Cookies on Invasive Species Compendium

Like most websites we use cookies. This is to ensure that we give you the best experience possible.

 

Continuing to use www.cabi.org  means you agree to our use of cookies. If you would like to, you can learn more about the cookies we use.

Horizon Scanning Tool (beta) for prioritizing invasive species threats

Datasheet

Pycnonotus jocosus (Red-whiskered bulbul)

Summary

  • Last modified
  • 13 July 2018
  • Datasheet Type(s)
  • Invasive Species
  • Host Animal
  • Preferred Scientific Name
  • Pycnonotus jocosus
  • Preferred Common Name
  • Red-whiskered bulbul
  • Taxonomic Tree
  • Domain: Eukaryota
  •   Kingdom: Metazoa
  •     Phylum: Chordata
  •       Subphylum: Vertebrata
  •         Class: Aves
  • Summary of Invasiveness
  • The red-whiskered bulbul (Pycnonotus jocosus) is a slim, small-medium sized passerine bird that is native to India and southeast China through to northern Malaya. It has been introduced, by escaping from captiv...

  • Principal Source
  • Draft datasheet under review

Don't need the entire report?

Generate a print friendly version containing only the sections you need.

Generate report

Pictures

Top of page
PictureTitleCaptionCopyright
Pycnonotus jocosus (red whiskered bulbul); adult male, perched.
TitleAdult
CaptionPycnonotus jocosus (red whiskered bulbul); adult male, perched.
Copyright©David V. Raju/via wikipedia - CC BY-SA 4.0
Pycnonotus jocosus (red whiskered bulbul); adult male, perched.
AdultPycnonotus jocosus (red whiskered bulbul); adult male, perched.©David V. Raju/via wikipedia - CC BY-SA 4.0
Pycnonotus jocosus (red-whiskered bulbul); nest (in Eugenia koolauensis) with young and an egg. Introduced to the Hawaiian Islands of Oʻahu. August 2009
TitleNest
CaptionPycnonotus jocosus (red-whiskered bulbul); nest (in Eugenia koolauensis) with young and an egg. Introduced to the Hawaiian Islands of Oʻahu. August 2009
Copyright©David Eickhof/via wikipedia - CC BY 2.0
Pycnonotus jocosus (red-whiskered bulbul); nest (in Eugenia koolauensis) with young and an egg. Introduced to the Hawaiian Islands of Oʻahu. August 2009
NestPycnonotus jocosus (red-whiskered bulbul); nest (in Eugenia koolauensis) with young and an egg. Introduced to the Hawaiian Islands of Oʻahu. August 2009©David Eickhof/via wikipedia - CC BY 2.0

Identity

Top of page

Preferred Scientific Name

  • Pycnonotus jocosus (Linnaeus, 1758)

Preferred Common Name

  • Red-whiskered bulbul

International Common Names

  • English: Crested bulbul; Red-eared bulbul; Red-vented shrike; Red-whiskered bulbuli ; Red-whiskered bulbull
  • Spanish: Bulbul orfeo
  • French: Bulbul Orphée
  • German: Rotohrbülbül

Local Common Names

  • Italy: Bulbul dai mustacchi rossi
  • Portugal: Tuta-de-faces-vermelhas

Summary of Invasiveness

Top of page

The red-whiskered bulbul (Pycnonotus jocosus) is a slim, small-medium sized passerine bird that is native to India and southeast China through to northern Malaya. It has been introduced, by escaping from captivity or by deliberate release, into several temperate, subtropical, and tropical habitats in North America (California and Florida), Australia, Indonesia, the Arabian Peninsula, Japan, Zimbabwe and islands in the Indian Ocean. It causes damage to agriculture and garden plants, competes with other passerines, may predate young birds, predates endemic arthropods, and spreads non-native plant species, although in some parts of the introduced range the evidence of impact is only anecdotal.

In the USA, it is thought to pose a threat to agriculture and its import is prohibited. In Australia, the public is asked to report any found in the wild where it has not been seen before, as it is considered an agricultural pest.

P. jocosus is not a threatened species in its native range, and is categorised by the IUCN as LC (least concern), although its population is thought to be declining (IUCN, 2017).

Taxonomic Tree

Top of page
  • Domain: Eukaryota
  •     Kingdom: Metazoa
  •         Phylum: Chordata
  •             Subphylum: Vertebrata
  •                 Class: Aves
  •                     Order: Passeriformes
  •                         Family: Pycnonotidae
  •                             Genus: Pycnonotus
  •                                 Species: Pycnonotus jocosus

Notes on Taxonomy and Nomenclature

Top of page

Fishpool and Tobias (2017) list nine subspecies of P. jocosus:

Subspecies

Author (taxonomic authority, date)

P. j. fuscicaudatus

Gould, 1866

P. j. abuensis

Whistler, 1931

P. j. pyrrhotis

Bonaparte, 1850

P. j. emeria

Linnaeus, 1758

P. j. whistleri

Deignan, 1948

P. j. monticola

Horsfield, 1840

P. j. jocosus

Linnaeus, 1758

P. j. hainanensis

Hachisuka, 1939

P. j. pattani

Deignan, 1948

Some of these were originally described as separate species, in some cases in different genera (Deignan, 1948).

Description

Top of page

Information in this section has been collated from the following sources: Government of Western Australia (2017); Encyclopedia of Life (2017); Fishpool and Tobias (2017); and ISSG (2017).

P. jocosus is a medium-sized passerine of 18-23cm in length (body and tail), with a mass of 25-42g, and a wingspan of 28cm.

It is a highly distinctive slim bird with an erect black/dark brown crest (2cm in height) that is usually held upright except when in flight, and sometimes curves forward almost over the pointed black bill.

It has a dark brown/black head with prominent white cheek patches, red whiskers below each eye and above the white cheek patches, and oval shaped nostrils with bristles. It has a white belly and breast, tan flanks, and red feathers underneath at the base of the long brown tail which has white tips. It has a dark brown to black collar extending down each shoulder. The legs and toes are short with little strength.

Males and females look very similar, and juveniles are browner with a shorter crest. Juveniles lack the red whiskers, although they do have the white cheek patches, and the feathers underneath the base of the tail are pink or orange.

