Family Bulbuls (Pycnonotidae)

Least Concern

Himalayan Bulbul (Pycnonotus leucogenys)


French: Bulbul à joues blanches German: Himalajabülbül Spanish: Bulbul cariblanco

Brachypus leucogenys

J. E. Gray

, 1835,



Hybridizes with P. leucotis in E Afghanistan and N Pakistan (putative race humii represents a hybrid swarm) and often treated as conspecific, but differs morphologically, and hybridization zone is relatively abrupt. Form described as Molpastes magrathi is a hybrid between present species and race intermedius of P. cafer. Proposed race picru (Afghanistan, Pakistan, Kashmir) poorly differentiated, based on clinal size difference, and appears untenable. Species name often spelt leucogenis; original description contained both spellings, but the two may or may not have appeared simultaneously; long-established leucogenys provisionally retained, pending further investigation#R. Monotypic.


E Afghanistan and Himalayas of N Pakistan E through Nepal to NE India (at least to R Dihang, in NE Arunachal Pradesh).

Descriptive notes

19–20 cm; 34–38 g. ­Medium-sized, jaunty, conspicuous bulbul with prominent forward-pointing crest. Has prominently white cheeks, black crescent at base of... read more


Song a short, loud, burbling phrase with some notes raspy, others clear, e.g. “chik, chek,... read more


Breeds in wooded valleys, also bushy hillsides, often covered with wild raspberry (Rubus)... read more

Food and feeding

Diet includes berries and other fruits, e.g. Carissa opaca and mistletoes (Loranthaceae), as well as variety of buds and seeds;... read more


Apr–Aug, rarely Mar. Nest built mainly or entirely by female, a shallow, sometimes flimsy, cup-shaped structure of fibres, woody... read more


Resident in many areas (e.g. Kashmir), but prone to seasonal or altitudinal migrations in others.... read more

Status and conservation

Not globally threatened. Generally common to abundant, e.g. in Himachal Pradesh, Kashmir, Nepal etc. Benefits from deforestation and lives commensally with humans; unlikely... read more

Recommended citation

Fishpool, L. & Tobias, J. (2020). Himalayan Bulbul (Pycnonotus leucogenys). 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 22 February 2020).