429. Pycnonotus melanicterus

(429) Pycnonotus melanicterus Gmel.
THE BLACK-CAPPED BULBUL.
Pycnonotus melanicterus, Fauna B. I., Birds, 2nd ed. vol. i, p. 414.
This Bulbul is confined to Ceylon, where it occurs over the whole of the wet zone from the plains and foot-hills up to 5,000 feet. It is a forest bird but seems to prefer lighter forest to the interior of dense evergreen forest, while it is also often found on the outskirts of forest, in Rubber-plantations, Tea-estates etc.
The nesting-site seems to vary very much ; the first ever taken, fully identified and sent to Legge, was on the top of an old stump ; one taken by Phillips was “placed high Up in a rubber tree on the edge of a small jungle ; another was “high up in a mass of creepers growing over a tree” ; several taken by Phillips have been “placed right at the top of fair-sized trees,” and, finally, the great majority are placed low down in small but thick bushes not more than 3 to 4 feet from the ground.
Describing the nest, Phillips writes:— "The nest is small and shallow, of a distinct Bulbul type, constructed chiefly of dead leaf-stalks, dried fern etc., with a few semi-dead leaves interwoven into the structure. This species always seems to build a dead leaf or two, sometimes a good many, into the foundation of the nest. The nest is usually placed high up in fair-sized trees but the sites vary greatly. The materials of which the nests are made cover a large number. I have seen nests composed of fern-stems and lined with fine dead leaf-ribs, and one such was a deep cup instead of a shallow one ; a few nests are lined with fine grass ; some nests are made almost entirely of fine rootlets.”
Wait says : “Fairly common in forest, low jungle clumps of thicket, shady ravines etc. The breeding reason is probably March to July, occasionally later.” This period must be extended as from February, in which month Phillips has taken several nests, while Jenkins also took one. In my series there are none taken later than July, nor have I any record of such. The number of eggs laid is two or three, two rather more often than three.
Nearly every egg could be matched by eggs laid by Otocompsa jocosa, yet as a series they have their own distinctive characters, which are hard to explain. They are not such bulky looking eggs as those of jocosa ; many have the curious stippled appearance uncommon in the eggs of that bird, while some have the chestnut-pink characteristic tint of the true Pycnonotus eggs. One type, also common in the eggs of this Black-capped Bulbul, is of the greatest rarity in the eggs of any Otocompsa. In this the ground is a dull pink, densely speckled all over with light red-brown, the stipplings mingled in some eggs with blotches, which hardly show among the dense stipplings. These eggs have no trace of the purple-red of most Bulbuls and, when seen in a big series, look like little red-brown eggs.
One curious but Undoubted pair of these eggs is a beautiful pale salmon, one egg with great purple-red blotches at the small end, the other boldly splashed and speckled with purple-red over the whole surface.
In shape they are typically rather short ovals, very elliptical in some ; in others they are the usual broad, well-compressed shape of most Bulbuls’ eggs.
Twenty-four eggs average 20.9 x 15.7 mm. : maxima 22.0 x 16.2 and 21.2 x 17.0 mm. ; minima 19.0 x 16.0 and 21.9 x 14.2 mm.

BookTitle: 
The Nidification Of Birds Of The Indian Empire
Reference: 
Baker, Edward Charles Stuart. The nidification of birds of the Indian Empire. Vol. 1. 1932.
Title in Book: 
429. Pycnonotus melanicterus
Spp Author: 
Gmel.
Book Author: 
Edward Charles Stuart Baker
CatNo: 
429
Year: 
1932
Page No: 
394
Common name: 
Black Capped Bulbul
M_ID: 
21919
M_CN: 
Black-capped Bulbul
M_SN: 
Pycnonotus melanicterus
Volume: 
Vol. 1
id: 
13612

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Scratchpads developed and conceived by (alphabetical): Ed Baker, Katherine Bouton Alice Heaton Dimitris Koureas, Laurence Livermore, Dave Roberts, Simon Rycroft, Ben Scott, Vince Smith