Family Bulbuls (Pycnonotidae)

Least Concern

Hairy-backed Bulbul (Tricholestes criniger)


French: Bulbul chevelu German: Borstenmantelbülbül Spanish: Bulbul peludo

Br[achypodius]. ? criniger


, 1845,

Melaka, Peninsular Malaysia


Substantial overlap in characters among all three races suggests that treatment as a variable monotypic species may be better; recent authors#R, however, imply subspecific division fairly distinctive. Proposed races minutus, xanthogenys and fulvicauda are synonyms of nominate. NE Borneo population apparently “deeply diverged in mtDNA”#R and may represent an undescribed cryptic taxon; study needed. Three subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • T. c. criniger (Blyth#R, 1845) – extreme S Myanmar (Tenasserim S of 11°30’ N), S Thailand (S of 13° N), Peninsular Malaysia (including Tioman Is) and E Sumatra.
  • T. c. sericeus Blyth, 1865 – W Sumatra (including Musala I and Batu Is) and Lingga Archipelago.
  • T. c. viridis (Bonaparte, 1854) – Borneo and N Natuna Is.
  • Descriptive notes

    16–17 cm; 12–21 g. Small, unassuming, relatively quiet bulbul, olive above, yellowish below, with slightly rounded tail, strong rictal bristles, small and weak... read more


    Presumed song a series of scratchy, chattering, warbled phrases interspersed with quavering “... read more


    Evergreen forests, either mature or regenerated back to a more or less closed-canopy condition;... read more

    Food and feeding

    A generalist, feeding on fruit and arthropods. Animal items include caterpillars, beetles (Coleoptera), small orthopterans and mantids;... read more


    Season Feb–Aug. No other information.


    Resident. Long-term mist-netting in Selangor and Negeri Sembilan (Peninsular Malaysia) revealed... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Generally common. Occurs in a range of mature forest types, and able to withstand fairly drastic fragmentation of habitat. This resilience, and the... read more

    Recommended citation

    Fishpool, L. & Tobias, J. (2020). Hairy-backed Bulbul (Tricholestes criniger). 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 January 2020).