Luzon Scops Owl [HD]

Measuring only 7 inches, the Luzon Scops Owl is one of the smallest scops owls in the Philippines. It is found only in the high elevation montane forests of Luzon, above 1000 meters and overlaps with its bigger and more common cousin Philippine Scops Owl.

They have been observed to nest on tree cavities made by woodpeckers. You can hear it giving its characteristic two-syllable whistle in this video.

This is a digiscoped video using a Swarovski 80 ATM HD spotting scope. Imagine what you can do with your DSLR and your 600 or 800 mm lens!

Luzon Scops Owl, Otus longicornis
January 2014, Mt. Polis, Ifugao, Luzon, Philippines
Video by Nicky Icarangal, JR.


Philippine (Negros) Scops Owl

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.

** UPDATE (April 2016) The Philippine Scops Owl has been split into three: this one here is called Negros Scops Owl, the Luzon birds are still called Philippine Scops Owl and the birds from Mindanao and Bohol are called Everett’s Scops Owl.

Philippine (Negros) Scops Owl, Otus philippensis nigrorum
Valencia, Negros Oriental, Philippines

Chocolate Boobook [HD]

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

Chocolate Boobook

Palawan Scops Owl

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

Palawan Scops-Owl

Philippine Eagle-Owl [HD]

This year is probably the best year for the Philippine Eagle-Owl. The year started with a sighting of a family of Philippine Eagle-Owls right in busy Manila, with the mother and father eagle-owl guarding a immature roosting in a planters box (check out Birding Adventure Philippines’ Trinket Canlas blogpost about this encounter here). Several of our tours this year also saw these very hard-to-find endemic in its usual habitat – forest and forest edge in Subic. And now, another local birder has reported another Philippine Eagle-Owl family – in a very unusual place – in a rock shelter containing the oldest work of art in the Philippines: the Angono Petroglyphs in Angono/Binangonan, Rizal just in the outskirts of Manila. So for birders going there, you get to see the owl and also the petroglyphs, experiencing both natural and cultural history just in one place.

This is the place for both the oldest works of art and the largest owl in the Philippines
There are 127 human and animal figures engraved on the rockwall dating back to 3000 BC.

The Philippine Eagle-Owl is the largest owl in the Philippines, and one of the largest owls in the world. Measuring up to 20 inches, it preys on small rodents like rats, mice and shrews and also small lizards. Check out the skulls from the pellets we have recovered from the site.

A skull, lower jaw and smaller bones of a poor rodent…

This species, just like many of the Philippines’ nocturnal birds, is very poorly known with very little information on breeding habits and ecology. In the video, the first part features the adult female guarding the newly-fledged immature from a nearby tree. The immature can be seen at around 2:30 minutes into the video.

Philippine Eagle-Owl, Bubo philippensis
Angono Petroglyphs, Angono, Rizal, Luzon, Philippines

Philippine Falconet – 1, Click Beetle – 0

This is a Philippine Falconet, our country’s smallest endemic raptor, devouring a click beetle. It first started with tearing off the head, then slowly dismembering the poor beetle’s legs while it was still alive and kicking (literally). When the beetle was dead, the cute but deadly falconet started to chow down on the juicy inside of the beetle while clamping anh holding the beetle’s exoskeleton in its powerful claws like a kid holding an ice cream cone.

This endemic is often observed hawking insects from a dead tree outside TREES Hostel right at the start of the Forestry Trail at Mt. Makiling in UP Los Banos. At the time this video was taken, there were a total of 8 falconets perched on the tree!

Philippine Falconet, Microhierax erythrogenys
December 2011, Mt. Makiling Forest Reserve, Laguna, Luzon, Philippines

Philippine Falconet [HD]

Introducing the Philippines smallest raptor: the cute (but can be mean) Philippine Falconet.

The Philippine Falconet is only 6 1/2 inches in length and is found in most Philippine islands except Palawan. Its serrated beak and enormous claws are its most potent weapons in catching dragonflies, other insects, lizards, small invertebrates and even small birds! The field guide describes it as “feisty” and it has been observed mobbing the Great Philippine Eagle. Definitely, a meanie!

Philippine Falconet, Microhierax erythrogenys
December 2010, Subic Bay Forest, Luzon, Philippines