Family Bulbuls (Pycnonotidae)

Least Concern

Square-tailed Bulbul (Hypsipetes ganeesa)


French: Bulbul des Ghats German: Indien-Rotschnabelbülbül Spanish: Bulbul de los Ghats
Other common names: Square-tailed Black Bulbul

Hypsipetes Ganeesa


, 1832,

“Dense woods of the Ghauts [sic]” = Mahabaleshwar, India


In the past treated as conspecific with H. leucocephalus, but differs from geographically (and morphologically) closest forms H. l. psaroides and H. l. nigrescens in its lack of black submoustachial area (3); darker, browner-grey plumage (1); less crested appearance (2); unforked tail (2); and somewhat different voice, with purer overslurred notes (1), many pure downslurred notes (1) and no melodious song phrases (ns[1–2])#R. Morphological distinctions between nominate race and humii minor (suggestion of noticeable size difference in body and bill in HBW poorly supported by specimen evidence), but in voice humii has mainly unmusical short phrases with many notes rather burry or guttural (3). Two subspecies recognized.

What do (1) and (2) mean? Learn more about the scoring system.
Subspecies and Distribution
  • H. g. ganeesa Sykes, 1832 – Indian Square-tailed Bulbul – Western Ghats of India S from N Maharashtra, and Shevaroy Hills in S Eastern Ghats.
  • H. g. humii (Whistler & Kinnear, 1932) – Sri Lanka Square-tailed Bulbul – Sri Lanka.
  • Descriptive notes

    21–24 cm. Large, noisy, conspicuous bulbul, appearing generally dark sooty grey, with very short crest, square-tipped tail. Has glossy black head, greenish sheen when... read more


    Often calls from exposed treetop branches, or in flight, voice much harsher and less nasal than... read more


    In India occurs in wide variety of forest types, including heavily degraded forests mixed with... read more

    Food and feeding

    Fruits and seeds; berries include Ziziphus, Eugenia, Vaccinium; also insects. In S India, visits flowers of ... read more


    Feb–May and Jul–Sept in Sri Lanka and Mar–Jun in India; at least two broods. Nest in Sri Lanka described as a small and... read more


    Essentially resident, although erratic wandering and regular altitudinal migration in India. Tends... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Common and conspicuous in much of Sri Lanka (especially at higher altitudes) and likewise in S portion of Western Ghats. Common in the Nilgiris,... read more

    Recommended citation

    Fishpool, L. & Tobias, J. (2019). Square-tailed Bulbul (Hypsipetes ganeesa). 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 15 December 2019).