Yellow-vented Bulbul’s reaction to chick’s death

on 29th August 2009

A pair of Yellow-vented Bulbul (Pycnonotus goiavier) nested in my Song of India (Dracaena reflexa) tree without my knowing it. Only when I half-sawed one of the four major upright stems and it collapsed did the chicks cried out and two adults suddenly appeared and scolded me.

Well, I managed to prop up the stem to allow the chicks to be brooded by the adults and things went on well for the next day or so. Then the nest was predated, possibly by a resident squirrel. Of the two chicks that were about a few days old, one disappeared, probably taken away by the predator. The other was on the ground below, dead.

The two adults were protective of this dead chick. They brought food regularly to feed it. An adult brought a fruit of the MacArthur palm (Ptychosperma macarthurii). When there was no response from the dead chick, it left the fruit by its side. They also brought insects, eating them when they failed feed the chick. The adults even prodded the body in an effort to get a response (above).

This went on the whole morning with the adults giving out soft cries, calling to the chick. At least one adult was around all the time.

A Javan Myna (Acridotheres javanicus) approached the body and was vigorously chased away amidst loud cries by the adults. When a common treeshrew (Tupia glis) appeared and probed around the body, the two adults could only watch helplessly, scolding the animal until it left (above). According to R Subaraj, the treeshrew is a mainly insectivorous animal and was probably picking the ants on the body.

YC Wee
August 2009

The full paper has just been published: Wee, Y. C., 2009. Observations on the behaviour of the yellow-vented bulbul, Pycnonotus goiavier (Scopoli) in two instances of failed nesting. Nature in Singapore 2: 347-352.

A PDF can be downloaded HERE

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

6 responses

  1. Pingback: scopoli

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Overall visits (since 2005)

Clustrmaps (since 2016)