Yellow-vented Bulbul under threat

posted in: Vocalisation | 0

Isla Sharp wrote: “I am travelling in Malaysia… At Ruth Kiew’s Bukit Awansari apartment outside Kuala Lumpur recently, we were startled by a nonstop vocalisation with considerable note and rhythm variation, by what was definitely a bulbul but it was twilight so we couldn’t see colours – we could see the crest. I think it was the usual yellow-vented but can’t be sure.

Pair of Yellow-vented Bulbuls (Photo by YC Wee).

“There was a pair of them, with one vocalising more than the other (male?). It was 7pm, in the common condo courtyard garden and poolside area, and the birds were in tall non-native palms (not dates), tall and slim with smooth trunks and high crowns. We listened for about 4 minutess and then I decided to record the last 6 mins, sound (iphone) attached, so this was a nonstop 10 minutes vocalisation! Both of us found it quite extraordinary. Was it courtship or territorial defence? Over to BESG!”

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Ilsa’s note was sent to Malaysian birder Dato’ Dr Amar Singh HSS who replied:

“1. You are correct, the calls are those of a Yellow-vented Bulbul (Pycnonotus goiavier analis).

“2. They are not courtship or territorial defence but distress.

“3. I have heard this not infrequently (even occasionally in my own garden) and is usually made in response to a threat.

“The bulbuls are most likely nesting near-by and there is a danger to the young/nest.

“In the past I have heard it in response to a predator attacking the young. Usually the male makes it but occasionally both male and female (like in response to a female Koel).

Ilsa Sharp
Perth, Australia
6th October 2018

Dato’ Dr Amar-Singh HSS
Ipoh, Perak, Malaysia
16th October 2018

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