Red-whiskered Bulbul: The Garden Songbird

It’s been raining on and off and the weather is cool under the influence of Cyclone Tauktae raging in the Arabian Sea. It’s dark, windy, and raining intermittently. It doesn’t feel like May, doesn’t feel like summer.

Red-whiskered Bulbuls

Since it’s mostly quiet (because of the lockdown due to the coronavirus pandemic) I can hear a lot of birds throughout the day. Loud chirpings, many a time, especially in the mornings and evenings. And though I cannot identify the birds, I sometimes can make out whether I’ve heard a call before or not. I’m distracted by some sound today and I look out to find these urban songbirds – red-whiskered bulbuls – 3 of them, perched on the topmost branches of this almost naked tree.

The red-whiskered bulbuls also called crested bulbuls, are mostly frugivorous feeding on fruits, seeds, roots and shoots, and sometimes small insects. These were popular cage birds once, and are easily found in urban gardens today. These are brown above with whitish underparts and a dark head with a tall dark crest. They also have bright crimson/red patches on ears and under-tail coverts. These passerine birds are seen mostly in pairs or in small groups.

Being songbirds, their call sounds like sweet musical notes. There are many reasons birds sing, to mark territories, or to attract a potential partner when the breeding season is about to begin. This group I saw, weren’t singing a lot. I looked up at them because I heard them at first, yes, but I don’t really remember if they sang much as I got busy looking at them through my lens – perched far away, through the lens was the only way to get a better look.

Listen to the sweet sound of the red-whiskered bulbul here:

Source: Andrew Spencer, XC547563. Accessible at

They sat there for not too long, but it was enough time for me to listen and see them. I see quite some birds on this tree, but most just stay for a while – I guess this tree is more of a pitstop for all those birds who are flying to their homes, somewhere slightly far away to denser/safer trees.

Thank you for stopping by. Would love to read what you have to say, please leave a comment :)

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s