The yellow-vented bulbul is a common sight in Singapore. Its name comes from the yellow bottom (vent) that comes after the white belly. It is the most prominent feature of this bird when you look up from below or from the front. Its flanks and sides are a pale greyish-brown. The upper body is a light brown colour that runs from the crown to the tail. The tail feathers are about half the length of its body.
It has dark brown eye-rings and lores which stands out against surrounding white feathers. The white feathers on the head starts from supercilium skirting around the nape and flows towards the throat. The black beak is short and sharp allowing it to grab berries and small fruits. It is fond of the orange and red berries of the tembusu tree.
Like other bulbuls, it can raise its brown crown to strike an imposing figure or keep it swept-back for a refined look. When the wings are folded, much of the tertials are exposed as the greater coverts hardly covers them. The edges of the feathers can be slightly faded, making the shape of feathers more distinct.
The yellow-vented bulbuls appear mostly amongst the trees along the road-side, parks and small pockets of vegetations. They tend to keep a distance from humans, flying away if you get too close. They generally not curious about us, preferring to focus on their own activities.
Yellow-vented bulbuls have a playful nature, never staying stationary for long. They are often found in pairs, staying close as they chase each other from tree to tree. In the excitement of the play, they call out in short burst of "chirp chirp". It has an agile flight being able to weave a twisted flight path among the branches and leaves.
For a beginner photographer, the yellow-vented bulbul poses a slight challenge - getting it to come out of the foliage to get a clean shot. You need to have patience and look for opportunities. They do perch momentarily on branches where you have a chance to compose a shot.