Berry on a Bulbul!

Skip to first unread message

Sunjoy Monga

Oct 22, 2009, 11:26:19 AM10/22/09
A bird comes on this group but there is a floral connect.
Intermittently over the past month and half, I have had the joy of having four species of birds (Red-whiskered & Red-vented bulbuls, Purple-rumped sunbird and Common Tailorbird) nesting within a few feet of my bed (yes, my bed) in the very heart of Mumbai's Lokhandwala Complex.
One of them was this Red-whiskered Bulbul pair that was closest to me. The pair reared two chicks.
I have documented the entire feeding cycle, the number of visits, the percentage of insects - spiders - fruits etc that comprised the diverse menu of the nestlings. Fruits and figs there are not many this time of the year (Sept - Oct) but when the young were close to leaving the nest (c. 13th day of hatching) I noticed the parents bringing these dark berries. I searched meticulously the entire neighbourhood but couldn't come across any plant with such berries. There are a couple of large Jamun trees in our complex but these fruit profusely, too profusely indeed, during summer. No fruits right now.
Then I checked the mangroves c. 400 mt behind our home. There is ample Salvadora persica here, especially along the margins of the creek. Saw some in fruit but the berries were dark reddish in colour. A Salvadora plant I saw near Naigon, north of Mumbai last fortnight had darkish berries.
From these photographs would it be possible to confirm if the berries are of Salvadora persica? If so it would be interesting because the bulbuls are travelling this far, and even further considering not much fruit available, to provide a diverse diet to their growing chicks, leaving them exposed to crows and cats for much longer than one would expect.  
Cheers -- Sunjoy Monga

Vijayasankar Raman

Oct 23, 2009, 1:11:04 AM10/23/09
to Sunjoy Monga,
Dear Sunjoy ji,

Excellent observations! Thanx for sharing.

I can only guess about the id of the fruits (size?). For me it appears to be a species of Cissus (grape family). I have attached pictures of Cissus vitigenia and Phyllanthus reticulatus for comparison. [sorry for attaching two diff. spp in one mail, this is just to compare].

In Salvadora persica i have seen only pink and white fruits.

With regards

R. Vijayasankar
FRLHT, Bangalore
cissus vitigenia.jpg
phyllanthus reticulatus_1.jpg

Pardeshi S.

Oct 23, 2009, 2:43:58 AM10/23/09
to indiantreepix
the waxy covering on fruit points towards the two species suggested by
Vijaysankar ji.
Salvadora fruit becomes black on ripening but dnt has waxy covering.
Ampelocissus latifolia (wild grapes) can also thaught of, which is
common during this time.
another fruit i was thinking was of Carrisa congesta ie. Karvanada.
but i hav observed it fruiting only during summer.

Satish Pardeshi
Consultant Taxonomist
CDAC, Pune.

Vijayasankar Raman wrote:
> Dear Sunjoy ji,
> Excellent observations! Thanx for sharing.
> I can only guess about the id of the fruits (size?). For me it appears to be
> a species of Cissus (grape family). I have attached pictures of *Cissus
> vitigenia* and *Phyllanthus reticulatus* for comparison. [sorry for

Sunjoy Monga

Oct 23, 2009, 4:34:24 AM10/23/09
to Pardeshi S., Vijayasankar Raman, indiantreepix
Thank you very much.
However, am here attaching a picture of some dark berries on a small bush i photographed on 11th Oct near Naigon, north of Mumbai. This was c. 400 mt from mangroves and on the margins of salt pans.
Is this Salvadora?
If so then could it be the same berry that the bulbul was feeding its nestlings?
Cheers -- Sunjoy Monga
2009/10/23 Pardeshi S. <>

satish pardeshi

Oct 23, 2009, 4:44:27 AM10/23/09
to Sunjoy Monga, indiantreepix
Hello Sunjoy ji
this plant is
Cayratia trifolia (L.) Domin.
Common names: Fox-grape, Ambat vel, Tamanya, Amalbel, Ramchana.
it is tendrllar climber.

one more thing
even Leea indica has such fruits.

Satish Pardeshi
Reply all
Reply to author
0 new messages