Oates in the first edition of the Avifauna retained the Bulbuls as a Subfamily, Brachypodinae, of the Timaliidae but they seem to me to be sufficiently well differentiated to warrant them being treated as a separate family. They form a very numerous group of birds, which are found throughout Southern Asia, practically the whole of Africa, and also the extreme South-West of Europe.
The two principal features by which the Pycnonotidae can be distinguished from the Timaliidae are the comparatively short tarsus and the presence of some hairs which grow from the nape. These hairs are often long, fairly numerous and conspicuous, sometimes short, few and inconspicuous but never entirely absent. It is this latter character which separates them from the Timaliidae, which have short tarsi, such as Chloropsis, AEgithina etc., in addition to which the sexes are alike in the Bulbuls but different in those genera.
In the Bulbuls the young are practically like the adults but sometimes paler and duller and sometimes darker and duller as in Hemixus.
The wing is more pointed and longer than in the typical Timaliidae and the bill varies from the short Finch-like bill of Spizixus to the long, slender bill of Microscelis.
Many Bulbuls are amongst the most common and familiar birds in the gardens and towns of India, whilst others are purely forest birds.
It would be difficult to improve on Oates's key to the genera of Buibuls, which is given below, practically unaltered.

Key to Genera,
A. Hairs from nape numerous and at least as
long as tarsus.
a. Crest long and pointed CRINIGER, p. 361.
b. Crest absent or inconspicuous.
a1. Long hairs springing from back and nape. TRICHOLKSTES, p. 3C6. b1. Long hairs springing from nape only .. ALOPHOIXUS, p. 367.
B. Hairs springing from nape short and few,
sometimes almost hidden.
c. Feathers of crown and over ear-coverts all similar in shape.
c1. A distinct crest.
a2. Nostrils not covered by plumelets.
a3 . Wing pointed; secondaries falling short of tip of wing by not less than length of tarsus.
a4. Tail forked; the outer feathers curved outwards,
a5. Plumage all black, grey and white or some combination of these MICROSCELIS, p.368.
b3. Plumage of several colours .. CERASOPHILA, p. 373.
b4 Tail square or rounded; outer feathers not curved outwards.
c3. Crest-feathers shorter than tarsus and pointed HEMIXUS, p. 374.
d5. Crest-feathers longer than tarsus and rounded ALCURUS, p. 379.
b2, Wing more rounded; secondaries falling short of tip of wing by less than length of tarsus.
c4. Crest ample and covering whole crown.
e5. Tail very slightly rounded, the outer feather falling short of the tip of the tail by less than the length of the hind toe .. MOLPASTES, p. 381.
f5.. Tail greatly rounded XANTHIXUS, p. 392.
d4. Crest thin and confined to centre of crown.
g5. Feathers of back with soft shafts OTOCOMPSA, p. 394.
h5. Feathers of back with rigid, [p. 399.
spinous shafts PINAROCICHLA,
b2. Nostrils nearly concealed by thick
plumelets .. SPIZIXUS, p. 400.
d1. Crest inconspicuous or entirely absent.
c2.. Upper tail-coverts not reaching to middle of tail.
c3.. Feathers of crown and forehead
short and stiff TRACHYCOMUS,P.402.
d3.. Feathers of crown and forehead longer and soft.
e4. Bill about { length of head, com¬pressed and sharply carinate .. IOLE, p. 403.
f4. Bill about 1/2 length of head, neither much compressed nor carinate.
g3. Plumage not squamated .... PYCNONOTUS, p. 410.
h5. Plumage squamated RUBIGULA, p. 409.
d2. Upper tail-coverts reaching nearly to
end of tail MICROTARSUS, p. 422.
d. Feathers on sides of crown and over ear-coverts long and pointed, contrasting with
the rounded feathers of forehead KELAARTIA, p. 426.

The Fauna Of British India, Including Ceylon And Burma-birds(second Edition)
Baker, EC S (1922–1930) The fauna of British India including Ceylon and Burma. Second edition. vol.1 1922.
Title in Book: 
Book Author: 
Edward Charles Stuart Baker
Page No: 
Vol. 1
Term name: 

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