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Have you seen the red-vented bulbul (Pycnonotus cafer)?
Hawaii Early Detection Network Priority Pest for the the Maui, Molokai, Lanai, Kauai, and the Big Island Hawaii


red-vented bulbul feeding
Notice the black crested head feathers
red-vented bulbul
Smoke Bush

Identification: This black cardinal-sized bird from Asia is a major pest of agriculture and gardens in areas where it has escaped the pet cage and established in the wild. It is around 8 in long, with a black body, eyes, and beak and a bright red patch under the tail. Males and females are similarly colored. This is the only black bird in Hawaii with a cardinal-like feather crest on its head. Listen to the red-vented bulbul's distinctive call.

Impacts: The red-vented bulbul feeds on fruits, vegetables, flower buds, and insects. It is estimated to cost $300,000 in damages to orchids per year on Oahu. Bulbuls are very agressive birds and could compete with other desireable birds for nesting and foraging areas. This bird is a Hawaii State injurious animal, making it illegal to import them to the state, transport them to places they do not exist, release them into the wild, or export them from the state.
Dispersal Mechanism: Red-vented bulbuls have been known to nest in shipping containers and can possibly fly over inter-island ocean channels. These birds are common on Oahu, and have been spotted on Molokai and the island of Hawaii. If you see it anywhere else on Kauai, Maui, Molokai, Lanai, or the Big Island- let someone know!

More information about this pest external link


Red-vented bulbul look-alikes:


Red whiskered bulbul

Red whiskered bulbul (Pycnonotus jocosus)

Red-whiskered bulbul (Pycnonotus jocosus):
The red-whiskered bulbul, or red-whiskered cardinal, is also found on the island of Oahu. It is slightly smaller than the red-vented bulbul, and has distinctive red patches of feathers on its cheeks. This bird is not native to Hawaii, and is also a Hawaii State injurious animal. If you see this bird anywhere but Oahu, let someone know!

Last Updated: Monday January 30 2012. If you have any questions about the Hawaii Early Detection Network contact reportapest-maui@lists.hawaii.edu.
Funding and support for this project was made possible by the Hawai'i Invasive Species Council, the USDA Forest Service State and Private Forestry assistance, and University of Hawai'i-Pacific Cooperative Studies Unit.