Udaipur- The Wildlife Research Laboratory at the Department of Zoology, Mohanlal Sukhadia University, has made an exciting discovery—identifying a new bird species, the White-browed Bulbul (Pycnonotus luteolus), in Rajasthan. Initially spotted on the banks of Udaisagar Lake on January 9, 2023, the species couldn't be identified. Subsequently, a group of these birds was observed at the same location on March 17, where the team captured images and recorded their vocalizations.
With the aid of bird identification resources, consultations with experts, and analysis of recorded calls, the species was confirmed as the White-browed Bulbul (Pycnonotus luteolus). This significant finding was published on October 28, in Volume 19, Issue 3 of the esteemed research journal "Indian Birds," based in Hyderabad.
Rajasthan previously accounted for three known bulbul species: Red-vented Bulbul (Pycnonotus cafer), White-eared Bulbul (Pycnonotus leucotis), and Red-whiskered Bulbul (Pycnonotus jocosus). The identification of the White-browed Bulbul marks the first record of this species in the state, thereby expanding the count to four bulbul species in the region.
Dr. Vijay Kumar Koli, Assistant Professor at the Department of Zoology and in-charge of the Wildlife Research Laboratory, said that the White-browed Bulbul is primarily endemic to the lower half of Peninsular India and Sri Lanka. Previously, its distribution in India was limited to the southern regions, with borders touching Gujarat (Ahmedabad), Madhya Pradesh (Satpura Range), and western West Bengal (near Midnapore). The species predominantly inhabits plains with dry open scrub, gardens, and forests with dense scrub but avoids regions with heavy rainfall like the Western Ghats hills. Sometimes, it's seen in rocky scrub alongside other bulbul species.
Distinctive features of this species include a white supercilium above the eye and a white superciliary line from the nostrils separated by black pores from the area below the eye. The upper parts exhibit an olive-brown coloration, with wings displaying very pale yellow edges, creating a striped appearance. Notably, both males and females share similar characteristics.
While a few birds of this species were previously spotted in Gujarat, recent observations indicate a northward range extension within the country. The presence of the White-browed Bulbul in Udaipur has sparked joy among wildlife and bird enthusiasts, marking an exciting addition to the avian biodiversity of Rajasthan.