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Yellow-vented Bulbul: Feeding fledglings in the rain

on 27th March 2008

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March is a busy month for the Yellow-vented Bulbuls (Pycnonotus goiavier). This is a time when their chicks fledge and the garden is filled with the never-ending chick-chick-chick of the hungry fledglings. They are constantly begging for food. And they need to be fed, come sunshine or rain (above).

The parent birds are always around their hungry chicks. When one flies off to forage, the other is always nearby. The fledglings have yet to be wary of humans and they remain on the branch, not flying away when approached. But one thing they know to do, and that is to stop their begging cries.

My being around the fledglings always makes the parents nervous. They fly around me making their loud calls, desperately trying to distract me.

They have a rich repertoire of scolds, from the gurgling chok-chok-chok or chok-chok-chok-chick to kritek-kritek-kritek, or with a kroor added after the third kritek. At times the scolding includes kritek-tik-tik. If only I know what they are saying!

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It has been raining these few days in the afternoons. The chicks are huddling together under shade of the leafy terap tree (Artocarpus odoratissimus). Their feathers are fluffed in an effort to keep warm and they look like cute bundles of stuffed birds. The moment a parent approaches, they become active, begging loudly and gaping wide to highlight the reddish gape lined with yellow oral flanges (above).

While one chick is fed, the other waits patiently for its turn the next time around. There is much begging but no violence – the parents know exactly which one is the next in line to be fed. The garden is full of ripening fruits and they need not go far in the rain.

I was watching the feeding in the light rain at around 1700-1740 hours from a distance and just before the sky darkened further, a pair of noisy birds landed nearby and the chicks immediately moved off to another, more leafy branch.

YC Wee
Singapore
March 2008

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

4 Responses

  1. What a heart warming scene! March is a good season to see chicks, I saw 2 Ashy Tailorbird chicks at Sunget Api Api last Sunday. I wish I could forward the picture but can anyone provide guidance?

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