Black-and-white Bulbul Microtarsus melanoleucos


Justification of Red List Category
This scarce and poorly known species is currently considered Near Threatened, as it is suspected to be declining moderately rapidly throughout its range as a result of continuing habitat loss.

Population justification
The global population size has not been quantified, but the species is described as fairly common in Malaysia and Borneo and rather rare in Sumatra (del Hoyo et al. 2005).

Trend justification
Moderately rapid declines in this species's population are suspected to be occurring as a result of widespread and rapid deforestation throughout its range.

Distribution and population

Pycnonotus melanoleucos is confined to the Sundaic lowlands, where is it known from peninsular Thailand, Sabah, Sarawak and Peninsular Malaysia, Singapore (formerly), Kalimantan and Sumatra (including Mentawai Island), Indonesia and Brunei (BirdLife International 2001). In is generally scarce, although it is sporadically fairly common in parts of Peninsular Malaysia and Borneo. It may undertake nomadic movements.


This species occurs in broadleaved evergreen forest (including selectively logged forest), mixed-dipterocarp forest, secondary growth and forest edge, from lowlands up to at least 1,830 m. It is also recorded from luxuriant gardens and cultivation, peatswamp forest and overgrown plantations. Its nomadic tendencies suggest a degree of specialisation in its foraging niche, although further research is needed to determine its habitat requirements.


Rates of forest loss in the Sundaic lowlands have been extremely rapid, owing partly to the escalation of illegal logging and land conversion, with deliberate targeting of all remaining stands of valuable timber including those inside protected areas. Forest fires have also had a damaging effect (particularly in 1997-1998). The magnitude of these threats may be allayed by this species's tolerance of hill forest, which is under less pressure from logging and agricultural conversion. However, as a nomadic species, it may be more susceptible to the effects of habitat fragmentation.

Conservation actions

Conservation Actions Underway
No targeted conservation actions are known for this species, although it occurs in a number of protected areas.

Conservation Actions Proposed
Conduct ecological studies to improve understanding of its precise habitat requirements, particularly the causes of nomadic movements, as well as levels of persistence in secondary and fragmented habitats. Conduct repeated surveys within the species's range to determine its current distribution and abundance, as well as assess population trends and rates of habitat loss. Effectively protect significant areas of suitable forest at key sites, in both strictly protected areas and community-led multiple use areas.


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

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2023) Species factsheet: Microtarsus melanoleucos. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 01/04/2023. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2023) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 01/04/2023.