Bulbuls are arboreal, small/ medium sized passerine birds. They usually have short necks, relatively long tails, short and rounded wings, short legs & elongated, slightly hooked beaks. Both sexes tend to look alike and are commonly found in pairs, except for the Black Bulbul (Hypsipetes leucocephalus humii) which is usually observed in small flocks. Other species may also sometimes join mix species flocks. They are very vocal, ranging from the raucous cacophony of the Black Bulbuls to the sweet melodious notes of the Yellow-browed Bulbul (Hypsipetes indicus). They are spread throughout the island, some with a wide range such as the Red-vented Bulbul (Pycnonotus cafer cafer) who is found all over Sri Lanka and some with a smaller and more specific range like the Black-headed Yellow Bulbul/ Black-capped Bulbul (Pycnonotus melanicterus) who is mainly found in the lowland wet forests and the Yellow-eared Bulbul (Pycnonotus penicillatus) more common in the hills above 1000m. These birds are mainly frugivorous but do feed on small insects and arthropods occasionally.
Sri Lanka has six species of Bulbuls, out of which two are endemic to the country.
- Red-vented Bulbul (Pycnonotus cafer cafer)
- White-browed Bulbul (Pycnonotus luteolus insulae)
- Yellow-browed Bulbul (Hypsipetes indicus)
- Black-headed Yellow Bulbul (Pycnonotus melanicterus) – Endemic
- Yellow-eared Bulbul (Pycnonotus penicillatus) – Endemic
- Black Bulbul (Hypsipetes leucocephalus humii)