Family Bulbuls (Pycnonotidae)

Data Deficient

Blue-wattled Bulbul (Pycnonotus nieuwenhuisii)


French: Bulbul à lunettes bleues German: Blaubrillenbülbül Spanish: Bulbul ojiazul

Poliolophus Nieuwenhuisii


, 1901,

Upper Kayan River, central Borneo


Sometimes placed in Microtarsus. Owing to its extraordinary rarity (known from two specimens, each a taxonomic type, and some observations in Brunei), present species has been suggested to be a hybrid, since an enlarged and differently coloured eyering has previously been recorded in pycnonotid hybrids#R; however, while one parent would probably be Brachypodius atriceps, a plausible second parent is much harder to match against the characters produced#R. The possibility that the form is a rare morph is discounted because it does not appropriately fit any species#R. Thus, it seems better maintained as a species at least until genetic analysis illuminates its status#R. Two subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • P. n. inexspectatus (Chasen, 1939) – NW Sumatra.
  • P. n. nieuwenhuisii (Finsch, 1901) – N & C Borneo (Brunei, Kalimantan).
  • Descriptive notes

    18 cm. Nominate race has head dark grey-brown to blackish, with vaguely hooded effect; cheeks and forehead washed greenish-olive; mantle rich olive-green, loose and plush... read more


    Unknown; “harsh but quiet notes” thought to be made by this bulbul in Brunei.


    Insufficient data. Sumatran specimen was taken in low shrubbery on a river island, at 700 m; the... read more

    Food and feeding

    Insufficient data. In Brunei, seen while feeding with other bulbuls (including Microtarsus melanoleucos and B. atriceps)... read more


    No information.


    Presumably resident; perhaps some movements in response to food supplies.

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Currently considered Data Deficient. Restricted-range species: present in the Bornean Mountains EBA and Sumatra and Peninsular Malaysia EBA.... read more

    Recommended citation

    Fishpool, L., Tobias, J. & Sharpe, C.J. (2019). Blue-wattled Bulbul (Pycnonotus nieuwenhuisii). 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 13 November 2019).