406. Molpastes leucogenys leucotis

(406) Molpastes leucogenys leucotis Gould.
Molpastes le.ucoge.nys leucotis, Fauna B. I., Birds, 2nd ed. vol. i, p. 390.
This bird is a plains race of the White-cheeked Bulbul, which is purely a hill form. It is found in Sind, Cutch, Guzerat, Rajputana, Punjab, the North-West Provinces, South to Etawa and Central India as far as Jhansi, Saugur and Hoshangabad.
This bird appears to move about considerably with the seasons and may not, perhaps, breed over the whole of this area, and Hume does not think it bred at the three places last mentioned above or in the Central Provinces.
Hume says that the nests are generally built “in dense and thorny bushes—acacias, catechu, and jhand (Prosopis spicegera)— and are placed at heights of from 4 to 6 feet from the ground. The Customs hedge is a great place for their nests, but I have noticed that they are partial to bushes in the immediate neighbourhood of water ; and at Hansie Mr. W. Blewitt always found them either in the first ditch or along the banks of the canal.”
It has been considered hitherto to be a bird almost entirely confined to the vicinity of human habitation and cultivated country, but Ticehurst rather dispels this idea, at all events so far as Sind is concerned. He observes :—“ The White-eared Bulbul is a common and constant resident throughout Sind wherever there are gardens, cultivation, or trees, being equally numerous in gardens in towns as away out in the thicker jungle [the italics are mine] ; in fact it is only absent in quite bare tracts or mean scrub. It even occurs in the lower hills and Euphorbia jungles, unattractive though they seem.”
Betham thus describes one of their favourite breeding grounds near Ferozepore:—“The country consisted of low scrub jungle with a few small babool trees scattered about. Here they made their flimsy bulbul-like nests, mostly within hand-reach. I usually found the nest by seeing the birds building. Three eggs seem to form the full clutch but it was not easy to get these, as the eggs seemed to be purloined almost as soon as they were laid. I suspected lizards, mynas, squirrels, shrikes etc. A certain number of birds were always to be found on the Ludhiana road, some 3 or 4 miles out of Ferozepore, making their nests by the road-side. I took eggs from May to August, the earliest date being the 27th May and the latest the 16th of August.”
Their nests are nearly always built low down in bushes and small trees, some a few inches above the ground and few over six feet from it. In construction they are like other Molpastes nests. Hume writes—“The nests are usually composed of very fine dry twigs of some herbaceous plant, intermingled with vegetable fibre resembling tow, and scantily lined with very fine grass-roots. They are rather slender structures, shallow cups, measuring internally from 2.1/2 to 3 inches in diameter, and a little more than an inch in depth.”
May to August seem to be the months in which they breed, the end of June to early August being more general than the earlier months. In Sind their breeding season is rather erratic, depending, doubtless, to some extent on rainfall and consequent supply of food. Ticehurst (Ibis, 1922, p. 545) says:—“I have seen eggs taken on the 25th March and have found nests ready for eggs on 23rd March and 16th April and observed young on the wing by the 17th April. Mr. Bell, too, records several nests with fresh eggs in the last days of March, so one may safely say that is the normal time for first layings. It must breed several times in the course of the year ; I have seen it feeding young on the 24th June, and found a nest with two feathering young on 14th September.”
The full clutch of eggs is three, two only being often incubated, but four practically never.
As regards the eggs themselves, the only thing that need be said is that they are as a body pale, dull eggs, not so well and darkly marked as those of the White-cheeked Bulbul, blotched eggs being quite exceptional.
One hundred eggs average 21.6 x 15.0 mm. : maxima 22.5 x 16.3 and 21.4 x 16.8 mm. ; minima 19.0 x 14.2 mm.

The Nidification Of Birds Of The Indian Empire
Baker, Edward Charles Stuart. The nidification of birds of the Indian Empire. Vol. 1. 1932.
Title in Book: 
406. Molpastes leucogenys leucotis
Spp Author: 
Book Author: 
Edward Charles Stuart Baker
Page No: 
Common name: 
White Eared Bulbul
White-eared Bulbul
Pycnonotus leucotis
Vol. 1

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