Found foraging in both pairs and large flocks, the red-vented bulbul eats mostly soft fruits (such as bananas), berries, seeds and nectar. It is also not uncommon to find this species feasting on insects, and even small reptiles, such as geckos (3) (8). The red-vented bulbul tends to swallow fruits whole and thus the seeds travel through its digestive systems completely intact, making the red-vented bulbul particularly important for dispersing plant seeds (3).
The red-vented bulbul may breed year-round, although breeding activity peaks between January and October. It is thought to have up to three broods within a year, with each brood typically containing two to four eggs. The nest, which is built in just a couple of days, is a shallow cup made from twigs, roots, and other materials such as metal wire and cobwebs. The distinctive eggs of the red-vented bulbul, which are pale pink with darker reddish or purple patches at the broader end, are incubated for about 14 days (3).
The red-vented bulbul, although not territorial, is often considered an aggressive bird. It will displace other birds from their territories and competes directly for food (9). Thus, in areas where the red-vented bulbul has been introduced, this species can have very negative effects on local birds. In addition, the abundance of the red-vented bulbul in agricultural areas and gardens, where it destroys flowers, fruits and vegetables and may help spread the seeds of invasive plants, has resulted in its reputation as a pest (3) (7). In fact, the red-vented bulbul is now considered to be in the top 100 of the world’s worst invasive alien species (3).