Sunday, 10 April 2011

Red-whiskered bulbul

Pycnonotus jocosus

Common name:

Order Passeriformes
Family Pycnonotidae

These birds are native to south-east Asia, from Pakistan and India to China. They have been introduced to several countries including Australia, the United States and several Asian nations outside their native range.

Red-whiskered bulbuls are 17-23 cm long and have a wingspan of 28 cm. They weigh 23-42 g.

In their native range they are mostly found in lightly wooded areas, in open country with bushes and shrubs, along forest edges and in farmland at altitudes of 500-2.000 m. In their introduced range they are also found in urban areas, where they inhabit parks, gardens and areas along creeks.

The red-whiskered bulbul feeds on fruits, berries, insects, flower buds and nectar.

These birds can breed all year round, depending on the part of their range. The nest is cup-shaped, and is built on bushes, thatched walls or small trees. It is woven of fine twigs, roots, and grasses, and embellished with large objects such as bark strips, paper, or plastic bags. The female lays 2-3 pale mauve eggs, which are incubated by both parents for 12-14 days. Both parents take part in raising the chicks, which fledge 13 days after hatching but only become fully independent after 3 weeks. Each pair may raise 1-2 broods per year.

IUCN status - LC (Least concern)
This species has a very large breeding range and, although the global population size has not been quantified, the species is described as common to abundant. The species range has expanded due to its introduction to several new areas, but the population in its native range is estimated to be in decline following local declines and extinctions owing to hunting and trapping pressure. Overall, this species is not considered threatened at present.

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