Family Bulbuls (Pycnonotidae)

Least Concern

Grey-eyed Bulbul (Iole propinqua)


French: Bulbul aux yeux gris German: Grauaugenbülbül Spanish: Bulbul ojigrís

Criniger propinquus


, 1903,

Pa Mou, Tonkin, north Vietnam


All races extremely similar and may represent points on steep clines; subspecific allocation probably requires simplification, and full review needed. However, molecular study found that race cinnamomeoventris is genetically distinct and might be recognized specifically under some taxonomic concepts, whereas race lekhakuni clustered with I. viridescens in the same study, and consequently might be better considered as a race of latter#R. Proposed race lonnbergi (Pang Huai Hom and Khao Phlung, in Thailand) is a synonym of nominate. Six subspecies currently recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • I. p. propinqua (Oustalet, 1903) – Grey-eyed Bulbul – S China (S Yunnan), E Myanmar, N Thailand and N Laos.
  • I. p. aquilonis (Deignan, 1948) – N Vietnam (Tonkin, N Annam) and S China (S Guangxi).
  • I. p. simulator (Deignan, 1948) – SE Thailand, Cambodia, S Laos and S Vietnam (S Annam).
  • I. p. innectens (Deignan, 1948) – S Vietnam (Cochinchina).
  • I. p. lekhakuni (Deignan, 1954) – S Myanmar (N Tenasserim) and W Thailand (including Kanchanaburi).
  • I. p. cinnamomeoventris E. C. S. Baker, 1917 – Baker's Bulbul – S Myanmar (S Tenasserim) and peninsular Thailand.
  • Descriptive notes

    17–19 cm; 26 g. Relatively slim, dull, small-headed bulbul crown feathers often raised in slightly frizzy crest. Nominate race has crown to hindneck dull olive-rufous,... read more


    No complex song described. Distinctive loud, flat, very nasal “uuu-wit” or “... read more


    Broadleaf evergreen and mixed deciduous forest and edges; also tolerates (or even prefers)... read more

    Food and feeding

    No detailed information on diet; mainly fruit and insects. Usually solitary or in pairs, but sometimes in groups at fruiting shrubs and... read more


    At Khao Yai National Park, Thailand, overall nesting season mid Jan to at least early May; two nests, containing eggs in Mar and Apr... read more


    Apparently resident.

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened (Least Concern). Locally fairly common, but probably often overlooked owing to identification problems. Apparently scarce in S Thailand; probably not... read more

    Recommended citation

    Fishpool, L. & Tobias, J. (2020). Grey-eyed Bulbul (Iole propinqua). 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 27 February 2020).