The calls of the red-whiskered bulbul include a cheerful and pleasant ‘queep-quillya’; a sharp ‘kink-a-joo’ is also described. The song is short and spirited, with a high loud second main note followed by descending pitch, and has been described as a scolding chatter.

Deignan (1948) describes characteristics of the appearance of some of the subspecies as follows: P. j. fuscicaudatus -- cold grey/brown upper parts, and a brown tail with no white tip to the tail feathers; P. j. abuensis --  no white tips to the tail feathers; P. j. whistleri -- brownish plumage above, a heavier longer bill, and a shorter crest than P. j. emeria; P. j. pattani -- cold grey-brown upperparts like P. j. fuscicaudatus, but distinguished from that by its short dark crest and white-tipped tail feathers, and from P. j. whistleri and P. j. monticola by its paler greyer upper parts; P. j. monticola -- darker upperparts than P. j. jocosus; P. j. jocosus -- upperparts paler than P. j. monticola. (Note that Deignan (1948) listed P. j. peguensis as a separate subspecies but thought it likely that it should be synomymized with P. j. emeria, and did not recognise P. j. hainanensis).

Distribution

Top of page

The native range of P. jocosus is from India and southeast China through to northern Malaysia (Islam and Williams, 2000). It has been introduced into several temperate, subtropical, and tropical habitats in North America (California and Florida), Australia, the Nicobar Islands (although it is native to some of the islands), Java and Sumatra, Mauritius and Hawaii (Clergeau and Mandon-Dalger, 2001; NatureServe, 2018). It has also been introduced to the Arabian Peninsula, Zimbabwe and Japan (National Institute for Environmental Studies, 2017), and to some other islands in the Indian Ocean not mentioned above (Mo, 2015).

The native distributions of the nine subspecies of P. jocosus as given by Fishpool and Tobias (2017) are shown in the table below:

Subspecies

Author (taxonomic authority, date)

Distribution

P. j. fuscicaudatus

Gould, 1866

India: W and C

P. j. abuensis

Whistler, 1931

India: NW (W Rajasthan, W Gujarat, N Maharashtra, absent from more arid areas)

P. j. pyrrhotis

Bonaparte, 1850

N India and Nepal (Himachal Pradesh, Punjab E to Arunachal Pradesh) and Nepal.

P. j. emeria

Linnaeus, 1758

E India (Ganges Delta S to Rameswaram, in Tamil Nadu), Bangladesh, N, W & S Myanmar (including Arakan Hills) and SW Thailand.

P. j. whistleri

Deignan, 1948

Andaman Islands.

P. j. monticola

Horsfield, 1840

East Himalayas in NE India and S Tibet, E to N Myanmar and S China

P. j. jocosus

Linnaeus, 1758

SE China (Guizhou E to Guangxi, E Guangdong and Hong Kong).

P. j. hainanensis

Hachisuka, 1939

N Vietnam and S China (S Guangdong, including Naozhou I).

P. j. pattani

Deignan, 1948

Extreme S Myanmar (S Tenasserim), Thailand, N Peninsular Malaysia, Laos and S Indochina.

Distribution Table

Top 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/RegionDistributionLast ReportedOriginFirst ReportedInvasiveReferenceNotes

Asia

BangladeshWidespreadNativeBirdLife International, 2017
BhutanLocalisedNativeBirdLife International, 2017South
CambodiaWidespreadNativeBirdLife International, 2017
ChinaLocalisedNativeBirdLife International, 2017
-GuangdongWidespreadNativeBirdLife International, 2017
-GuangxiWidespreadNativeBirdLife International, 2017
-HainanWidespreadNativeBirdLife International, 2017
-Hong KongWidespreadNativeZhou and Chu, 2014; Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department, Hong Kong, 2017; Avibase, 2017The second most abundant species in urban parks
-YunnanWidespreadNativeBirdLife International, 2017
IndiaWidespreadNativeBirdLife International, 2017
-Andaman and Nicobar IslandsWidespreadNative Invasive BirdLife International, 2003; BirdLife International, 2017Native to much of the territory; introduced in late 19th century to Nancowry group where it may be a threat to the endemic Nicobar Bulbul, Ixos nicobariensis
-Andhra PradeshLocalisedNativeBirdLife International, 2017West
-Arunachal PradeshLocalisedNativeBirdLife International, 2017South
-AssamWidespreadNativeBirdLife International, 2017
-BiharWidespreadNativeBirdLife International, 2017
-ChandigarhPresentNativeBirdLife International, 2017
-ChhattisgarhWidespreadNativeBirdLife International, 2017
-Dadra and Nagar HaveliWidespreadNativeBirdLife International, 2017
-DamanWidespreadNativeBirdLife International, 2017
-DelhiLocalisedNativeBirdLife International, 2017north
-GoaWidespreadNativeBirdLife International, 2017
-GujaratLocalisedNativeBirdLife International, 2017Far East
-HaryanaLocalisedNativeBirdLife International, 2017North and East
-Indian PunjabLocalisedNativeBirdLife International, 2017East
-JharkhandWidespreadNativeBirdLife International, 2017
-KarnatakaWidespreadNativeBirdLife International, 2017
-KeralaWidespreadNativeBirdLife International, 2017
-Madhya PradeshLocalisedNativeBirdLife International, 2017Centre and south
-MaharashtraWidespreadNativeBirdLife International, 2017
-ManipurWidespreadNativeBirdLife International, 2017
-MeghalayaWidespreadNativeBirdLife International, 2017
-MizoramWidespreadNativeBirdLife International, 2017
-NagalandWidespreadNativeBirdLife International, 2017
-OdishaWidespreadNativeBirdLife International, 2017
-RajasthanLocalisedNativeBirdLife International, 2017Only present in the far southern tip of the state
-SikkimLocalisedNativeBirdLife International, 2017Far south
-Tamil NaduWidespreadNativeBirdLife International, 2017
-TripuraWidespreadNativeBirdLife International, 2017
-Uttar PradeshWidespreadNativeBirdLife International, 2017Except for far north near the border with Uttarakhand, and south west.
-UttarakhandLocalisedNativeBirdLife International, 2017Far south below Haldwani. Far south west, west of Kotwal Alampur down to Gurukul Narsan
-West BengalWidespreadNativeBirdLife International, 2017
IndonesiaPresentIntroducedAvibase, 2017
-JavaPresentIntroducedAvibase, 2017
-SumatraPresentIntroducedAvibase, 2017
JapanPresentPresent based on regional distribution.
-HonshuLocalisedIntroduced Invasive Avibase, 2017; National Institute for Environmental Studies, 2017Hyogo, Tottori, Kanagawa
LaosWidespreadNativeBirdLife International, 2017
MalaysiaPresentNativeAvibase, 2017
-Peninsular MalaysiaWidespreadNativeBirdLife International, 2017
MyanmarWidespreadNativeAvibase, 2017; BirdLife International, 2017
NepalLocalisedNativeAvibase, 2017; BirdLife International, 2017South
PakistanPresent, few occurrencesNativeAvibase, 2017rare
Saudi ArabiaPresentIntroducedAvibase, 2017; IUCN, 2017; National Institute for Environmental Studies, 2017
SingaporeWidespreadIntroducedBirdLife International, 2017; IUCN, 2017
ThailandWidespreadNativeAvibase, 2017; BirdLife International, 2017
United Arab EmiratesPresentIUCN, 2017
VietnamWidespreadNativeBirdLife International, 2017

