The red-whiskered bulbul

Writer: Isaac Cohen  |  Editor: Liu Minxia  |  From: Shenzhen Daily

A red-whiskered bulbul is seen in the Bijia Mountain Park in Futian District on Jan. 17, 2021. 

Red-whiskered bulbul

If you just arrived in Shenzhen for the first time, probably the first bird you’ll notice is the red-whiskered bulbul (Pycnonotus jocosus). This beautiful medium-sized bird has a prominent black crest and a striking red patch on the ear. Its body is covered by white feathers; the wings are brown with white tips; the lower part of the body where the tail begins is also red. Not just are the bird’s patterns a total delight to observe, but its singing is beautiful to hear as well.


A red-whiskered bulbul is seen in the Bijia Mountain Park in Futian District on June 5, 2021. 

The bird can grow up to 28 centimeters long, with a wingspan about the same length. It can be seen feeding on fruits, flower buds or small insects, moving most of the time in pairs or in small groups. They are often seen in the company of Chinese bulbuls, basically in every corner of our city.


A red-whiskered bulbul feeds on fruit in Songgang, Bao'an District, on Dec. 14, 2021.

The red-whiskered bulbuls’ breeding season goes from February to August, when the birds will build their nests and lay up to three eggs per clutch. It takes around two weeks for the eggs to hatch.


With a fairly big population, they are not considered an endangered species. Their predators include cats, bloodsucker lizards and snakes.