Representatives families of bulbul, or short-toed thrush - Pycnonotidae, do resemble thrush or warbler birds in appearance. These are arboreal and shrub birds ranging in size from a sparrow to a thrush.
They live mainly in the tropical part of Asia, Africa and the islands of Oceania. The family has up to 119 species, combined into 15-21 genera. The central genus is Pycnonotus, including about 50 species.
On the territory of the CIS, there are representatives of two types: short-fingered bulbul(Microscelis amaurotis) and barnacle bulbul(Pycnonotus ieucogenys)... The first one is found in the south of the Far East, and possibly nests on Kunashir Island. The second one flies into the valleys of the Surkhandarya and Panj rivers.
The bulbul has a short or medium length, strong beak. It is slightly curved along the ridge. The wings are rather long with a rounded apex. The tail is long, somewhat rounded. Feet are short, with short but strong toes. The plumage is soft and loose. A number of species have a crest on the head. The color is dim, from a combination of yellow, brown and green tones with black, white and red spots. There is no sexual dimorphism in color.
Bulbuli are inhabited by shrub thickets and tree crowns in tall tropical forests. They are also found in gardens and parks in many southern cities. In the southeast of Vietnam, we met 6 species of these interesting birds. Only one of them was a typical inhabitant of the upper layer of the forest - black-crested bulbul(Pycnonotus melanicterus), the rest can be attributed to typical bush birds. It is interesting that the black-crested bulbul has the brightest color, and perhaps the most pleasant voice. Its head and beak are shiny black, the plumage of the rest of the body is golden yellow (bottom) and brownish yellow (top). On the head there is a long pointed crest. Despite the fact that birds of this species live far above - on the tops of huge trees of a multi-tiered forest, they are clearly visible due to the sunny color of the plumage and the song that attracts to itself, consisting of different whistling knees.
Other species we encountered had a protective coloration. Among them, perhaps only red-eared bulbul(Pycnonotus jocosus) - the most numerous bird of shrubs and secondary small forest. This species is most commonly found in the cages of Vietnamese birdwatchers. It was brought to Moscow several times. It is painted brownish-brown, with a long crest of black feathers on its head. The top of the head and "collar" are black, behind the eye is a bright red spot, the ear feathers and throat are white, the abdomen is whitish-gray. In the cage, and even in the wild, he constantly sings his simple, but melodic and pleasant song to the ear. The structure of his short song is reminiscent of the quail "it's time to sleep."
Bulbul feeds mainly on small fruits and berries, but often eat various insects. They nest in the midst of shrub branches or in tree crowns. Birds build bowl-shaped nests, in which they lay more often 2-3, less often up to 5 eggs. Their color is pink or white with brown specks. Nests are rather large and strong structures, neatly woven from roots, stalks and other plant material intertwined with cobwebs. The tray is lined with bast and hair.
A. Brehm writes that in India and Ceylon, fights of male bulbuls have long been organized, for which they raise chicks and accustom them to a thread leash, which is tied to the bird's leg. The bird should be tame enough to sit quietly on the owner's hand. During the fight, especially angry fighters are pulled apart by the thread, as they can kill each other.
Bulbul is fed in captivity with soft food, fruits and vegetables, as well as mealworms and other insects. With good care, birds can live up to 10 years or more.
Vladimir Ostapenko. "Birds in your home". Moscow, "Ariadia", 1996
Bulbul are small and medium-sized birds that inhabit subtropical and subequatorial regions. Their plumage is dominated by various colors from brown to olive. Many representatives of this family have tufts on their heads, and light threadlike feathers flutter on the back of their heads.
Bulbul or short-toed thrushes are a family of birds that contains 15-21 genera. These are small birds living on trees and shrubs, ranging in size from a sparrow to a thrush, 13 to 29 cm. The tail is long, the beak of almost all species is slightly elongated and slightly hooked at the end. Females are slightly smaller than males.
External signs of a red-cheeked bulbul
The red-cheeked real bulbul is a small bird, about 20 cm long and weighing 25-42 grams.
The upper part of the body is covered with brown feathers, and the lower one is whitish plumage, on the chest there is a dark ring, open at shoulder level. A thin, black crest rises on the head, and an oblong red spot is located behind the eye. The upper side of the head is dark, the throat and cheeks are white, the abdomen is light brown.
Red-cheeked real bulbul (Pycnonotus jocosus).
The wings are brownish gray. The brownish-gray tail of this bird is long, brown in color with white tips of feathers, the undertail is bright red. The beak is of medium size, straight and sharp. The legs are painted dark gray.
Three fingers are facing forward, one - back, they end in sharp claws. The color of the plumage of males and females is the same, only young birds look dimmer.
Spreading the red-cheeked bulbul
The red-cheeked bulbul is common in South Asia. The habitat of the species covers tropical Asia and stretches from India to Southeast Asia and China. The red-cheeked bulbul lives in Nepal, India, and was also introduced by humans to New South Wales in Australia, Mauritius, Florida and North America.
