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Phyllastrephus terrestris (Terrestrial brownbul, Terrestrial bulbul) 

Boskrapper [Afrikaans]; Ikhalakandla, Ugwegwegwe, Umnqu [Xhosa]; Kaapse loofbuulbuul [Dutch]; Bulbul jaboteur [French]; Laubbülbül [German]; Tuta-da-terra [Portuguese]

Life > Eukaryotes > Opisthokonta > Metazoa (animals) > Bilateria > Deuterostomia > Chordata > Craniata > Vertebrata (vertebrates)  > Gnathostomata (jawed vertebrates) > Teleostomi (teleost fish) > Osteichthyes (bony fish) > Class: Sarcopterygii (lobe-finned fish) > Stegocephalia (terrestrial vertebrates) > Tetrapoda (four-legged vertebrates) > Reptiliomorpha > Amniota > Reptilia (reptiles) > Romeriida > Diapsida > Archosauromorpha > Archosauria > Dinosauria (dinosaurs) > Saurischia > Theropoda (bipedal predatory dinosaurs) > Coelurosauria > Maniraptora > Aves (birds) > Order: Passeriformes > Family: Pycnonotidae

Phyllastrephus terrestris (Terrestrial brownbul, Terrestrial bulbul)   

Terrestrial brownbul, Wilderness National Park, South Africa. [photo Trevor Hardaker ©]


Distribution and habitat

Occurs along the far eastern coast of Somalia, Kenya and Tanzania, Zambia to southern Africa. Here it is common across Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Caprivi Strip, northern and south eastern Botswana, Lesotho, Limpopo Province, Mpumalanga and the eastern coast of South Africa (from KwaZulu-Natal to the Western Cape). It is very inconspicuous and camouflaged, occupying the shadowy undergrowth of thickly vegetated habitats, such as evergreen and riparian forest.

Distribution of Terrestrial brownbul in southern Africa, based on statistical smoothing of the records from first SA Bird Atlas Project (© Animal Demography unit, University of Cape Town; smoothing by Birgit Erni and Francesca Little). Colours range from dark blue (most common) through to yellow (least common). See here for the latest distribution from the SABAP2.  

Brood parasites

It has been recorded as host of the Jacobin cuckoo.


It mainly eats arthropods, probing and overturning leaf litter in search of prey. It also joins mixed-species foraging flocks, and may occasionally feed on Aloe nectar. The following food items have been recorded in its diet:


  • Both sexes build the nest, which is a fragile and untidy cup of twigs, roots, leaves, moss, bark and lichen, lined with softer plant material. It is typically placed inconspicuously on a branch near the edge of a bush or thicket.
  • Egg-laying season is from October-April, peaking from November-December.
  • It lays 2-3 eggs, which are incubated for roughly 13 days, by both sexes.
  • The chicks are cared for by both parents, becoming independent a few days after fledging.


Not threatened.


  • Hockey PAR, Dean WRJ and Ryan PG 2005. Roberts - Birds of southern Africa, VIIth ed. The Trustees of the John Voelcker Bird Book Fund, Cape Town.