Please identify this bird? There are bright red feathers at the bottom of its tail. What do we call these feathers?

enter image description here

update: Location is North India. Temperature is around 35° C.

  • 3
    $\begingroup$ Can you provide an approximate location where you saw this bird? $\endgroup$
    – user137
    Aug 18, 2017 at 5:56
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ The bird resembles a Red-vented Bulbul (Pycnonotus cafer), a native of the Indian subcontinent but common as an invasive species in many other regions. Some location information would be very helpful in providing positive ID. $\endgroup$
    – bshane
    Aug 18, 2017 at 8:48
  • $\begingroup$ @bshane Excellent! The image is of bad quality, the bird's head can't be clearly seen, there is no location information, and yet you guessed so accurate. This should support your answer: yandex.ru/images/… $\endgroup$
    – cezar
    Aug 18, 2017 at 8:59
  • $\begingroup$ Thanks, @cezar. These were briefly reported as an invasive species around my home a few years ago, and the Ministry of Primary Industries was desperately trying to track them down before they could breed and become a pest. I never saw any, but the ID appears to have stuck with me. $\endgroup$
    – bshane
    Aug 18, 2017 at 9:29
  • $\begingroup$ Location is North India. Temperature is around 35° C. I took the picture from a long distance with camera zoom to fullest. After 1st click, bird flew away. $\endgroup$
    – threeA's
    Aug 18, 2017 at 9:35

1 Answer 1


I am hesitant to provide 'positive' ID without location information, but this bird strongly resembles a Red-vented Bulbul (Pycnonotus cafer). The species is native to the Indian subcontinent, but is a common invasive species in many other parts of the world.

Red-vented Bulbul

Key identifying features, with features visible in the photo given in bold (description from NZBirdsOnline):

Red-vented bulbuls are slim, starling-sized songbirds with predominantly dark plumage. They are typically bold and conspicuous, with repetitive, monotonous calls. Their slim build and curved bill are reminiscent of a honeyeater (e.g. bellbird or tui), although they are not closely related. The two most distinctive identification features are a small erectile crest on the crown (giving them a square-headed Roman helmet look when the crest is raised) and the diagnostic bright red patch between the base of the legs and the undertail. The head, hindneck and upper breast are glossy black, with a circular brown patch over the ear. This dark hood becomes streaked or scaly on the lower breast and merges into the pale grey belly. The upper wings and mantle are mid-brown with pale margins when in fresh plumage, creating a scaly appearance. The rump is white, and the tail is long and blackish with a prominent white tip. The bill, eyes and legs are dark. The sexes are alike, although males are slightly larger. Juveniles are dull brown with an orange or pinkish (cf. red) vent.

The red feathers around the vent do not have a special name - you can just call them 'the feathers around the vent'.

edited for the addition of location information

As the photo was taken in Northern India, the bird is almost certainly a Red-vented Bulbul. The Red-vented Bulbul is common throughout India, and there are no similar species in the range that could easily be confused with this species.

  • $\begingroup$ the "bright red patch between the base of the legs and the undertail" refer to "bright red feathers"? can we refer to them as "undertail coverts" too? $\endgroup$
    – threeA's
    Aug 18, 2017 at 9:47
  • $\begingroup$ On any other bird I would say yes, but 'coverts' is partially a functional term, meaning feathers which smooth the surface transition between body and flight feathers. In the case of the Red-vented Bulbul, the red feathers stand apart from the tail, rather than smoothing the transition. I may be being overly picky, but I don't think we can use the term here. $\endgroup$
    – bshane
    Aug 18, 2017 at 9:58

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