Bulbuls (Pycnonotidae)

Red-vented Bulbul (Pycnonotus cafer) - HBW 10, p. 184

French: Bulbul à ventre rouge German: Rußbülbül Spanish: Bulbul Cafre

Taxonomy: [Turdus] cafer Linnaeus, 1766, Cape of Good Hope; error = Pondicherry, south-east India.
Type locality has twice been corrected, first from South Africa, secondly from Sri Lanka; Sri Lankan race therefore no longer the nominotypical one. Genus as currently constituted probably polyphyletic; in-depth analysis of morphology, voice, behaviour and genetics required to redefine its limits. Present species forms a superspecies with P. aurigaster; sometimes treated as conspecific owing to interbreeding in Myanmar; hybrids earlier described incorrectly as separate species (P. nigropileus and P. burmanicus). In NW India, often hybridizes with P. leucogenys; hyb.. View all taxonomy...

Taxonomy: [Turdus] cafer Linnaeus, 1766, Cape of Good Hope; error = Pondicherry, south-east India.
Type locality has twice been corrected, first from South Africa, secondly from Sri Lanka; Sri Lankan race therefore no longer the nominotypical one. Genus as currently constituted probably polyphyletic; in-depth analysis of morphology, voice, behaviour and genetics required to redefine its limits. Present species forms a superspecies with P. aurigaster; sometimes treated as conspecific owing to interbreeding in Myanmar; hybrids earlier described incorrectly as separate species (P. nigropileus and P. burmanicus). In NW India, often hybridizes with P. leucogenys; hybrids between latter and race intermedius of present species incorrectly described as a separate species (Molpastes magrathi). Sometimes hybridizes also with P. leucotis. Race saturatus was invalidated (and replaced by wetmorei), as preoccupied by a race of Andropadus latirostris, which was previously placed in present genus. Some listed races weakly differentiated or perhaps described from mid-points of clines or hybrid zones; full review needed. Several described races considered too weakly differentiated and therefore synonymized: thus, in India, primrosei (Assam) and afer (Meghalaya) are junior synonyms of bengalensis, and vicinus (Mysore) and pusillus (NE Tamil Nadu) junior synonyms of nominate. Eight subspecies provisionally recognized. Introduced Polynesia, including Fiji, Samoa and Tonga (bengalensis); also E Arabia (Kuwait, Qatar, United Arab Emirates, Oman) and Hawaii (Oahu) (races unknown).

Subspecies and Distribution:

  • intermedius Blyth, 1846 - W Himalayas from Pakistan, Jammu and Kashmir E at least to Nepal.
  • humayuni Deignan, 1951 - SE Pakistan (Sind) and NW & NC India (including N plains).
  • bengalensis Blyth, 1845 - C & E Himalayas and Gangetic Plain, and Bangladesh.

     See all 8 subspecies
  • intermedius Blyth, 1846 - W Himalayas from Pakistan, Jammu and Kashmir E at least to Nepal.
  • humayuni Deignan, 1951 - SE Pakistan (Sind) and NW & NC India (including N plains).
  • bengalensis Blyth, 1845 - C & E Himalayas and Gangetic Plain, and Bangladesh.
  • stanfordi Deignan, 1949 - NE India (S Assam hills), N Myanmar and S China (W Yunnan).
  • melanchimus Deignan, 1949 - S Myanmar and N Thailand.
  • saturatus (Whistler & Kinnear, 1932) - NE Peninsular India.
  • cafer (Linnaeus, 1766) - S India.
  • haemorrhousus (J. F. Gmelin, 1789) - Sri Lanka.