Red-Vented Bulbul

Red-Vented Bulbul Pycnonotus cafer

Type of Animal:

Woodlands, plains, scrubland, cultivated areas, agricultural areas, forests (open & closed), scrubby edge habitat, urban areas, suburban areas, rural areas, secondary growth, shrubby areas, shrubland, parks, gardens, orchards, plantations, residential areas

Native to Indian subcontinent, extreme NE Afghanistan, Burma, NW Thailand, parts of Tibet, & areas of S China bordering Indian subcontinent. Introduced in UAE, Qatar, Kuwait, Bahrain, Hawaii, Samoa, Fiji, Tonga, New Caledonia, French Polynesia, Canary Islands, Oman, S Iraq, parts of Saudi Arabia, SE Texas (mainly around Houston), parts of Argentina, & parts of North Island, New Zealand.

Dark brown body w/ scaly pattern, darker/blackish head, white rump, red vent, black tail w/ white tips, pointy bill, juveniles duller than adults. C Indian subspecies has paler brown mantle. Population in Ganges area & C/E Himalayas have dark hoods & lack scale-like pattern on underside instead replaced w/ dark streaks. Sri Lankan subspecies has dark mantle w/ narrow pale edges.

Fruit, insects, insect larvae, nectar, flowers, flower petals, lizards, leaves, eggs, spiders, buds, pollen, berries, seeds, sugar water

Status in Wild:

Not applicable

Flocks of 6-70 birds

Additional Info:

Male: Cock
Female: Hen
Young: Chick
Group: Flock

Male: 1.27-2.08 oz
Female: 1.09-1.83 oz
10-11 days 

Life Span:
11 years

Male: 9.05 in
Female: 7.87 in

Body Length:
Male: 9.05 in
Female: 7.87 in

Tail Length:
3 in, same for both sexes

Main predators are snakes, predatory birds, lizards, carnivorous/omnivorous mammals, & crocodilians.
Introduction of this species into Hawaii has led to increase in white Monarch Butterfly morphs due to predation on orange morphs.
In native range, Pied Crested/Jacobin Cuckoo often parasitize/lay eggs in bulbul nests, having bulbuls raise cuckoo chicks.
Females lay 2-5 eggs & often have multiple clutches a year.
Calls variety of chirps & whistles.
Very confident & inquisitive birds.

Fun Fact(s):
Word “bulbul” may come from Turkish or Persian word for nightingale.
Among 1st animals other than humans found incapable of synthesizing Vitamin C. Many birds incapable of synthesizing Vitamin C.
In 19th century India, they were frequently kept as cage birds & males for fighting. Still sometimes kept as cage birds. In fact, many introduced populations derive from escaped/released birds.
Listed on 100 worst invasive alien species due to damaging crops/gardens, competing w/ native birds where introduced, & spreading seeds of invasive plants.

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