Photo: Lou_Orr/Great Backyard Bird Count Participant

Red-whiskered Bulbul

Pycnonotus jocosus

When a few Red-whiskered Bulbuls escaped from an aviary in the Miami area in 1960, they found an environment perfectly suited to their needs. The climate was not too different from that of eastern India, where they had originated; and the suburb of Kendall, Florida, was heavily planted with exotic trees and shrubs, providing the bulbuls with abundant berries throughout the year. The birds quickly became established, but they have not spread much beyond Kendall. Another introduced population is common around Honolulu, Hawaii.
Conservation status Does not seem to compete seriously with native birds in Florida.
Family Bulbuls
Habitat Suburbs with plantings of exotic fruiting trees. Introduced in North America, found only in residential areas with wide variety of exotic trees and shrubs that provide berries and small fruits at all times of year. In native range in southern Asia, found in forest edges, semi-open areas, towns.
When a few Red-whiskered Bulbuls escaped from an aviary in the Miami area in 1960, they found an environment perfectly suited to their needs. The climate was not too different from that of eastern India, where they had originated; and the suburb of Kendall, Florida, was heavily planted with exotic trees and shrubs, providing the bulbuls with abundant berries throughout the year. The birds quickly became established, but they have not spread much beyond Kendall. Another introduced population is common around Honolulu, Hawaii.
Photo Gallery
Feeding Behavior

Except when nesting, travels in flocks to feed at fruiting plants. Takes insects by flying out to capture them in mid-air, hovering to pick them from bark, or searching among foliage.


Eggs

Usually 3. Pinkish, profusely mottled with purple or reddish spots. Incubation is by both parents, 12-14 days. Young: Both parents feed nestlings. Age of young at first flight not well known.


Young

Both parents feed nestlings. Age of young at first flight not well known.

Diet

Berries, small fruits, insects. With its small bill, usually does not feed on large fruits until they are overripe or punctured by other birds. Important items in Florida include berries and fruits of Brazilian pepper, figs, lantana, jasmine, and others. Takes nectar, eats pieces of flowers and green shoots of vegetation. Also eats many insects.


Nesting

In Florida, breeding season is mainly February to June. Florida birds seem not to defend territories strongly, often tolerating other bulbuls near the nest. In courtship display, one bird may approach the other, fluttering its wings and bowing; both birds raise and lower crests repeatedly. Nest site is usually fairly low in shrub, vine, or small tree, typically about 2-8' above the ground, often well concealed. Nest, placed in fork of branch, is a cup made of grass, weeds, rootlets, and casuarina needles. Outside of nest usually decorated with pieces of paper or plastic, large flakes of bark, or other debris.

Text © Kenn Kaufman, adapted from
Lives of North American Birds

Illustration © David Allen Sibley.
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Migration

Apparently permanent resident throughout its native range, and introduced populations seem to do very little wandering.

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Migration

Apparently permanent resident throughout its native range, and introduced populations seem to do very little wandering.

Songs and Calls
Various chattering notes; a whistled queekey!