Family Bulbuls (Pycnonotidae)

Least Concern

White-eared Bulbul (Pycnonotus leucotis)


French: Bulbul à oreillons blancs German: Weißohrbülbül Spanish: Bulbul orejiblanco

Ixos leucotis


, 1836,

Karachi, Sind, Pakistan


Hybridizes with P. leucogenys in E Afghanistan and N Pakistan (which see). Elsewhere, sometimes hybridizes with P. cafer, including in Oman (where latter is introduced). Old record of mixed pair of present species and P. barbatus, but no hybrids known (and ranges apparently do not meet). Race mesopotamia (subsequently emended to “mesopotamiae”, but this an unjustified emendation) only marginally differentiated and its validity requires review. Proposed races farahensis (Afghanistan) and dactylus (Saudi Arabia) not reliably distinguishable. Two subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • P. l. mesopotamia Ticehurst, 1918 – E & SE Iraq (probably expanding W to Syria#R), S Iran (populations in Tehran and N Iran probably introduced#R) and Kuwait; also E Saudi Arabia (and probably introduced inland, at Riyadh#R) S to United Arab Emirates, Qatar and Oman (probably introduced).
  • P. l. leucotis (Gould, 1836) – SE Afghanistan, Pakistan (except far N) and NW India (E to W Uttar Pradesh and N Madhya Pradesh, also NW Maharashtra).
  • Descriptive notes

    17·5–19 cm; 18–28 g (nominate), 29–35 g (mesopotamia). Medium-sized, lively, conspicuous bulbul, virtually uncrested. Has black head and... read more


    Song a brief, rapid complex chatter, sometimes preceded by a few dry chirps; generally quicker,... read more


    Dry woodland, thorn-scrub, semi-desert scrub (with Capparis, Salvadora and ... read more

    Food and feeding

    Feeds on fruit (including Capparis, Ziziphus, Salvadora) and buds, also nectar (e.g. Capparis); also... read more


    Feb–Sept; usually Apr–Jul in Iraq and Jul–Sept in India (Punjab and Gujarat). Trios of adults regularly seen during... read more


    Largely resident, but subject to local movements; poorly understood seasonal migrations. In lower-... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Locally common and conspicuous in many regions, including N India, much of Pakistan (e.g. Baluchistan), S Iraq and lower reaches of R Euphrates.... read more

    Recommended citation

    Fishpool, L. & Tobias, J. (2020). White-eared Bulbul (Pycnonotus leucotis). 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 February 2020).