Family Bulbuls (Pycnonotidae)

Least Concern

Black-browed Mountain Greenbul (Arizelocichla fusciceps)


French: Bulbul à tête cendrée German: Schwarzbrauenbülbül Spanish: Bulbul cabecioscuro
Other common names: Black-browed Greenbul, Southern Mountain Greenbul (when treated as conspecific with A. chlorigula and A. neumanni)

Xenocichla fusciceps


, 1893,

Mt Mulanje, 4000–5000 feet [c. 1220–1525 m], Malawi


Previously treated as conspecific with A. nigriceps, but differs from A. n. nigriceps in its lack of white streaks on ear-coverts (2); paler grey crown (2); larger size (effect size for tail 1.9, score 1); different song, a few staccato notes ending with louder higher-pitched note vs a rhythmic phrase of 6–9 short nasal notes, sometimes accelerating, and on roughly one pitch (at least 2)#R; from A. n. kikuyuensis and A. n. usambarae in its lack of white streaks on ear-coverts (2); larger size (effect size for tail vs A. n. kikuyuensis 0.35, score 1); possession of one vs two song types (4) along with a number of minor plumage differences. Sometimes still considered conspecific with A. chlorigula and A. neumanni; differs from former in characters given under that species; and from latter in its smaller size (effect size for male wing 2.4, score 2); partial white eyering vs none (3); paler crown (1); duller upperparts (1). Monotypic.

What do (1) and (2) mean? Learn more about the scoring system.

SW Tanzania (Poroto Mts, Rungwe) S to extreme NE Zambia (Mafingas, Makuta and Nyika), NC & SE Malawi (S Viphya Plateau, also Zomba and Mt Mulanje) and WC Mozambique (Mt Namuli).

Descriptive notes

c. 18 cm; male 32·2–40 g, female 30–41 g. For differences from other members of A. nigriceps complex, all of which were formerly treated as conspecific, see Taxonomy... read more


Song similar to formerly conspecific A. chlorigula, but last two notes more extended, e.g... read more


Montane forest of all types, both primary and secondary, including low-canopy forest, riparian... read more

Food and feeding

Fruit, also some flowers and parts of leaves; also arthropods, including beetles (Coleoptera) and spiders (Araneae). Extensive range of... read more


Recorded Aug–Nov, especially Sept–Oct, i.e. end of dry season/start of rains (peak period of both fruit and insects), in Zambia and Malawi... read more


Mainly sedentary. Some regular downslope movement in at least parts of range, mostly during cool... read more

Status and conservation

Not globally threatened (Least Concern). Restricted-range species: confined to the Tanzania–Malawi mountains EBA, within which it occupies a range of c. 230,000 km².... read more

Recommended citation

del Hoyo, J., Collar, N. & Kirwan, G.M. (2020). Black-browed Mountain Greenbul (Arizelocichla fusciceps). 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 January 2020).