Family Bulbuls (Pycnonotidae)

Least Concern

Cape Bulbul (Pycnonotus capensis)


French: Bulbul du Cap German: Kapbülbül Spanish: Bulbul de El Cabo

Turdus capensis


, 1766,

Cape of Good Hope, South Africa


Parapatric and locally sympatric with P. nigricans and, in small area of Eastern Cape Province, with P. barbatus; hybridizes extensively with both in narrow transition zones along at least part of boundaries between respective distributions. Monotypic.


SW & S South Africa, in provinces of Northern Cape, Western Cape and Eastern Cape (from just S of R Orange, S along coast, inland to edge of Karoo, and E to R Sundays).

Descriptive notes

19–21 cm; 28–47·5 g. A medium-large bulbul with slightly peaked crown, giving distinctive, squarish head shape. Head is dark brown, blacker at side, with... read more


Song a series of short phrases, “chip-chee-woodely”, “chup-wheet-churry-up” and “pit-peet-pitmajol... read more


Range of generally shrubby habitats, including tall, shrubby fynbos, coastal scrub, dune forest,... read more

Food and feeding

Wide variety of fruits, seeds, nectar and arthropods. In one study, c. 90% of diet comprised vegetable matter, mainly fruits of 23 plant... read more


Recorded in Aug–Mar, peak Sept–Oct, in Western Cape (winter rainfall region), and in Sept–Mar, peak Oct–Nov, in... read more


Mainly sedentary; seasonal influxes occur in response to fruiting shrubs. Although some individuals... read more

Status and conservation

Not globally threatened. Locally common to abundant. Mean breeding density in an area of coastal scrub over 5 years 13·8 pairs/20 ha, range 9–19 pairs/20 ha. Has... read more

Recommended citation

Fishpool, L. & Tobias, J. (2019). Cape Bulbul (Pycnonotus capensis). 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).