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Thursday, 19 July 2012

Brown birds

A bird that I encounter on every trip into the jungle is the bulbul. Some bulbuls are quite stunning in their coloration, most are however indistinctly drab colored. One of the guides in Danum Valley once boldly referred to them as 'bbb's': boring brown birds. 

This I don't fully agree with. On their own they can indeed appear quite dull, but there also lies the challenge. Did it have red-eyes? maybe a creamy vent? slightly more olive-colored wings? It wouldn't surprise me that brown bulbuls are often mis-identified. 

Something else irked me a little bit when I started to get more comfortable with identifying birds. The aptly named red-eyed bulbul is not really the red-eyed bulbul. In Brunei the cream-vented bulbul holds much more claim to that name. It was only later that I discovered that there is a white-eyed variant of this species. I suspect that the pioneers of bird-naming didn't start their quest for naming birds in Brunei.

Back to the boring; boring is a very subjective qualifier and it is hard to argue with someones opinion. Maybe the pictures below can change that opinion a little. The pictures were taken on a morning trip to Labi road (July 14th 2012), roughly 45 minutes from our home town of Seria. All the bulbuls came and went for their morning breakfast to the same fruiting tree.

An adult cream-vented bulbul (Pycnonotus simplex).
 Note the monotonic deep red iris.
A juvenile cream-vented bulbul (Pycnonotus simplex).
The red-eyed bulbul (Pycnonotus brunneus).
Note the two-toned iris; orange inner and red outer ring.
Another cream-vented. 

In the same tree another brown bulbul wanted to get center stage. A pair of buff-vented bulbuls. The buff-vented bulbul is classified as Near Threatened on the IUCN list of threatened species. Luckily this species is still regularly encountered in Brunei, though good views are not always easy to get! This bulbul is easily identified by it's white-grey iris and distinct crown/hairdue.

A buff-vented bulbul (Iole olivacea),
making it's presence known.
The same bird.
The same bird stretching it wings.
More next time.

Folkert, 19/07/12

1 comment:

  1. HI Folkert. Jonas, Elias and I saw a similar orange-and-red eyed Red-eyed Bulbul today at KB Road. This particular one does not seem to be that common. I wonder what triggers this, as it is the same ssp as on the mainland peninsula. All the ones I recall seeing previously had red iris. I certainly also have seen red-eyed ones here in Brunei.