Family Bulbuls (Pycnonotidae)

Least Concern

Brown-breasted Bulbul (Pycnonotus xanthorrhous)


French: Bulbul à poitrine brune German: Braunbrustbülbül Spanish: Bulbul pechipardo

Pycnonotus xanthorrhous

J. Anderson

, 1869,

Manyun, near Lienshan, west Yunnan, China


Validity of race andersoni questionable, as its purported characters (shade of plumage, extent of breastband) may be to large extent due to wear, fading and specimen preparation; intergrades said to occur where it overlaps with nominate in S China (N & SE Yunnan). Two subspecies provisionally recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • P. x. andersoni (Swinhoe, 1870) – C & S China (SE Gansu, S Shaanxi, Sichuan and N Yunnan E to S Jiangsu, Zhejiang, Jiangxi and Fujian, S to N Guangdong).
  • P. x. xanthorrhous J. Anderson, 1869 – SE Tibet, S China (SE Sichuan, Guizhou and SW Hunan S to S Yunnan and the Yao Shan, in Guangxi), N & E Myanmar (including Ruby Mines district and Southern Shan States), NW Thailand, N Laos and N Vietnam (W Tonkin).
  • Descriptive notes

    20 cm; 24–31 g. Medium-large, noisy, conspicuous bulbul. Crown to below eyes, nape, lores and moustachial streak are black; minute blood-coloured spot at base of lower... read more


    Song a repeated quick simple “chirriwu’i whi’chu whirri’ui” etc.... read more


    Secondary growth, scrub, tall grass, gardens, thickets, clearings and streamside vegetation in... read more

    Food and feeding

    Fruit, also seeds, and insects. Individuals in Myanmar seen to pluck fruit from variety of plants, including Heptapleurum (... read more


    Season Apr–Aug, mainly May–Jun. Builds typical cup-shaped nest, usually fairly loose but sometimes more compact, usually c.1 m... read more


    Resident; possibly shifts downslope during winter, at least in harsh conditions.

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Locally common across a broad range. Abounds in agricultural landscapes in S China (e.g. Guizhou), and is fairly common in much of Myanmar (e.g.... read more

    Recommended citation

    Fishpool, L. & Tobias, J. (2019). Brown-breasted Bulbul (Pycnonotus xanthorrhous). 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 12 December 2019).