The red-cheeked bulbul belongs to the bulbul family, the passerine detachment. The red-cheeked bulbul got its name for two bright red spots under the eyes.
Bulbul are small and medium-sized birds that inhabit subtropical and subequatorial regions. Their plumage is dominated by various colors from brown to olive. Many representatives of this family have tufts on their heads, and light threadlike feathers flutter on the back of their heads.
Bulbul or short-toed thrushes are a family of birds that contains 15-21 genera. These are small birds living on trees and shrubs, ranging in size from a sparrow to a thrush, 13 to 29 cm. The tail is long, the beak of almost all species is slightly elongated and slightly hooked at the end. Females are slightly smaller than males.
External signs of a red-cheeked bulbul
The red-cheeked real bulbul is a small bird, about 20 cm long and weighing 25-42 grams.
The upper part of the body is covered with brown feathers, and the lower one is whitish plumage, on the chest there is a dark ring, open at shoulder level. A thin, black crest rises on the head, and an oblong red spot is located behind the eye. The upper side of the head is dark, the throat and cheeks are white, the abdomen is light brown.
Red-cheeked real bulbul (Pycnonotus jocosus).
The wings are brownish gray. The brownish-gray tail of this bird is long, brown in color with white tips of feathers, the undertail is bright red. The beak is of medium size, straight and sharp. The legs are painted dark gray.
Three fingers are facing forward, one - back, they end in sharp claws. The color of the plumage of males and females is the same, only young birds look dimmer.
Spreading the red-cheeked bulbul
The red-cheeked bulbul is common in South Asia. The habitat of the species covers tropical Asia and stretches from India to Southeast Asia and China. The red-cheeked bulbul lives in Nepal, India, and was also introduced by humans to New South Wales in Australia, Mauritius, Florida and North America.
There is no sexual dimorphism in the red-cheeked bulbul; males and females are colored the same.
Habitats of red-cheeked bulbul
The red-cheeked bulbul lives in areas with a warm climate. Most willingly, they settle in gardens or in the vicinity of fruit plantations. Some populations are found in open areas, while others prefer dense forests. A red-cheeked bulbul is not uncommon in gardens, even in those located within the boundaries of large and noisy cities. Birds keep in pairs or few flocks, and each pair adheres to a constant territory throughout the year. Bulbuls live in open woodlands, inhabited agricultural lands, humid jungles.
Previously, this species of bird was distributed only in Asia and China, but was introduced by humans to Australia, Mauritius and Florida.
The lifestyle of a real red-cheeked bulbul
Red-cheeked Bulbuls are gregarious and restless birds leading a sedentary lifestyle. Only species living in the northern regions make seasonal migrations, chicks are hatched in the north, and they fly away to winter to places with a warmer climate.
For the night, flocks of bulbul sit on the branches of tall trees, and at dawn they leave the place of their lodging and spend most of the day looking for food, not forgetting to call each other in ringing voices. As a group, they carefully examine every twig on the tree in search of a juicy berry or sweet flower bud. Outside the nesting season, when bulbuls live in pairs in jealously protected areas, near fruit trees, they gather in rather large flocks of up to 50 birds. The flight of the red-cheeked bulbul resembles the flight of woodpeckers.
During feeding, the birds form flocks of 3-5 individuals, continuously making sounds.
Feeding the red-cheeked bulbul
Red-cheeked bulbuls prefer palm fruits, laurel plants and papayas, and pick overripe fruits that have fallen to the ground. Birds peck berries, comfortably clinging to a branch.
Red-cheeked bulbuls eat parts of flowers, nectar, spiders and insects, even ants.
Not all bulbul feed on trees: some species prefer to pick fruits, berries and insects right on the ground. The brown bulbul, inhabiting Africa, feed mainly on beetles.
Reproduction of red-cheeked real bulbul
The nesting season for red-cheeked bulbul lasts from January to August. Bulbul males notify competitors about the occupied territory, singing their short chirping songs, consisting of flooded trills. In this way, they lure the female and invite to the construction of the nest in the chosen area. At this time, the male behaves aggressively and drives out competitors from the nesting territory, the area of which ranges from 4000 to 8000 m2.
Females build nests in the bushes. In clutch, as a rule, from 2 to 3 eggs.
A pair of bulbul hides its nest among bushes, under thatched roofs, in niches of buildings. Birds build a cupped nest from soft blades of grass, rootlets, and other plant material. Grass-woven walls allow rainwater to drain away without accumulating in the tray. The female lays 2-4 light pinkish eggs covered with brown specks. Both parents take part in breeding, taking turns incubating the clutch for 11-12 days.
Bulbul chicks are born naked and blind, but they grow very quickly and open their eyes after 3 days. Adult birds feed them with soft insects and thick caterpillars. After two weeks, the chicks leave the nest and feed on berries and fruits on their own, but do not refuse parental offerings. At the age of 3 weeks, young birds take the wing. In one season, an adult pair of bulbul can feed two or three broods.
The voice of a red-cheeked real bulbul is like a joyful whistle of a man.
Keeping bulbuls in captivity
Bulbul has long been kept in captivity and not only as songbirds. Males of some species sing beautifully, but one bird lover described the song of the red-eared bulbul as the most unattractive of all bird trills. Indomitable fighting enthusiasm appears in male bulbuls during the mating season, this feature was used by people in the past, arranging fights of these warlike birds in the likeness of cock fights.
