Flora and Fauna

LEUCISTIC RED WHISKERED BULBUL, A RARE SIGHTING IN BANNERGHATTA

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Green Minute News :

For the first time, a leucistic red whiskered bulbul was sighted at Kasserguppe village adjoining the Bannerghatta National Park. According to bird experts, this is quite a rare sighting. Earlier records of sightings of this bird have come from Ramanthali, Kannur in Kerala (August 2016) and Satyamangalam Tiger Reserve (November 2017) in Tamilnadu.

The sighting of this exquisite avian species is characteristic of the biodiversity found in and around the Bannerghatta landscape and this is despite its close proximity to the IT hub of Bengaluru.

Both albino and leucistic red whiskered bulbuls have been found in nature.  Leucistic means a partial loss of pigmentation wherein the bird has white or patchily coloured skin or feathers. Although listed as a common bird in the ‘list of species’ found around Bengaluru, this leucistic variant has been documented for the first time.

The leucistic bulbul was found feeding on a loquat fruit in the campus of A Rocha India Field Study Centre. Speaking to Green Minute, Avinash Krishnan, Senior Scientist said, “This was sighted near Bannerghatta Range of the national park. We are part of an international conservation group with our focus on man-elephant conflict. This was an interesting find so near Bengaluru. The colour morph is rare and experts said although the species is common, this is quite a rare sighting.”

Red whiskered bulbuls are native to South Asia and commonly found in urban areas Normally, their upper parts are grey-black while the lower parts white. Its head is black with a pointed black crest. Further, a red patch is seen and called as whiskers which are behind and below the eyes.

Both male and female birds are similar in plumage while young birds are duller with a greyish-black crown. It feeds on fruits and buds in gardens, parks and agricultural areas but also forages on ground searching for ants. These Bulbuls are not shy by nature and can be found perching prominently on the top of bushes or even on power lines.