Vaalnest reviews the Bulbul, Dark-capped bird

Posted by Collen on Tue October 27, 2015 in Birding in Vaal Marina.

A bird that is known to occupy any habitat with adequate supply of fruiting trees and bushes, absent only from dense woodland or grassland with few bushes.

This particular Bulbul occurs across much of sub-Saharan Africa, from Chad to Ethiopia south to southern Africa. Here it is common to abundant across Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Northern Botswana, the Caprivi Strip, the Limpopo Province, Mpumalanga, KwaZulu-Natal and the Eastern Cape. It is particularly common in gardens, plantations and parks in and around human settlements. It eats a range of fruit, petals, nectar, seeds and arthropods, foraging in groups and using a wide variety of techniques. These include plucking fruit from trees and bushes, probing the flowers of Aloe for nectar, hawking flying insects, hunting for spiders on buildings and picking up fallen fruit. The following food items have been recorded in its diet:


Seeds of Cassia plants


Grevillea (silky oaks)

Sideroxylon inerme (White milkwood)

Petals of Aloe ferox (Bitter aloe)



Monogamous and territorial, with males defending their territories against other males by lowering their wings and head and chasing the intruder. If the confrontation escalates into a fight, the males viciously peck and scratch each other, sometimes interlocking their claws in mid-flight and falling to the ground. The female builds the nest, which is a tidy and well-built cup built of rootlets, dry grass and twigs with an outer layer of spider web, and lined with finer plant material. It is typically placed on a branch or slung between a few twigs, generally concealed towards the edge of the canopy, often found in suburban gardens. Next time you go out on bird sanctuaries be sure to spot this beautiful Dark Capped.







Hockey PAR, Dean WRJ and Ryan PG 2005. Roberts - Birds of southern Africa, VIIth ed. The Trustees of the John Voelcker Bird Book Fund, Cape Town.

Harrison, J.A., Allan, D.G., Underhill, L.G., Herremans, M., Tree. A.J., Parker, V. & Brown, C.J. (eds). 1997. The atlas of southern African birds. Vol. 2: Passerines. BirdLife South Africa, Johannesburg.