Family Bulbuls (Pycnonotidae)

Least Concern

Red-eyed Bulbul (Pycnonotus brunneus)


French: Bulbul aux yeux rouges German: Rotaugenbülbül Spanish: Bulbul ojirrojo
Other common names: Asian Red-eyed Bulbul

[Pycnonotus] brunneus


, 1845,

Melaka, Peninsular Malaysia


May warrant placement with P. erythropthalmos in a separate genus; both appear rather distantly related to others in present genus. Race zapolius barely distinguishable, and perhaps better synonymized; form on Tioman I (off E Peninsular Malaysia) previously misidentified as belonging to this race. Proposed race zaphaeus (Pulau Matasiri, off SE Borneo) indistinguishable from nominate. Two subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • P. b. brunneus Blyth, 1845 – S Myanmar (Tenasserim S of c. 12.5° N), extreme S Thailand, Peninsular Malaysia (including Tioman I), Sumatra (including Banyak, Nias, Batu, probably also Bangka I) and Borneo (including Banggi, Karimata and Matasiri Is).
  • P. b. zapolius Oberholser, 1917 – Anamba Is.
  • Descriptive notes

    19 cm; 20–37 g. A nondescript bulbul, almost uniformly brown in colour. Nominate has head (except throat) and upperparts warm olive-brown, upperwing with faint lighter... read more


    Series of high-pitched bubbling notes, the last ones rising sharply, “pri-pri-pri-pri-pri-pit... read more


    Broadleaf evergreen forest and peatswamp-forest (mature and disturbed), particularly at edges and... read more

    Food and feeding

    Fruit, including berries, and seeds; also invertebrates. One adult seen to carry a lizard’s tail, perhaps for nestlings. Fruit taken... read more


    Feb–Oct. Nest a deep open cup, external dimensions 10 cm across and 6·5 cm deep, cup diameter 7 cm and depth 3·6 cm,... read more



    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Generally fairly common throughout range. Tolerant of fairly severe habitat disturbance, and unlikely to be at risk. Nevertheless, total numbers must... read more

    Recommended citation

    Fishpool, L. & Tobias, J. (2019). Red-eyed Bulbul (Pycnonotus brunneus). 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 8 December 2019).