Yellow-eared Bulbul Pycnonotus penicillatus


Justification of Red List Category
This species has a very small global range, and although it remains common in suitable habitats and can tolerate modified habitats, its distribution and population size are likely to have been negatively affected by habitat loss and degradation. However, its population is not regarded as severely fragmented or restricted to only a few locations, thus it is considered Near Threatened.

Population justification
The global population size has not been quantified, but the species is described as abundant in the central provinces of Sri Lanka (del Hoyo et al. 2005).

Trend justification
A slow population decline is likely to be occurring as a result of habitat loss in some parts of the species's range.

Distribution and population

Pycnonotus penicillatus is an endemic resident in the wet zone highlands of Sri Lanka, where it is common to abundant in suitable habitats (BirdLife International 2001).


This species occurs in forest and nearby gardens, at middle and higher elevations, generally 900-2000 m.


Forest on Sri Lanka has suffered rapid degradation and fragmentation in the past decades through excessive gathering of fuelwood, clearance for permanent agriculture, shifting cultivation, fire, urbanisation and logging. It is feared that habitat loss will continue in the hills and the status of this species therefore requires monitoring.

Conservation actions

Conservation Actions Underway
No targeted conservation actions are known for this species.

Conservation Actions Proposed
Conduct repeated surveys within the species's range to assess population trends and rates of habitat loss. Conduct ecological studies to improve understanding of its precise habitat requirements, tolerance of secondary habitats and response to fragmentation. 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 (2021) Species factsheet: Pycnonotus penicillatus. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 29/11/2021. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2021) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 29/11/2021.