Front page
Silflay Hraka?

Bigwig is a systems administrator at a public university
Hrairoo is the proprietor of a quality used bookstore
Kehaar is.
Woundwort is a professor of counseling at a private university

The Hraka RSS feed

bigwig AT

Friends of Hraka
Daily Pundit
cut on the bias
Meryl Yourish
This Blog Is Full Of Crap
Winds of Change
A Small Victory
Silent Running
Dr. Weevil
Little Green Footballs
Fragments from Floyd
The Feces Flinging Monkey
the skwib
Dean's World
Little Tiny Lies
The Redsugar Muse
Natalie Solent
From the Mrs.
The Anti-Idiotarian Rottweiler
On the Third Hand
Public Nuisance
Not a Fish
Electric Venom
Skippy, The Bush Kangaroo
Common Sense and Wonder
Neither Here Nor There
The Greatest Jeneration
Ipse Dixit
Blog On the Run
Redwood Dragon
Greeblie Blog
Have A Cuppa Tea
A Dog's Life
Iberian Notes
Midwest Conservative Journal
A Voyage to Arcturus
Trojan Horseshoes
In Context
The People's Republic of Seabrook
Country Store
Blog Critics
Chicago Boyz
Hippy Hill News
Kyle Still Free Press
The Devil's Excrement
The Fat Guy
War Liberal
Assume the Position
Balloon Juice
Iron Pen In A Velvet Glove
Freedom Lives
Where Worlds Collide
Knot by Numbers
How Appealing
South Knox Bubba
Heretical Ideas
The Kitchen Cabinet
Bo Cowgill
Raving Atheist
The Short Strange Trip
Shark Blog
Ron Bailey's Weblog
Cornfield Commentary
Northwest Notes
The Blog from the Core
The Talking Dog
WTF Is It Now??
Blue Streak
Smarter Harper's Index
nikita demosthenes
Bloviating Inanities
Sneakeasy's Joint
Ravenwood's Universe
The Eleven Day Empire
World Wide Rant
All American
The Rant
The Johnny Bacardi Show
The Head Heeb
Viking Pundit
Oscar Jr. Was Here
Just Some Poor Schmuck
Katy & Bruce Loebrich
But How's The Coffee?
Roscoe Ellis
Sasha Castel
Susskins Central Dispatch
Josh Heit
Aaron's Rantblog
As I was saying...
Blog O' Dob
Dr. Frank's Blogs Of War
Betsy's Page
A Knob for Brightness
Fresh Bilge
The Politburo Diktat
Drumwaster's rants
Curt's Page
The Razor
An Unsealed Room
The Legal Bean
Helloooo chapter two!
As I Was Saying...
SkeptiLog AGOG!
Tong family blog
Vox Beth
I was thinking
Judicious Asininity
This Woman's Work
Fragrant Lotus
Single Southern Guy
Jay Solo's Verbosity
Snooze Button Dreams
You Big Mouth, You!
From the Inside looking Out
Night of the Lepus
No Watermelons Allowed
From The Inside Looking Out
Lies, Damn Lies, and Statistics
Suburban Blight
The SmarterCop
Dog of Flanders
From Behind the Wall of Sleep
Beaker's Corner
Bad State of Gruntledness
Who Tends The Fires
Granny Rant
Elegance Against Ignorance
Say What?
Blown Fuse
Wait 'til Next Year
The Pryhills
The Whomping Willow
The National Debate
The Skeptician
Zach Everson
Geekward Ho
Life in New Orleans
Rotten Miracles
The Biomes Blog
See What You Share
Blog d’Elisson
Your Philosophy Sucks
Watauga Rambler
Socialized Medicine
Verging on Pertinence
Read My Lips
The Flannel Avenger
Butch Howard's WebLog
Castle Argghhh!
Andrew Hofer
Moron Abroad
White Pebble
Darn Floor
Pajama Pundits
Goddess Training 101
A & W
Medical Madhouse
Slowly Going Sane
The Oubliette
American Future
Right Side Redux
See The Donkey
Newbie Trucker
The Right Scale
Running Scared
Ramblings Journal
Focus On Reality
Wyatt's Torch

February 08, 2005

Birds of Iraq: The White-Cheeked Bulbul

So far, our avifaunalist in Iraq, LTC Bob, has spotted a number of birds, though--unsurprisingly, as I can well attest--seeing them is a lot easier than snapping a picture of them.

