News & Updates

Sulu Hornbill

This is the critically-endangered Sulu Hornbill, Anthracoceros montani This hornbill species is endemic to the islands of Tawi-Tawi, Sulu and Sanga Sanga. According to Birdlife International and the IUCN, this species “faces the possibility of imminent extinction” mainly due to the destruction of its forest home. The population estimate is around 40 individuals and most of the birds can now be seen only in the island of Panglima Sugala, in Tawi-Tawi. The Sulu and Sanga Sanga populations are believed to be extirpated.

Many thanks to the Municipality of Panglima Sugala, Tawi-Tawi and the MBLT-9.

Sulu Hornbill, Anthracoceros montani
June 2017, Panglima Sugala, Tawi-Tawi, Philippines
Video by Nicky Icarangal, Jr.
Digiscoped with a Swarovski ATX 30-70x 95 spotting scope, Panasonic GH4 with Swarovski APO-TLS adapter with RODE VideoMic Pro.

For more videos and pictures of Philippine birds, kindly visit www.birdingphilippines.com
#birdingphilippines #wildwednesdays #suluhornbill #tawitawi #itsmorefuninthephilippines

Orange-bellied Flowerpecker

An Orange-bellied Flowerpecker digiscoped from the view deck of Balinsasayao Twin Lakes Natural Park in Sibulan, Negros Island Region.

This is just one of the 15 species of flowerpeckers found in the Philippines. This species can be found all over the country preferring a wide variety of habitats from forests to forest edges often near fruiting and flowering trees.

Did you know: Flowerpeckers play an important role in seed dispersal and they are one of the most important propagators of mistletoes. Check out this relationship between flowerpeckers and mistletoes here:

Orange-bellied Flowerpecker, Dicaeum trigonostigma
June 2017, Balinsasayao Twin Lakes NP, Negros Island Region, Philippines
Video by Adrian Constantino
Digiscoped with a Swarovski ATM 80 HD, Panasonic G3 with Swarovski UC adapter.

For more videos and pictures of Philippine birds, kindly visit www.birdingphilippines.com
#birdingphilippines #wildwednesdays #flowerpecker #itsmorefuninthephilippines

Philippine (Red-vented) Cockatoo

The Philippines only has one species of cockatoo: the Philippine or Red-vented Cockatoo. It used to be widespread and ranged in the major islands of the Philippines but the rampant poaching for the illegal pet trade as well as habitat destruction lead to its decline and is now declared as Critically Endangered. Currently, the best place to see the Philippine Cockatoos in the wild is in the island of Palawan, in Rasa Island. Access to the island is restricted and is managed by one of the Philippines’ top conservation organizations, the Katala Foundation (http://www.philippinecockatoo.org/)

This cockatoo was videoed eating Malunggay fruit (Moringa oleifera) in the Municipality of Narra, in mainland Palawan. The residents of Narra through the initiatives of the Katala Foundation planted Malunggay trees to provide additional food for the increasing number of cockatoos in the area. Very recently, the conservation efforts of the Katala Foundation and their partners in the local government of Narra won the 2015 GALING POOK awards, an award recognizing the top local governance programs in the whole Philippines. Thru the efforts of both the LGU of Narra and the Katala Foundation, former poachers of the Philippine Cockatoo were converted to deputized wildlife wardens and now act as guardians of the Philippines’ only cockatoo as well as other wildlife in the area. From 23-25 wild cockatoos in 1998, the Rasa Island population has already plateaued at more than 200 individuals and some of them are now relocating to the Palawan mainland, hopefully to establish new populations. Definitely one of the successful conservation stories in the Philippines.

Please do help save the Philippine Cockatoo. You can do your share by supporting the Katala Foundation here.

Philippine (Red-vented) Cockatoo Cacatua haematuropygia
June 2015, Municipality of Narra, Palawan, Philippines
Video by Nicky Icarangal, JR.
Digiscoped with a Swarovski ATX 95 HD, Panasonic GH3 with Swarovski TLS-APO adapter.

Some of the text are from the Katala Foundation.

Japanese Paradise Flycatcher

We have here a Japanese Paradise Flycatcher from the northern ends of the Philippines, from Sabtang Island, one of the islands in the Batanes group.

Locally known as Tiwayway, the Japanese Paradise Flycatcher is a rare migrant to the Philippines. The easiest place to see them in the country would be in the Batanes island group during March to August, when they would come to breed. Like most paradise-flycatchers, the Tiwayway builds a cup-shaped nest usually on a fork of a tree. The male birds sport a nice, very long tail (as shown in this video) while the female is similar but lacks the long tail and has more brown in the body (shown in the picture).

Japanese Paradise Flycatcher (Female)  Trinket Constantino / www.birdingphilippines.com
Japanese Paradise Flycatcher (Female)
Trinket Constantino / www.birdingphilippines.com

The Batanes group of islands is an interesting place to go birding especially for Philippine birders as it has its own set of birds that are found nowhere else in the Philippines. For more information about Batanes birding, drop us an email at our contact page or check out one of Birding Philippines’ Trinket Constantino blog here.

Japanese Paradise Flycatcher Terpsiphone atrocaudata
April 2014, Sabtang Island, Batanes Island Group, Philippines
Video by Adrian Constantino
Digiscoped with a Swarovski ATM 80 HD, Panasonic G3 with a Canon 40mm lens coupled with Swarovski Universal Camera Adapter.

