Family Bulbuls (Pycnonotidae)

Least Concern

Cabanis's Greenbul (Phyllastrephus cabanisi)


French: Bulbul de Cabanis German: Cabanisbülbül Spanish: Bulbul de Cabanis

Criniger cabanisi


, 1882,



In the past sometimes treated as conspecific with P. fischeri. Race placidus sometimes treated as separate species, being browner than others, but differences (including vocal) relatively minor, with area of intergradation with race sucosus. Proposed Kenyan races nandensis (N Nandi Forest) and ngurumanensis (Nguruman Range) treated as synonyms of sucosus, as differences in coloration on which descriptions were based are small and within its own range of variation (although birds from Nandi rather greener above, with yellow margins of flight-feathers). Three subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • P. c. sucosus Reichenow, 1903 – extreme S South Sudan, Kenya (W of Rift Valley), N, SW & E Uganda, E DRCongo (S to Mt Kabobo), Rwanda and NW Tanzania.
  • P. c. cabanisi (Sharpe, 1882) – Cabanis’s Greenbul – NC Angola, SE DRCongo, N Zambia (except extreme NW) and W & SW Tanzania (S to Ufipa).
  • P. c. placidus (Shelley, 1889) – Placid Greenbul – Kenya (E of Rift Valley), N, E & S Tanzania (W to Rungwe in S), extreme NE Zambia (Mafinga Mts), Malawi and NW Mozambique.
  • Descriptive notes

    16·5–19 cm; male 33–42 g, female 27–39 g (cabanisi), male 22–31 g, female 19–26 g (sucosus), male 21–32 g, female... read more


    Race placidus contact call a harsh, low grating “churr” or “prrp-prrp... read more


    Lowland, mid-altitude and montane primary and secondary forest of various types, gallery forest,... read more

    Food and feeding

    Arthropods, including grasshoppers (Orthoptera), beetles (Coleoptera), mantids, caterpillars, ants (Hymenoptera), spiders (Araneae); also... read more


    Nesting recorded in Dec–Jan, Mar–May and Jul (thought to occur all year) in DRCongo, Dec–Mar in Sudan, Sept–Jan in... read more


    Resident. One territory in Malawi was occupied by same group of birds for at least seven years, but... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Common and widespread. In Tanzania, density of 120 individuals/100 ha recorded Udzungwa Mts, and another study in Eastern Arc range reported a... read more

    Recommended citation

    Fishpool, L. & Tobias, J. (2019). Cabanis's Greenbul (Phyllastrephus cabanisi). 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 19 August 2019).