Redvented bulbul

Pycnonotus cafer

TAXONOMY

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.

PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS

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.

DISTRIBUTION

Native range covers the Indian subcontinent to southwestern China and Polynesia. Established populations in O'ahu, Hawaii.

HABITAT

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.

REPRODUCTIVE BIOLOGY

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.

CONSERVATION STATUS

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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