Willem’s Weekly Bird Photography blog (#10)

Week 10: Dark capped Bulbul (Swartoog tiptol)(Pycnonotus barbatus tricolor)

This week I am back in South Africa with the bird of the week. It is all about the more common garden bird – the common or dark capped Bulbul.


10 Bulbul  My seat W

Bulbul My seat

Nikon D700, Nikkor 600mmf4 fixed lens, ISO 1000, f4, 1/3200, exposure = -0.67, WB = sunlight, Aperture mode, 12 meters from bird

Underground elephant hide, Mashatu Nature Reserve, Botswana, July 201




Interesting facts:

The Dark-capped Bulbul is mostly greyish-brown above and whitish-brown below, with a distinctive dark head and pointy crest on top of the head. The back of the head merges into the brown of the back, and the chin is also blackish. The underparts are grey-brown apart from yellow around the vent. It is about 18 cm in length, with a long tail. It has a dark brown head and upperparts. Sexes are similar in plumage (as evident in my photo). This species eats fruit, nectar and insects. (Wikipedia).

It occurs across much of sub-Saharan Africa, from Chad to Ethiopia south to southern Africa. Here it is common to abundant across Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Northern Botswana, the Caprivi Strip, the Limpopo Province, Mpumalanga, KwaZulu-Natal and the Eastern Cape. It can occupy any habitat with adequate supply of fruiting trees and bushes, absent only from dense woodland or grassland with few bushes. It is particularly common in gardens, plantations and parks in and around human settlements. Monogamous and territorial, with males defending their territories against other males by lowering their wings and head and chasing the intruder. If the confrontation escalates into a fight, the males viciously peck and scratch each other, sometimes interlocking their claws in mid flight and falling to the ground.

The female builds the nest, which is a tidy and well-built cup built of rootlets, dry grass and twigs with an outer layer of spider web, and lined with finer plant material. it is typically placed on a branch or slung between a few twigs, generally concealed towards the edge of the canopy, often found in suburban gardens. Egg-laying season is from July-April, peaking around September-December. It lays 2-3 eggs, which are incubated by the female for about 12-15 days, while the male regularly brings her food at the nest. The chicks are brooded almost constantly by the female at first, but thereafter both adults leave the nest repeatedly in search of food. The young stay in the nest for about 11-16 days, leaving before they can fly. At first they remain huddled together in the tree where the nest is placed, but soon they join their parents in foraging trips. http://www.biodiversityexplorer.org/birds/pycnonotidae/pycnonotus_tricolor.htm


The distribution map (http://www.biodiversityexplorer.org/birds/pycnonotidae/pycnonotus_tricolor.htm):

Bulbul distribution map


Until next week – keep an eye on the birds and keep on shooting.


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