There is no sexual dimorphism in the red-cheeked bulbul; males and females are colored the same.
Habitats of red-cheeked bulbul
The red-cheeked bulbul lives in areas with a warm climate. Most willingly, they settle in gardens or in the vicinity of fruit plantations. Some populations are found in open areas, while others prefer dense forests. A red-cheeked bulbul is not a rarity in gardens, even in those located within the boundaries of large and noisy cities. Birds keep in pairs or few flocks, and each pair adheres to a constant territory throughout the year. Bulbuls live in open woodlands, inhabited agricultural lands, humid jungles.
Previously, this species of bird was distributed only in Asia and China, but was introduced by humans to Australia, Mauritius and Florida.
The lifestyle of a real red-cheeked bulbul
Red-cheeked bulbuls are gregarious and restless birds leading a sedentary lifestyle. Only species inhabiting the northern regions make seasonal migrations, chicks are hatched in the north, and fly away to winter to places with a warmer climate.
For the night, flocks of bulbul sit on the branches of tall trees, and at dawn they leave the place of their lodging and spend most of the day looking for food, not forgetting to call each other in ringing voices. As a group, they carefully examine every twig on the tree in search of a juicy berry or sweet flower bud. Outside the nesting season, when bulbuls live in pairs in jealously protected areas, near fruit trees, they gather in rather large flocks of up to 50 birds. The flight of the red-cheeked bulbul resembles the flight of woodpeckers.
During feeding, the birds form flocks of 3-5 individuals, continuously making sounds.
Feeding the red-cheeked bulbul
Red-cheeked bulbuls prefer palm fruits, laurel plants and papayas, and pick overripe fruits that have fallen to the ground. Birds peck berries, comfortably clinging to a branch.
Red-cheeked bulbuls eat parts of flowers, nectar, spiders and insects, even ants.
Not all bulbul feed on trees: some species prefer to pick fruits, berries and insects right on the ground. The brown bulbul, inhabiting Africa, feed mainly on beetles.
Reproduction of red-cheeked real bulbul
The nesting season for red-cheeked bulbul lasts from January to August. Bulbul males notify competitors about the occupied territory, singing their short chirping songs, consisting of flooded trills. In this way, they lure the female and invite to the construction of the nest in the chosen area. At this time, the male behaves aggressively and drives out competitors from the nesting territory, the area of which ranges from 4000 to 8000 m2.
Females build nests in the bushes. In a clutch, as a rule, from 2 to 3 eggs.
A pair of bulbul hides its nest among bushes, under thatched roofs, in niches of buildings. Birds build a cupped nest from soft blades of grass, rootlets, and other plant material. Grass-woven walls allow rainwater to drain away without accumulating in the tray. The female lays 2-4 light pinkish eggs covered with brown specks. Both parents take part in breeding, taking turns incubating the clutch for 11-12 days.
Bulbul chicks are born naked and blind, but they grow very quickly and open their eyes after 3 days. Adult birds feed them with soft insects and thick caterpillars. After two weeks, the chicks leave the nest and feed on berries and fruits on their own, but do not refuse parental offerings. At the age of 3 weeks, young birds take the wing. In one season, an adult pair of bulbul can feed two or three broods.
The voice of a red-cheeked real bulbul is like a joyful whistle of a man.
Keeping bulbuls in captivity
Bulbul has long been kept in captivity and not only as songbirds. Males of some species sing beautifully, but the song of the red-eared bulbul was described by one bird lover as the most unattractive of all bird trills. Indomitable fighting enthusiasm appears in male bulbuls during the mating season, this feature was used by people in the past, arranging fights of these warlike birds in the likeness of cock fights.
Naturalist Brehm mentions that in Ceylon and India, locals gather for male bulbul tournaments, for which the chicks are accustomed to a strong thread leash tied to the bird's leg. During the fight, especially angry males are pulled away by the string, as they can kill each other.
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Silver birch "Gracilis" has a graceful graceful shape. Of all the weeping forms, this variety is considered the most delicate, airy and light. The crown of an adult tree reaches six meters in diameter.
It should be noted that the tree is not considered a long-liver. The maximum age is 120 years. The tree continues to grow up to 50-60 years, and in thickness - up to 80. During the first five to six years, there is a moderate increase in height. Subsequently, the growth rate increases significantly. So, from about 10 years old, it reaches 75-90 cm / year. It should be borne in mind that from about 20 years old drooping birch begins to bear fruit. In the process, the tree throws out a huge amount of seeds on the vacated territories, thereby occupying the entire free area by itself and not allowing other plantations to develop. However, as a result of the competition, only a few plants remain from the seedlings. They continue to develop in a territory free from other species.
The birch "Gracilis" has thick branches and a white trunk.
They have a shape from rhombic to triangular-ovoid. In length they reach 3.5-7 cm, in width - 2-5. At the top, the leaves are pointed, have a wide-wedge or almost truncated base. Their surface is smooth, and the edges are double-toothed. At a young age, the leaves are sticky.