Brown-eared bulbul

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Brown-eared bulbul
The brown-eared bulbul after playing with water.jpg
Scientific classification edit
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Passeriformes
Family: Pycnonotidae
Genus: Hypsipetes
H. amaurotis
Binomial name
Hypsipetes amaurotis
(Temminck, 1830)
  • Turdus amaurotis Temminck, 1830
  • Ixos amaurotis (Temminck, 1830)
  • Microscelis amaurotis[2]

The brown-eared bulbul (Hypsipetes amaurotis) is a medium-sized bulbul native to eastern Asia. It is extremely common within the northern parts of its range and can be found from southern Sakhalin to the northern Philippines.

Taxonomy and systematics[edit]

The brown-eared bulbul was originally described in the genus Turdus. Later, some authorities placed it in the genus Ixos and then the genus Microscelis, before being re-classified to Hypsipetes in 2010.[3] Alternate names for the brown-eared bulbul include the Asian brown-eared bulbul, chestnut-eared bulbul, and Eurasian brown-eared bulbul.


Twelve subspecies are currently recognized:


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.[citation needed]

Distribution and habitat[edit]

Adult, subspecies squamiceps, Kyoto (Japan)

The brown-eared bulbul is common in a very large range that includes the Russian Far East (including Sakhalin), northeastern China, the Korean Peninsula, and Japan, south to Taiwan and the Babuyan and Batanes island chains in the north of the Philippines.[1]

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.[citation needed]



Around five eggs are laid by females, who then incubate the egg. Brown-eared bulbuls are frequently parasitized by cuckoos, whose chicks will push bulbul eggs and chicks out of the nest.[4]


In summer, brown-eared bulbuls primarily feed on insects, while they primarily take fruits and seeds in the fall and winter.[5][6]


  1. ^ a b BirdLife International (2017). "Hypsipetes amaurotis". The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. IUCN. 2017: e.T22713192A111070217. doi:10.2305/IUCN.UK.2017-1.RLTS.T22713192A111070217.en. Retrieved 13 January 2018.
  2. ^ Gregory (2000)
  3. ^ "Taxonomy Version 2 « IOC World Bird List". Retrieved 2017-06-04.
  4. ^ Hooper, Rowan Brown-eared bulbul May 12, 2005 Japan Times Retrieved August 22, 2016
  5. ^ Brazil, Mark Noisy bulbuls change with the seasons March 8, 2016 Japan Times Retrieved August 22, 2016
  6. ^ Japan Bird Research Association - Brown-eared Bulbul Retrieved August 22, 2016

Further reading[edit]

  • 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.

External links[edit]

Media related to Hypsipetes amaurotis at Wikimedia Commons