Family Bulbuls (Pycnonotidae)

Least Concern

Olive-winged Bulbul (Pycnonotus plumosus)


French: Bulbul à ailes olive German: Olivschwingenbülbül Spanish: Bulbul aliverde

P[ycnonotus]. plumosus


, 1845,



Previously included in Brachypus, which may merit resurrection; further study required to clarify relationships. Until recently considered conspecific with P. cinereifrons (which see). Race hachisukae previously referred to by name insularis, but latter (preoccupied by a race of Andropadus importunus, formerly included in expanded version of present genus) replaced before 1961 and thus permanently invalid#R. Races porphyreus, hutzi and hachisukae only dubiously separable (although last two seem reasonably distinct genetically#R); full review required. Other proposed races are chiroplethis (Anamba Is), billitonis (Belitung) and sibergi (Bawean I), all barely distinguishable from nominate. Four subspecies provisionally recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • P. p. plumosus Blyth, 1845 – S Myanmar (Tenasserim S from 12.5° N), S Thailand, Peninsular Malaysia (including Tinggi I), Singapore, E Sumatra (including Riau and Lingga Archipelagos, Bangka, Belitung and other associated islands), Java (including Bawean I), Bali and W & S Borneo (including Anamba Is).
  • P. p. porphyreus Oberholser, 1912 – W Sumatra and islands (Banyak Is, Nias I, Musala I, Batu Is and Mentawai Is).
  • P. p. hachisukae Deignan, 1952 – N Borneo islands and SW Philippines (Cagayan Sulu).
  • P. p. hutzi Stresemann, 1938 – N & E Borneo.
  • Descriptive notes

    19–20·5 cm; 24–36 g. Relatively dainty, small-headed, unassuming bulbul. Nominate race has dark brown lores and eyering, grey face, olive-brown ear-coverts... read more


    Song soft and chirping, with liquid, fruity quality, similar to that of P. finlaysoni;... read more


    Very broad range of habitats, from forest edge and second growth to coastal scrub and mangroves.... read more

    Food and feeding

    Generalist, consuming berries, other fruits, invertebrates. Diverse diet includes figs (Ficus microcarpa, F. trichocarpa... read more


    Jan–Sept; almost year-round in tropical localities, e.g. on Borneo, eggs recorded Jan to early May, with nests at unknown stage and... read more



    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened (Least Concern). Generally abundant throughout much of range and species is known from a number of protected areas. Ability to tolerate broad range of... read more

    Recommended citation

    Fishpool, L., Tobias, J. & Kirwan, G.M. (2020). Olive-winged Bulbul (Pycnonotus plumosus). 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 28 January 2020).