Red Vented Bulbul    Pycnonotus cafer bengalensis

Etymology :

  • Pycnonotus : Greek word puknos thick, compact; notos –backed { thick backed}
  • Cafer: Cape of Good hope – South Africa
  •  Bengalenis: From Bengal

Vernacular names: Hindi: Bulbuli, Guldum bulbul, Sans: Govatsak, Urdu: Thar bulbul, Tonki bulbul,
Guldum, H.P.: Kala painju, Pun: Bulbul, Guldum, Ben: Kala bulbul, Ass: Bulbuli sorai, Cachar: Dao
bulip, Dafla: Nieli betom, Lepcha: Mancleph-pho, Naga: Inrui bulip, Bhutan: Paklom, Bhil: Peetrolyo,
Guj: Bulbul, Hadiyo bulbul, Kutch: Bhilbhil, Mar: Lalbudya bulbul, Ori: Bulubul, Ta: Kondanchiradi,
Konda-lati, Kondai kuruvi, Te: Pigli-pitta, Mal: Nattu bulbul, Kan: Kempu dwarada pikalara, Sinh:
Konde kurulla, Kondaya

Distribution in India: Widespread resident in Central and Eastern Himalayas and the Gangetic plain
in India

Description: Size of 19–20 cm; 28–40 g. It is a medium-sized, noisy, conspicuous bulbul, dark brown
and scaly-looking, with bushy crest. The nominate race has black hood, brown upperparts with pale
feather margins, prominent white rump, white-tipped black tail; breast is brown, feathers are pale-
fringed, paler below, vent and undertail-coverts are bright red; scaly tips of feathers wear off,
changing appearance markedly; iris is dark brown or hazel; bill is black; legs are black, soles are grey;
claws are black. Both the sexes are similar. The juvenile resembles adult, but is duller and browner
on head and throat, less scaled above, feathers of mantle and remiges edged light brown /rufescent;
rump is buffy white, rectrices are tipped dull brownish, undertail-coverts are pale pink or buff, bill is

Sub species:

  • The Himalayan races have a more prominent crest and are more streaked on the underside.
  • The Race intermedius of the Western Himalayas has a black hood extending to the mid-
  • Population bengalensis of Central and Eastern Himalayas and the Gangetic plain has a dark
    hood, lacks the scale like pattern on the underside and instead has dark streaks on the paler
    lower belly.
  • Race stanfordi of the South Assam hills is similar to intermedius.
  • The desert race humayuni has a paler brown mantle. Found in North West and North Central
  • The nominate race cafer is found in Peninsular India.
  • Northeast Indian race wetmorei is between cafer, humayuni and bengalensis.

Habitat: It is found in drier deciduous woodland, sparse secondary forest, scrub, orchards and gardens, stony landscapes with scattered scrub and cactus. It is found in plains, valleys and foothills up to 2300 m

Food Habits: They feed on fruits, petals of flowers, nectar, insects and occasionally vertebrates. It is arboreal, often captures prey in short aerial sallies from perch, sometimes vertically upwards. It also regularly descends to ground and hops about.

Breeding Habits: The breeding season is mainly June- September. The nests is small flat cups made of variety of materials, depending on availability, usually grasses, plant fibres and rootlets, bound with cobwebs, lined with fine grass, mammalian hair and other slender fibres. The nests is placed in upright fork or similar site in shrub, tree, creeper, palm, hedge or cactus. They lay a clutch of 2-4 eggs. The incubation period is 14 days . The female incubate the eggs. Both parents feed the chicks and on feeding trips wait for the young to excrete, swallowing the faecal sacs produced. The  nestling period is 12–16 days .The pied crested cuckoo is a brood parasite of this species .