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Taiwan Bulbul Pycnonotus taivanus
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This bulbul qualifies as Vulnerable, as it has a rapidly declining population as a result of hybridisation, with spreading Chinese Bulbul populations, compounded by habitat loss.

Taxonomic source(s)
Sibley, C. G.; Monroe, B. L. 1990. Distribution and taxonomy of birds of the world. Yale University Press, New Haven, USA.

18 cm. Green-grey bulbul. Black cap and moustachial stripe. Greyish-white ear-coverts chin and belly, and darker grey breast. Grey rump and green-grey back. Grey upperwing-coverts, primaries and tail broadly fringed yellow-green. Similar spp. Chinese Bulbul P. sinensis has white stripe through eye extending to hind crown. Black cheeks and ear-coverts with white spot on ear-coverts.

Distribution and population
Pycnonotus taivanus is endemic to Taiwan (China) (BirdLife International 2001). It is found in eastern Taiwan in the coastal plains and hills of Haulien county and Taitung county, in the Huatung valley and as far west as Litao and north to Chungta and Hojen, in southern Taiwan at Hengchun and Kenting in southern Pingtung county, and as far north as Fangshan and Fengkang on the south-west coast of Taiwan. Although it is considered locally very common in parts of its range (Fang Woeihorng in litt. 2012), with recent counts of over 100 at several sites, its population and range are thought to be declining and the genetic purity of several sub-populations is in doubt. Indeed, genetically pure birds may be limited to the coastal mountains and Tungho and Luye in Taitung county.

Population justification
The global population has been estimated at c.10,000-100,000 breeding pairs (Brazil 2009). It is precautionarily placed in the band 10,000-19,999 mature individuals. This equates to 15,000-29,999 individuals in total, rounded here to 15,000-30,000 individuals.

Trend justification
Hybridisation with spreading Chinese Bulbul P. sinensis populations is suspected to be on-going and, together with continuing habitat change, is likely to be causing an on-going and rapid population decline in this species.

It occurs in a wide variety of habitats, including secondary forest, scrub, agricultural areas and gardens. Large flocks form in autumn and winter, but it is territorial in the breeding season, which lasts from March through to July. Its diet includes fruit, flowers and insects.

The key threat is hybridisation with the closely related Chinese Bulbul P. sinensis, which is spreading as a consequence of habitat alteration. The ranges of both species increasingly overlap, as both species occur in agricultural habitats, resulting in frequent hybridisation (Fang Woei-Horng in litt. 2007). This process has been accelerated by releases of P. sinensis for religious purposes. It is possible that genetically pure populations will be lost within 20 years. Habitat alteration for agriculture and urbanisation are threats throughout its range, and extinction has already occurred in Ilan county, where it has been completely replaced by Chinese Bulbul (Fang Woei-Horng in litt. 2007).

Conservation Actions Underway
It has been legally protected in Taiwan since 1995. It is common in Kenting National Park. Conservation Actions Proposed
Research the distribution and spread of hybrids within the wild population, in order to aid the development of conservation measures. Examine the possibility of establishing a refuge for genetically pure individuals with a buffer zone in which all hybrids and P. sinensis are removed. Carefully examine the feasibility of a captive-breeding programme and, if established, closely monitor and coordinate it. Alert the government and the public of Taiwan of the potential for extinction of this species in order to establish support for conservation measures, particularly the maintenance of a refuge, and to discourage further releases of P. sinensis.

BirdLife International. 2001. Threatened birds of Asia: the BirdLife International Red Data Book. BirdLife International, Cambridge, U.K.

Brazil, M. 2009. Birds of East Asia: eastern China, Taiwan, Korea, Japan, eastern Russia. Christopher Helm, London.

Further web sources of information
Detailed species accounts from the Threatened birds of Asia: the BirdLife International Red Data Book (BirdLife International 2001).

Explore HBW Alive for further information on this species

Search for photos and videos, and hear sounds of this species from the Internet Bird Collection

Text account compilers
Benstead, P., Gilroy, J., Taylor, J.

Fang, W., Severinghaus, L.

IUCN Red List evaluators
Butchart, S., Symes, A.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2016) Species factsheet: Pycnonotus taivanus. Downloaded from on 28/10/2016. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2016) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from on 28/10/2016.

This information is based upon, and updates, the information published in BirdLife International (2000) Threatened birds of the world. Barcelona and Cambridge, UK: Lynx Edicions and BirdLife International, BirdLife International (2004) Threatened birds of the world 2004 CD-ROM and BirdLife International (2008) Threatened birds of the world 2008 CD-ROM. These sources provide the information for species accounts for the birds on the IUCN Red List.

To provide new information to update this factsheet or to correct any errors, please email BirdLife

To contribute to discussions on the evaluation of the IUCN Red List status of Globally Threatened Birds, please visit BirdLife's Globally Threatened Bird Forums.

Additional resources for this species

ARKive species - Taiwan bulbul (Pycnonotus taivanus) 0

Key facts
Current IUCN Red List category Vulnerable
Family Pycnonotidae (Bulbuls)
Species name author Styan, 1893
Population size 10000-19999 mature individuals
Population trend Decreasing
Distribution size (breeding/resident) 7,300 km2
Country endemic? Yes
Links to further information
- Additional Information on this species