Yellow-browed bulbul

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Yellow-browed bulbul
Conservation status
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Passeriformes
Family: Pycnonotidae
Genus: Acritillas
Oberholser, 1905
Species: A. indica
Binomial name
Acritillas indica
(Jerdon, 1839)

Iole indica

The yellow-browed bulbul (Acritillas indica) is a species of bulbul found in the forests of southern India and Sri Lanka. It is mainly yellow on the underside and olive above with a distinct yellow brow. They are easily located by their loud calls but tend to skulk within foliage below the forest canopy. Three subspecies are recognised within its range and its generic placement has changed over time with some considering it as a sole species in the genus Acritillas.


This bulbul is about 20 cm (7 inches) long, lacks a crest and has the upperparts olive green with a prominent yellow brow and goggle with the underparts being all yellow. The sexes do not differ in plumage. The bill is black and the iris is reddish brown. The population in the northern Western Ghats (ssp. icterica) is paler yellow than the populations further south (ssp. indica). A somewhat disjunct population is found in the Eastern Ghats. Southwestern Sri Lankan populations (ssp. gugliemi) are greener while the northern populations are included in the nominate subspecies.[2][3]

A. indica guglielmi (in Bodhinagala Forest Reserve, Sri Lanka)


A. i. icterica at Dandeli, India

The species was first described by T. C. Jerdon on the basis of specimens from the Wynaad region and given the name of Trichophorus indicus in 1839. Strickland described Criniger ictericus[4] on the basis of a specimen that was later identified as being from Mahabaleshwar and this name has been used for the subspecies name given for the populations of the northern Western Ghats (north of Goa). The placement Iole icterica and Iole indica has been used by many works but a study[5] of the genus Iole suggests that this species is exceptional suggesting its removal and placement in the monotypic genus Acritillas erected by Oberholser.[2][6][7]

Habitat and distribution[edit]

The yellow-browed bulbul has been considered as the wet-zone counterpart of the dry-zone white-browed bulbul.[6] It is found mainly below the forest canopy of the hill forests and plantations in the Western Ghats and Sri Lanka. They also occur in parts of the Eastern Ghats including the Kolli hills,[8] Nallamalas and parts of Tirupathi and Mamandur regions in Andhra Pradesh.[9][10]

Behaviour and ecology[edit]


Yellow-browed bulbuls are found in pairs or small groups and call loudly. The calls include a whistle like calls and sharp pick-wick notes. They feed mainly on berries and insects. The breeding season is during the dry spell before the monsoons, mainly January to May. The nest is a cup built in a low fork covered with moss and cobwebs on the outside, giving the appearance of a large White-eye nest,[6] and lined with fine root fibres.[3] The typical clutch is 3 eggs in India and 2 in Sri Lanka. In Silent Valley National Park of India 92.16% of nests (of 153 nests) were having two eggs.[11] Peak breeding in the Silent Valley National Park of Kerala was found in January and February.[11] About a week is taken for building the nest and the eggs are incubated for about 13 days. The eggs are pale pink or white with reddish brown speckling.[12] The eggs hatch synchronously and the nestlings fledge after about 13 days.[11] Nestlings are fed with caterpillars, soft insects and berries.[6]


  1. ^ BirdLife International (2009). "Iole indica". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2009.2. International Union for Conservation of Nature. 
  2. ^ a b Mayr, E & JC Greenway, Jr., ed. (1960). Check-list of birds of the world 9. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Museum of Comparative Zoology. pp. 289–290. 
  3. ^ a b Rasmussen, PC & JC Anderton (2005). Birds of South Asia. The Ripley Guide. Volume 2. Washington, DC and Barcelona: Smithsonian Institution and Lynx Edicions. pp. 341–342. 
  4. ^ Strickland, HE (1844). "Description of several new or imperfectly defined genera and species of birds". Annals Mag. Nat. Hist. 13 (86): 409–421. doi:10.1080/03745484409442625. 
  5. ^ Dickinson, E.C. & S.M.S. Gregory (2002). "Systematic notes on Asian birds. 24. On the priority of the name Hypsipetes Vigors, 1831, and the division of the broad genus of that name". Zool. Verh. Leiden 340: 75–91. 
  6. ^ a b c d Ali, S & SD Ripley (1996). Handbook of the Birds of India and Pakistan. Volume 6 (2 ed.). New Delhi: Oxford University Press. pp. 104–107. 
  7. ^ Oates, EW (1889). The Fauna of British India, Including Ceylon and Burma. Birds. Volume 1. London: Taylor and Francis. pp. 283–284. 
  8. ^ Karthikeyan, S (1997). "Yellowbrowed Bulbul Hypsipetes indicus (Jerdon) in the Kolli Hills (Tamil Nadu), Eastern Ghats". J. Bombay Nat. Hist. Soc. 94 (3): 570–571. 
  9. ^ Srinivasulu,C; Rao,V Vasudeva (2000). "Occurrence of the Yellowbrowed Bulbul Hypsipetes indicus (Jerdon) in the Nalamalla Hills, Andhra Pradesh". J. Bombay Nat. Hist. Soc. 97 (1): 144–145. 
  10. ^ Santharam, V (1991). "Yellowbrowed Bulbul Hypsipetes indicus (Jerdon) in the Eastern Ghats". J. Bombay nat. Hist. Soc. 88 (2): 287–288. 
  11. ^ a b c Balakrishnan, P (2009). "Breeding ecology and nest-site selection of yellow-browed bulbul Iole indica in Western Ghats, India". J. Bombay. Nat. Hist. Soc. 106 (2): 176–183. 
  12. ^ Baker, EC Stuart (1922). The Fauna of British India, Including Ceylon and Burma. Volume 1 (2 ed.). London: Taylor and Francis. pp. 405–406.