Pycnonotidae


This large family of relatively fearless, noisy and gregarious birds ranges from Africa through India to Japan and South-east Asia. Although several adaptable species have been introduced to islands east of Bali, only one occurs naturally east of Wallace’s Line. Bulbuls are characterized by short, rounded wings; a long tail; and a slender, slightly decurved bill with well-developed rictal bristles and, in some species, a hooked tip. Their plumage is soft, and some species sport a distinct crest. Many species have an inconspicuous patch of hair-like feathers (filoplumes) projecting from the nape, though their function is unknown. Fruit is a major component of the diet of most species, though insects and nectar are also eaten. Most bulbuls are social to some degree, and flock members often synchronize their resting and preening behaviour. Likewise, pair members often preen at the same time, side-by-side, although they are not known to preen each other. Whilst most bulbuls produce simple, monotonous, and in some cases rather uleasant raspy calls, several Asian species have powerful and melodious songs, and as a result, are popular cagebirds. The Straw-necked Bulbul Pycnonotus zeylanicus, in particular, was so mercilessly trapped for the cage bird industry throughout South-east Asia that it has disappeared from some parts of its range, including Java, and declining drastically in others. Twelve species occur in Java, of which seven can be found in Baluran.

Flight:

Direct, with shallow wingbeats.

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