Africa

AldabraEradicatedIntroducedUranie, 2015One bird discovered in 2012 and successfully targeted in 2013
MauritiusWidespreadIntroduced Invasive Clergeau and Mandon-Dalger, 2001; Linnebjerg et al., 2010; BirdLife International, 2017Introduced in late 19th century and soon became widespread
MayottePresentIntroducedClergeau and Mandon-Dalger, 2001; Mo, 2015
RéunionWidespreadIntroduced1972Clergeau and Mandon-Dalger, 2001; BirdLife International, 2017Introduced on the south coast (St-Philippe), seen in the northeast (Ste. Marie) in 1978, and now widespread.
SeychellesEradicatedIntroduced Invasive Clergeau and Mandon-Dalger, 2001; Mo, 2015; Uranie, 2015; BirdLife International, 2017Assumption Island
ZimbabwePresentIntroducedAvibase, 2017; National Institute for Environmental Studies, 2017

North America

USAPresentPresent based on regional distribution.
-CaliforniaLocalisedIntroduced1968Clergeau and Mandon-Dalger, 2001; Mo, 2015Escaped from aviaries. After an eradication program, two populations persist near the LA County Arboretum (Arcadia) and Huntington Botanical Gardens (San Marino).
-FloridaLocalisedIntroduced1960 Invasive Carleton and Owre, 1975; Van Riper et al., 1979; Pranty, 2010; National Audubon Society, 2017Subspecies P. j. emeria escaped near Kendall; has not spread far, but noted to be an agricultural pest.
-HawaiiLocalisedIntroduced1960s Invasive Van Riper et al., 1979; Mo, 2015; BirdLife International, 2017; Hawaii Invasive Species Council, 2017; National Audubon Society, 2017O'ahu island

Oceania

AustraliaLocalisedIntroduced Invasive Van Riper et al., 1979Noted as an agricultural pest
-New South WalesLocalisedIntroduced1865Mo, 2015; BirdLife International, 2017Along parts of coast. Earliest known release in Sydney in 1865; later releases in 20th century led to establishment.
-QueenslandLocalisedIntroducedMo, 2015; Avibase, 2017; BirdLife International, 2017Small population in Mackay since 1983
-South AustraliaAbsent, formerly presentIntroducedMo, 2015; Avibase, 2017Recorded between the 1940s and 1980s, but did not proliferate; no published records since then.
-VictoriaLocalisedIntroduced1915Mo, 2015; BirdLife International, 2017The earliest known release occurred in Melbournein 1915 with a population establishing in the late 1950s.
-Western AustraliaPresent, few occurrencesIntroducedAvibase, 2017rare

Introductions

Top of page
Introduced toIntroduced fromYearReasonIntroduced byEstablished in wild throughReferencesNotes
Natural reproductionContinuous restocking
Hawaii 1960 Yes No National Audubon Society (2017)
Hawaii 1960s Pet trade (pathway cause) Yes No Hawaiian Invasive Species Council (2017) May have escaped, but may have been illegally released. Present in large numbers on Oahu.
Florida 1960 Escape from confinement or garden escape (pathway cause) Yes No National Audubon Society (2017)
Florida India 1960 Escape from confinement or garden escape (pathway cause) Yes No Carleton and Owre (1975) From eastern India. Present in suburbs of Kendall. Subspecies P. jocosus subsp. emeria
Florida West Bengal 1960 Escape from confinement or garden escape (pathway cause) Yes No Pranty (2010) Present in suburbs of Kendall. Subspecies P. jocosus. subsp. emeria
Australia Yes No Van Riper et al. (1979) Agricultural pests
Australia China 1910s and 1920s Yes No Mo (2015) Imported in 19th century. Introduction attempts at end of 19th Century and into 20th Century. Released in central Sydney. Sightings in the wild from 1902. Common in Sydney suburbs from 1920.
Seychelles Mauritius 1997 Yes No Uranie (2015) Introduced to Assumption Island. Population grew from 6 birds to over 5000 in 30 years. Now reported to be eradicated
Andaman and Nicobar Islands Late 19th century Yes No Birdlife International (2003) Native to some of the islands, but introduced to the Nancowry group
Mauritius Late 19th century Yes No Linnebjerg et al. (2010) The most abundant bird in Mauritius in 2008
Japan Pet trade (pathway cause) Yes No National Institute for Environmental Studies (2017) Hyogo, Tottori and Kanagawa Prefectures. Either escaped or deliberately released.

Risk of Introduction

Top of page

P. jocosus are kept as cage birds in many places around the world (Clergeau and Mandon-Dalger, 2001); where environmental conditions are suitable, there is a risk of the birds escaping from captivity and becoming established in the wild.

