Family Bulbuls (Pycnonotidae)

Least Concern

Black-capped Bulbul (Pycnonotus melanicterus)


French: Bulbul à tête noire German: Kappenbülbül Spanish: Bulbul carinegro
Other common names: Black-crested Bulbul (when treated as conspecific with species previously included herein)

Muscicapa melanictera

J. F. Gmelin

, 1789,

Sri Lanka


Formerly treated as conspecific with P. gularis, P. flaviventris, P. dispar and P. montis, and all may merit placement in a separate genus, Rubigula. Monotypic.


Sri Lanka.

Descriptive notes

18–19 cm. Medium-sized, noisy, conspicuous bulbul with strongly rounded tail, half of basal portion of which covered by elongated uppertail-coverts and undertail-... read more


Broad repertoire of sweet, mellow, minor-key piping whistles and sharper calls. Staccato, jerky-... read more


Open woodland, second growth at various stages of regeneration, luxuriant forest, gallery forest,... read more

Food and feeding

Thought to be mainly insectivorous; also eats small berries and seeds. Snails and minute ammonites have been found in stomachs of specimens... read more


Breeds Mar–Sept; probably double-brooded. Nest a small flimsy cup, usually loosely constructed, made of fine roots, grass, creeper... read more



Status and conservation

Not globally threatened. Generally common, one of the commonest forest birds in Sri Lanka. Generally absent from arid sector, but occurs in several protected areas, including... read more

Recommended citation

Fishpool, L. & Tobias, J. (2019). Black-capped Bulbul (Pycnonotus melanicterus). 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 8 December 2019).