Bulbuls and their Babies

Hey guys, as you may by now know that I'm not much of a writer but I felt this story needs to be told. So trying whatever best I can do at writing. Do share your views in comments.

I have in the past shared quite a few posts featuring Red Whiskered Bulbuls: The singing Birds. As I have mentioned in an earlier post, this is my favorite species of birds. I simply love watching them and hearing them sing.

Baby Bulbul
First Baby Bulbul Spotted

Last Saturday, while I was having a relaxing time at home with my family, we suddenly heard a pair of Red Whiskered Bulbuls screeching loudly as if in distress. I rushed out to see the Bulbuls (male and female) looking in the same direction and chirping very loudly. There I noticed a baby Bulbul who must have knowingly or accidentally moved out of the nest. The baby Bulbul was seated on a plastic rope that we had tied to support a tree in our garden. The bird couple was, I am assuming, trying to warn the baby of the threats out there. There are a lot crows in our area and a lot of cats too. All of these really were a big threat to the baby Bulbuls.

Soon this baby bird who could fly a bit, moved to our neighbor's terrace and sat in the open as if it wasn't scared of any one. One of the Bulbul parents went close to it and kept chirping loudly and fluttering its wings. I'm not sure what it meant but I think it instructed the baby to fly from there. Within no time a crow came close to attack the baby and it got all noisy. The mama and daddy Bulbuls attacked the crow so aggressively that the crow had no choice but to fly away from there. While I watched the crow fly away, I couldn't keep track of where the baby Bulbul had gone as all of this happened in just a few seconds.

Baby Bulbul with Adult Bubul
Second Baby Bulbul Spotted

Baby Bulbul Out of the Nest
Second Baby Bulbul Waiting for its Parent
My 3 years old son, Devansh, was there with me watching this incidence and we sat down on the veranda by the door to see if we could see the baby Bulbul and at least be assured that it was safe. After a while, we noticed that one of the parent Bulbuls was there with a berry, very close to us near the veranda. It flew down to the ground in our garden and went behind one of the pots. I wondered why it went there but soon, a baby Bulbul walked out from behind the pot. I had a doubt if this was the same baby Bulbul which I had seen earlier or if it was another one. I kept an eye on this one to ensure it stays safe as cats and crows are frequent visitors to our garden. Both the parent Bulbuls were always around together. While one would feed the baby the other would stay at a distance and keep a watch on predators. The crows were far but they were watching. Cats were nearby but they didn't know much about the babies. Despite this I still shooed away the cats just ensure the threat wasn't doubled.

And soon I realized I was right, there were two baby Bulbuls. The earlier one which had gone hiding was now back and also near our veranda. It was sitting on a telephone cable. It stayed there for a long time. The parent Bulbul would come there frequently, feed it and give some instructions by fluttering its wings.
Baby Bulbul and Adult Bulbul

The baby Bulbul would acknowledge by making a sound. I noticed that the baby Bulbul that was on the telephone wire was slightly bigger than the one that was near the pot. It was more confident and could fly a bit more. Within 5-10 minutes, it went and sat on a bamboo stick near the money-plant (scientific name: Epipremnum aureum) to crawl. It sat there and kept chirping to its parents. The parents in the meantime sensed that due to the large number of crows they would definitely need some help. I say this because while one of the parent Bulbuls sat close to the babies, the other went somewhere and came back with another couple. And no, the other couple wasn't a pair of Bulbuls, it was a pair of Oriental Magpie Robin. I was so surprised to see this. I wonder if they follow the same language and understand each other. The male Oriental Magpie Robin (identifiable because it's only black and white in color, and the female has gray bit on it) screeched loudly to announce its arrival as if to let the predators know that the Bulbul couple wasn't alone.

Female Robin
Female Oriental Magpie Robin

Male Robin
Male Oriental Magpie Robin
The Bulbul couple then left together, I believe in search of food. The male Oriental Magpie Robin was there on a tree and the female came down near the baby that was sitting on the pot. During this time the other baby which was there on the bamboo stick, moved up on one of the branches of the nearby tree. The female Robin followed the baby and stayed close to it to ensure that it was not attacked by the crows. The female Robin would thus sometimes be with the baby near the pot and sometimes be with the baby on the tree, protecting both of them. I was quite moved by this as I had never imagined I would see camaraderie like this between two species of birds.

Female Robin Protecting the Baby Bulbul
Female Oriental Magpie Robin Protecting the Baby Bulbul

Female Robin Protecting the Baby Bulbul
Female Oriental Magpie Robin Protecting the Other Baby Bulbul
Soon, the bigger baby returned back to the bamboo and started chirping loudly. I assume this communication was for the smaller baby as it suddenly moved and climbed on a stem of a tree only to reach the bamboo. It could fly very little but it managed to reach the bamboo stick. Now both the baby Bulbuls were on the bamboo stick, in open and very visible to the predators but the parent Bulbuls and the Robins ensured that they stayed there not allowing the crows or cats to come closer. 

Baby Bulbul Trying to Reach the Bamboo

Baby Bulbul Managed to Reach the Bamboo
Adult Bulbul Protecting the Baby Bulbul
The Parent Bulbul Making its Presence Felt
The two babies were on the stick but a little away from each other. The parent Bulbuls instructed from afar to sit closer. The smaller one started to move slowly towards its bigger sibling and soon they were very close to each other. They kind of looked really cute together. I feel so blessed to have seen all this. All this time Devansh and I sat there in the veranda observing the birds as their story unfolded. We even shooed the crows and cats a few times.

Bulbul Babies
Baby Bulbuls Sitting on the Bamboo Stick
Bulbul Chicks Out of the Nest
Baby Bulbuls Sitting Close Together Following Their Parents' Instructions

Bulbul Chicks Out of the Nest

The parent Bulbuls would turn-by-turn go away and get food for both the babies. Some times berries, sometimes insects like dragonflies and butterflies. All that the babies had to do was sit there patiently and keep eating the food that they got. Later, while I went inside the house for lunch, some of the notorious crows again attacked the little ones making them fly away in different directions and hide. 

Adult Bulbul Feeding the Chicks
Parent Bulbul Feeding One of the Babies
Adult Bulbul with Food
Parent Bulbul with a Berry

Adult Bulbul Feeding the Chicks
Parent Bulbul Feeding the Other Baby Bulbul
Adult Bulbul and Baby Bulbuls out of the Nest
Bulbul with its Babies
Adult Bulbul Feeding the Chicks
Bulbul Feeding its Babies
I then noticed one of the babies between the dense leaves of a lemon tree in our neighbor's garden. But I didn't try to go close or look for the other one as I felt now they were kind of safe and well camouflaged. I hope they are safe wherever they are.

Important Note: No flash has been used for any of the photos. All the photos were shot from a distance using the 50x Optical Zoom of Canon Powershot SX50 HS Digital Camera, thus ensuring that the birds didn't feel discomforted or threatened.


  1. Hey, I finally figured out how to comment on one of your posts. When I click on the link in my email, the post comes up, but it's on Google or some such. So I have to click on the name of the post and voila! here it is.

    You do so well at bird photography. These are absolutely delightful. I love the variety but most I love the feeding of the babies! Well done!

  2. Excellent photos..what type of lens used?

    1. I used Oculus Dexter :-)
      However, you should know the camera was Canon SX50 HS


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