Meet the (Bulbul) Parents

I was finally able to take a few decent shots of the bulbul couple (Pycnonotus taivanus) that set up residence in low bushes right at the entrance of our house. I have taken more pictures of the female who seems to be the only one looking after the little ones. The male does show up from time to time, as if to assert his right over the territory around the nest, but otherwise leaves all the feeding duties to his companion. As one would imagine, the female bulbul gets very busy since feeding four hungry mouths does take some effort. Once I witnessed her bringing in a large grasshopper which she carefully placed in one of the four open mouths. The green insect was almost bigger than the baby bird, but somehow it still disappeared in its throat, with only the grasshopper’s legs sticking out for a little while…

The mother is surprisingly agressive when it comes to protecting her nest. She tolerates my presence to a certain degree, but there was an occasion when I reached towards the nest trying to move some branches so that I could have a better view of the baby birds when the fierce lady arrived from nowhere. Suddenly I was confronted with a very angry bird, ready to defend her nest and attack even a very large intruder! She launched forward a few times and although she didn’t bite, she did give a few strong warning signs as well as an angry cry and a loud clattering sound. But if I keep a distance of at least half a metre from the nest, she doesn’t seem to mind me being around.

As for the little ones, they are doing great. They have developed quite a nice cover of small black feathers already, just five days after they hatched. They still haven’t opened their eyes and I am not sure if they can hear, but they react strongly to any vibration of the nest when they rise rapidly with their mouths wide open, expecting a treat. I wonder if the mother recognises them all and feeds them in turn or if she simply distributes the food according to certain signs that might indicate the most pressing need. I certainly can’t tell the difference between them, but then again, I am not their mother 🙂

Taiwan Bulbul

Taiwan Bulbul

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Taiwan Bulbul

Taiwan Bulbul

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