Cream-vented Bulbul Pycnonotus simplex of Borneo was previously considered to be polymorphic in iris colour, having either red or white (creamy-yellow) irides. Mitochondrial DNA sequence comparisons, however, indicate that white- and red-eyed Bornean individuals are not closely related to one another. Instead, white-eyed birds are sister to Ashy-fronted Bulbul P. cinereifrons of Palawan Island, in the south-west Philippines, and red-eyed birds are sister to white-eyed P. simplex of the Thai-Malay Peninsula. Consequently, we elect to treat the white-eyed Bornean population as a distinct, previously overlooked species. In respect to plumage, white- and red-eyed individuals are almost identical, varying only slightly in the amount of yellow coloration in their feathers. The two taxa are sympatric at some localities, but white-eyed individuals are rarer and more consistently associated with mature forest than red-eyed birds.
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