Family Bulbuls (Pycnonotidae)

Near Threatened

Scaly-breasted Bulbul (Pycnonotus squamatus)


French: Bulbul écaillé German: Schuppenbülbül Spanish: Bulbul escamoso

Ixos squamatus


, 1828,



Formerly placed with P. cyaniventris in a separate genus, Ixidia, on account of morphological, behavioural and vocal differences from “typical” members of current genus; both sometimes included instead in Rubigula. Name webberi sometimes erroneously emended to weberi, which tallies with name of collector, but no internal evidence in original description to justify this so original spelling must stand. Three subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • P. s. webberi (A. O. Hume, 1879) – extreme S Myanamar (extreme S Tenasserim), S Thailand, Peninsular Malaysia (including Langkawi) and Sumatra.
  • P. s. squamatus (Temminck, 1828) – Java.
  • P. s. borneensis Chasen, 1941 – Borneo.
  • Descriptive notes

    14–16 cm; 19–23 g (webberi), 22–24 g (borneensis). Small, quiet, strikingly patterned bulbul with relatively slender bill. Nominate race... read more


    Calls frequently while foraging, with a series of sharp high-pitched “wit” or “... read more


    Broadleaf evergreen forest, either mature or disturbed, but with tall cover remaining or well... read more

    Food and feeding

    Frugivorous, apparently also insectivorous. Feeds on wide variety of berries and other small fruits, including figs (Ficus), ... read more


    Poorly known. One dependent fledgling in Peninsular Malaysia on 21st Jul. Nest undescribed; probably builds in canopy or subcanopy.... read more


    None reported, but fluctuating numbers at sites suggest some form of movement, local or otherwise.

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Currently considered Near Threatened. Widespread and locally fairly common in foothill forest, a habitat under less pressure than lowland forest in... read more

    Recommended citation

    Fishpool, L. & Tobias, J. (2019). Scaly-breasted Bulbul (Pycnonotus squamatus). 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 11 December 2019).