Red whiskered Bulbul | Pycnonotus jocosus |

Red whiskered bulbul nesting

Red whiskered Bulbul nesting. Lo and behold the beauty of the red whiskers! Adult bulbuls are around 20-22cm long. A few studies show that males have slightly longer wing length and whiskers with respect to their female counterparts.

Red whiskered bulbul eggs

Nest of a Red whiskered Bulbul, with 2 eggs.

Red whiskered Bulbuls build an open cup nest of rootlets, twigs, bark and leaves, lined with soft fibre. The nest is usually placed in a low tree fork, which is usually covered by overlying bush or leaves. Making of a nest is an interesting period to observe. I have once put a few colorful cotton threads near the nesting area and later found that the bulbuls had incorporated the threads with the nest.

Red whiskered bulbul eggs

A close-up view of the eggs of a Red whiskered Bulbul. Pale pink eggs, streaked and spotted with shades of red.

Nesting is known to take place from August to March, probably the period of the year excluding the wettest months (June and July) of the southwest monsoon and the hottest months (April and May). There are 2 nests taken at different periods shown in this article and this one was taken around mid January 2008 while the other was taken around the end of September 2007. A typical clutch consists of two to four (I have not seen more than three) pale pink eggs, streaked and spotted with shades of red. Incubation lasts for 12-14 days. Both birds incubate the eggs and care for the nestlings. I have never witnessed more than 2 young raised to maturity. This could probably be due to the inability of the parents to satisfy their hunger as young bulbuls have voracious apetites. Two or three broods may be reared in a season.

Red whiskered bulbul nestling

Nestling of a Red whiskered Bulbul. The nestlings are fed with highly nutritious food comprising of insects and worms and they grow up very fast, and within a few days one can see them flying off! They fledge at about 14 to 18 days after hatching.This photograph was taken in September 2007 @ home, kerala.

Though they guard and defend their nest aggressively, many of the nests I have watched have been ransacked by predating indian koels and sometimes, the crow pheasants. Some bulbuls have a wonderful tactic of misleading the predators or humans. If it senses a predator near the nest, the bulbul flies up and then all of a sudden it falls down, almost as if it was shot by a gun! It then crawls on the ground and makes a cry as if it is hurt. The unsuspecting predator moves on to the parent bulbul and as soon as it gets nearby, the bulbul flies off, having its purpose accomplished successfully!

Red whiskered Bulbul

Red whiskered Bulbul on our mulberry tree. Fruits, berries, nectar, insects and worms makes the lion’s share of their diet.

red_whiskered_bulbul_egg_002 * Nest of a Red whiskered Bulbul Pycnonotus jocosus. @ home, kerala. * 1600 x 1071 * (288KB)red_whiskered_bulbul_nestling_002 * Nestling of a Red whiskered Bulbul Pycnonotus jocosus, with its hungry beak up. @ home, kerala. * 1600 x 1072 * (519KB)red_whiskered_bulbul_nesting_002 * Red whiskered Bulbul Pycnonotus jocosus nesting. @ home, kerala. * 1600 x 1071 * (400KB)

Red whiskered Bulbuls are native to southern Asia, and they have been introduced to many other regions. Adult bulbuls are around 20-22cm long. A few of the characteristics are its pointed crest, red whiskers (leading to its name) and the red vent. Red whiskered bulbuls are active around human habitats and less timid around humans. Their flight is a characteristic bouncing up-and-down woodpecker-like. The call, a characteristic descending musical whistle, is often an indication the bird’s presence long before it is seen.

A relative is the Red vented bulbul, is bit duller, lacks the pointed crest and red whiskers, has a different call and is more confined to the wooded areas.

Cameras and Lenses: Nikon D80 + Tamron SP AF90mm f/2.8 Di Macro Lens, Olympus U770 + TCON 17 Tele Lens. Nikon photographs by rocksea and Olympus photographs by sarah. Clicking on any of the photos above will lead to higher resolution images and a nature album with more of these kind of photographs.

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