The Streak-eared Bulbul in Bangkok

bird eggs

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Baby bird watching and the Streak-eared Bulbul…

Following on from my previous post: Baby Bird Watching in Bangkok

I don’t know my birds – Thai birds or otherwise – so I asked on the local Thai forum. Rather quickly, someone in the know responded that it was a Streak-eared Bulbul. As there isn’t much information on google, I purchased A Field Guide to the Birds of Thailand (by Craig Robson) from my local Bookers. I chose this book over two others because it has bird names both in Thai and English. Nice.

Thai name: นก ปรอด

Streak-eared Bulbul, Pycnonotus blanfordi
Size: 17.5-19.5 cm
Adult conradi: Brownish; paler throat and belly, yellowish vent, whitish-streaked ear-coverts, pale eyes.
Juvenile: Less distinctively marked.
Voice: Calls with harsh, rasping which-which-which… and piping brink-brink-brink
Habitat: Semi-desert, scrub, cultivation, gardens, urban areas, open mixed deciduous forest, up to 915 m.

Continuing on with the Bangkok bird saga…

Before the mamma Streak-eared Bulbul built her nest, I wasn’t too fussed about the lack of visibility through my bathroom window. After placing my camera on a tripod overlooking the bird’s nest, I was.

At first I was worried that a spot of window cleaning would make the mother bird nervous. But, knowing that I could not take clear shots through a dirty window, Windex it was.

As it ended up, it was me who got nervous! Because each time the mother bird flew in to feed the chick, the nest would dip sideways. Further and further.


So, not wanting a baby bird death on my hands, I slipped pots under the nest for support. It took several attempts before I got it right. But, so far, so good…

bird eggs

bird eggs

bird eggs

bird eggs

bird eggs

Besides finding out the name of this bird, I have learned a few interesting things.

  • Baby birds are ugly before their feathers grow in.
  • They either have their mouths wide open, screaming, or their butts in the air.
  • If you shake the limb next to their nest, they will scream for food.
  • Photographers can and do develop mean streaks.

Since the bird arrived (Wednesday last) I have snapped over 4 gigs of baby chick photos.

And as soon as I find the time, I’ll put the baby bird saga on my photo blog, Catherine Wentworth Photography, as well as a few more here on WLT.

23 thoughts on “The Streak-eared Bulbul in Bangkok”

  1. Hi Paul, they take about two weeks to hatch.

    I used to rescue birds/critters in the west but out here I’ve mostly given up. But even out in the west the vets didn’t know about all animals. I guess like every profession, they need to specialise?

  2. Hi great pictures. I should have some pics of the same bird myself soon as one has nested in an ordhid plant right by my front door. Has 2 eggs in there. How long do they take to hatch?

    I also have a fledgling bird same species that was found up the soi that im trying to get well enough to return outside…it appears to have something wrong with it’s legs or wing and won’t stand without leaning sideways and falling over, one ‘vet’ told me there was nothing wrong with it! I am taking it to Kasetsart University today where there is a real Avian vet….most vets in BKK know nothing about birds. What they spend years learning at university I don’t know!

  3. Wonderful photos, lol as a bit of an ornithologist I have to agree with you, yes baby birds are pretty ugly, but they do get cuter and they certainly can make a racket, especially when they want feeding.

  4. Yup, I mean glass. I always loved my Nikkor lens. I had a 55, 28, 150 for the Nikon. Not as good as Zeiss, but they sure did the job. My Olympus sorta stinks. One of these days I’ll get something new. I just got rid of a 150-300. It was a Tamron and not all that sharp.

  5. Hi Neil,
    Do you mean ‘glass’? 🙂

    I read that in one of my photography books and it reminded me so very much of the AIGA 😀

    I have three (total newbie). Two are listed in the top nav.

    With my budget, I had a choice between Nikon and Canon. I went with Canon again for budget – the price of the glass/lens.

  6. Hi Cat,
    What lens are you shooting with?

    I think I may have mentioned to you that in a previous incarnation, I was a shooter. I really miss my Nikon. I’ve been thinking about take photography up again. At least where I live now is a bit more visually interesting than where I used to live.

