Pycnonotus cafer (red-vented bulbul)
- Summary of Invasiveness
- Taxonomic Tree
- Distribution Table
- Habitat List
- Species Vectored
- Biology and Ecology
- Means of Movement and Dispersal
- Pathway Causes
- Impact Summary
- Threatened Species
- Risk and Impact Factors
- Prevention and Control
- Links to Websites
- Principal Source
- Distribution Maps
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PicturesTop of page
IdentityTop of page
Preferred Scientific Name
- Pycnonotus cafer (Linnaeus, 1766)
Preferred Common Name
- red-vented bulbul
International Common Names
- French: bulbul à ventre rouge; bulbul cafre
Local Common Names
- Germany: Rußbülbül
Summary of InvasivenessTop of page
Pycnonotus cafer (red-vented bulbul) is a noisy, gregarious bird distinguished by a conspicuous crimson patch below the root of the tail. It is aggressive and chases off other bird species and may also help to spread the seeds of other invasive species. It is an agricultural pest, destroying fruit, flowers, beans, tomatoes and peas. It occurs naturally from Pakistan to southwest China and has been introduced to many Pacific Islands, where it has caused serious problems by eating fruit and vegetable crops, as well as nectar, seeds and buds.
Taxonomic TreeTop of page
- Domain: Eukaryota
- Kingdom: Metazoa
- Phylum: Chordata
- Subphylum: Vertebrata
- Class: Aves
- Order: Passeriformes
- Family: Pycnonotidae
- Genus: Pycnonotus
- Species: Pycnonotus cafer
DescriptionTop of page Pycnonotus cafer (red-vented bulbul) is about 8.25 inches in length (Berger, 1972) and weighs between 26 and 45 grams (Long, 1981). In general it is dark and is crested (Pratt, 1987) with a white abdomen and rump and is crimson under the tail coverts (Berger, 1981). The immature bird is like the adult except there is some brownish edging on the feathers (Hawaii Audubon Society, 1993). The red-vented bulbul is larger than the red-whiskered bulbul (P. jocosus) (Berger, 1981).
Distribution TableTop of page
The distribution in this summary table is based on all the information available. When several references are cited, they may give conflicting information on the status. Further details may be available for individual references in the Distribution Table Details section which can be selected by going to Generate Report.
|Continent/Country/Region||Distribution||Last Reported||Origin||First Reported||Invasive||Reference||Notes|
|India||Present||Native||Not invasive||ISSG, 2011|
|Pakistan||Present||Native||Not invasive||ISSG, 2011|
|Sri Lanka||Present||Native||Not invasive||ISSG, 2011|
|Vietnam||Present||Native||Not invasive||ISSG, 2011|
|USA||Present||Present based on regional distribution.|
|French Polynesia||Present||Introduced||1970nulls||Invasive||ISSG, 2011|
|Marshall Islands||Present||Introduced||2000.||ISSG, 2011|
|New Caledonia||Present||Introduced||ISSG, 2011|
|New Zealand||Unconfirmed record||Introduced||1952||ISSG, 2011|
HabitatTop of page Pycnonotus cafer (red-vented bulbuls) live around secondary growth and shrub, cultivation, parks and gardens. They are also found in forest and agricultural areas. (Dept. of Agriculture - WA).
Habitat ListTop of page
|Terrestrial – Managed||Cultivated / agricultural land||Present, no further details||Harmful (pest or invasive)|
|Managed forests, plantations and orchards||Present, no further details||Harmful (pest or invasive)|
|Urban / peri-urban areas||Present, no further details||Harmful (pest or invasive)|
|Terrestrial ‑ Natural / Semi-natural||Natural forests||Present, no further details||Harmful (pest or invasive)|
|Scrub / shrublands||Present, no further details||Harmful (pest or invasive)|
Biology and EcologyTop of page
Pycnonotus cafer (red-vented bulbul) consumes fruits (e.g. bananas, lychees and papaya), berries, insects, flower nectar, seeds and buds, (Dept. of Agriculture - WA undated). "Its primary food is berries and fruit. It is known to also eat plant buds, flowers, but it will also eat insects and small lizards (Islam & Williams 2000) and will come to sugar water. (Ralph 1984)" (Vander Velde, 2002).
Pycnonotus cafer (red-vented bulbuls) are known to breed year round (Hawaii Audubon Society, 1993), with a peak between January and October (Berger, 1981). The birds can have up to three broods per season (Long, 1981). At any one time about two to four eggs are laid (Hawaii Audubon Society, 1993). The eggs are pinkish-white base colour and are profoundly blotched with purplish brown (Berger, 1981). The nest is cup-shaped and made of rootlets and sometimes cobwebs (Long, 1981). The incubation period is about 14 days (Berger, 1981)." (Shehata, 1996).
