The Brown-eared Bulbul can be seen almost everywhere in Japan and is regarded as a common species, but looking at its distribution globally, it is limited to areas around Japan.
It sings with an extended call of “Hyo, Pi-yo”, and it is said that the male does not have a special song for the breeding season.
Its size is between that of the Tree Sparrow and the Oriental Turtle Dove. And its tail is longer than that of the White-cheeked Starling, which is often misidentified as the Brown-eared Bulbul.
Play birds singing
In the profile of the Oriental Turtle Dove it was noted that most birds cannot suck water, but the Turtle Dove is an exception. Most birds, such as sparrows or crows, look skyward to swallow water when they take a drink.
The reason why we mammals can suck is that we need to in order to take in milk.
Like hummingbirds of the American continents, whose main diet is nectar, in Japan, Japanese White-eyes and Brown-eared Bulbuls go to flowers for nectar. But they do not suck nectar. They push nectar into the back of their throat using their tongue.
Looking at the Brown-eared Bulbul's bill dyed yellow with pollen, we can easily understand how creatures that search for nectar contribute to pollination. The pollination of flowers by insects is called entomophily, and pollination by birds is called ornithophily. A typical example of ornithophily in Japan is the Japanese camellia.
Although the Brown-eared Bulbul supposedly lives only around Japan, across the country flocks can be seen migrating westward or southward from late September through October.
The movements of the Brown-eared Bulbul are not well known. However, since they often start flying in the morning, it is thought that they do not migrate long distances. This is because, for many birds, long-distance flights are made during the night. At night they encounter few predators and they maintain energy by having the sunshine on their back. And, another reason could be that they can refuel (feed) during the daylight hours.
The Brown-eared Bulbul is often hunted by the Peregrine Falcon as it flies across the sea, so the flock will fly just above the water's surface as soon as it reaches the sea. Since the Peregrine Falcon dives at a speed of up to 300km/h when hunting, the risk of plunging into the sea is high if the bulbuls are flying just above the surface of the sea, making them more difficult to hunt.
The Brown-eared Bulbul gets its name from the reddish-brown coloring of its cheek.
A flock crossing the sea flies just above the surface. The Brown-eared Bulbul, a common target of the Peregrine Falcon, is often unable to keep a low flight pattern and the flock floats skyward together.