Habitat

Top of page

P. jocosus has a wide range of habitats including dense hilly woodland, secondary scrub, roadsides and parkland (Fishpool and Tobias, 2017). In India, it is a familiar bird in villages, gardens, farm lands and suburban habitats (Carleton and Owre, 1975).

In China, it inhabits woodland habitats, secondary forests, urban areas, parks and gardens, commonly close to human populations (Li et al., 2015).

In Réunion, P. jocosus first colonized the wet eastern coast, and later spread to dry habitats and high altitudes (Clergeau and Mandon-Dalger, 2001).

In its native range, P. jocosus prefers wet habitats at 500–2000m elevation (ISSG, 2017).

P. jocosus will nest in shrubs, small, trees, hedges, trellises and verandas of buildings or other available ledges or sites 1-9m off the ground (ISSG, 2017). It can adapt to human-altered environments, and its spread can be facilitated by human development (Islam and Williams, 2000). It can also reach high numbers on remote and largely unpopulated islands (ISSG, 2017).

P. jocosus may avoid dense vegetation, although it may occur in secondary growth (Mo, 2015).

Where naturalised, P. jocosus is often found in areas with berry-producing weeds, such as Lantana spp., bramble (Rubus fruticosus), privet (Ligustrum spp.), olive (Olea europaea), coral trees (Erythrina spp.), and Asparagus spp. (Mo, 2015).

Habitat List

Top of page
CategoryHabitatPresenceStatus
Terrestrial-managed
Buildings Present, no further details Natural
Cultivated / agricultural land Principal habitat Harmful (pest or invasive)
Cultivated / agricultural land Principal habitat Natural
Managed forests, plantations and orchards Principal habitat Natural
Rail / roadsides Principal habitat Natural
Urban / peri-urban areas Principal habitat Natural
Terrestrial-natural/semi-natural
Natural forests Present, no further details Natural
Scrub / shrublands Present, no further details Natural
Wetlands Secondary/tolerated habitat Natural

Biology and Ecology

Top of page

Genetics

Chromosome number: 2n = 82 (Shields, 1982).

Hybrids have been noted in captivity with the species Pycnonotus cafer, P. leucotis, P. xanthopygos, P. melanicterus and P. leucogenis.

Reproductive Biology

According to Van Riper et al. (1979), the breeding season in India is March-July in the north and December-June in the south, with a second period in September after the monsoon. According to Fishpool and Tobias (2017), the breeding season is March to October in the north of India, more variable (mostly December to May) in the south, and from April to May in the Andaman Islands and northern Thailand. Birds in India may have 2–3 broods per year (NatureServe, 2018).

In China, the breeding season is February to early August, and nest success has been observed to be 34.2% (Li et al., 2015). Open cup nests have been observed in cultivated landscapes at 2.1m above the ground on 50 different plant species, with a mean clutch size of 2.53, and a mean egg mass of 2.81g (Li et al., 2015). The same study found the average incubation period to be 11.1 days and the average nestling period to be 11 days. Nests were absent in native tropical rainforest in the area of study (Xishuangbanna, southern China).

In Hawaii, the breeding season is February to August, with a peak in April-May (Van Riper et al., 1979). Here, birds have been observed building nests  8cm high, 8-10 cm wide, of 5cm bowl depth and 6-7.5cm bowl width, made of twigs, bark, leaves and grass, in hedges approx. 3.6m from the ground (Van Riper et al., 1979). The eggs had a white background with dark brown splotches of varying size, more concentrated at the larger end (Van Riper et al., 1979).

The eggs of the birds living in Florida are described as pinkish and mottled with purple or reddish spots. Both parents incubate the eggs over 12–14 days, and both feed the nestlings (National Audubon Society, 2017). The breeding season is February to June. The nest site is low in a shrub, vine, or small tree typically 61–244cm above the ground, often well concealed. The nest is placed in the fork of a branch, and is made of grass, weeds, rootlets and casuarina needles, with the outside decorated with paper, plastic, large flakes of bark or other debris (National Audubon Society, 2017).

The courtship display involves one bird approaching the other fluttering its wings and bowing, and both birds raising and lowering their crests repeatedly (National Audubon Society, 2017). Clutch size is 2–4, usually 3 (NatureServe, 2018).

On hatching, the young are naked with closed eyes, with a red gape that is yellow in the middle (Van Riper et al., 1979). Nestlings became fully feathered after about 10 days, and fledged after about 12 days (Van Riper et al., 1979). The young birds may be fully independent at 3 weeks (NatureServe, 2018).

Nestlings are initially fed on soft-bodied insects and caterpillars, and later, with berries and fruits (NatureServe, 2018).

Physiology and Phenology

The breeding season varies between different parts of the range. See above under 'Reproductive Biology' section for more details on the timing of the breeding season in different geographical areas.

A study of introduced P. jocosus in two distinct environments on Réunion Island showed that rapid morphological divergence, particularly in bill size, occurred in fewer than ten generations (Amiot at al., 2007).

Longevity

Pycnonotus jocosus can live up to 11.1 years in the wild (Human Ageing Genetic Resources, 2018).

Activity Patterns

In India, P. jocosus have been observed to go around in pairs and then gather in larger numbers in a fruiting tree or shrub (India Biodiversity Portal, 2018).

In Florida, during the non-breeding season, the birds flock and gather in roosts in July and August, with roosting sites moving during summer and early autumn (Carleton and Owre, 1975). Roosts consist of 40–100 birds (ISSG, 2017). The birds disperse after gonadal enlargement and begin searching for a mate; after breeding they return to the same roost (ISSG, 2017).

The attachment of P. jocosus to communal roosts may be one of the reasons that prevents more rapid spread of the species where it has been introduced (Mo, 2015).

Population Size and Density

The global population size of P. jocosus has not been quantified, although national population sizes have been estimated at c.10,000-100,000 breeding pairs in China and c.100-10,000 introduced breeding pairs in Japan (BirdLife International, 2017; IUCN, 2017).

The global population is thought to be in decline but does not approach the threshold for being classified as Vulnerable (IUCN, 2017).

Nutrition

P. jocosus are generalist and opportunistic, and will feed on fruits (especially Lantana berries), nectar, flower buds, and invertebrates (Mo, 2015; Fishpool and Tobias, 2017).

