Tan Teo Seng brought me a nest of the Yellow-vented Bulbul (Pycnonotus goiavier) from his fruit farm in Kota Tinggi, Johor, Malaysia (left). The chicks had just fledged and he collected the nest that was built attached to the slender stems of his hibiscus bush (Hibsicus rosa-sinensis). The plant is less than a metre tall but very bushy, such that the birds built the nest near to the ground.
The nest is a typical cup-shaped structure that the Yellow-vented Bulbul builds: 11 cm diameter and 8 cm high. The nest cavity is of 6cm diameter. It sits on a bed of dried leaves held in place by the fern stems.
The nesting material is mainly the pliable branched stems of the Dragon’s Scale Fern (Pyrrosia piloselloides) (left). These stems make up the outer layer of the nest, the longest being 32 cm. They are also used to attach the nest to the three slender main stems of the hibiscus.
Inner to the fern stems are a layer of dried leaves, including grass and bamboo leaves. Plant fibres line the inside of the nest cup, with a few strands of slender, herb stems.
The nesting materials consist of: 22 dried leaves, of which 3 are of durian (Durio zibethinus); 83 pieces of fern stems (Pyrrosia piloselloides); 24 bamboo leaves; and 118 fibre strands.