Mauritius bulbul

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Mauritius bulbul
Mauritius Bulbul.jpg
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Passeriformes
Family: Pycnonotidae
Genus: Hypsipetes
Species: H. olivaceus
Binomial name
Hypsipetes olivaceus
Jardine & Selby, 1835

Hypsipetes borbonicus olivaceus Jardine & Selby, 1835[2]
Ixocincla olivacea (Jardine & Selby), 1835

The Mauritius bulbul (Hypsipetes olivaceus), also known as Mauritius black bulbul, is a songbird endemic to Mauritius. It was formerly included in H. borbonicus as subspecies olivaceus.[3]

This songbird species belongs to the bulbul family (Pycnonotidae). It is the type species of the obsolete genus Ixocincla, which united various more or less closely related bulbuls from the entire Indian Ocean region.[4]

It can reach a size up to 24 cm (9.4 in). It is characterized by bright yellow-brown eyes, pink legs, and an orange to yellow hued bill. Its plumage is generally greyish contrasted with a black crest. The plumage of the juveniles is pale brown. Their bill is blackish.[5]

Ecology and status[edit]

Perched in a tree

Its diet consists of insects, seeds, and fruits. Especially the ripe berries of the non-native Spanish Flag (Lantana camara) are favoured. During the southern summer the female lays two pinkish eggs in a nest consisting of straw and roots. The incubation lasts between 14 and 16 days.[5]

In earlier times, it was often a dish on festive days. Later on, its main threats shifted to replacement of their forest habitat by tea (Camellia sinensis) plantations and invasive weeds (including L. camara, which the birds themselves help to spread) and predation by the introduced crab-eating macaque (Macaca fascicularis). In the mid-1970s, only 200 pairs remained, but then the decline was stopped. Today it is rare but has a quite stable population; 280 pairs were counted in 1993.[6]


  1. ^ BirdLife International (2012). "Hypsipetes olivaceus". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2013.2. International Union for Conservation of Nature. Retrieved 26 November 2013. 
  2. ^ Jardine, Bart, Sir William; Selby, P.J. (1835). Illustrations of Ornithology. No.3. pt. 10, pl 148. 
  3. ^ Staub (1976), Gregory (2000), BLI (2008)
  4. ^ Gregory (2000)
  5. ^ a b Staub (1976)
  6. ^ Staub (1976), BLI (2008)

External links[edit]