Those Boorish Bulbuls

Bulbuls make up an incredible family of birds. They are impossible to miss; they lurk everywhere, from urban parks to dense forests; they are loud, even obnoxious at times; they are gregarious and bold; some nest near your homes; some are prized songsters worth thousands of dollars.

There are currently 38 species of bulbuls known to Thailand.

The songbird trade is perhaps the biggest threat to bulbuls in the country. The Straw headed Bulbul has already been extirpated from most of southern Thailand and the Red Whiskered Bulbul, the bird chosen to succeed the Straw headed Bulbul in singing competitions, is suffering from extreme persecution and fast disappearing from its former haunts.

Recent DNA research into the genus Iole shows that there is much to be learnt about bulbuls in southeast Asia; it is a foregone conclusion that in the coming years there will be many more splits or perhaps even new species being added to this genus.

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