Food for the Yellow-vented Bulbuls’ nestlings

on 24th December 2006

“Over a period of two weekends, this pair of Yellow-vented Bulbuls (Pycnonotus goiavier) were observed to be feeding their young (from the noise made, probably two of them). Regular visits, at the peak times, were about 10-15 minute intervals. The parents’ foraging grounds were all around the garden and a big piece of wasteland behind my house. It’s quite amazing that they were able to find that much food so easily.

“I’ve attached a series of pictures of the parents, and also the Chiku tree (Manilkara zapota) where the nest was hidden (above). I don’t have any pictures of the nestlings as I didn’t want to disturb the nest. The Chiku tree was pruned at that point in time, and had just begun to sprout new growth – just enough to keep the nest out of sight from prying eyes.

“Both parent birds returned to the same perch, the sawn off branch, and held whatever prey that they had secured whilst perched there (above). They scanned the surroundings for a few seconds, as if making sure that there were no predators in the vicinity, before plunging into the nest to feed their young. As they did so, the chirps of the nestlings could be heard loudly, as presumably, they competed for the food.

“The range of food items fed to the nestlings was quite impressive, varying from fruits, to spiders, caterpillars and even a cicada (top, above and below)!”

“All shots taken with a Nikon D2X and the 80-400mm VR lens mounted on a tripod, and shot from my 2nd storey balcony. This explains the almost eye-level shots.“


Note: Most of the food fed to the chicks consisted of various invertebrates, mainly insects except what looks like a fig (Ficus sp.) (above). Growing chicks need lots of proteins and thus the animal food.

Input and images Khew Sin Khoon.

If you like this post please tap on the Like button at the left bottom of page. Any views and opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the authors/contributors, and are not endorsed by the Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum (LKCNHM, NUS) or its affiliated institutions. Readers are encouraged to use their discretion before making any decisions or judgements based on the information presented.

YC Wee

Dr Wee played a significant role as a green advocate in Singapore through his extensive involvement in various organizations and committees: as Secretary and Chairman for the Malayan Nature Society (Singapore Branch), and with the Nature Society (Singapore) as founding President (1978-1995). He has also served in the Nature Reserve Board (1987-1989), Nature Reserves Committee (1990-1996), National Council on the Environment/Singapore Environment Council (1992-1996), Work-Group on Nature Conservation (1992) and Inter-Varsity Council on the Environment (1995-1997). He is Patron of the Singapore Gardening Society and was appointed Honorary Museum Associate of the Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum (LKCNHM) in 2012. In 2005, Dr Wee started the Bird Ecology Study Group. With more than 6,000 entries, the website has become a valuable resource consulted by students, birdwatchers and researchers locally and internationally. The views and opinions expressed in this article are his own, and do not represent those of LKCNHM, the National University of Singapore or its affiliated institutions.

Other posts by YC Wee

3 Responses

  1. there’s a nest in my garden, the parents used to return every 15 – 20 minutes to feed the young. It suddenly stopped for a few hours. Is this normal?

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