Red-whiskered Bulbul

Red-whiskered Bulbul Pycnonotus jocosus is a popular cage bird with feral populations in Japan, Australia, the United States, and elsewhere, including places outside natural range in China (has bred in Shanghai). Natural range stretches from India to southern China (southeast Tibet to southern Guangdong and Hainan) and Southeast Asia. Two races occur in China: jocosus in southern China (with the possible addition of hainanensis in southern Guangdong) and monticola in southeastern Tibet and southern Yunnan. Sociable, noisy, often in parks and gardens, even in large cities; favors lightly wooded habitat and secondary growth. Conspicuous pointed black crest and diagnostic red patch behind ear make this slender bulbul easy to recognize. Dull brown above, but with black neck sides, and white below, with red vent. White cheek separated from white chin by thin black line. Black “spurs” on sides of breast often meet to form band in monticola, but in other subspecies the band is always incomplete. Juvenile duller, lacks red “whiskers.” Sooty-headed bulbul has weak crest and lacks red auricular patch. Chatters loudly. Song rich and musical. — Craig Brelsford

THE BULBULS OF CHINA covers most members of Pycnonotidae in China. Click any link below:

White-throated Bulbul Alophoixus flaveolus
Puff-throated Bulbul A. pallidus
Striated Bulbul Alcurus striatus
Grey-eyed Bulbul Iole propinqua
Ashy Bulbul Hemixos flavala
Chestnut Bulbul H. castanonotus
Mountain Bulbul Ixos mcclellandii
Brown-eared Bulbul Hypsipetes amaurotis
Black Bulbul H. leucocephalus
Black-headed Bulbul Brachypodius melanocephalos
Black-crested Bulbul Rubigula flaviventris
Crested Finchbill Spizixos canifrons
Collared Finchbill S. semitorques
Stripe-throated Bulbul Pycnonotus finlaysoni
Flavescent Bulbul P. flavescens
Brown-breasted Bulbul P. xanthorrhous
Light-vented Bulbul P. sinensis
Red-whiskered Bulbul P. jocosus
Yellow-vented Bulbul P. goiavier
Red-vented Bulbul P. cafer
Sooty-headed Bulbul P. aurigaster
Himalayan Bulbul P. leucogenys


Daniel Bengtsson served as chief ornithological consultant for Craig Brelsford’s Photographic Field Guide to the Birds of China, from which this species description is drawn.

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