The Red-vented Bulbul is easily identified by its short crest giving the head a squarish appearance. The body is dark brown with a scaly pattern while the head is darker or black. The rump is white while the vent is red. The black tail is tipped in white. Sexes are similar in plumage, but young birds are duller than adults.

Habitat and Distribution

This is a bird of dry scrub, open forest, plains and cultivated lands. It is resident breeder across the Indian Subcontinent, including Sri Lanka extending east to Burma and parts of Tibet. It has been introduced in many other parts of the world and has established itself in the wild on several Pacific islands including Fiji, Samoa, Tonga, and Hawaii. It has also established itself in parts of Dubai, the United Arab Emirates and New Zealand.


Red-vented bulbuls feed on fruits, petals of flowers, nectar, insects and occasionally geckos. They have also been seen feeding on the leaves of Medicago sativa.


Red-vented bulbuls build their nests in bushes at a height of around 2 to 3 m; two or three eggs is a typical clutch. Nests are sometimes built inside houses or in a hole in a mud bank. They breed from June to September. The eggs are pale-pinkish with spots of darker red more dense at the broad end. Nests are small flat cups made of small twigs, sometimes metal wires. The eggs hatch after about 14 days.

Calls and Songs

The typical call has been transcribed as ginger beer but a number of sharp single note calls likened as pick are also produced.