Family Bulbuls (Pycnonotidae)

Least Concern

Ashy Bulbul (Hemixos flavala)


French: Bulbul à ailes vertes German: Indien-Weißkehlbülbül Spanish: Bulbul ceniciento

H[emixos]. flavala


, 1845,



Often treated as conspecific with H. castanonotus and H. cinereus (and by extension also H. connectens), but morphological and vocal distinctness of constituent taxa suggests that they are best viewed as separate species; full review necessary to determine relationships. Isolated race remotus is notably divergent, differing in its pale dull brown upperparts with slightly darker crown (3) and possibly rather less strong yellow edgings on wings (1), but brown tinge to breast mentioned in HBW is not apparent; no obvious differences in voice discernible from limited available recordings. S Myanmar–W Thailand race hildebrandi said also to occur in N Vietnam#R, range thus being divided into two by bourdellei; further research needed. Five subspecies provisionally recognized.

What do (1) and (2) mean? Learn more about the scoring system.
Subspecies and Distribution
  • H. f. flavala Blyth, 1845 – Ashy Bulbul – Himalayas from N India (E from E Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand, including S Assam hills) E to SE Tibet, SW, W & N Myanmar and S China (W Yunnan), and NE Bangladesh (Sylhet).
  • H. f. bourdellei Delacour, 1926 – S China (S Yunnan), E Myanmar, NE Thailand and N & C Laos.
  • H. f. hildebrandi A. O. Hume, 1874 – S Myanmar and W Thailand; this race claimed in N Vietnam (Tonkin)#R, perhaps E to S China (SW Guangxi)#R.
  • H. f. davisoni A. O. Hume, 1877 – S Myanmar (N Tenasserim) and SW Thailand.
  • H. f. remotus (Deignan, 1957) – Brown-backed Bulbul – S Laos, S Vietnam (S Annam) and SW & extreme NE Cambodia#R.
  • Descriptive notes

    20–21 cm. Medium-large, dark, conspicuous bulbul, crown feathers often raised into full rounded crest; throat feathers often puffed out. Nominate race has crown dark... read more


    Song, given throughout year, a variety of simple phrases, mostly short, quick, perky and metallic,... read more


    Broadleaf evergreen forest, pine (Pinus) forest, bamboo patches, edges and nearby... read more

    Food and feeding

    Fruit, insects and a variety of other items. Feeds on flowers and fruit of Leucospectrum and Heptapleurum in Myanmar;... read more


    Breeds Apr–Jul. Reports of male assisting with nest-building and incubation require confirmation. Nest a compact cup-shaped structure... read more


    Resident, subject to altitudinal movements.

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Generally scarce and local in Nepal, NE India (e.g. Assam and Meghalaya) and N Myanmar (e.g. Chindwin); regular in forests of NE Bangladesh (Sylhet... read more

    Recommended citation

    Fishpool, L. & Tobias, J. (2018). Ashy Bulbul (Hemixos flavala). 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 18 March 2018).