  7. Hi Cat,
    Nice images! Pretty darn cute baby bird, too. I can hardly wait to see what kind of critter you immortalize next in pixels. 🙂

  8. Hmmm agreed. And without the palms to stop people from poking their eyes into my bathroom, there wouldn’t be a Streak-eared Bulbul laying her eggs. There’d just be blinds blocking my view.

    And while at first I thought my condo had privacy glass, I learned that was not so when the house across the way had their roof redone. So, palms and not blinds it now is. Palms are nicer and I’m looking forward to a new bird family there next year. And as this was such a treat, I might even invest in bird houses made out of coconuts.

    Yes, the mother is indeed that size from nose to tail. She’s not a big bird though. Just a trim brown thing that twirps and flits around. She got used to me so hopefully she’ll remember next time.

    I’ll go look again today, but I believe the baby has gone. I did manage final photos yesterday of the check sitting all feather plump on a branch, so at least there is that.

    How quickly they grow up and how easy it is to be a mamma bird!

  9. I must agree and say some great shots, normally it would be a camera poking into a ladies bathroom not out. Are you sure you’ve got the right bird species because 17.5 – 19.5cm is about 7-8 inches and the mother doesn’t look that big. I wouldn’t say the baby looks ugly, a little weird but kind of cute as well. Keep snapping.

  10. Hi Talen. Yes, my camera has a sports setting but the chick’s head movements were like rocket fire, very fast. And my being close could have had something to do with it too. With a sports setting I can freeze all sorts of action if I’m further away. But, I really, really really like macro (and I really really really need a sweeter macro lens 😀

    Funny you should talk about karma. When I was wading through all those palms to get ‘the’ shot from deep inside the vegetation, I did worry about snakes settling the score for the baby bird. I mean, what if a snake had made its way onto my patio to enjoy the cool shade? Ouch.

  11. Great pics. I love macro shots as well. Does your camera have an action setting for taking pictures of sports and such? That’s what I’ve used for unreasonably fast critters movements…although I still get the blurs here and there.

    I’d be a little careful with the tree shaking though….karma and all. The last thing you want is to line up the perfect shot and have an angry bird drop something sticky on you.

  12. Sunbirds in a coconut tree? Mike, you are far more ambitious than I! I’m finding it difficult to get the shots I want and I’m right there.

    I got lucky late last week as a former photography teacher is leaving, and sold a lens better suited for taking chicks close up. I still can’t get macro enough though…

    And my biggest problem? When the chick cries for food, it shakes its head rapid fire, making it difficult to get a photo that is not blurred. Some of the blurred ones are quite artsy, but I need to learn how to take clear photos.

    I’m finding out that animal photography is not easy at all.

    Btw – the photos are going up three a day on my photo blog:

  13. Cat some great photographs. I am in the process of trying to photograph a pair of sunbirds that are nesting near my garden, problem is the birds are smaller than a wren and they are nesting half way up a coconut tree!

  14. Amy, I can just see you shaking that limb too. LOL!

    Today he/she jumped out of the nest and sat on mamma’s branch/limb. When I went to take photos and got too close, he/she FLEW!

    Ok, he/she flew briefly then kerthunked on the ground, but still…

    It blows my mind at how quickly chicks go from a pulsating blob covered in translucent skin, to a (briefly) airborne feathered puff ball.

  15. I’m amazed at how well you were able to capture that little bird on film. Your experiments and observations on what you have learned (bulletted at the bottom of your post) are hilarious, esp. the last one, of course, mostly because that sounds like ME. LOL!!!

  16. Thanks Pete! The tree shaking doesn’t work anymore. He just hunks down into all those new feathers and glares at me. But before much longer he’ll just flyyyyyyyyyyyyyy away 🙂

  17. Hi Joanna, thanks! It’s like having a miniature dinosaur crouching on my balcony.

    The chick is growing fast. Too fast. Soon it’ll be out of here, flying away.

    Yesterday someone asked me what name I chose for the chick. Name? I hadn’t thought of a name.

    Fred suits its ugly mug. Or Barney. Wilma even, now that it’s covered up more.


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