Guided Birding and nature tours to the Philippines
This is one of the Philippines’ smallest scops owl: the nigrorum race of the Philippine Scops Owl, Otus philippensis nigrorum endemic to the islands of Negros and Panay. Philippine Scops Owls are excellent nocturnal hunters, preying on insects, lizards, small mammals such as rodents, shrews and sometimes small birds. Other taxonomists treat this race as an entirely different species called Negros Scops Owl. Aside from the morphological differences from the Luzon race and the Mindanao and Bohol race, the call of this Negros Scops Owl is also different.
Philippine (Negros) Scops Owl, Otus philippensis nigrorum
Valencia, Negros Oriental, Philippines
This is a Mindanao Montane Racquet-tail (Prioniturus montanus waterstradti) digiscoped feeding in the excellent mountains of Mt. Kitanglad Range Natural Park in Bukidnon, Northern Mindanao, Philippines. It is one of the six endemic racquet-tail parrots of the Philippines. This parrot is restricted to the high elevation mountains usually above 1000 meters of Mindanao. Previously lumped with Montane Racquet-tail, recent studies split this species into two: Luzon Montane Racquet-tail and Mindanao Montane Racquet-tail.
Racquet-tail parrots are characterized by the extra elongated black shafts that end with blue black spatules or “rackets.” Immature birds have very short or no rackets. Often seen in flight and given away by their noisy, raucous calls.
Mindanao Montane Racquet-tail, Prioniturus montanus waterstradtii
Mt. Kitanglad Range Natural Park, Bukidnon, Mindanao, Philippines
Described in the Philippine field guide as an uncommon skulker, the Rufous Coucal is a Luzon-only endemic inhabiting the understory of lowland forests, usually associated with bamboo and thickets. They travel in small groups and their raucous and raspy staccato calls often give their away their presence.
The easiest place to look for them will be Subic Bay, a short two-hour drive from Manila.
Rufous Coucal, Centropus unirufus
November 2012, Ilanin Forest, Subic Bay, Zambales, Luzon, Philippines
Thanks for watching!
This Ashy-breasted Flycatcher is a rare endemic that is confined to the islands of Luzon and Negros. Recent reports of this special bird come from very few localities such as Sawa/Hamut Camp in Northern Luzon, Twin Lakes in Dumaguete and the closest and most accessible, Mt. Makiling in Laguna, Luzon.
Like a lot of the Philippine endemics, this species is poorly-known with very little literature on species and breeding behavior.
Ashy-breasted Flycatcher, Muscicapa randi
November 2012, Makiling Botanical Gardens, Mt. Makiling, Laguna, Luzon, Philippines
Here is a Chocolate Boobook, one of the several endemic owl species to the Philippines. This was videoscoped in the excellent lowland forests of Subic last June 2012 during one of our tours. If you have a fast internet connection, kindly view in HD for a more exhilarating experience.
The Chocolate Boobook used to be just a subspecies of the Brown Hawk Owl Ninox scutulata but recent studies suggest that this species is worthy to be elevated into full species status thus adding to the list of endemic owls that can be found in the country. The Chocolate Boobook ranges in most of the major Philippine islands except Palawan.
Chocolate Boobook, Ninox randi
June 2012, Subic Rainforest, Zambales and Bataan
Check out this pair of Sooty Woodpeckers digiscoped last June in the superb forests of Subic in Luzon. This is a male and female pair, the male bird having a crimson red face while the female has a plain sooty black face. The Sooty Woodpecker is endemic to the Philippines and ranges only in the islands of Luzon, Catanduanes, Marinduque, Polillio, Leyte, Samar and Mindanao.
Sooty Woodpeckers, Mulleripicus funebris
June 2012, Subic Rainforest, Zambales and Bataan
This is another video of a Luzon Water Redstart, a Luzon endemic restricted to clean and flowing streams and rivers near forest , 300 meters and above. It is usually seen singly or in pairs and perches on rocks, foraging for insects and small invertebrates. This indivifual was videoscoped in the upland montane streams in Mt. Polis, Cordilerras of Northern Luzon, also the site for the UNESCO World Heritage Site Banawe Rice Terraces.
The video showcases some advantages of digiscoping showing the relative distance of the bird and how close one can get with the spotting scope’s zoom eyepiece and the optical zoom of a point and shoot camera.
Luzon Water Redstart, Rhyacornis bicolor
June 2012, Mt. Polis, Mountain Province, Cordilleras, Luzon, Philippines
This is one of the toughest kingfishers in the Philippines, Blue-capped Wood Kingfisher, an endemic that can be found both in the lowland and montane forests of Mindanao. Like its cousin from Luzon and Negros, the Spotted Wood Kingfisher, the Blue-capped Wood Kingfisher is strictly a forest kingfisher, preferring to perch motionlessly in the dark understory. It is very vocal during dawn and dusk, giving away its loud and stuttering calls similar to the Spotted Wood Kingfisher. Male and female birds look different (or sexually dimorphic), with male birds having a dark blue crown, nape and malar stripe. Female birds have a dark greenish blue cap and nape.
The best place to look for this endemic kingfisher is in Mt. Kitanglad in Bukidnon and in PICOP, Surigao del Sur.
Blue-capped Wood Kingfisher, Actenoides homboni
PICOP, Surigao del Sur, Clips from March 2011 and May 2012
This is one of the most colorful endemic kingfishers in the Philippines, Spotted Wood Kingfisher, Actenoides lindsayi. It is endemic to Luzon and Negros and Panay, with the Luzon race, both male and female featured at the start of the video while the moseleyi from Negros at 4:20. It is sexually dimorphic, meaning the male looks different from the female. The male featured at around 0:15 to 3:05 has a turquoise blue eyebrow and malar stripe while the female (at around 3:07) has green eyebrows and malar stripe. The moseleyi race from Negros and Panay differs from the the Luzon race by having black margins of feathers on the back and wings.
The Spotted Wood Kingfisher is strictly a forest kingfisher and feeds on insects, other invertebrates as well as small vertebrates. It is very active pre-dawn, giving its loud ringing whistles and trills.
The best place to look for this kingfisher will be Mt. Makiling in Luzon and Mt. Kanlaon or Twin Lakes in Negros Island.
Spotted Wood Kingfisher, Actenoides lindsayi
Mt. Makiling, Laguna, Luzon and CENTROP, Silliman University, Dumaguete, Negros
This is a Palawan Scops Owl, an uncommon mainland Palawan endemic ranging in forest and forest edge. Just like a lot of the Philippines’ owls, this one is poorly-known and few documentations about the breeding, behavior and ecology of this species exist.
The Palawan Scops Owl prefers to stay in bamboo thickets and dense understory and often quite close to the ground. It is the only small eared owl in Palawan but sometimes the bigger and more rufous, small-island specialist Mantanani Scops Owl can also occur at times.
Best way to locate this uncommon owl is by its very faint, hard to hear, snore-like harsh growl.
Palawan Scops-Owl, Otus fuliginosus
Sabang, Puerto Princesa, Palawan