The Chinese bulbul, or commonly also know as light-vented bulbul is a small sized songbird. And like the Asian paradise flycatcher, it has one very distinctive feature.
It has a white patch of feathers on it’s head that resembles that of an elderly person.
Named as bai tou weng (白头翁), it literally translates to white haired man.
But old age is nothing to be scoffed at. Especially in Chinese tradition. Seniors and elders have always commanded respect in Chinese culture.
When depicted in paintings, the symbolism is undoubtedly associated to elderly folks.
When depicted with pines trees, it signifies strength and endurance even in old age.
When a pair of Chinese bulbuls is illustrated, it is a reference to an old couple that has enjoyed longevity. When flowers such as peonies are added into the mix, then it also means success at an old age.