On Oahu, Hawaii, P. jocosus prefer papaya (Carica papaya), mango (Mangifera indica), Clusia rosea fruits, and Ficus berries (Van Riper et al., 1979). They have also been seen feeding on date palm (Phoenix dactylifera), loquat (Eriobotrya japonica), avocado (Persea americana), fruits of Brassaia actinophylla [Schefflera actinophylla], berries from Murraya exotica [M. paniculata] and fruits from many introduced plants, as well as nectar (from bottle brush (Callistemon lanceolatus) and coconut palm (Cocos nucifera)), insects (gathered in flight, from tree trunks and cobwebs), and small reptiles (Van Riper et al., 1979).

In Florida, the diet consists of berries, small fruits of numerous types, and insects; when not nesting, the birds travel in flocks to feed on fruiting plants, and will take insects mid-air and by picking them from bark while hovering or searching among foliage. With its small bill, the species does not feed on large fruits until they are overripe or punctured by other birds; citrus rind in particular has been mentioned as being difficult to pierce ((Van Riper et al., 1979; National Audubon Society, 2017). Important items in Florida include berries and fruits of Brazilian pepper, figs, lantana, jasmine, and others; nectar, pieces of flowers and green shoots of vegetation are also eaten (National Audubon Society, 2017).

On Réunion, P. jocosus is mostly frugivorous and more than 80% of its diet (by frequency of food items) is fruit from non-native plant species (Mandon-Dalger et al., 2004). In Mauritius, fruits may make up 99% of the diet (Mo, 2015).

In Mauritius, an analysis of droppings showed that 92.4% contained plant seeds, while 7.4% contained invertebrate remains (Linnebjerg et al., 2010). Plant species included Clidemia hirta, Ficus reflexa, Harungana madagascariensis, Ligustrum robustum, Litsea glutinosa, Ossaea marginata, Psidium cattleianum, Rubus alceifolius, Rubus rosifolius, and Wikstroemia indica. Invertebrates included Acarina, Nephila inaurata, Araneidae, Coleoptera and Hymenoptera.

In Australia, the species feeds on fruits, vegetables, flower buds, and insects in gardens and agricultural areas (Hawaii Invasive Species Council, 2017).

In southern China, plant materials may make up to 65% of the diet, and arthropods make up to 28% (Mo, 2015).

Nestlings are initially fed on soft-bodied insects and caterpillars, and later with berries and fruits (NatureServe, 2018).

The invertebrates that P. jocosus have been observed to eat include: cicadas, flies, aphids, ants and their larvae, moths and their larvae, and golden orb-weaving spiders (Mo, 2015).

Natural Food Sources

Top of page
Food SourceLife StageContribution to Total Food Intake (%)Details
Phoenix dactylifera (date palm) Other/Adult Female/Other/Adult Male
Carica papaya (papaya) Other/Adult Female/Other/Adult Male
Mangifera indica (mango) Other/Adult Female/Other/Adult Male
Clusia rosea (autograph tree) Other/Adult Female/Other/Adult Male
Eriobotrya japonica (loquat) Other/Adult Female/Other/Adult Male
Persea americana (avocado) Other/Adult Female/Other/Adult Male
Schefflera actinophylla (octopus tree) Other/Adult Female/Other/Adult Male
Murraya exotica (mock orange) Other/Adult Female/Other/Adult Male
Lantana Other/Adult Female/Other/Adult Male
Ficus Other/Adult Female/Other/Adult Male
Invertebrates Other/Adult Female/Other/Adult Male/Other/Juvenile
Nectar Other/Adult Female/Other/Adult Male
Flower buds Other/Adult Female/Other/Adult Male
Clidemia hirta Other/Adult Female/Other/Adult Male
Ficus reflexa Other/Adult Female/Other/Adult Male
Harungana madagascariensis Other/Adult Female/Other/Adult Male
Ligustrum robustum Other/Adult Female/Other/Adult Male
Litsea glutinosa Other/Adult Female/Other/Adult Male
Ossaea marginata Other/Adult Female/Other/Adult Male
Psidium cattleianum Other/Adult Female/Other/Adult Male
Rubus alceifolius Other/Adult Female/Other/Adult Male
Rubus rosifolius Other/Adult Female/Other/Adult Male
Wikstroemia indica Other/Adult Female/Other/Adult Male
Acarina Other/Adult Female/Other/Adult Male
Nephila inaurata Other/Adult Female/Other/Adult Male
Araneidae Other/Adult Female/Other/Adult Male
Coleoptera Other/Adult Female/Other/Adult Male
Hymenoptera Other/Adult Female/Other/Adult Male

Climate

Top of page
ClimateStatusDescriptionRemark
Am - Tropical monsoon climate Preferred Tropical monsoon climate ( < 60mm precipitation driest month but > (100 - [total annual precipitation(mm}/25]))
As - Tropical savanna climate with dry summer Preferred < 60mm precipitation driest month (in summer) and < (100 - [total annual precipitation{mm}/25])
Aw - Tropical wet and dry savanna climate Preferred < 60mm precipitation driest month (in winter) and < (100 - [total annual precipitation{mm}/25])
Cs - Warm temperate climate with dry summer Tolerated Warm average temp. > 10°C, Cold average temp. > 0°C, dry summers
Cw - Warm temperate climate with dry winter Preferred Warm temperate climate with dry winter (Warm average temp. > 10°C, Cold average temp. > 0°C, dry winters)

Latitude/Altitude Ranges

Top of page
Latitude North (°N)Latitude South (°S)Altitude Lower (m)Altitude Upper (m)
30.9 38

Natural enemies

Top of page
Natural enemyTypeLife stagesSpecificityReferencesBiological control inBiological control on
Brueelia Parasite Other/Adult Female/Other/Adult Male not specific no
Menacanthus eurysternus Parasite Other/Adult Female/Other/Adult Male not specific no

Notes on Natural Enemies

Top of page

The louse Brueelia guldum has been observed laying eggs on the feathers on the back, neck and breast of P. jocosus; Menacanthus eurysternus (another louse) preferred to lay eggs on the neck, head and nape feathers (Saxena et al., 2012). In 2006, M. eurysternus and Brueelia sp. were identified on P. jocosus in Rampur, India, with a prevalence of 37 and 53%, respectively (Arya et al., 2010).

