Family Bulbuls (Pycnonotidae)

Least Concern

White-spectacled Bulbul (Pycnonotus xanthopygos)


French: Bulbul d’Arabie German: Gelbsteißbülbül Spanish: Bulbul árabe
Other common names: White-eyed Bulbul

Ixus [sic] xanthopygos

Hemprich and Ehrenberg

, 1833,

Arabia = probably Sinai Peninsula (Egypt), Al Muwaylih (near north end of Red Sea, Saudi Arabia) or northern Lebanon


No hybrids with P. barbatus known, and ranges apparently barely meet, but an old record of a mixed pair reported. Considerable confusion surrounds type locality, which remains uncertain#R. Name traditionally ascribed to Ehrenberg alone#R, but explicitly attributed to Hemprich too in original description. Monotypic.


E Mediterranean from SW & SC Turkey, W Syria, Lebanon, Israel and W Jordan S to NE Egypt (Sinai), also W, C & S Saudi Arabia, Yemen, N United Arab Emirates and N & SW Oman.

Descriptive notes

c. 19 cm; 31–46 g. A medium-sized species with whitish to pale grey eyering and yellow vent; the only bulbul in its range. Head is black, browner on hindcrown,... read more


Song, from elevated but not necessarily exposed perch, a monotonous repetition of a single phrase... read more


Wide range of well-vegetated areas with low trees and bushes, in both natural vegetation and... read more

Food and feeding

Mostly fruit, also seeds and invertebrates; less frequently, nectar, leaves and flowers. Eats wide variety of wild and cultivated fruit,... read more


End Mar to end Aug in Israel, from late Apr in Oman, from Feb in Saudi Arabia (newly fledged young Jul), Mar in Gulf states, fledgling in... read more


Mostly resident; some local wandering in search of fruit sources. Altitudinal migration recorded in... read more

Status and conservation

Not globally threatened. Fairly common to abundant throughout its range. Israel population estimated at a few hundred thousand pairs in 1980s; estimated 5,000–10,000... read more

Recommended citation

Fishpool, L. & Tobias, J. (2020). White-spectacled Bulbul (Pycnonotus xanthopygos). 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 23 February 2020).