Yellow-vented_Bulbul_(Pycnonotus_goiavier) - Photo by Lip Kee
Yellow-vented bulbul. Photo by Lip Kee.

Bulbuls are passerine songbirds native to Africa, the Middle East, and tropical Asia. They look like any other songbird, and because they do, they are quite adorable. Yet, imagine looking outside your window and seeing one eating its baby’s poop…

Bulbul bird feeding babies and eating poop

Gross, huh? Well, as sick as it might seem, the bulbuls have two good reasons for chowing down on their young’s fecal matter. First, they cannot change their babies’ diapers, so they must dispose of their waste somehow, and second, their babies’ poop is quite nutritious. Of course, both of those reasons provide little console, but at least, you now know more about bulbul bird breeding habits than you ever wanted to know! Now, if only that was the end of it…

Interestingly, this poop-eating behavior is not limited to bulbul birds. Other songbirds eat their babies’ poop as well. In the video below, watch (or don’t watch) a mother American robin lovingly care for her young…and eat their poop. Nature never ceases to amaze (and disgust) us.