In Australia, the Pallid Cuckoo, Cacomantis pallidus [Cuculus pallidus or Heteroscenes pallidus], has been observed parasitizing P. jocosus nests (Mo, 2015).

Means of Movement and Dispersal

Top of page

Natural Dispersal

P. jocosus is considered a non-migrant (NatureServe, 2018). Natural populations in the native range appear to be resident throughout the year and introduced populations in the USA appear to remain close to where they were introduced (National Audubon Society, 2017).

In Réunion, introduced bulbuls first colonized the wet, eastern coast, and then dry habitats and high altitudes; within ten years of introduction they occupied approx. 380 km2. Although the speed of dispersal was not the same in all directions, the estimated average dispersion rate was 6.2 km/yr during the first ten years, and 14.7 km/yr between 1985 and 1995 (Clergeau and Mandon-Dalger, 2001).

When dispersal rates of introduced birds in Réunion, Mauritius, Hawaii (Oahu), Florida (USA) and New South Wales (Australia) were compared, they were found to be faster on islands. Dispersal on Oahu was 1 km after two years and 5 km after ten years; on Réunion, it was 2 km after two years and 12 km after ten years; and on Mauritius, it was 30 km after ten years. For the continental introductions, the rate was closer to 3km in ten years (Clergeau and Mandon-Dalger, 2001).

Accidental Introduction

P. jocosus are kept as cage birds in many places around the world (Clergeau and Mandon-Dalger, 2001) and accidental introduction may occur when birds escape from aviaries (National Audubon Society, 2017).

Intentional Introduction

P. jocosus may have been introduced deliberately in several places (Clergeau and Mandon-Dalger, 2001).

Impact Summary

Top of page
CategoryImpact
Negative
Negative
Positive

Economic Impact

Top of page

P. jocosus is thought to pose a threat to agriculture in the USA (Islam and Williams, 2000). In California, it has significantly damaged citrus crops (ISSG, 2017). In Hawaii, the birds are found in large numbers on Oahu, and are pests of agriculture and gardens, feeding on fruits, vegetables, flower buds and insects (Hawaii Invasive Species Council, 2017).

In Australia, the public are asked to report any specimens found in the wild where the species has not been seen before, as it is considered a pest (Government of Western Australia, 2017); it causes crop failure in soft-fruit and citrus orchards and damage to garden plants (Mo, 2015).

P. jocosus is also reported to damage agriculture in Japan (National Institute for Environmental Studies, 2017).

P. jocosus is a popular cage bird around the world (Clergeau and Mandon-Dalger, 2001) and so may have a positive economic impact where it is traded for the pet/caged-bird trade.

Environmental Impact

Top of page

Impact on Biodiversity

In Mauritius, P. jocosus is thought to be a threat to native birds in the genus Zosterops, and to Hypsipetes olivaceus, by competition, and to native invertebrates, including the spider Nephila, by predation (Linnebjerg et al., 2010); it may also threaten geckos via predation (ISSG, 2017). It is also thought to be a threat to native plant species by spreading introduced plant species (Linnebjerg et al., 2010); gut passage of seeds by P. jocosus improves the germination success of the invasive plants Clidemia hirta (Linnebjerg et al., 2009), and Schinus terebinthifolia (Mandon-Dalger et al., 2004), on Mauritius and Réunion, respectively.

In Hawaii, P. jocosus spreads the seeds of invasive plants such as Miconia, ivy (Hedera), gourd and false kava (Piper auritum), and chases native birds, competing with them for food and space (Hawaii Invasive Species Council, 2017).

In parts of the Nicobar archipelagos, the introduced P. jocosus is thought to be contributing to population decline of the Nicobar Bulbul (Ixos nicobariensis) by competitive exclusion (BirdLife International, 2003).

In Japan, P. jocosus is competitive with native birds, breaks the eggs of other bird species, and is a potential host of psittacosis (National Institute for Environmental Studies, 2017).

In Australia, the main ecological impact identified is the dispersal of exotic weeds, although evidence is anecdotal (Mo, 2015). There has also been preliminary evidence of interspecific competition on islands and predation of nestlings (Mo, 2015).

Threatened Species

Top of page
Threatened SpeciesConservation StatusWhere ThreatenedMechanismReferencesNotes
Ixos nicobariensisNT (IUCN red list: Near threatened) NT (IUCN red list: Near threatened)Andaman and Nicobar IslandsCompetition - monopolizing resourcesBirdlife International, 2003
NephilaNo DetailsMauritiusPredationLinnebjerg et al., 2010
Hypsipetes olivaceus (Mauritius black bulbul)VU (IUCN red list: Vulnerable) VU (IUCN red list: Vulnerable)MauritiusCompetition - monopolizing resourcesGovernment of Western Australia, 2017

Social Impact

Top of page

Where P. jocosus is kept as a popular pet/cage bird, it is likely to have positive social impacts.

Risk and Impact Factors

Top of page Invasiveness
  • Proved invasive outside its native range
  • Has a broad native range
  • Abundant in its native range
  • Is a habitat generalist
  • Capable of securing and ingesting a wide range of food
  • Highly mobile locally
  • Gregarious
Impact outcomes
  • Negatively impacts agriculture
  • Reduced native biodiversity
  • Threat to/ loss of endangered species
  • Threat to/ loss of native species
Impact mechanisms
  • Competition - monopolizing resources
  • Interaction with other invasive species
  • Predation
Likelihood of entry/control
  • Highly likely to be transported internationally deliberately

Uses

Top of page

P. jocosus is often kept as a popular pet/cage bird, and is likely to have positive social and economic impacts. In the wild, it is aesthetically appreciated, and is a predator of some invertebrate pests (Mo, 2015).

Uses List

Top of page

General

  • Botanical garden/zoo
  • Pet/aquarium trade

Detection and Inspection

Top of page

P. jocosus is distinctive and easy to identify using most appropriate bird texts. The birds are not particularly shy of humans, and are highly vocal and social, so they are easy to spot (Uranie, 2015).

