Do we have hummingbirds in the Philippines?
This is one of the most frequently asked questions during our guided bird walks for the non-birder public. And to this we enthusiastically reply that what we have are sunbirds, feathered friends that are almost the same size, same diet, same habits and as equally charming as the hummingbirds from the Americas.
In fact, The Philippines has 12 kinds of sunbirds, 7 of which are endemic or found only in our country. They live in a wide array of habitats, among them the most common, garden-bird Olive-backed Sunbird, the mangrove-dwelling Copper-throated Sunbird from Palawan, the localized and high-elevation Apo Sunbird from Mindanao and this lowland forest-dwelling Handsome Sunbird from PICOP, Bislig, Surigao del Sur, Mindanao, among others.
The Handsome Sunbird is one of the smallest sunbirds in the Philippines and ranges in most Philippine islands except Palawan where it is replaced by the similarly-looking Lovely Sunbird. The sunbird featured here belongs to the bella race and can be seen frequenting flowering and fruiting trees in forest and forest edge, feeding on nectar and sometimes small insects.
Handsome Sunbird, Aethopyga bella
January 2011, PICOP Forest, Surigao del Sur, Mindanao Philippines