Family Bulbuls (Pycnonotidae)

Least Concern

Brown-eared Bulbul (Hypsipetes amaurotis)


French: Bulbul à oreillons bruns German: Orpheusbülbül Spanish: Bulbul orejipardo
Other common names: Chestnut-eared Bulbul

Turdus amaurotis


, 1830,



Previously placed in Microscelis or sometimes included in Ixos, but genetic data#R#R place it in present genus. Internal taxonomy complex, e.g. true status of taxa in Ogasawara (Bonin) Is#R; further research required. In addition, proposed races hensoni (Hokkaido), kanrasani (Jeju I) and septentrionalis (S Sakhalin, non-breeding) included in nominate; insignis (SC Ryukyus) doubtfully distinct from pryeri and thus merged with it; nagamichii (islands off SE Taiwan) synonymized with stejnegeri. Race stejnegeri previously referred to as harterti, but in present genus that name is preoccupied. Race matchie previously misspelt matchiae (as in HBW). Eleven subspecies provisionally recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • H. a. amaurotis (Temminck, 1830) – S Sakhalin, Japan S from Hokkaido (including N Izu Is) and C & S Korea (including Jeju I); non-breeding also S to NE China and Ryukyu Is.
  • H. a. matchie (Momiyama, 1923) – S Izu Is (Hachijo-jima), Tanegashima and Yakushima, in S Japan.
  • H. a. ogawae E. J. O. Hartert, 1907 – Amami-Oshima and Tokunoshima, in N Ryukyu Is.
  • H. a. pryeri Stejneger, 1887 – Izena, Okinawa, Zamami, Kume and Miyako-jima, in C & S Ryukyu Is.
  • H. a. stejnegeri E. J. O. Hartert, 1907 – extreme S Ryukyus (Ishigaki, Iriomote and Yonaguni), and Lanyu (Orchid I), Lüdao (Green I) and Guishan (Turtle I), off E & SE Taiwan.
  • H. a. borodinonis (Nagamichi Kuroda, 1923) – Borodino Is (Kita-daito-jima).
  • H. a. squamiceps (Kittlitz, 1830) – #ROgasawara (Bonin) Is.
  • H. a. magnirostris E. J. O. Hartert, 1905 – Iwo Is (Kita-iwo-jima, Iwo-jima).
  • H. a. batanensis Mearns, 1907 – extreme N Philippines (Batan, Ivuhos, Sabtang, Babuyan Claro).
  • H. a. fugensis Ogilvie-Grant, 1895 – N Philippines (Calayan, Dalupiri, Fuga).
  • H. a. camiguinensis McGregor, 1907 – N Philippines (Camiguin Norte).
  • Descriptive notes

    27–29 cm; 60–90·6 g. Large, boisterous, highly conspicuous bulbul, elongated and pointed crown feathers forming slight crest; strong undulating flight.... read more


    Noisy; loud “shreep” and “weesp” notes given throughout year. In... read more


    Deciduous, mixed and evergreen forests in lowlands and foothills, to 1600 m (occasionally 2100 m)... read more

    Food and feeding

    Eats a wide variety of berries, including holly (Ilex integra); also citrus fruits (especially mikan oranges) and leaf vegetables... read more


    Apr–Jul, sometimes Aug; multi-brooded, at least in S. Builds sturdy cup-shaped nest 1·5–4·5 m up in lower... read more


    Mostly resident. N breeders (e.g. those on Hokkaido) move S or downslope from end Sept, often... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened (Least Concern). Generally abundant and conspicuous throughout Japan, particularly on smaller offshore islands. Locally common in South Korea,... read more

    Recommended citation

    Fishpool, L. & Tobias, J. (2019). Brown-eared Bulbul (Hypsipetes amaurotis). 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 20 October 2019).