Cape bulbul

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Cape bulbul
Pycnonotus capensis 2.jpg
In Addo Elephant National Park, Eastern Cape, South Africa
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Passeriformes
Family: Pycnonotidae
Genus: Pycnonotus
Species: P. capensis
Binomial name
Pycnonotus capensis
(Linnaeus, 1766)
Pycnonotus capensis distribution map.png

The Cape bulbul (Pycnonotus capensis) is a member of the bulbul family of passerine birds. It is an endemic resident breeder in coastal bush, open forest, gardens and fynbos in southern South Africa. This species nests mainly in the southern spring from September to November. The nest is thick walled cup concealed by foliage in a small tree or shrub.


The Cape bulbul is 19–21 cm long, mainly dull, blackish brown with a diagnostic white eye-ring, and yellow undertail coverts. The head has a small crest. The short, straight bill, legs and feet are black and the iris is dark brown. The sexes are similar in plumage.

This species is much darker than the other South African bulbuls, and differs in the eye ring colour and brown lower belly, whereas the other dark bulbuls have a pale lower belly. The dark belly helps to identify juveniles, which lack the distinctive eye ring of the adult.


The Cape bulbul is a common and conspicuous bird, which tends to perch at the top of a bush. It is active and noisy, usually seen in pairs or small groups foraging for fruit, nectar and insects.

The most typical call of this species is a liquid whistle of two or more varied notes pit-peet-pitmajol, piet-piet-patata.

In part of its range, it gets parasitized by the Jacobin cuckoo.



  1. ^ BirdLife International (2012). "Pycnonotus capensis". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2013.2. International Union for Conservation of Nature. Retrieved 26 November 2013. 

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