Birds of Morni: Red-vented Bulbul

Red-vented Bulbul/ Kala bulbul in Hindi (Pycnonotus cafer bengalensis) a bird of open scrub forests. The head is black/ dark brown and appears squarish because of the short black crest. Body is dark brown and scaly. The rump is white and the vent is a conspicous red. TBulbuls feed on fruits; nectar (of semal flower, banana, bottle-brush etc); insects (mosquitoes, mayflies, aphids, ants, crickets, grass-hoppers, house lizards, skinks etc); leaves (of alfalfa) and petals of flowers (of kachnar, roheda, garden pea etc). In Morni, the bulbul feeds on the lantana berries and plays an important role in dispersing its seeds.

The bulbul makes its nest in the fork of a tree amongst bushes with twigs and grass, neatly woven to form a solid ‘bowl’. They breed from June to September. They generally move in flocks and pair only during the breeding season.
The Red-vented Bulbul has traditionally been tamed and kept as a cage bird in India and also held on a finger with a thread.  Its confident, inquisitive and friendly nature and cheerful songs make it a popular choice with bird lovers. When angered or otherwise excited it raises its head-feathers into a crest, which appears cute to the onlooker. Bulbuls can be trained as pets much like the parrot and shall readily eat out of the hand. In the past, Bulbuls were made to fight with other bulbuls, each going for the opponent’s red feathers!

Red-vented Bulbul, Mandana
Bulbul's Nest, Mallah, Morni-Pinjore (photo Courtesy Rajesh Pandey)
Bulbul’s Nest, Mallah, Morni-Pinjore (photo Courtesy Rajesh Pandey)
Bulbul chicks in a Champa tree (August)
Bulbul chicks in a Champa tree (August)



  1. Foraging ecology of Red-vented Bulbul Pycnonotus cafer in Haridwar, India; Dinesh Bhatt and Anil Kumar (2001)