Birds of the Philippines

Birds of the Philippines

There are over 530 bird species found in the Philippines hotspot; about 185 of these are endemic (35 percent) and over 60 are threatened. BirdLife International has identified seven Endemic Bird Areas (EBAs in this hotspot: Mindoro, Luzon, Negros and Panay, Cebu, Mindanao and the Eastern Visayas, the Sulu archipelago, and Palawan. Like other taxa, birds exhibit a strong pattern of regional endemism. Each EBA supports a selection of birds not found elsewhere in the hotspot. The hotspot also has a single endemic bird family, the Rhabdornithidae, represented by the Philippine creepers (Rhabdornis spp.). In May 2004, a possibly new species of rail Gallirallus was observed on Calayan island in the Babuyan islands, northern Philippines. It is apparently most closely related to the Okinawa rail (Gallirallus okinawae) from the Ryukyu islands, Japan.

Perhaps the best-known bird species in the Philippines is the Philippine eagle (Pithecophaga jefferyi, CR), the second-largest eagle in the world. The Philippine eagle breeds only in primary lowland rain forest. Habitat destruction has extirpated the eagle everywhere except on the islands of Luzon, Mindanao and Samar, where the only large tracts of lowland rain forest remain. Today, the total population is estimated at less than 700 individuals. Captive breeding programs have been largely unsuccessful; habitat protection is the eagle’s only hope for survival.

Among the hotspot’s other threatened endemic species are the Negros bleeding heart (Gallicolumba keayi, CR), Visayan wrinkled hornbill (Aceros waldeni, CR), Scarlet-collared flowerpecker (Dicaeum retrocinctum, VU), Cebu flowerpecker (Dicaeum quadricolor, CR), and Philippine cockatoo (Cacatua haematuropygia, CR).

Birds of the Philippines – excellent gallery

Javan Pond-heron in breeding plumage

The Philippine archipelago has an astounding mix of more than 600 species of resident and migratory birds, of which almost 200 species are endemic. Despite the high degree of endemism, very few Filipinos are aware of the country’s avifaunal diversity. The Wild Bird Club of the Philippines (WBCP) has for our mission the promotion of the responsible appreciation of nature and, to collect & provide information about the birds of the Philippines.

Birding Resources by the Fat Birder for Phillipines

With 7,100 islands stretching from the Malayan-Indonesian complex in the south to close to Taiwan in the north, sandwiched between the South China Sea and Pacific Ocean the Philippines is both a rewarding and difficult place to bird-watch. The processes of geography and evolution has left one of the highest degrees of endemism known in the world with some 172 species of birds only found within the archipelago. Add to those 8 species mainly found within the islands and a huge potential for further splits and one can see the attraction for birding here.

Birdwatching books about the Philippines

A Guide to the Birds of the Philippines (Oxford Ornithology Series)

A Guide to the Birds of the Philippines (Oxford Ornithology Series)

This is the first and so far only guide to cover all 572 species of birds known to occur within the 7,100 islands that comprise the Philippines. The Philippines are the home of nearly 172 species that are not found anywhere else in the world-many of which are endangered as the result of high levels of habitat destruction in the Philippine forest. Thus, knowledge and study of the endemic characteristics of the birds of the Philippines are of critical importance.
This Guide is beautifully illustrated with 72 specially painted color plates, showing all species recorded from the Philippines except four rare accidental species. The accompanying text gives detailed information about the plumage, voice, range, distribution, status, habitat, life history, and behavior of the birds and includes helpful distribution maps for all the species highlighted

You may also be interested in A Photographic Guide to Birds of the Philippines (Photographic Guides) (much cheaper but not in the same league) The book features descriptions of 216 species and is easy to carry around in your pocket.

Birdwatching news about the Philippines

Rare quail from the Philippines eaten

Philippines bird photo

2009—A rare quail from the Philippines was photographed for the first time before being sold as food at a poultry market, experts say.

Found only on the island of Luzon, Worcester’s buttonquail was known solely through drawings based on dated museum specimens collected several decades ago.

Scientists had suspected the species—listed as “data deficient” on the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s 2008 Red List—was extinct.

More links

Common Birds of the Philippines

Cattle Egrets (Bubulcus ibis) by Flipped Out

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