Wednesday, 26 December 2012

Red-vented bulbul

Pycnonotus cafer

Photo by J.M. Garg (Wikipedia)

Common name:
red-vented bulbul (en); tuta-de-ventre-vermelho (pt); bulbul à ventre rouge (fr); bulbul de ventrirrojo (es); rußbülbül (de)

Order Passeriformes
Family Pycnonotidae

This species originates from the Indian sub-continent, being found throughout India and Sri Lanka, in eastern Pakistan and Afghanistan, in Nepal, Bhutan, Bangladesh, Myanmar and marginally into southern China. This species has been introduced in several islands in the Pacific, such as Fiji, French Polynesia, New Caledonia, Samoa, Tonga and Hawaii, also in New Zealand and in the Arabian Peninsula in Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, Oman and The United Arab Emirates.

These birds are 20 cm long and weigh 26-45 g.

The red-vented bulbul is found in a wide range of habitats including tropical and subtropical dry forests and scrublands, rural gardens, plantations and urban areas.

They mainly eat fruits, but also flowers, leaves and nectar of a wide range of plants, namely Solanaceae, Moraceae, Papilionaceae, Verbenaceae, Bombacaceae and Cucurbitaceae. They are also known to occasionally eat geckos.

Red-vented bulbuls can breed all year round, with a peak in January-October. the nest is built by both sexes, consisting of a small flat cup made of twigs, roots and grasses. It is placed in a fork in a tree, up to 4 m above the ground. The female lays 2-4 pink eggs with purple or reddish-brown blotches, which are incubated for 10-14 days. The chicks are fed by both parents and fledge about 12 days after hatching. Each pair may raise up to 3 clutches 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 red-vented bulbul is described as generally common, being abundant in Nepal, India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh and rare in southern China. The population is estimated to be increasing following a recorded range expansion owing to the spread of irrigation. This species has also been introduced in several areas outside their native range, where they become a problem as an invasive species.

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