It is found in southwest India and Sri Lanka. Its natural habitat is subtropical or tropical moist montane forests. The species has no black streak behind the eye and on the ear-coverts that is present in the black bulbul.
In Southern India, nesting activity begins from February and rises to a peak in May. The eggs hatch after an incubation period of 12 to 13 days and the chicks fledge after about 11 or 12 days. Nest predators include birds of prey (black-winged kite), snakes (Ptyas mucosus). Adults of Square-tailed Bulbuls have been known to be preyed on by the crested goshawk. Populations make movements in response to the monsoon.