A Suspected Crossbreed

“On a recent trip to Bukit Batok Nature Park, an odd-looking bird was encountered. Initially thought to be the ubiquitous Yellow-vented Bulbul (Pycnonotus goiavier) due to its prominent yellow vent, it seemed somewhat different (above, below). Squinting my eyes to take a closer look against the strongly back-lit subject, I realised that it was a species that I have not seen before. Based on its prominent yellow vent and likeness to the Yellow-vented Bulbul, could it be a crossbreed between a Yellow-vented Bulbul with some other species?

“Except for its head (below left), this odd-looking bird strongly resembled the Yellow-vented Bulbul (below right, juvenile). Similar to the bulbul, it has a dark crown, but less prominent. Unlike the bulbul, it lack the dark lores. Strikingly, it has a large bulging eyering that resembled those of the Lineated Barbet (Megalaima lineata) (bottom); but it was white instead of yellow. Its unique bill was separated almost in the middle by two colours – pink nearer the base and black nearer the tip.

“Being a leisure bird photographer, I have limited resources and was unable to match this odd-looking bird with any species. Could it be a crossbreed, an unknown species, or just a Yellow-vented Bulbul (perhaps juvenile) with some unknown condition? All opinions are welcomed and will be appreciated.”

Kwong Wai Chong
5th June 2013

3 Responses

  1. Chintana

    Yeah, this bird look a bit different than the yellow-vented bulbul, specially the black tip at the bill. Interesting, would love to know too.

  2. Jerem Lee

    I have heard of breeders using YVB x with Red Whiskered Bulbul to generate hybrid offspring with better singing stamina. But these hybrids also have a different song repertoire.

    Not impossible that the YVB has cross bred with another bulbul species within Bukit Batok area.

    The colour of the beak might be a clue to start with.

  3. Lee Chiu San

    A bulging eyeball is a common symptom in many avian diseases. Also, various infections cause changes in skin and beak colour. This bird does not look so much different from a common YVB for me to feel that it is a hybrid. It’s probably got some disease.

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