Red-whiskered Bulbul  Pycnonotus jocosus


  • Pycnonotus : Greek word puknos thick, compact; notos –backed { thick backed}
  • Jocosus: Latin word for Merry maker, Joker

Vernacular Names: Hindi: Kamera/Pahari bulbul, Sans: Kurmachal rakta shmashru govatsak, Pun: Lalgallhi bulbul, Ben: Sipahi bulbul, China bulbul, B’ Desh: Kanda, Cachar: Dao-bulip-gajao-bi, Abor: Jadbo, Dafla: Dukshoh, Mishmi: Jango, Naga: Inrui-bulib-gaherba, Pyajo, Mani: Khoining, Guj: Sipahi bulbul, Mar: Lalgallya bulbul, Shipai bulbul, Narad bulbul, Ta: Konda-kloti-kuruvi, Te: Turaka-pigli-pitta, Mal: Irattathalachi, Kan: Kempu kapalada pikalara

This is also called as Crested Bulbul

Distribution in India: Resident in Parts of North, East, Western Ghats, most of South India.

Description: Size of 18–20·5 cm; wt. of 25–31 g. It is a slim, dark-backed, conspicuous bulbul with long upright crest. The nominate race has black crown and crest, bright red spot behind eye (“ear-tuft”), white ear-coverts, cheek and throat, fine black moustachial line. The upperparts, wings and tail are dull brown, all tail feathers except two central pairs are tipped white. The underparts are whitish, washed brownish on sides, broad black pectoral band is broken, undertail-coverts are red; iris is brown or dark brown; bill is black; legs and claws are black. Both the sexes are similar. The juvenile has shorter, browner crest, red postocular tuft replaced by white, paler brown upperparts, much weaker breastband, undertail-coverts suffused with pink, and vent is dull buffish-pink to yellowish or orange. The race fuscicaudatus (West & Central India) has complete breastband, lacks white tips on lateral tail feathers; race abuensis (Rajasthan, Gujarat, Maharashtra) is similar but paler overall, with breastband incomplete; race pyrrhotis (Himachal Pradesh, Punjab to Arunachal Pradesh ) has all tail tips white, breastband incomplete, upperparts are pale brown; emeria (Ganges Delta to Tamil Nadu ) has upperparts bright warm brown, crest is very long, bill is slim and relatively large red ear patch compared to some races; whistleri (Andaman Island) is similar but slightly smaller, with shorter crest and bill is larger; monticola (E Himalayas in NE India ) is darker and more saturated overall, with flanks and lower abdomen smoky buff, ear-tufts are small and deep crimson composed of more rigid and wiry feathers, dark breastband is complete.

Habitat: It is found in dense hilly woodland, secondary scrub, roadsides, parkland, orchards, reedbeds, urban and suburban gardens and parks; found also in cultivation, ranging from slash-and-burn clearings in secondary forest to totally open sugar-cane plantation. It is found from Lowlands up to 2000m.

Food Habits: They feed on fruits, petals of flowers, nectar, insects and occasionally insects. It feeds the young nestlings with soft-bodied insects and larvae, with more drupes and berries as they become a little older. It forages in trees and bushes, but descends fairly often to ground, where it shuffles about on short legs to pick up seeds and ants.

Breeding Habits: They breed in India in Mar–Oct in North and Dec–May in South; Apr–May in Andaman islands and N Thailand; Feb–Jul in Peninsular Malaysia. The male displays by lowering its head, drooping and quivering wings, and slowly raising and lowering the fanned tail. The nest a fairly deep, compact, substantial open cup composed of twigs, leaves, dry grasses, creeper stems and flakes of bark, bound together with cobwebs, inner cup usually lined with fine hair-like rootlets coconut fibres, thin grass and mammalian hair, with dead leaves and dried ferns worked into base. Man-made items such as pieces of cloth and paper often found in the nest. The nest is placed above ground in branch fork of bush, thorny shrub, hedge or tree or creepers against tree, wall or garden lattice, sometimes in odd situation such as on verandah, in basket, within building, roof thatching or stack of straw, or even down well, They lay a clutch of 2–4 eggs. The incubation starts with first egg, but intermittent and only diurnal until clutch complete. The incubation period is 12–14 days. The hatching of eggs is asynchronous. The nestlings are tended by both pair-members. The fledging period is 14 days. Both the parents tend fledglings.