Flame throated bulbul on a moss perch, Dandeli

Ruby throated bulbul on a moss perch, Dandeli

Flame throated bulbul on a moss perch, Dandeli

The flame-throated bulbul (Pycnonotus gularis) is a member of the bulbul family of passerine birds. It is found only in the forests of the Western Ghats in southern India. Formerly included as a subspecies of Pycnonotus flaviventris it has since been elevated to the status of a full species. They are olive backed with yellow undersides, a triangular orange-red throat and a white iris that stands out against the contrasting black head. They are usually seen foraging in groups in the forest canopy for berries and small insects. They have a call often with two or three tinkling notes that can sound similar to those produced by the red-whiskered bulbul. The species has been referred to by names in the past such as ruby-throated bulbul and black-headed bulbul.

The flame-throated bulbul keeps in small flocks and feeds on berries, including those of Lantana sp. It inhabits evergreen forests often along streams and valleys. The flame-throated bulbul feeds on fruit and insects, sometime in mixed species foraging flocks. Feeds on figs (Ficus ) and other fruit, and insects often in small flocks, which seem to keep more to dense cover. Populations appear to move seasonally within the Western Ghats. The breeding season is mostly from February to April. The flame-throated bulbul is found in the Western Ghats from southern Maharashtra and Goa southwards. It is a bird of forest that is only rarely seen at the edges of forests or inside coffee plantations. Not globally threatened. Generally uncommon, but locally fairly common (e.g. in S Kanara). Relatively scarce in N of range, but thought still to be common in Goa. This is classified as least concern by IUCN.


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