Styan’s Bulbul

Styan's Bulbul
Styan’s Bulbul Pycnonotus taivanus, Pingtung County (22.008002, 120.757265), southern Taiwan, February. (Craig Brelsford)

Reasons natural but mainly man-made have earned Styan’s Bulbul Pycnonotus taivanus vulnerable status. The main problem is hybridization with the closely related Light-vented Bulbul P. sinensis, a process that occurs in the natural overlap zone of the two species but that has been accelerated by the alteration of habitat (both species occur around agricultural land) and the release of Light-vented Bulbul in Buddhist ceremonies. Endemic to Taiwan, Styan’s Bulbul, also known as Taiwan Bulbul, holds on in the lowlands and hills of southern and eastern Taiwan, but genetically pure birds may exist only in Taitung County in the extreme southeast of the island. Plumage generally follows olive, grey, and white pattern of Light-vented Bulbul, but Styan’s Bulbul has top of head completely black (no white stripe behind eye), a large white ear patch, and a prominent black moustachial stripe. Also has orange dot at base of bill (yellow in hybrids). Vocalizations like Light-vented Bulbul. — Craig Brelsford


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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