Family Bulbuls (Pycnonotidae)

Least Concern

Eastern Mountain Greenbul (Arizelocichla nigriceps)


French: Bulbul à tête sombre German: Schwarzkappenbülbül Spanish: Bulbul del Kilimanjaro
Other common names: Mountain Greenbul, Olive-breasted Greenbul (kikuyensis)

Xenocichla nigriceps


, 1889,

Mount Kilimanjaro, 6000 feet [c. 1830 m], Tanzania


Has been treated as conspecific with A. tephrolaema, but differs in plumage and, especially, voice; recent studies, however, indicate that latter is more closely allied to A. masukuensis (see below). Until recently considered conspecific with A. chlorigula, A. neumanni and A. fusciceps (see all three, below), which phylogenetic analysis already suggested as only rather distantly related#R#R. Differences between races relatively well marked, but kikuyuensis and usambarae seemingly distinguished only by former’s much yellower lower underparts; vocally they are very similar. Nominate nigriceps appears to be distinct in possessing only one song type rather than two, but this requires confirmation. Three subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • A. n. kikuyuensis (Sharpe, 1891) – Kikuyu Mountain Greenbul – E DRCongo (Rwenzoris S to Mt Kabobo), SW and SE Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, and Mt Elgon and C Kenyan highlands.
  • A. n. nigriceps (Shelley, 1889) – Kilimanjaro Mountain Greenbul – S Kenya (Nguruman) and adjacent N Tanzania (Mt Kilimanjaro and Crater Highlands S to Mbulu and Mt Hanang).
  • A. n. usambarae (Grote, 1919) – Usambara Mountain Greenbul – SE Kenya (Taita Hills) and NE Tanzania (S Pare and W Usambara Mts).
  • Descriptive notes

    c. 18 cm; male 29–41 g, female 29–32·5 g (kikuyuensis), sexes combined 28–32 g (usambarae). A medium-sized, variably but... read more


    In nominate and race usambarae at least two types of song reported, one a deliberate... read more


    Montane forest of all types, both primary and secondary, including low-canopy forest, riparian... read more

    Food and feeding

    Fruit, also some flowers and parts of leaves; also arthropods, including beetles (Coleoptera) and spiders (Araneae). Extensive range of... read more


    Recorded Mar–Aug and Oct–Nov (may breed all year, with peak during dry season) in DRCongo; Sept–Mar in E Africa, starting... read more


    Mainly sedentary. Some regular downslope movement in at least parts of range, mostly during cool... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened (Least Concern). Race usambarae is a restricted-range taxon: confined to the Tanzania–Malawi mountains EBA. Generally common to... read more

    Recommended citation

    Fishpool, L., Tobias, J. & Kirwan, G.M. (2019). Eastern Mountain Greenbul (Arizelocichla nigriceps). 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 18 August 2019).