Pycnonotus zeylanicus 


Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Aves Passeriformes Pycnonotidae

Scientific Name: Pycnonotus zeylanicus
Species Authority: (Gmelin, 1789)
Common Name(s):
English Straw-headed Bulbul, Straw-crowned Bulbul
Identification information: 29 cm. Large bulbul with golden-yellowish crown and cheeks. Blackish eye and submoustachial stripes, white throat and fine, whitish streaks on upperparts and breast. Juvenile has duller, browner head. Voice Loud, rich, melodious, warbling song. Hints Listen for song in marshes and along forested rivers.

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Vulnerable A2cd+3cd+4cd ver 3.1
Year Published: 2012
Date Assessed: 2012-05-01
Assessor(s): BirdLife International
Reviewer(s): Butchart, S. & Symes, A.
Contributor(s): Brickle, N. & van Balen, B.
Facilitator/Compiler(s): Benstead, P., Gilroy, J., Taylor, J.
This species is declining rapidly across its range as a result of high levels of trapping for the cage-bird trade, compounded by habitat loss within its rather specific habitat type. It therefore qualifies as Vulnerable.

Previously published Red List assessments:
2008 Vulnerable (VU)
2004 Vulnerable (VU)
2000 Vulnerable (VU)
1996 Vulnerable (VU)
1994 Vulnerable (VU)
1988 Near Threatened (NT)

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: Pycnonotus zeylanicus is known from Tenasserim, Myanmar (status unknown), south through Peninsular Thailand and Malaysia and Singapore to Sumatra, Java and Kalimantan, Indonesia, Brunei and Sabah and Sarawak (Malaysia) (BirdLife International 2001). It was widespread, common, and even locally abundant across much of this range, until as recently as two decades ago. However, it is thought to be extinct in Thailand (where only feral populations remain) and Java, and is virtually extinct on Sumatra (N. Brickle in litt. 2007). In Kalimantan, it is largely confined to areas furthest from human habitation. It may only remain in moderately healthy numbers in peninsular Malaysia, Singapore and remote Kalimantan.

Countries occurrence:
Brunei Darussalam; Indonesia; Malaysia; Myanmar; Singapore
Continuing decline in area of occupancy (AOO): Yes
Extreme fluctuations in area of occupancy (AOO): No
Estimated extent of occurrence (EOO) - km2: 672000
Continuing decline in extent of occurrence (EOO): Yes
Extreme fluctuations in extent of occurrence (EOO): No
Number of Locations: 11-100
Continuing decline in number of locations: Yes
Extreme fluctuations in the number of locations: No
Upper elevation limit (metres): 1600
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: The population size is preliminarily estimated to fall into the band 10,000-19,999 mature individuals. This equates to 15,000-29,999 individuals in total, rounded here to 15,000-30,000 individuals.

Trend Justification:  Persecution for the pet trade and habitat destruction continue to threaten populations across the species's range, and these factors are suspected to be driving a rapid and on-going decline.
Current Population Trend: Decreasing
Additional data:
Number of mature individuals: 10000-19999 Continuing decline of mature individuals: Yes
Extreme fluctuations: No Population severely fragmented: No
No. of subpopulations: 2-100 Continuing decline in subpopulations: Yes
Extreme fluctuations in subpopulations: No All individuals in one subpopulation: No

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: It occupies successional habitats bordering rivers, streams, marshes and other wet areas, where seasonal flooding prevents the establishment of climax communities. These include secondary and disturbed primary evergreen forest, plantations, gardens and cultivation fringe, scrub and, locally, reedbeds and mangroves. It is most frequent in lowlands, but has been recorded (historically) up to 1,100 m and, locally (on Borneo and Sumatra), up to 1,600 m. It is sedentary, generally occurring in pairs or family parties of up to five.

Systems: Terrestrial; Freshwater
Continuing decline in area, extent and/or quality of habitat: Yes
Generation Length (years): 2.7
Movement patterns: Not a Migrant

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): The quality of its songs makes it a very popular cage-bird, which has resulted in extensive trapping for both domestic and international trade. Its lack of shyness and habit of roosting and nesting in easily accessible locations has compounded its vulnerability to trapping. A single bird cost over US$20 in 1987, after which prices have increased exponentially, and individuals have recently been seen on sale in Medan (Sumatra) for US$1,300. Despite its tolerance of secondary habitats, clearance of lowland forest along rivers has probably contributed to its decline.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: Conservation Actions Underway
CITES Appendix II. It is protected in Thailand and occurs in numerous protected areas, including at least two on Sumatra (although possibly extirpated [B. van Balen in litt. 2007]), at least four in Kalimantan and several (including Taman Negara) in Peninsular Malaysia.  Some captive breeding programmes exist - at Kuala Lumpur Bird Park for example.

Conservation Actions Proposed
Carry out surveys to assess the species's current range and population size. Monitor levels of capture for trade. Monitor levels of trade in this species. Monitor rates of habitat loss and degradation across its range. Advocate increased patrol frequency in and around protected areas supporting populations. Increase policing of bird markets, particularly in Indonesia. Tighten controls on imports and exports of live birds in the region. Extend stronger legal protection to this (and other equally popular) cage-birds.

Citation: BirdLife International. 2012. Pycnonotus zeylanicus. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2012: e.T22712603A38150164. . Downloaded on 26 November 2015.
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