Reference:
A Guide to the Birds of the Philippines by Robert Kennedy, et al.

Baliccasiao

Balicassiao, an endemic drongo found only in the forests of Luzon, Masbate, Mindoro, Negros and Panay, and Cebu. It is a common bird in the forest and forest edge and characterized by its glossy black plumage. It is a very raucous and noisy denizen of the forest, with bird calls a mixture of melodious whistles and screeches and metallic tinkling sounds. It mostly travels in small groups, together with Rough-crested Malkoha and Scale-feathered Malkohas (in Luzon) and other small birds (in other islands).

This one was digiscoped from quite a distance away in the forests of Subic. If we compute for the 35 mm equivalent focal length for this shot, it will be a whopping 3200 mm! Some of the wonders of digiscoping. 🙂

Balicassiao Dicrurus balicassius
April 2016, Subic, Zambales, Luzon, Philippines
Video by Adrian Constantino
Digiscoped with a Swarovski ATM 80 HD, Panasonic G3 with a Canon 40mm lens coupled with Swarovski Universal Camera Adapter.

A calling Sulu Hawk-Owl

This is a Sulu Hawk-Owl, one of the Philippines’ 24 owl species. This endemic owl was videoed on the island of Panglima Sugala, Tawi-Tawi province. The Sulu Hawk-Owl is endemic to the Sulu Archipelago, a group of islands located in the south western Philippines very close to the island of Borneo. The Sulu Archipelago has been treated as a separate Endemic Bird Area (EBA) due to several species of birds that are found only in this region and nowhere else. The other endemic species in the area include the Sulu Hornbill, Sulu Bleeding-heart Pigeon, Blue-winged Racket-tail, Sulu Pygmy Woodpecker and Tawi-tawi Brown-Dove. Aside from the birds, this is the only place in the Philippines where you can see Slow Loris. The Sulu Archipelago is also known for their unspoiled beaches and amazing marine life.

Unfortunately, a big part of the Sulu Archipelago (the island groups of Jolo and Basilan) have been subject to years of conflict between terrorist groups and Philippine military forces. Proper planning and coordination with Philippine authorities should be made in advance if you desire to see these birds.

Sulu Hawk-Owl Ninox reyi
November 2015, Panglima Sugala, Tawi Tawi, Philippines
Video by Nicky Icarangal, JR.
Digiscoped with a Swarovski ATX 95 HD, Panasonic GH3 with Swarovski TLS-APO adapter.

Sulfur-bellied Bulbul

There are several bulbul species occurring in the Philippines. From the latest checklist of the Wild Bird Club of the Philippines, the country has 14 species recorded plus 1 rare accidental/migrant species totaling 15 species. Species endemicity is very high with 10 endemics out of the 14 regularly-occurring species. The Palawan island group has the most number of bulbul species in the Philippines, with 3 endemic and 1 resident species. This is the Sulfur-bellied Bulbul, one of the most uncommon endemic bulbul species in Palawan.

The Sulfur-bellied Bulbul is the least common among the Palawan bulbuls, and is a bit more colorful than the very drab-looking Ashy-fronted Bulbul and is a bit smaller than the Palawan Bulbul (formerly lumped with Grey-cheeked Bulbul). It is usually seen singly or in small numbers in fruiting trees.

Sulfur-bellied Bulbul Iole palawanensis
June 2013, Sabang, Puerto Princesa, Palawan, Philippines
Video by Nicky Icarangal, JR.
Digiscoped with a Swarovski ATX 95 HD, Panasonic GH3 with Swarovski TLS-APO adapter.

Blue-naped Parrot feeding on a Narra seed

This video shows the Blue-naped Parrot feeding on a seed of a native and an indigenous tree, the Narra Tree or Pterocarpus indicus forma echinatus. The Narra Tree is the national tree of the Philippines and is a large deciduous tree that is fast growing and very sturdy. It has bright yellow flowers and is now commonly seen in villages but difficult to see in the forest as it is a prized hardwood species.

Blue-naped Parrots are Philippine near-endemics that can be reliably seen in Subic in Luzon and in Puerto Princesa in Palawan. Outside the Philippines, there is a small population living in a small island near Sabah, Malaysian Borneo. They are fruit-eaters and love to feast on Macaranga sp fruits as well as other types of figs and seeds. Most of the time, you can see them in small flocks, family groups of 3-6 birds flying or feeding together in the lowland forests of Subic and Palawan. They are cavity-nesters and sometimes time-shares with other woodpeckers like the Luzon Flameback, other parrots like the uncommon Green Racquet-tail and other birds like Coleto.

A Narra Tree (Pterocarpus indicus) in bloom
A Narra Tree (Pterocarpus indicus) in bloom

This highlights the need to plant more indigenous and native trees to attract our native birds!

Blue-naped Parrot Tanygnathus lucionensis
December 2015, Subic, Zambales, Luzon, Philippines
Video by Adrian Constantino
Digiscoped with a Swarovski ATM 80 HD, Panasonic G3 with Swarovski Universal Camera Adapter

Blue-naped Parrot

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from your friends at Birding Adventure Philippines!

from your friends at

Birding Adventure Philippines!