Writing this post today was exceptionally difficult. Not because today’s animal is uninteresting or anything, but because mid-way through writing the post, a spider decided to drop from the ceiling and land on my computer. I immediately freaked out and pushed my chair across the room, and finished writing the post from my office chair on my iPhone. Not an easy start to my morning. 

A red-whiskered bulbul showing off its lovely crest. Image by NILESH WARADKAR, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Red-whiskered bulbuls are native to Asia, though they have been introduced to many other places, including the US, Mauritius, and Australia. They prefer warm, tropical climes, and are especially at home in lightly forested areas. Bulbuls do well in farmland, where there are still trees but also many cleared areas.

Red-whiskered bulbuls don’t exactly have whiskers. Instead, they have pretty red patches on either side of their faces, as well as a thin black ‘moustache’ emanating from their beaks. The most notable things about bulbuls are their tall, pointed crests. It’s these that make bulbuls look so funny. 

Red-whiskered bulbuls are frugivorous, meaning they feed mostly on fruits. Bulbuls will also supplement their diets with nectar and insects. Many plant species benefit from bulbuls’ diets, as the birds aid in seed dispersal.

A red-whiskered bulbul nest. Image by Noblevmy at Malayalam Wikipedia, CC BY 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

 Breeding in red-whiskered bulbuls can happen once or twice in a year. Males display to females, making amusing gestures including head bows, tail spreads and wing droops. Nests are built in bushes or trees, and are usually ornamented with some kind of object, such as bark, paper or plastic bags. Females lay two to three eggs which hatch after twelve days. Both sexes assist in rearing the young, and are quite dedicated parents. If there is a threat to the nest, one of the parents may feign an injury to draw the predator away. 

Red-whiskered bulbuls have the honour of being both funny-looking and having a somewhat silly name. The only thing I’m disappointed about is that they don’t actually have red whiskers. Ah well, you can’t have everything. 

Cover image by Nrik kiran, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons, cropped to fit