We’ve definitely seen the White Wagtail and Red Wattled Lapwing – also two kinds of kingfishers, cormorants and something that I am calling a coot till I figure out exactly what it is; the usual magpies and so forth....Also saw a big heron, but couldn’t get close enough for a picture. Am considering getting a better camera – I may bite the bullet and get a digital SLR, my little Olympus doesn’t have much of a zoom for getting bird pics.

A tripod also comes in handy as well, is my experience, though I suspect the handiest tool one could have when attempting to compose a decent bird picture is a shotgun. It certainly worked for Audubon.

The picture above, of a White-cheeked Bulbul perched in an acacia tree, is the second LTC Bob sent us. As before, I've cropped out the vast majority of the rest of the image, so let me know if you have a strong yearning to see a winter-blasted Iraqi acacia, and I'll email it to you. Here's another view of a White-cheeked Bulbul, from Dubai. I attribute the shrunken nature of the white cheek patch in LTC Bob's photo to the bird being hunched up against the cold.

As with the Mesopotamian crow, the bulbul above is probably a subspecies local to the area, Pycnonotus leucotis mesopotamiae, in this case, rather than a purebred Pycnonotus leucogenys. Unlike the Mesopotamian crow--at least so far as is known--P.l. mesopotamiae will willingly breed with other species of bulbul.

My most fascinating expatriate visitors have been a pair of Red-vented Bulbuls (Pycnonotus cafer), already resident on my arrival....In my first summer they produced one offspring and while the mother continued to look after the juvenile, the male mated again with a White-Cheeked Bulbul (Pycnonotus lencogenys mesopotamiae), a species normally resident in the area. This latter Bulbul appeared to have lost its white-cheeked mate which I had earlier seen collecting food. Two hybrids resulted, one a White-cheeked Bulbul that the following year mated with a Common Bulbul. These hybrids were the first I had seen in Dubai though I had seen them further north and on the East Coast. The ménage a trois continued and the same mating pattern the second summer produced another purebred Red-vented and some more hybrids.

If true, this would argue that the Red-Vented and White-Cheeked bulbuls are not separate species at all, rather that they are both subtypes of the same species in that they do not fit the recently-deceased Ernst Mayr's definition of a species;

"a species is a group of interbreeding natural populations that is reproductively isolated from other such groups."

If the offspring of the Red-Vented and White-Cheeked bulbuls were able to breed successfully, then they were not reproductively isolated, meaning that the differences in their outward appearances are evidence of natural color variation within a single species rather than evidence of multiple species. As interesting as it may be, however, the passage above can only be considered only anecdotal evidence at best.

However, there is a precedent for combining multiple species into one. Up until 1973, the five color variations of Dark-eyed Junco in North America were all thought to be different species, so the Red-Vented and White-Cheeked bulbuls may one day be lumped together as well.

Won't that be exciting?

Previously: The Mesopotamian Crow.
Next: The White-Tailed Plover

Posted by Bigwig at February 8, 2005 01:44 PM | TrackBack
First time visitor to House Hraka? Wondering if everything we produce could possibly be as brilliant/stupid/evil/pedantic/insipid/inspired as the post you just read? Check out the Hraka Essentials, the (mostly) reader-selected guide to Hraka's best posts, and decide for yourself.

Well hello: I have a white cheeked bulbul. And I
love him very much. His name is frago. So we injoy
each other's company. He sing all the time and he's allway's hungery. Butt being the the army can I take him home to the states

Posted by: hep at March 24, 2005 01:06 PM

I am looking to buy a white cheeked bulbul- I live in the USA and wondering if you have any information on where to buy it or info about breeders in the US.

Posted by: Sam at June 29, 2005 03:18 PM

I am looking to buy a white cheeked bulbul- I live in the USA and wondering if you have any information on where to buy it or info about breeders in the US.

Posted by: Sam at June 29, 2005 03:18 PM

I am looking to buy a white cheeked bulbul- I live in the USA and wondering if you have any information on where to buy it or info about breeders in the US.

Posted by: Sam at June 29, 2005 03:18 PM

u can not breed the bulbul when in captivety the have got to be free in the air ....

information for anyone that doesnt know

Posted by: abdul at July 25, 2005 09:14 PM
Post a comment Note: Comments with more than two dashes per line will be blocked as spam.

Remember personal info?