Family Bulbuls (Pycnonotidae)

Critically Endangered

Straw-headed Bulbul (Pycnonotus zeylanicus)


French: Bulbul à tête jaune German: Gelbscheitelbülbül Spanish: Bulbul cabeciamarillo

[Sturnus] zeylanicus

J. F. Gmelin

, 1789,

Sri Lanka; error = Java


Previously placed in monotypic Trachycomus (and long known by synonym “T. ochrocephalus”), and a return there may be justifiable on vocal, behavioural and morphological grounds. Monotypic.


Peninsular Malaysia, Singapore and Borneo (except S). Extinct on Java#R and probably in extreme S Thailand#R and on Sumatra#R.

Descriptive notes

28–29 cm; 80–93 g. Large, noisy, uniquely patterned bulbul with robust bill, sturdy legs. Forehead, crown, lores and patch under eye are golden-yellow, offset by... read more


Song frequently given, heard all year, powerful, mainly of repeated two-note phrases producing rich... read more


Almost exclusively along banks of rivers and streams, usually where bordered by broadleaf evergreen... read more

Food and feeding

Diet primarily berries and other fruit, and seeds; also arthropods, some molluscs, occasionally small invertebrates. Eats figs (including... read more


Usually breeds in Jan–Sept; in Peninsular Malaysia nestbuilding recorded Dec–Jul and laying in Jan–Jun and Aug; on Borneo... read more



Status and conservation

CRITICALLY ENDANGERED. CITES II. Rare to extremely rare almost throughout its range. Global population estimated at 600–1700 mature individuals in 2016. Apparently... read more

Recommended citation

Fishpool, L., Tobias, J. & Sharpe, C.J. (2020). Straw-headed Bulbul (Pycnonotus zeylanicus). 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 21 January 2020).