Thursday, February 19, 2009

About Red Vented Bulbul

Red Vented bulbul
(Pycnonotus Cafer)

Bulbul... We all must have heard this bird species. One of the frequent visitor to our gardens. Bulbul is a species name and it has almost 15 - 20 sub - species. But the commonest of them all is a Red Vented bulbul. This bird is frequently seen around our gardens as well as scrub jungle. These birds are seen in large swarms on Peepul or Banyan trees, eating the fruits but also have a varied diet consisting of insects, vegetables and flower nectar.

  • Description The Red-vented Bulbul is easily identified by its short crest giving the head a squarish appearance. The body is dark brown with a scaly pattern while the head is darker or black. The rump is white while the vent is red. The black tail is tipped in white. Sexes are similar in plumage, but young birds are duller than adults. 

  • Nesting - Nest is built in the bush at the height of around 2-3 m.  Sometimes nest is made in lamp shades, lofts, wire bundles, electric housings and similar places. Nests are made from grass, twigs, rootlets, paper, plastic, cobwebs, foils etc. Male and female both equally share parental responsibilities.  Two or three eggs is a typical clutch. Nests are occasionally built inside houses or in a hole in a mud bank. Breeding season is from February to July. The eggs are pale-pinkish with spots of darker red more dense at the broad end. 

  • Ecological Note - Bulbuls are good Pollinators and also insect controllers.

  • Cultural Note - Bulbul is a persian name for Nightingale, which featured extensively in their poetry. It was given to the Red Vented Bulbul of Bengal and the actual bird was forgotten! It now featured extensively in our poetry.  In 19th Century India these birds were frequently kept as cage pets and for fighting especially in the Carnatic region. 

  • Related Species - Yellow Throated Bulbul ( Rare sighting or individual sightings recorded in South India). Red Whiskered bulbul ( Found in the Western coastal region of India and in North East India)


About House Sparrow...

House Sparrow
(Passer Domesticus)

Today we will get familiar with a very familiar bird - House Sparrow. 

 We all must have seen this cute little bird around our house and garden since childhood, but how much do we know about it???

We here in Maharashtra know this bird as "chimnee". This bold bird is closely linked to human being. One of the first  birds to visit a bird - feeder. Sparrows freely mix with Bulbuls, White - eyes, Munias etc. 

  • MaleWhite cheeks. Black throat and chest. Back of head chestnut, extending to eye. Gray cap. Bill black. Broad, white upper wingbar. Back feathers edged with chestnut. Underparts whitish gray. In winter, the black bib is hidden by pale tips to the breast feathers that eventually wear off and reveal the black. 

  • FemaleDingy brown all over. Unstriped gray brown chest and underparts. Large pale yellowish eyestripe. Black and straw-colored stripes on back. Bill yellowish. Eyes black. Crown plain gray brown.

  • Nesting - Nesting sites are Wall hole, under the roof and any place in the house where nesting material can be placed and eggs can be laid. They nest throughout the year and parental responsibilities are carried equally by both male and female. At a time about 3-5 eggs of greenish - white color with brown spots are laid.

  • Cultural Notes - Sparrows are extensively featured in nursery Rhymes. In Rigveda, a reference is made to a sparrow injured by a wolf, which was treated by Ashwinikumar twins, the physicians of God.

  • Status - Though commonly seen around human habitation number of this little bird is Declining currently.  Save this beautiful species from vanishing. 

  • House Sparrow Call - A Familiar chirping call when feeding or Roosting. Breeding male sings Tsi - tsi, Chip, Chip, Chew, Cheer when displaying with flapping wings.