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News and Information on Birding Sites Throughout Thailand and the Andaman

Some would call up the experts for this “little brown job”. After all, this bird pretty much fits the description of a “plain Jane” and “borish brownie”.

– Then they find out it’s called a Hairy backed Bulbul and everyone goes “What????”

I couldn’t agree with you more. – Who named this bird?

The Hairy backed Bulbul is a small, arboreal bird found in peninsular Thailand. When I say small, I mean it’s smaller than your average bulbul. At 17 cm, it is a mere two centimeters larger than the average Eurasian Tree Sparrow. It’s a frugivore and is often found in the company of other bulbuls. Find a fruiting tree in the forest and you’ll more often than not find a few of these flitting about among the branches. They are fairly common, fleeting and a far cry from a feast for the eyes.

The Hairy backed Bulbul is easily identified by its massive yellowish eye patches which stand out from its brownish crown and nape. It has a greyish breast and throat which gradually fades to yellow as it reaches the belly. Wings and tail are brown with a slight rufescent tinge about them. The bill is straight with a slight hook at the end.

Like other bulbuls, the Hairy backed Bulbul loves water. When not flocking around a fruiting tree these birds are hanging out at the local watering hole, drinking and bathing the day away. They are social birds and are happy to follow the crowd.

Since they lack flashy colors and the voice of a virtuoso singer, they are rarely targeted by hunters or trappers. They are also fairly tolerant of secondary forest and plantation, although their preferred habitat is level or lowland rainforest. Because of this, the Hairy backed Bulbul nests in peace and their local population is safe for the time being. The IUCN lists them as Least Concern.

These birds were photographed at a watering hole near Sri Phang Nga National Park in 2015.

Categories: Bird of the Month

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