Light-vented Bulbul (Chinese Bulbul)

on 8th December 2021

I had a number of opportunities to observe the Light-vented Bulbul (Pycnonotus sinensis formosae). A friendly, highly sociable bulbul, often in small or large social groups (50 birds). Since these images were from the extreme north they are P. s. formosae. There is concern of hybridisation with Taiwan (Styan’s) Bulbul (Pycnonotus taivanus) further south.

However, if you look at the bird shown in the close up (below) you will see a tiny red spot at the base of the mandible.

The plumage is that of a typical Light-vented Bulbul but one of the noted differences with Taiwan (Styan’s) Bulbul is the presence of orange-red spots at the base of the lower bill in Styan’s. I suspect this feature that I saw in a few birds can only be seen in very close up images and is not due to hybridisation.

There is some degree of variability in the plumage of the Light-vented Bulbul, in particular the degree of brown-grey on the upper breast. I saw birds with very light breasts, different shades of darkness and size of the patch.

Amar-Singh HSS (Dato’ Dr)

Ipoh, Perak, Malaysia


Location: Jinshan Youth Activity Center, New Taipei City, Taiwan

Habitat: Park & Wetlands near the sea

Date: 18th January 2019

Equipment: Nikon D500 SLR with Tamron SP 150-600mm f/5-6.3 Di VC USD, handheld with Rode VideoMic Pro Plus Shotgun Microphone



If you like this post please tap on the Like button at the left bottom of page. Any views and opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the authors/contributors, and are not endorsed by the Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum (LKCNHM, NUS) or its affiliated institutions. Readers are encouraged to use their discretion before making any decisions or judgements based on the information presented.

YC Wee

Dr Wee played a significant role as a green advocate in Singapore through his extensive involvement in various organizations and committees: as Secretary and Chairman for the Malayan Nature Society (Singapore Branch), and with the Nature Society (Singapore) as founding President (1978-1995). He has also served in the Nature Reserve Board (1987-1989), Nature Reserves Committee (1990-1996), National Council on the Environment/Singapore Environment Council (1992-1996), Work-Group on Nature Conservation (1992) and Inter-Varsity Council on the Environment (1995-1997). He is Patron of the Singapore Gardening Society and was appointed Honorary Museum Associate of the Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum (LKCNHM) in 2012. In 2005, Dr Wee started the Bird Ecology Study Group. With more than 6,000 entries, the website has become a valuable resource consulted by students, birdwatchers and researchers locally and internationally. The views and opinions expressed in this article are his own, and do not represent those of LKCNHM, the National University of Singapore or its affiliated institutions.

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