Red-whiskered Bulbul



The red-whiskered bulbul (Pycnonotus jocosus) is recognisable by its black upright crest and red patches on its cheeks and undertail. It is an uncommon resident in Singapore.

Description
The red-whiskered bulbul has a distinctive black crest, red flash behind the eyes, and white cheeks demarcated with a black malar stripe. Its upperparts are dark brown, while its underparts are white with red undertail coverts. Both sexes are alike. Juveniles are similar but the red colouration is faint or absent.1

The birds are usually seen in pairs. However small flocks of as many as 20 individuals have been recorded and up to 50 birds have been observed on the less frequented grounds within the Istana in Singapore.

Adults are about 20 cm long.2 Its call has been described as a distinct whistle that sounds like “queep kwil-ya” and “queek-kay”.3

Reproduction
Red-whiskered bulbuls have been reported to breed between April to May. Their nest is cup-shaped and constructed about 1.5–4.5 m above ground. They lay between two to three eggs, which are whitish or pinkish in colour with blackish undermarkings.4

Diet
The bulbul’s diet includes fruits, berries, seeds, flower parts and nectar, seedlings, as well as insects.5

Distribution and Habitat
The red-whiskered bulbul is native to India through Thailand, and the northern part of the Malay Peninsula. In Singapore and southern parts of the Malay Peninsula, it is believed to have been an introduced species in the 1910s as the result of escaped caged birds. This species has also been successfully introduced in Australia, the United States, and Mauritius.


The red-whiskered bulbul typically inhabits gardens, parks and secondary growth.6

Other Facts
The red-whiskered bulbul is featured on Singapore $5 notes of the “Bird Series” currency notes released by the Monetary Authority of Singapore between 1976 and 1984.7 It was also featured on the Singapore $0.10 stamp in the 1978 postage stamp series “Singing Birds”.8

Variant Names
Malay: Merbah jambulMerbah telinga merah9

Chinese: 红耳鹎 (hong er bei)10



Author

Shereen Tay



References
1. Yong, D. L & Lim, K. C. (2016). A naturalist's guide to the birds of Singapore. Oxford, England: John Beaufoy Publishing, p. 117. (Call no.: RSING 598.095957 YON); Davison, G. W. H. (2003). Photographic guide to birds of Peninsular Malaysia and Singapore. London: New Holland, p. 82. (Call no.: RSING 598.095951 DAV).
2. Yong, D. L & Lim, K. C. (2016). A naturalist's guide to the birds of Singapore. Oxford, England: John Beaufoy Publishing, p. 117. (Call no.: RSING 598.095957 YON); Gan, J. W. M., & Lau, A. (2005). Birds seen at the Istana. Singapore: Suntree Media, p. 77. (Call no.: RSING 598.095957 BIR)
3. Madoc, G. C. (1947). An introduction to Malayan birds. Kuala Lumpur: Malayan Nature, p. 168. (Call no.: RCLOS 598.29595 MAD-[GBH])
4. Yong, D. L & Lim, K. C. (2016). A naturalist's guide to the birds of Singapore. Oxford, England: John Beaufoy Publishing, p. 117. (Call no.: RSING 598.095957 YON); Robson, C. (2011). A field guide to the birds of South-East Asia. London: New Holland, pp. 479-480. (Call no.: RSING 598.0959 ROB)
5. Sodhi, N. S. (2006). Winged invaders: Pest birds of the Asia Pacific, with information on bird flu and other diseases. Singapore: SNP Reference, pp. 128 ­129. (Call no.: RSING 598.095 SOD)
6. Lim, K. S. (2009). The avifauna of Singapore. Singapore: Nature Society (Singapore), Bird Group Records Committee, pp. 447 ̶ 448. (Call no.: RSING 598.095957 LIM); Sodhi, N. S. (2006). Winged invaders: Pest birds of the Asia Pacific, with information on bird flu and other diseases. Singapore: SNP Reference, pp. 128-129. (Call no.: RSING 598.095 SOD)
7. Monetary Authority of Singapore. (2016). Notes. Retrieved 2016, June 13 from the Monetary Authority of Singapore website: http://www.mas.gov.sg/currency/circulation-currency/notes.aspx
8. CS Philathelic Agency. (n.d.). Singapore Stamps 1978. Retrieved 2016, June 13 from CS Philathelic Agency website: http://cs.com.sg/1978.htm
9. Madoc, G. C. (1947). An introduction to Malayan birds. Kuala Lumpur: Malayan Nature, p. 168. (Call no.: RCLOS 598.29595 MAD-[GBH])
10. Yong, D. L & Lim, K. C. (2016). A naturalist's guide to the birds of Singapore. Oxford, England: John Beaufoy Publishing, p. 117. (Call no.: RSING 598.095957 YON)



The information in this article is valid as at 2016 and correct as far as we are able to ascertain from our sources. It is not intended to be an exhaustive or complete history of the subject. Please contact the Library for further reading materials on the topic.

 

Subject
Bulbuls--Singapore
Birds on postage stamps
Science and technology>>Zoology>>Birds
Birds in numismatics
Nature>>Animals
Wildlife