Dark-capped Bulbul

Pycnonotus tricolor

The Dark-capped, or Black-eyed, Bulbul, occurs in savanna and woodland habitats with a reliable supply of fruiting trees and bushes, and is especially common in the gardens and parks of our towns and cities. They feed primarily on fruit, berries and seeds, but will also eat nectar, flower petals and small invertebrates (especially termites). Dark-capped Bulbuls are mostly seen singly, in pairs or in loosely associated small groups, and adults weigh between 30 and 48g.

Nests are cup-shaped formations of roots, grass and twigs placed among dense leaves in trees or bushes. In South Africa they breed almost through the year (except the harshest parts of winter), with a peak in the summer. The female incubates the clutch of 2-3 eggs for around two weeks while the male defends their territory and brings food back for her at the nest. The chicks leave the nest around two weeks after hatching, although they usually can’t fly by then and stick around their nesting tree for a while longer.

In South Africa the Dark-capped Bulbul is found in the Eastern Cape, Kwazulu-Natal, extreme eastern Free State, Mpumalanga, Limpopo, Gauteng and North West Provinces. It also occurs over most of Africa southwards from the Cameroon in the west and Ethiopia in the east, with the exception of the arid western parts of southern Africa. The IUCN considers the Dark-capped Bulbul to be a race of the Common Bulbul (P. barbarus) distributed over almost all of Sub-Saharan Africa, the Mediterranean coast of North Africa, and the Nile Valley, but it differs in having a conspicuously yellow vent compared to the white vent of the Common Bulbul.


20 thoughts on “Dark-capped Bulbul

      1. kim blades, writer

        My son planted a few jalapeno chilli bushes because he enjoys hot sauces that he makes himself and stores in jars, but now we have lots of bushes due to the birds eating some of the fruit and sowing the seeds that come out with their droppings! So there are plenty so spare for the different fruit eating birds as well as the vervet monkeys that visit us regularly.

        Liked by 1 person

  1. John

    It´s a really beautiful bird, and good pictures, you can see the bird at all sides. 🙂 I know other bird who also leave the nest already after a short while. For example the black tern who also leave the nest after two weeks, but they use to nest in wetlands in the small lakes, and they cant´t swim, what I know. I wonder what they do. Theirs parent feed them in four weeks.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. John

        Yes, they must be more vulnerable for predators. I know there are birds nesting in the meadows that let kids go early, but that is because they nest several times each summer. But they feed them until they can fly.

        Liked by 1 person

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