Family Bulbuls (Pycnonotidae)

Least Concern

Black-fronted Bulbul (Pycnonotus nigricans)


French: Bulbul brunoir German: Feueraugenbülbül Spanish: Bulbul encapuchado
Other common names: African Red-eyed Bulbul

Turdus nigricans


, 1818,

banks of the Orange River in Namaqualand, Namibia–South Africa border


Parapatric and locally sympatric with both P. capensis and P. barbatus, and hybridizes extensively with both in narrow transition zones along at least part of boundaries between respective distributions. Nominate race intergrades with superior over a broad front along middle R Orange and in Griqualand West (South Africa). Proposed race grisescentior indistinguishable from nominate. Two subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • P. n. nigricans (Vieillot, 1818) – SW & S Angola, Namibia and Botswana S to N South Africa (S to Northern Cape and middle R Orange); non-breeding extreme SW Zambia and NW Zimbabwe.
  • P. n. superior Clancey, 1959 – South Africa (North West Province S to Eastern Cape) and Lesotho.
  • Descriptive notes

    19–21 cm; 21·5–37·5 g. A medium-sized bulbul with slightly peaked crown, giving distinctive, squarish head shape. Has head and neck black, ring of... read more


    Loud song of repeated phrases, each of up to c. 7 notes, given generally only by male in the wild (... read more


    Dry woodland, acacia (Acacia) savanna, semi-arid shrubland, riverine bush, and shrubby... read more

    Food and feeding

    Large range of wild and cultivated fruits; also arthropods and nectar. Fruits taken include, among others, figs (Ficus), ... read more


    Recorded mainly in Oct–Dec in Botswana, Nov–Jan in South Africa and Dec–Feb in Namibia, and is stimulated by first rains... read more


    Wanders during dry non-breeding season. In addition, parts of some populations undertake often wide... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Common and widely distributed. Thrives in gardens and orchards, and has benefited from the provisioning of water for stock animals in arid areas.... read more

    Recommended citation

    Fishpool, L. & Tobias, J. (2020). Black-fronted Bulbul (Pycnonotus nigricans). 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 23 January 2020).