Brown-eared Bulbul Hypsipetes amaurotis 栗耳短

Category I. Accidental.

IDENTIFICATION

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Apr. 2023, Michelle and Peter Wong.

27-29 cm. Large bulbul with long tail broad at the tip but relatively narrow at the base. Greyish below with white streaks along shafts of feathers on chest and upper flanks; larger white marks lower down that coalesce to form a white belly. Undertail coverts have broad white chevrons around the tip. Upperparts grey-brown with fine white streaks on feathers of crown and nape that contrast with a distinct orange-brown ear covert patch that extends from the eye stripe to the sides of the neck.

VOCALISATIONS

Noisy and vociferous in its native range where it utters a diverse array of loud and screeching or piercing calls.

DISTRIBUTION & HABITAT PREFERENCE

Has occurred in an urban edge park on HK Island.

OCCURRENCE

2015: one at Wan Tsui Park, Chai Wan on 9 March (Welch 2017).

A record of one at Lau Shui Heung on 18 March 2016 is considered of uncertain provenance due to issues regarding its subspecific identity and apparent plumage damage that may have resulted from prior captivity.

BEHAVIOUR, FORAGING & DIET

The individual at Shek Kong Cemetery was photographed with a Hymenopteran in its bill.

RANGE & SYSTEMATICS

Twelve subspecies are recognised most of which are island forms in the Japanese Archipelago and the northern Philippines. That most relevant to HK records appears to be the nominate form, which occurs in south Sakhalin, the main islands of Hokkaido and Honshu, Japan and South Korea; some part of this population winters in east China (Liu and Chen 2020). In addition, H. a. nagamichii occurs on Taiwan and Lanyu Islands (Fishpool and Tobias 2020).

CONSERVATION STATUS

IUCN: Least Concern. Population trend increasing.

Fishpool, L. and J. A. Tobias (2020). Brown-eared Bulbul (Hypsipetes amaurotis), version 1.0. In Birds of the World (J. del Hoyo, A. Elliott, J. Sargatal, D. A. Christie, and E. de Juana, Editors). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA. https://doi.org/10.2173/bow.brebul1.01

Welch, G. (2017). Brown-eared Bulbul Hypsipetes amaurotis at Wan Tsui Park, Chai Wan. The first Hong Kong record. Hong Kong Bird Report 2015: 284-285.

Liu, Y. and Y. H. Chen (eds) (2020). The CNG Field Guide to the Birds of China (in Chinese). Hunan Science and Technology Publication House, Changsha.

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