Naturalist Brehm mentions that in Ceylon and India, locals gather for male bulbul tournaments, for which the chicks are accustomed to a strong thread leash tied to the bird's leg. During the fight, especially angry males are pulled away by the string, as they can kill each other.
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"The Reds did not touch the prisoners"
The fate of this man is truly amazing, many times in his life he miraculously avoided death. Petershagen was seriously wounded during the Battle of Stalingrad in 1942, he was evacuated to the Reich and declared unfit for military service: until 1944, Rudolph moved on crutches. Later, he admitted: doubts about the correctness of the war against the USSR showed up even then. “Goebbels' propaganda asserted: the Bolsheviks kill all prisoners. But when we happened to repulse captured German soldiers, we were convinced that the Russians did not even touch the hair on their head! " On January 1, 1945, Petershagen was appointed Commandant of Greifswald as "a professional soldier with combat experience." For himself, he had already finally decided: everything should be done so that not a single person from his garrison fired at the Red Army soldiers, and the city remained safe and sound. Although Hitler ordered to defend any settlement to the last resident capable of holding a weapon.
Propagated the SS man
“Didn't we turn Europe and Russia into ruins, didn’t we shed rivers of blood, forcing whole nations to suffer?” Petershagen wondered. He was ashamed that he had repented so late. The Nazis urged every day: you need to resist to the end, as the king of Prussia did Frederick the Great, who won the Seven Years' War, standing on the very brink of defeat. Rudolph understood perfectly well: any neighbor can report him to the Gestapo. Step by step, he began to carefully persuade the authorities to surrender Greifswald to the Red Army, assuring that the Russians would be merciful. Gradually, he was able to persuade the members of the city council and even the commanders of subordinate units. A stunning case: once at the office of Petershagen, an SS officer was detained, sent by a krisleiter (head of the NSDAP cell) Schmidt... The spy was supposed to check if the colonel was planning "treason", and in this case shoot the "traitor". The colonel invited the SS man to talk, talked with him for three hours and "converted" to his faith: this officer assisted him in disarming the Hitler Youth.
White towel flag
On April 29, 1945, Petershagen's wife made a white flag from a large kitchen towel and a brush stick. Taking with them a person from the university who speaks Russian, the delegation in two cars led by a trusted assistant to the commandant - doctor Wumbach - went to the positions of the Red Army. The driver of the second car, having learned the purpose of the trip, began to ecstatically shout "Heil Hitler!": He was disarmed and tied up. The parliamentarians reached the ruined city of Anklam. They were received by the Soviet general Fedyuninsky, agreeing to a ceasefire. He even provided the parliamentarians with his car (one of the delegation's cars broke down) for their return. On the way, the delegates were ambushed: the car was fired upon, and the Soviet sergeant-driver was wounded in the arm. An experienced front-line soldier responded with a long burst from a PPSh machine gun and killed all five attackers. It turned out that they were Krisleiter Schmidt with his assistants, who decided to thwart Greifswald's surrender. Meanwhile, Petershagen discovered: the mayor of the city, the highest ranks of the SS and the Gestapo fled with their families, although the day before they vowed to die with the name of the Fuhrer on their lips.
"God is for them, not for Adolf!"
Upon learning of the surrender and that the city would not be destroyed, the inhabitants of Greifswald brought armfuls of flowers to Petershagen's house. Some workers themselves took to the streets to disarm the boys from the Hitler Youth and Volkssturm. After the surrender of the garrison, the colonel raised a toast to the Red Army, asking them to show humanity to the population. He warned our officers that he was not a communist, but that he was acting "at the behest of his conscience."
Until 1948, Rudolf Petershagen was in Soviet captivity. In the camp, he constantly quarreled with other German soldiers, who arrogantly declared: "The poor Russians do not even have beds, they sleep in a barn with cows." “But they threw us from Moscow to Berlin! The colonel answered furiously. - So, God spoke for the Reds, and not for Hitler! " In 1949, after the proclamation of the German Democratic Republic, Petershagen became the head of the branch of the National Democratic Party (according to a number of opinions, this organization was created on the initiative of Stalin) in Greifswald and was very respected in the city he saved.
Not scared of the Americans
In 1951, while on a private trip to Germany, Petershagen was arrested by the American military intelligence CIC: he was demanded to cooperate and declare that the colonel had realized the advantages of West Germany and remained on the "land of freedom." But the Americans did not appreciate all the mental strength of this man. Petershagen went against Hitler, he did not drink to Stalin's health, was he afraid of the United States? The colonel was accused of "promoting socialist ideas" in the FRG and "undermining the security of the occupation authorities." A man with poor health after being seriously injured, almost disabled, was sentenced to 12 years in prison. After protests from the GDR and a wave of letters from residents of Greifswald, noting Rudolf's special merits in saving the lives of tens of thousands of people, the West German press began to write about the "provocation of the authorities." In 1955, Petershagen was released, and the whole city met him at the station: the townspeople elected the colonel an honorary citizen of Greifswald.
Rudolf Petershagen died at the age of 68 in the GDR in 1969, surrounded by the universal love of the people of Greifswald. In his memoirs, he confessed: “I used to think that there was an enemy against us - the 'evil Russians'. But now I agree with the opinion of the Soviet general Borshcheva: "Evil Russians" are real friends of the peace-loving people of the new German state. " Colonel Petershagen turned out to be the only intelligent man among the Wehrmacht officers who escaped the influence of Goebbels: thanks to him, hundreds, if not thousands of our soldiers survived, without dying in the assault on Greifswald. If there were more people like him, there would have been much fewer casualties among the Red Army in the last month of the war.