- History and Culture
Pycnonotus jocosus known as the Red-whiskered bulbul or Crested bulbul, is a passerine bird found mostly in tropical Asia. It has been introduced in many tropical areas of the world where populations have established themselves. The Red-whiskered bulbul measures about 18 centimeters , has a brown back, wings and tail, which has white terminal feather tips. It is recognizable from its tall pointed black crest, thin black moustache line and a red patch on its face. The bird has a loud evocative three or four note call, which it will sing perching sometimes conspicuously from the top of trees.
Red whiskered bulbuls dwells in a wide range of habitats from dense hilly woodland, secondary scrub, roadsides, parkland, orchards, reedbeds, urban and suburban gardens and parks and in cultivated areas. The species feeds mainly on fruit, nectar, flower buds and invertebrates and are considered generalist and opportunist. Young nestlings rely on high-protein soft-bodied insects and larvae, gradually shifting to fruit as they get older. Bulbuls are most often encountered singly or in pairs, and sometimes in family-sized parties. Outside of the breeding season, they may be encountered in larger foraging parties.
Males court females by bowing their head, spreading their tail and moving it slowly up and down while drooping and quivering their wings. Their nests are cup-shaped, deep and compact built out of twigs, leaves, dry grasses, creeper stems and bark. They line the inner cup with finer vegetation but may also add man-made items to embellish it such as pieces of cloth, paper or even plastic. The nest can be found at 1 to 3 meters above ground. The female lays 2 to 4 oval, pale-white eggs that has dense pink speckles towards the broad end. The incubation period lasts 12 to 14 days, following which both parents care for the young.
Red-whiskered bulbuls are listed as ‘Least Concern’ in the IUCN Red list of Threatened Species.
Red-whiskered bulbuls are very common throughout their range. Hence no conservation measure has been undertaken for this species. It should be noted, however, that bulbuls are believed to help in the spread of Ligustrum robustum and Clidemia hirta, two invasive plant species.
 BirdLife International. 2017. Pycnonotus jocosus (amended version of 2016 assessment). The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2017: e.T22712634A119273079. http://dx.doi.org/10.2305/IUCN.UK.2017-3.RLTS.T22712634A119273079.en. Downloaded on 11 July 2018.
Bulbuls are known for being songsters and are popular as cage birds. The pet trade is partly responsible for the spread of this species outside of its native range.
Fishpool, L. & Tobias, J. (2018). Red-whiskered Bulbul (Pycnonotus jocosus). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from https://www.hbw.com/node/57935 on 11 July 2018).
BirdLife International. 2017. Pycnonotus jocosus (amended version of 2016 assessment). The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2017: e.T22712634A119273079. http://dx.doi.org/10.2305/IUCN.UK.2017-3.RLTS.T22712634A119273079.en. Downloaded on 11 July 2018.