Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum

Pycnonotus zeylanicus (Gmelin, 1789)

Species:P. zeylanicus
Common Names:Straw-headed Bulbul
Status:Uncommon resident. Globally vulnerable.


The Straw-headed Bulbul is the largest bulbul in Singapore.

Size 29 cm

Read more about the Passeriformes order.
Read more about the Pycnonotidae family.


Peninsula Myanmar, Thailand, Malay Peninsula, Singapore, Sumatra, Borneo and west Java.


Most common on Pulau Ubin. Also recorded throughout mainland Singapore.

General Biology

The Straw-headed Bulbul has a varied repertoire of rich songs, which sadly, led to its dwindling population as it is regularly poached (see HERE and HERE) for the songbird trade. It is endangered throughout its range in Southeast Asia. Fortunately, one can still catch a glimpse of this beautiful songster or, more often, hear its loud notes bubbling through the secondary growth of Pulau Ubin and other nature parks in Singapore.

A video of the bulbul foraging for food can be viewed HERE while that of an adult feeding a chick, HERE

Its contact call has been recorded in video HERE and a pair duetting HERE.


Plant diet includes of fruits of Kenidai (Bridelia tomentosa), Red Tree-vine (Leea indica), various figs (Ficus spp.), Indian Cherry (Muntingia calabura) and Macarthur Palm (Ptychosperma macarthurii). It has also been reported to eat the petals of Hongkong Orchid Tree (Bauhinia x blakeana. Animal diet includes arthropods - grasshoppers, spiders, caterpillars and stick insects.

There is an observation that it eats the petals of the Hongkong Orchid Tree (Bauhinia x blakeana).

Life Cycle

Clutch of 2 eggs. No other information.


Wang, L. K. 2011. Bulbuls. Pp. 250, 254. In: Ng, P. K. L., R. T. Corlett & H. T. W. Tan (editors). Singapore Biodiversity. An Encyclopedia of the Natural Environment and Sustainable Development. Editions Didier Millet, Singapore. 552 pp.

Wang, L.K. & Hails, C.J. 2007. An annotated checklist of birds of Singapore. Raffles Bulletin of Zoology, Supplement 15: 1–179, Singapore.

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