juvenile specimen and is a junior synonym of nominate.

[edit] Habitat

Open woodland, srub, cultivated areas, orchards, gardens with large shrubs.

[edit] Behaviour

[edit] Diet

Their diet consists of a variety of berries, figs, fruit and vegetables, with the addition of insects such as dipteran flies.

[edit] Breeding

Nest is a firm cup made of broad grasses and lined with finer grass and rootlets. Other materials sometimes incorporated. Clutch of 3-4 eggs, rarely five.

[edit] Vocalisations

Song is a strident whistled warble often repeated. Calls rather nasal, sometimes subdued.

[edit] Movements

Largely resident but northern populations migratory.

[edit] References

  1. Clements, J. F., T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, S. M. Billerman, T. A. Fredericks, B. L. Sullivan, and C. L. Wood. 2019. The eBird/Clements Checklist of Birds of the World: v2019. Downloaded from
  2. Avibase
  3. Fishpool, L. & Tobias, J. (2019). Light-vented Bulbul (Pycnonotus sinensis). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from on 5 October 2019).
  4. Brazil, M. (2018). Birds of Japan. Helm, London. ISBN 978-1-4729-1386-9
  5. Brazil, M. (1991). The Birds of Japan. Smithsonian Inst. Press. Washington, D.C. ISBN 1-56098-030-3
  6. Takeshi Y. (2002) Seasonal variation of plumage color in Japanese Lightvented Bulbul Pycnonotus sinensis orii in the Yaeyama Group, Southern Ryukyus. Ornithol. Sci. 1: 155–158
  7. Takeshi Y. (2006) Taxonomic status of populations of the light-vented Bulbul Pycnonotus sinensis (Gmelin, 1789) (Passeriformes: Pycnonotidae) in Taiwan and the southern Ryukyus. Zoological Studies 45 (2): 168-179.

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