Yellow Eared Bulbul
Sri Lanka Yellow-eared Bulbul "Pycnonotus penicillatus" (Blyth, 1851)
The tuft of yellow feathers over the ear and white streak in front of the eye easily distinguishes this from all the other bulbuls. Females are distinguished from males by their slightly smaller size and broad yellow tail-tips. These birds reach 18.5 – 20 cm in length.
Yellow-eared bulbuls are restricted to the higher hills, mostly above 1,700 meters altitude. They do descent to about 1,100 meters on the western slopes, but are rarely seen below 1,200 meters on the eastern side of the central mountains. They also occur in the higher parts of the Knuckles Range and Sinharaja.
They are rather shy birds that generally keep to the forest and seen occasionally in gardens. The sharp whee, whee, whee call is unmistakable. They gather in large numbers, preferring to feed on berries among shrubs and in the mid-canopy. Yellow-eared Bulbuls breed throughout the year, with two peaks in March-May and August-October (the former being the major peak). An open, cup-shaped nest is built in a tree fork about 3-5 meters above the ground. The nest is constructed mostly from green moss, the cup being lined with fine ferns and rootlets. The speckled eggs which sometimes appear pinkish with reddish brown markings, measure around 23.4 x 16.7 mm.
Breeding takes place during two marked seasons; March to May, and August to September. Both birds excavate the nest chamber. The chamber entrance is usually 3 – 6 meters above the gr sometimes higher. The diameter of the entrance is about 25 cm, the chamber depth being .5 cm. No nesting materials are used, and up to three pure white eggs. Both parents participate in incubating the eggs and feeding the young.