288. Otocompsa emeria.
The Bengal Red-whiskered Bulbul.
Lanius emeria, Linn. S. N. i, p. 137 (1766). Lanius jocosus, Linn. S. N. i, p. 138 (1766). Muscicapa emeria, Linn. S. N. i, p. 326 (1766). Ixos monticola, McClell. P. Z. S. 1839, p. 160. Ixos pyrrhotis, Hodgs, in Gray's Zool. Misc. p. 84 (1844). Pycnonotus jocosus (L.), Blyth, Cat. p. 208; Horsf. & M. Cat. i, p. 238. Otocompsa jocosa (L.), Jerd. B. I. ii, p. 92 (part.) ; Godw.-Aust. J. A. S. B. xxxix, pt. ii, p. 106; Sharpe, Cat. B. M. vi, p. 157; Oates, B. B. i, p. 198.
Otocompsa monticola (McClell.), Godw.-Aust. J. A. S. B. xxxix, pt. ii, p. 106; xlv, pt. ii, p. 79; Bl. & Wald. Birds Burm. p. 135; Hume, Cat. no. 460 ter. Otocompsa emeria (L.), Hume, N. S E. p. 287; Hume, S. F. ii, p. 225, iii, p. 126; Armstrong, 8. F. iv, p. 325; Oates, S. F. v, p. 157; Anders. Yunnan Exped., Aves, p. 657; Hume & Dae. S. F. vi, p. 321; Cripps, S. F. vii, p. 280; Hume, Cat. no. 460; Scully, S. F. viii, p. 296; Hume, S. F. xi, p. 181; Oates in Hume's N.& E. 2nded. i, p. 178.
The Red-whiskered Bulbul, Jerd. ; Kanera bulbul, Hind.; Kara bulbul and Sipahi bulbul, Beng.
Coloration. Forehead and crown of head, the lores, the front part of the cheeks, and a narrow moustachial streak surrounding the ear-coverts and joining the crown black ; hinder part of cheeks and the ear-coverts white; a tuft of feathers springing from the lower eyelid, and passing over the ear-coverts, crimson; sides of the neck and a broad crescent, interrupted in the middle of the breast, brownish black; under tail-coverts crimson; the lower plumage white, washed with brown on the sides of the breast, the flanks, and the thighs; upper plumage and wings earthy brown, the latter edged paler on the outer webs of the quills ; tail dark brown, the outer four, or sometimes five, pairs of feathers tipped with white; edge of wing pale pink.
The nestling does not acquire the red eye-tufts till it is two or three months old, and the under tail-coverts at first are pink.
Iris hazel-brown ; mouth yellow ; bill, legs, and claws black.
Length nearly 8; tail 3.5 ; wing 3.5; tarsus .8; bill from gape .85.
The variations which occur in the plumage of this bird throughout its great range are very trivial, and it is hard to understand how it became suggested that there were two or more species or races, as some naturalists at one time thought. The crimson ear-tuft varies somewhat in size and depth of tint. It attains its greatest Length in Burma and the Malay peninsula, and it is also brighter in those countries. Throughout the Himalayas, in Manipur, and in China the tuft is of an intensely deep crimson, but it varies in Length considerably, some birds having it quite as long as others from Pegu. It unfortunately happens that the tuft springs from the lower eyelid, and its Length is therefore in some measure subject to variation as a result of the manner in which the head has been prepared; it is even quite possible for a careless taxidermist to perforate the lower eyelid and to cause the eye to appear surrounded by red feathers, as was apparently the case in some specimens which passed through Mr. Hume's hands (S. F. i, p. 309), but which are no longer in his collection.
The terminal spots on the tail-feathers are generally found on the outer four pairs, but it is not uncommon to find them on the next pair as well, but in a reduced form.
Distribution. The lower ranges of the Himalayas from Simla to the head of the Assam valley; Oudh ; the whole of Bengal, Orissa, and the Northern Circars ; the eastern portion of Chutia Nagpur; Assam and all the hill-ranges and States lying to the south through Burma to the extreme southern point of Tenasserim; Karennee ; the Andamans; the Nicobars, where these birds have been introduced. The species extends into China, Siam, and the Malay peninsula.
Habits, &c. This lively Bulbul is a familiar bird, being more frequently seen in gardens than elsewhere. It breeds from February to May or June, constructing a rather solid cup-shaped nest of twigs and leaves in bushes, creepers, and tangled thickets. The eggs, usually three in number, are pinkish white marked with various shades of red, and measure .83 by .63.
* I believe that the name of L. emeria of Linnaeus applies to the Bengal bird, as the specimen is distinctly stated to have come from Bengal. In this case the term L. jocosus, applied to the Chinese bird, which is identical with that from Bengal, becomes a synonym, and the specific name of the Southern-Indian bird cannot be taken from Muscicapa emeria, L , as proposed by Sharpe, even if Linnaeus's name was given to that species, which is doubtful. See Hume's exhaustive argument, on this subject (S. F. xi, p. 181).