An excellent talker, the WATTLED MYNA (lower left) can learn to enunciate as clearly as the best of the parrots. One of these birds on exhibit at a meeting in Washington. D. C., astonished a former director of the Budget Bureau by greeting him with the words: “How about the appropriation?” The lively, engaging RED-CRESTED CARDINAL (top bird) comes from southern South America. A splendid singer, the sprightly SHAMA THRUSH (white-edged tail) is also something of a mimic. The lowest perched bird is the active. noisy WHITE-EARED BULBUL. “Japanese robin” is one of several misnomers for the warbling RED-BILLED HILL TIT (on ground), a native of China.
By Alexander Wetmore
Originally appeared in the December 1938 issue of the National Geographic Magazine
This Web version COPYRIGHT 2004
The white-eared, or red-whiskered, bulbul (Otocompsa jocosa) is found from India to the Malay Peninsula. It is an example of a common type of which several species and sub-species are found regularly in captivity (Color Plate VIII).
A closely allied bird from India lacks the white tips on the tail feathers. Another, from the same country, is minus the red spot on the cheeks, and there are still others in which the red of the under tail coverts is replaced by yellow. There are some with yellow breasts, some with streaked throats, and so on. All agree in slender form and in jaunty, erect crest.
The bulbul of the poets is found in this family (the Pycnonotidae), a group of which some kinds are good songsters, while others are not so proficient. Bulbuls require soft food, but with proper care are hardy in captivity.