|Adult, subspecies squamiceps, Kyoto (Japan)|
The brown-eared bulbul (Hypsipetes amaurotis) is a medium-sized bulbul which is found from the Russian Far East (including Karafuto (or Sakhalin)), northeastern China, the Korean Peninsula, and Japan, south to Taiwan and the Babuyan and Batanes island chains in the north of the Philippines, occasionally being found on Luzon. It is extremely common within the northern parts of its range and is a familiar bird throughout Japan, where it is called hiyodori (ヒヨドリ), and Korea, where it is known as jikbakguri (직박구리). In Taiwan, on the other hand, it is rare and limited to Orchid Island .
Reaching a length of about 28 cm (11 in), brown-eared bulbuls are grayish-brown, with brown cheeks (the "brown ears" of the common name) and a long tail. While they prefer forested areas, they readily adapt to urban and rural environments, and their noisy squeaking calls are a familiar sound in most areas of Japan.
Historically, brown-eared bulbuls were migratory birds moving to the southern parts of its range in winter, but they have taken advantage of changes in crops and farming practices in recent decades to overwinter in areas farther north than previously possible. As a result, they are considered agricultural pests in some areas of Japan. Most brown-eared bulbuls still move south in winter, often forming huge flocks during migration. In summer, brown-eared bulbuls primarily feed on insects, while they primarily take fruits and seeds in the fall and winter.
- Gray, G.R. (1840): A list of the genera of birds with an indication of the typical species of each genus compiled from various sources (1st edition): 28. London. Available at Gallica (search for "Gray")
- Gregory, Steven M. (2000): Nomenclature of the Hypsipetes Bulbuls (Pycnonotidae). Forktail 16: 164-166. PDF fulltext
- Moyle, Robert G. & Marks, Ben D. (2006): Phylogenetic relationships of the bulbuls (Aves: Pycnonotidae) based on mitochondrial and nuclear DNA sequence data. Mol. Phylogenet. Evol. 40(3): 687-695. doi:10.1016/j.ympev.2006.04.015 (HTML abstract)
- Oliveros, C. H., and R.G. Moyle. 2010. Origin and diversification of Philippine bulbuls. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 54: 822–832.
Media related to Microscelis amaurotis at Wikimedia Commons