Pycnonotus cafer Linnaeus, 1766. Nine subspecies recognized, extensive hybridization between races. Forms superspecies with six other bulbuls: common P. barbatus, black-fronted P. nigri-cans, Cape P. capensis, white-speckled P. xanthopygos, white-eared P. leucotis, and Himalayan and sooty-headed P. aurigaster.
OTHER COMMON NAMES
French: Bulbul a ventre rouge; German: Russbülbül; Spanish: Bulbul Ventrirrojo.
7.8-9 in (20-23 cm), 1.0-2.0 oz (31-59 g). Glossy black chin and throat, slightly tufted head. Back and breast feathers
brownish black edged with gray, appearing scalelike. Rump white, tail brownish black with white tip, undertail ("vent") crimson. Sexes alike. Juvenile resembles adult, but paler; un-dertail pinkish.
Native range covers the Indian subcontinent to southwestern China and Polynesia. Established populations in O'ahu, Hawaii.
Deciduous forest, gardens, and light scrub. BEHAVIOR
Keeps in pairs or loose flocks. Bold and tame, can be quarrelsome. Aggressive behavior includes "crest-raising," whereby crest feathers arch over bill and body feathers fluff out. Call a "be-care-ful" or "be-quick-quick," alarm a sharp "peep." Non-migratory.
FEEDING ECOLOGY AND DIET
Mainly eats fruits and berries, including figs (Ficus spp.), nightshade (Solanum spp.), and Lantana. Also eats insects, often caught on the wing.
Appears to be monogamous. Male courtship display involves showing erect crimson undertail. Two broods per season, male and female build nest, and both may incubate eggs 10-14 days. Fledge 12 days.
Not threatened. Widespread and common throughout range, well adapted to human environments. In Pakistan, building of canals and plantations has increased range.
SIGNIFICANCE TO HUMANS
Fruit-eating a threat to nurseries and agricultural orchards; management taken in Hawaii to prevent spread. Also disperses noxious weed seeds. ♦
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