Means of Movement and DispersalTop of page
Introduction pathways to new locations
Seafreight (container/bulk):Islam and Williams (2000) describe the red-vented bulbul as nesting in some very unorthodox locations within its native range, including the motor of a ceiling fan and the end of a curtain rod, both within buildings. It could even be speculated that a pair of birds could have constructed a nest in a container on a ship that was readying to come to the Marshalls. (Vander Velde, 2002)
Ship: A fishing boat, originating from an Asian or another Pacific Islands country where the red-vented bulbul is established, could have brought some birds with them. (Vander Velde, 2002)
Local dispersal methods
Escape from confinement: In most parts of the Pacific, introduction is usually blamed on the release, either intentional or accidental, of caged birds. (Meyer 1997, Williams 1983, in Vander Velde, 2002).
Pathway CausesTop of page
|Escape from confinement or garden escape||Yes|
Impact SummaryTop of page
ImpactTop of page
Threatened SpeciesTop of page
|Threatened Species||Conservation Status||Where Threatened||Mechanism||References||Notes|
|Loxioides bailleui (palila)||CR (IUCN red list: Critically endangered) CR (IUCN red list: Critically endangered); USA ESA listing as endangered species USA ESA listing as endangered species||Hawaii||Competition - monopolizing resources||US Fish and Wildlife Service, 2006|
Risk and Impact FactorsTop of page Invasiveness
- Negatively impacts agriculture
- Competition - monopolizing resources
- Interaction with other invasive species
Prevention and ControlTop of page
Preventative measures: In March 1977, the US Fish and Wildlife Service proposed that Pycnonotus cafer (red-vented bulbuls) be added to the list of injurious species that should not be imported into the United States without a special permit, (Dept. of Agriculture - WA undated).
BibliographyTop of page
Atkinson, I. A. E. and Atkinson, T. J. 2000. Land vertebrates as invasive species on islands served by the South Pacific Regional Environment Programme. In: Invasive Species in the Pacific: A Technical Review and Draft Regional Strategy. South Pacific Regional Environment Programme, Samoa: 19-84.
Barré N., Dutson G. 2000 - Oiseaux de Nouvelle-Calédonie. Liste commentée. Supplément Alauda, 68(3) : 1-48.
Biosecurity New Zealand, undated. Pests and Disease List Red-Vented Bulbul Pycnonotus cafer http://www.biosecurity.govt.nz/pests/red-vented-bulbul
BirdLife International 2006. Pomarea nigra. In: IUCN 2007. 2007 IUCN Red List of Threatened Species http://www.iucnredlist.org/apps/redlist/details/146954/0
Blanvillain, C., Salducci, J.M., Tutururai, G., & Maeura, M. 2003. Impact of introduced birds on the recovery of the Tahiti Flycatcher (Pomarea nigra), a critically endangered forest bird of Tahiti. Biological Conservation, 109, 197-205.
Bomford, M., 2003. Risk Assessment for the Import and Keeping of Exotic Vertebrates in Australia. Bureau of Rural Sciences, Canberra. http://www.feral.org.au/feral_documents/PC12803.pdf
Department of Agriculture and Food - Western Australia (WA). undated. Pycnonotus cafer Red-vented Bulbul http://www.agric.wa.gov.au/content/pw/vp/bird/redventbulbul.htm
Gill, B.J. Hunt, G.R. and Sirgouant S. 1995. Red-vented Bulbul (Pycnonotus cafer) in New Caledonia. Notornis, 42: 214-215.
Pascal, M., Barré, N., De Garine-Wichatitsky, Lorvelec, O., Frétey, T., Brescia, F., Jourdan, H. 2006. Les peuplements néo-calédoniens de vertébébrés : invasions, disparitions. Pp 111-162, in M.-L. Beauvais et al., : Les espèces envahissantes dans l’archipel néo-calédonien, Paris, IRD Éditions, 260 p.+ cédérom
Shehata, Cherie., 1996. Red-vented bulbul - Pycnonotus cafer. University of Hawaii, Botany department.
Thibault, J.C., Meyer, J.Y. 2001. Contemporary extinctions and population declines of the monarchs (Pomarea spp.) in French Polynesia, South Pacific. Oryx 35 (1), 73–80.
Vander Velde, Nancy., 2002. The Red-vented bulbul has come to Micronesia. Aliens - Number 16 2002. ISSN: 1173-5988 (ISSG)
ReferencesTop of page
ContributorsTop of page
- Reviewed by: Nancy Vander Velde . Biological Consultant. Majuro The Republic of the Marshall Islands (RMI)
- Last Modified: Sunday, August 19, 2007
Distribution MapsTop of page
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