Endemic birds
Endemic bird

Black-capped Bulbul   Pycnonotus melanicterus
(Black-crested Bulbul)


Sinhalese - Kaha Kondaya
Tamil       - Kaloo kuluppai

Black-capped Bulbul

Somewhat smaller than the well known Red-vented Bulbul. Its black cap, yellow underparts and green-ochre upper plumage makes it easy to recognize. It could only be confused with the Yellow browed Bulbul, which does not however have the black cap and white edges to the tail quills. The sexes are similar except that the iris of the male is crimson red while that of the female is deep brown.

This is a bird of forest and other well wooded habitat. It is found throughout the low country and up to the mid hills. It usually moves about in pairs but small parties are also met with. It inhabits trees as well as shrubs, feeding on both fruits and insects. Like all bulbuls it is an active bird moving quickly from tree to tree while searching for food. It has a mournful three syllable song on an ascending scale and a variety of other calls.

Nesting occurs in April-May with a secondary season in August-September especially in the hills. The nest is almost always placed in a small sapling at the forest edge, bordering a jungle path or a stream. It is not placed at any great height being between one to three metres from ground level. The nest is well hidden as the sapling chosen is often one which is covered with creepers.

The nest is a typical bulbul type cup. However it is always rested on an underlying platform of broad leaves. During initial nest building both birds carry broad green leaves and build this platform plastering them in place with cobweb. Two eggs form the usual clutch. They are pinkish in ground colour profusely spotted and speckled with reddish brown, these being more concentrated at the broader end. Both birds build the nest, incubate and feed the young.


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