Red-whiskered Bulbuls gathering in the morning

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I was up early to catch the Yellow-vented Bulbuls (Pycnonotus goiavier) in their dawn chorus as the haze situation had improved during the last few days.

Instead of the Yellow-vented Bulbuls, I encountered a small flock of Red-whiskered Bulbuls (Pycnonotus jocosus). There were at least a dozen of them, if not more. Their songs, consisting of harsh but varied and lively whistles were a welcome change.

Initially gathering some distance away in a small clump of bamboo, they soon flew nearer to gather in the Golden Penda (Xanthostemon chrysanthus) trees that line the road. These leafy trees kept them hidden but their songs remained loud and clear.

They then moved over to the taller Ceram Palms (Rhopaloblaste ceramica) where they became more visible. Perching high up on the back of the palm fronds, they continued their socialising and indulged in their morning comfort behavior, stretching their wings and preening their feathers. At least one bird was documented taking oil from their preen gland found at the base of the tail. The oil helps keep the feathers in good condition.

YC Wee
December 2015

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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.

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