Red-Whiskered Bulbul

A few weeks back, a strange bird call started waking me up.  Though red-whiskered bulbuls are supposed to be pretty common, I’d not heard them or seen one up close.


There were two of them making rounds throughout the day, and they used to visit one plant in my terrace-garden frequently.  I took that as a sign that they’re building a nest, and ensured they don’t get disturbed when the visited.  I tried taking a few pictures, but couldn’t manage good ones: these birds are very shy, and any they’re very alert to any movement or human presence.  There’s a better photo at wikipedia.

Exactly one week after they started arriving, they had built a nest and they didn’t make as much noise as earlier.  That made me curious.  I checked out their nest, and was quite delighted to see an egg:

Red whiskered bulbul's nest with egg
Red whiskered bulbul’s nest with egg
Red whiskered bulbul's nest with egg -- camera flash on.
Red whiskered bulbul’s nest with egg — camera flash on.

The next day I woke up to a lot of mayhem, lots of bird noises near the plant.  I didn’t feel like disturbing anything there.  When the commotion died down, I went to check, and saw the egg was missing.  That was a sad end to the week-long activity around the nest.  I initially suspected pigeons, permanent residents in the terrace, to have caused the damage.  However, later in the day, a big crow came by near the same plant (crows have never come inside the terrace earlier).  Wonder what this all means, and where the egg vanished.

5 Replies to “Red-Whiskered Bulbul”

  1. Did you by any chance removed a leaf or so while trying to take a pic of the nest? In wildlife photography world nesting photography is considered unethical because of the problem that happened in front of you. Next time take pics of birds but not their nest or eggs.

    1. Thanks for the tip.

      I was careful to time the pic when the birds were away (I monitored their movements for a while before). Also, I didn’t disturb the tree while taking the photo.

      But obviously something went wrong, and I can’t rule out me having done something.

      But the curious thing is where did the egg vanish? I don’t think birds can carry it on their own. Is anything like that known to happen?

  2. Recently two Bulbuls built a nest on my balcony. Layed two eggs. After a few days one egg hatched. I have taken pictures of the cute bulbul babe. Seeing the chick growing is really fascinating. You just got be careful to take pictures when the parents are away.

  3. Red whiskered bulbul had built a nest in our garden. After some days I noticed 3 eggs. 10 days later the eggs hatched. There were 3 baby nestlings. After a week I noticed that there were no birds in the nest. I went near the tree and shaked it. No nestlings came out. I thought that some bird had eaten the nestlings. 2 hours later I saw all the three nestlings on the ground. Then i felt very happy that all the babies were alive. Then after some time the parents of the nestlings came. The parent bulbul thought that I had done something to the nestlings. So all the babies have come out. I was watching all this from our terrace. Then the parent bulbul saw me and came to me attackingly. I screemed and ran from there. After sometime i was curious to know about the birds and i opened the curtain of the window. The parent was very angry i came near the window to hurt me. I dint know why. After this I saw that a nestling had come into our house. Thats why the parent bulbul was angry. Then with great difficulty we sent the small bird out. The next day no bird was there. This happened one year ago.This time again red whiskered bulbul built a nest kept 3 eggs. We did not disturb it at all. After somedays the eggs hatched and the parent bulbul teached the babies to fly and all the birds went off. After this the parent bulbul is coming again trying to enter our house. I dont know why it is wanting to enter the house……

  4. Similar incident happened at my place as well, as mentioned by Amit.
    A week full of activity by the bulbul birds building the nest with peculiar sound in between so as to keep a watch on the surroundings and inform the partner.
    The nest was built wonderfully, and to my surprise after 7 days, found an egg inside the nest in the morning. In the afternoon the bird came and was incubating the egg. I went to check if it had laid another egg, but to my surprise, the egg was missing. Never had any crow or pigeon come so close in our garden flat on ground floor and even the location of the nest was such that crow cannot come close to it.
    I really wonder what happened, and where the egg has gone?
    I am still thinking that was it the bulbul that carried/ shifted it’s egg to a different place ? Possible?
    I also doubt on the cats we have coming very infrequently.
    Sad but real….what would have happened?

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