Around 3 to 4 inches in length. They have short necks, short wings, longish square tails and relatively small legs and feet. Upperparts greyish-brown, blackish or dark brown on head and chin, merging to brown on throat and chest; breast and belly whitish; under tail-coverts white or yellow. Head appears slightly crested when nape feathers are raised. Bill is black. Sexes are alike with the female slightly smaller. Song is an abrupt "quick, chop, toquick". Their song can start before dawn and continue for up to two hours. Communal singing has been noted following feeding. They are fond of bathing and scolding, but are not overly aggressive. They are not particularly strong flyers.
GEOGRAPHICAL RANGE AND HABITAT:
Much of Eastern and Central Africa as well as the north west coast. Also found in southern Spain as an "accidental". Found in gardens, old cultivation, woodland, coastal scrub, open forest and in secondary growth, especially lantana thickets.
Omnivorous. Fruit, berries, insects, spiders and sometimes small lizards.
LIFE CYCLE/SOCIAL STRUCTURE:
Usually they are in pairs, congregating in fruiting trees with other birds. They are not territorial outside of the mating season. Said to be monogamous, mating for life. They build open cuplike nests of twigs and fibers in the lower forks of bushes and small trees. From two to five eggs are laid twice per season. Incubation is 12-14 days, usually only by the female. Naked young are cared for by both parents and fledge in 10-17 days.
Short wings help when flying in thickets.
Throughout the Old World tropics, bulbuls are the most common, most numerous and best known of all garden birds. Pycnonotus barbatus is variously known as the Common Bulbul or the Yellow-vented Bulbul.
The White-vented Bulbul can be found in the African Savanna aviary near the lions.
STATUS IN WILD:
Not threatened; widespread and common. Listed as Least Concern by the IUCN.