Similarities to Other Species/Conditions

Top of page

There does not appear to be any information suggesting that other species are easily confused with P. jocosus. Some other Pycnonotus species with overlapping ranges can be distinguished from it as follows: P. cafer has a darker head, shorter crest, and lack of white cheek patches or red whiskers below each eye; P. leucotis also lacks a crest and red whiskers below each eye; and P. leucogenys has no red whiskers and has a pale yellow underside.

Prevention and Control

Top of page

Prevention

SPS measures

Care should be taken when transporting and keeping the birds in zoos and aviaries so that they do not escape.

The USDA prohibits the importation of the species to the USA and its territories (ISSG, 2017).

Public awareness

In Australia, the public is asked to report any members of the species in the wild where it has not been seen before, as it is considered a pest (Government of Western Australia, 2017).

In the 1980s, the Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources distributed brochures and flyers to the public requesting that any sightings be reported (ISSG, 2017).

Where the species is kept as a cage bird, the public should be warned about the threats that it poses should it escape (ISSG, 2017).

Eradication

Dispersion data suggests that eradication programs will be most efficient within the first 5 years after introduction, and possibly within the first three years on tropical islands (Clergeau and Mandon-Dalger, 2001).

A non-native introduced population of over 5000 P. jocosus is reported to have been eradicated from Assumption Island in the Seychelles. This was achieved over a three-year period using a combination of shooting and mist-netting (Uranie, 2015).

In Australia, it is suggested that more research into impacts of the bird is required to justify management, and that eradication may be achievable due to populations being mostly restricted to settled areas (Mo, 2015).

Containment/Zoning

Since P. jocosus is non-migratory and tends to stay close to areas of introduction, it is possible that management practices could involve containing it by measures such as controlling where new orchards are situated (see IPM section below for more detail).

Control

Physical/mechanical control

A non-native introduced population of over 5000 P. jocosus is reported to have been eradicated over a three-year period from Assumption Island in the Seychelles, using a combination of shooting and mist-netting (Uranie, 2015). As part of a pest-control programme in Réunion, P. jocosus were captured on agricultural land below 1800 m altitude using traps with a captive decoy bird and fruit as bait (Amiot et al., 2007).

Chemical control

Farmers on the Mascarene Islands use bird lime and pesticides to try and limit P. jocosus, although this also has an impact on non-target birds (Clergeau and Mandon-Dalger, 2001).

IPM

On Réunion, a multi-party working group was established to explore management practices for P. jocosus rather than simply destroying the birds (Clergeau et al., 2006). These include using planning decisions to limit their spread (for example decisions on the locations of new orchards), producing risk maps, categorising vulnerability (sanitary, social, economic and ecological) to a population of the birds, producing maps of overall vulnerability, and correlating these with maps of potential habitats for P. jocosus (Clergeau et al., 2006). A comprehensive risk map can then be developed to help decide on control programmes (Clergeau et al., 2006).

Gaps in Knowledge/Research Needs

Top of page

Some of the listed impacts of P. jocosus, such as the spread of non-native plant species in Australia, are mainly anecdotal, and more research needs to be conducted to justify management practices (Mo, 2015).

It has been difficult to identify primary research on the predation of native bird species by invasive P. jocosus, although this is mentioned in some papers.

Primary research on the causal links between a decline in a native species and the activities of introduced P. jocosus is sparse, and this may be complicated by the presence of other invasive bird species.

Since P. jocosus are non-migratory and tend to stay close to areas of introduction, it is possible that management practices could involve containment, such as controlling where new orchards are situated (Clergeau et al., 2006). This, and the use of other barriers to the spread of the birds, could be investigated further.

References

Top of page

Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department, Hong Kong, 2017. Hong Kong Biodiversity Database. Hong Kong, China: Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Development, The Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region. http://www.afcd.gov.hk/english/conservation/hkbiodiversity/database/search.asp

Amiot, C., Lorvelec, O., Mandon-Dalger, I., Sardella, A., Lequilliec, P., Clergeau, P., 2007. Rapid morphological divergence of introduced Red-whiskered Bulbuls Pycnonotus jocosus in contrasting environments., 149(3), 482-489. http://www.blackwell-synergy.com/loi/ibi doi: 10.1111/j.1474-919X.2007.00671.x

Arya G, Bansai N, Khan V, Ahmad A, Saxena AK, 2010. Population characteristics of Phthiraptera occurring on red whiskered bulbul (Pycnonotus jocosus). Journal of Applied and Natural Science, 2(2):263–265. https://doi.org/10.31018/jans.v2i2.132

Avibase, 2017. Avibase - the world bird database. Port Rowan, Ontario, Canada: Bird Studies Canada. http://avibase.bsc-eoc.org

BirdLife International, 2003. Indo-Burmese Forests. In: BirdLife International. Saving Asia's threatened birds. Cambridge, UK: BirdLife International, 75-82. http://www.birdlife.org/action/science/asia_strategy/pdf_downloads/forestsFO6.pdf

BirdLife International, 2017. Species factsheet: Pycnonotus jocosus. Cambridge, UK: BirdLife International. http://datazone.birdlife.org/species/factsheet/red-whiskered-bulbul-pycnonotus-jocosus

Carleton AR, Owre OT, 1975. The red-whiskered bulbul in Florida: 1960-71. The Auk, 92(1):40-57.

Clergeau P, Mandon-Dalger I, 2001. Fast colonization of an introduced bird: the case of Pycnonotus jocosus on the Mascarene Islands. Biotropica, 33(3):542–546.

