Birding in Taiwan: 15. Black Bulbul’s calls

posted in: Species, Vocalisation | 0

“The Black Bulbul (Hypsipetes leucocephalus nigerrimus) is a cheerful bulbul found in the plains and lower montane forest of Taiwan. The local endemic subspecies is all black, including the head and has a prominent pale blue-grey patch on the wings.

“Although said to be ‘black’, in good light there is a metallic bluish sheen to the plumage. The bright orange beak and feet make for an interesting contrast. Has an erectile crown/crest that is often kept up.

“Usually in social groups during the winter season and very vocal. We saw and heard this bulbul often. They collect at fruiting berry trees or fruiting ficus to feed communally.

“Black Bulbuls are quite vocal and have a large range of calls. There are odd mewing calls, sharp chirps, communal songs, etc. The best and most apt description is from Brazil (2009). He says ‘Noisy and conspicuous, calling almost continuously in flocks, perched or in flight. A whining, plaintive keer and cat-like meow or nyeeer; flight call a strident tsit or tseesp. Song a repeated series of 3-4 clear, alternating whistles, often uttered by 2-3 birds simultaneously in an alternating jumble of notes with a jaunty rhythm.’

“I was fortunate to be able to record a few – the corresponding sonograms and waveforms are shown above each call:

“The mewing nyeeer call (some background interference I could not remove) HERE.

“The tseesp call HERE.

The tsit call HERE.

“The communal song that Brazil describes as “uttered by 2-3 birds simultaneously in an alternating jumble of notes with a jaunty rhythmHERE.

Dato’ Dr Amar-Singh HSS
Ipoh, Perak, Malaysia
14-16th December 2014

Location: Kenting National Park, Hengchun Peninsula, Pingtung County, Taiwan
Habitat: A trail in the national park of forested areas and sub-urban environments.

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