Clergeau, P., Lay, G. le, Mandon-Dalger, I., 2006. Intégrer les analyses géographiques, écologiques et sociales pour gérer la faune sauvage (Integrating geographic, ecological and social analyses in managing wildlife). 2738012108. In: Legay JM, ed. L'interdisciplinarité dans les sciences de la vie. Antony, France: Édition Cemagref, 103-113

Deignan HG, 1948. The races of the red-whiskered bulbul, Pycnonotus jocosus (Linnaeus). Journal of the Washington Academy of Sciences 38(8):279-281. http://biostor.org/reference/134090

Encyclopedia of Life, 2017. Pycnonotus jocosus. Red-vented shrike. http://eol.org/pages/1050632/details

Fishpool L, Tobias J, 2017. Red-whiskered bulbul (Pycnonotus jocosus). In: Hoyo J del, Elliot A, Sargatal J, Christie DA, Juana E de, eds. Handbook of the birds of the world alive. Barcelona, Spain: Lynx Edicions. http://www.hbw.com/species/red-whiskered-bulbul-pycnonotus-jocosus

Government of Western Australia, 2017. Red-whiskered bulbul: animal pest alert. Perth, Western Australia, Australia: Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development, Western Australia. https://www.agric.wa.gov.au/birds/red-whiskered-bulbul-animal-pest-alert

Hawaii Invasive Species Council, 2017. Red-whiskered bulbul (Pycnonotus jocosus). Hawaii, USA: Hawaii Invasive Species Council. http://dlnr.hawaii.gov/hisc/info/invasive-species-profiles/red-whiskered-bulbul/

Human Ageing Genetic Resources, 2018. AnAge: The database of animal ageing and longevity. http://genomics.senescence.info/species/

India Biodiversity Portal, 2018. India Biodiversity Portal. https://indiabiodiversity.org/

Islam K, Williams RN, 2000. Red-whiskered bulbul (Pycnonotus jocosus). In: Rodewald PG, ed. The birds of North America. Ithaca, New York, USA: Cornell Lab of Ornithology. https://birdsna.org/Species-Account/bna/species/rewbul/introduction

ISSG, 2017. Pycnonotus jocosus. In: Global Invasive Species Database. Invasive Species Specialist Group (ISSG) of the IUCN Species Survival Commission. http://www.iucngisd.org/gisd/species.php?sc=1230

IUCN, 2017. The IUCN (the International Union for Conservation of Nature) Red List of Threatened Species. http://www.iucnredlist.org/

Li H, Zhang MX, Yang XJ, Cui LW, Quan RC, 2015. The breeding biology of red-whiskered bulbul (Pycnonotus jocosus) in Xishuangbanna, southwest China. Dongwuxue Yanjiu, 36(4):233–247. http://dx.doi.org/10.13918/j.issn.2095-8137.2015.4.233

Linnebjerg, J. F., Hansen, D. M., Bunbury, N., Olesen, J. M., 2010. Diet composition of the invasive red-whiskered bulbul Pycnonotus jocosus in Mauritius., 26(3), 347-350. http://www.journals.cup.org/action/displayAbstract?fromPage=online&aid=7452336&next=true&jid=TRO&volumeId=26&issueId=03 doi: 10.1017/S0266467409990617

Linnebjerg, J. F., Hansen, D. M., Olesen, J. M., 2009. Gut passage effect of the introduced red-whiskered bulbul (Pycnonotus jocosus) on germination of invasive plant species in Mauritius., 34(3), 272-277. http://www.blackwell-synergy.com/loi/aec doi: 10.1111/j.1442-9993.2008.01928.x

Mandon-Dalger, I., Clergeau, P., Tassin, J., Rivière, J. N., Gatti, S., 2004. Relationships between alien plants and an alien bird species on Reunion Island., 20(6), 635-642. http://www.journals.cup.org/owa_dba/owa/issues_in_journal?jid=TRO doi: 10.1017/S0266467404001774

Mo M, 2015. The red-whiskered bulbul Pycnonotus jocosus in Australia – a global perspective, history of introduction, current status and potential impacts. Zoologist, 37(4):461–471. https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Matt_Mo/publication/279205766_The_Red-whiskered_Bulbul_Pycnonotus_jocosus_in_Australia_-_A_global_perspective_history_of_introduction_current_status_and_potential_impacts/links/57182f9408ae30c3f9f178e8.pdf

National Audubon Society, 2017. Guide to North American Birds. USA: National Audubon Society. http://www.audubon.org/bird-guide

National Institute for Environmental Studies, 2017. Invasive Species of Japan. Tsukuba, Japan: National Institute for Environmental Studies. http://www.nies.go.jp/biodiversity/invasive/index-en.html

NatureServe, 2018. NatureServe Explorer: An online encyclopedia of life. Arlington, Virginia, USA: NatureServe. http://explorer.natureserve.org/index.htm

Pranty B, 2010. Status and current range of red-whiskered bulbuls (Pycnonotus jocosus) in Florida. Florida Field Naturalist, 38(4):146–149.

Saxena AK, Arya G, Bansal N, 2012. Egg laying site and oviposition pattern of two Phthirapteran species parasitizing red whiskered bulbul (Pycnonotus jocosus). Türkiye Parazitoloji Dergisi, 36(3):166–168. http://dx.doi.org/10.5152/tpd.2012.39

Shields, G. F., 1982. Comparative avian cytogenetics: a review., 84(1), 45-58. doi: 10.2307/1367820 https://sora.unm.edu/sites/default/files/journals/condor/v084n01/p0045-p0058.pdf

Uranie S, 2015. Eradication success – Seychelles wins war against invasive red-whiskered bulbul. Seychelles News Agency, February 8 2015. Victoria, Seychelles: Seychelles News Agency. http://www.seychellesnewsagency.com/articles/2332/Eradication%20success%20%20Seychelles%20wins%20war%20against%20invasive%20red-whiskered%20bulbul

Van Riper C, Van Riper SG, Berger AJ, 1979. The red-whiskered bulbul in Hawaii. The Wilson Bulletin, 91(2):323–328. https://sora.unm.edu/sites/default/files/journals/wilson/v091n02/p0323-p0328.pdf

Zhou D, Chu LM, 2014. Do avian communities vary with season in highly urbanized Hong Kong? The Wilson Journal of Ornithology, 126(1):69–80.

Principal Source

Top of page

Draft datasheet under review

Contributors

Top of page

30/05/2017 Original text by:

Vicki Cottrell, Consultant, UK

Distribution Maps

Top of page
You can pan and zoom the map
Save map
Download KML file Download CSV file
Creative Commons Licence
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

Please click OK to ACCEPT or Cancel to REJECT

Creative Commons Licence
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

Please click OK to ACCEPT or Cancel to REJECT