Republic of the Philippines
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.
As if the prospect of travelling through a myriad of islands of different sizes, shapes and forms each often with its own dialect and transportation and access problems was not enough, the element of human influence is also one of the highest in the world. Virtually anywhere in the country there are people, either settlers or native tribes, encroaching on remnants of habitat in each of the islands. This pressure can be so intense that within a season a whole area can vanish, taking with it what was possibly a large percentage of the remaining population of several species in one fell swoop. Hence many visiting birders are told – visit now before it is too late.
The list of non-endemics reaches around 300 species although this has been increasing each year as more people regularly bird-watch and more foreign tours visit the islands. It is important that trip reports be relayed to the recording body so that valuable data may be gathered to add to what is currently a largely word-of-mouth list of sightings and numbers.
There are three generally recognized geographical regions – Luzon, the Visayas and Mindanao, although for birdwatchers the area of Palawan is a 4th region that must be treated separately.
The largest island with a limited number of associated islands off the north and east coasts, Luzon contain all the major habitats from mossy forest to marshlands. Due to logging there is extremely limited lowland forest left but within most mountainous areas small remnants of forest can be found. The island is relatively easy and safe to move around and with fairly good transportation links. There are a few birdwatching sites within or close to Metro Manila but most endemics are found scattered a day or two's travel away.
The belt of the Philippine archipelago, the Visayas consist of the majority of the islands. In ornithological terms there are two or three major areas – the Negros/Panay complex in the west, Cebu in the centre and the Bohol/Samar/Leyte group to the east, which have many shared species with Mindanao to the south. Environmental degradation in this region is extreme – especially in the east where several species are located in very small forest patches and some species may even be already extinct or in non-sustainable situations. Travel is again not difficult and the area is generally peaceful and easy to access. With most of the islands being small, travel time to sites is normally a day although there are no formal organised transportation links and most visitors use local guides.
A large island close to Borneo, Mindanao is also all to often seen in the news or travel advisory lists as a place to avoid. Instability does occur but in general it is within certain areas and other regions are peaceful and the people receptive. With a host of endemics, and being the last holdout for the Philippine Eagle, one can see why most people still want to visit but areas are restricted and travel mainly must be done with prior organization or with extra days on hand to move about.
Some of the easiest birding in the country and set in a truly tropical setting, Palawan is a favourite for anyone. With its own set of birds quite distinct to the rest of the country and a good set of migrants it makes a pleasant change from the hard work of the heavily trapped and bird-poor forests of the rest of the Philippines.
As with other tropical countries the forests abound with insects and reptiles making a pleasant diversion while waiting to see a bird. Orchids are also abundant and as with the birds, endemism is also common across all the biological communities.
Weather & other considerations
Although Mindanao has a more equatorial climate to the northern areas in general the islands are governed by a dual season climate – wet (June-October) and dry (December – April). Temperatures are normally between 25-35 although the mountains can be cold at night in the early part of the year. Malaria remains in a very few areas but is not a major problem and other diseases are not significant. Most normal facilities (food, health care, airports etc.) are available within a day's trek of any of the birding sites.
Birding around Manila
Within the city are two main sites that are easily accessible to a visitor; the American Memorial cemetery and the Libingan ng mga Bayani (or National Heroes cemetery). Both have a small selection of birds and are a good place to see passage migrants. Just to the south of Manila and about a 2 hour drive lies Mount Makiling which holds a good number of wet lowland forest endemics and is worth a visit at any time of year. Rather basic accommodation is available locally for those wanting an early start although many people do the site on a day-trip basis. Also 2 hours to the south lies a forested area known as Pico do Loro although a reference to Caylabne Bay or Puerto Azul (beach resorts) would be more likely to get you there. A dry lowland forest it has many shared species with Makiling and also a few others, which are not.
Please do feel free to contact the Wild Bird Club of the Philippines email@example.com with website at www.birdwatch.ph for any information – particularly regarding birding around Metro Manila. In addition we request all records and/or trip reports be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org in order to help build up our database.
Number of Species
Number of bird species: 605
National Bird: Pilippine (Monkey-eating) Eagle Pithecophaga jefferyi
Number of endemics: 178
Palawan Peacock-Pheasant Polyplectron emphanum Philippine Duck Anas luzonica Philippine Falconet Microheirax erythrogenys Philippine Eagle Pithecophaga jefferyi Philippine Hawk-Eagle Spizaetus philippensis Brown-banded Rail Lewinia mirifica Calayan Rail Gallirallus calayanensis Bukidnon Woodcock Scolopax bukidnonensis Spotted Imperial Pigeon Ducula carola Mindoro Imperial Pigeon Ducula mindorensis White-eyed Imperial Pigeon Ducula perspicillata Pink-bellied Imperial Pigeon Ducula poliocephala Mindanao Bleeding-heart Gallicolumba crinigera Negros Bleeding-heart Gallicolumba keayi Luzon Bleeding-heart Gallicolumba luzonica Sulu Bleeding-heart Gallicolumba menagei Mindoro Bleeding-heart Gallicolumba platenae Amethyst Brown Dove Phapitreron amethystinus Dark-eared Brown Dove Phapitreron cinereiceps White-eared Brown Dove Phapitreron leucotis (Columbidae) Negros Fruit Dove Ptilinopus arcanus Flame-breasted Fruit Dove Ptilinopus marchei Cream-bellied Fruit Dove Ptilinopus merrilli Yellow-breasted Fruit Dove Ptilinopus occipitalis Guaiabero Bolbopsittacus lunulatus Philippine Cockatoo Cacatua haematuropygia Camiguin Hanging-parrot Loriculus camiguinensis Colasisi Loriculus philippensis Blue-crowned Racquet-tail Prioniturus discurus Green Racquet-tail Prioniturus luconensis Montane Racquet-tail Prioniturus montanus Blue-headed Racquet-tail Prioniturus platenae Blue-winged Racquet-tail Prioniturus verticalis Mindanao Lorikeet Trichoglossus johnstoniae Black-faced Coucal Centropus melanops Black-hooded Coucal Centropus steerii Rufous Coucal Centropus unirufus Philippine Coucal Centropus viridis Philippine Hawk-Cuckoo Cuculus pectoralis Rough-crested Malkoha Dasylophus superciliosus Scale-feathered Malkoha Lepidogrammus cumingi Philippine Drongo-Cuckoo Surniculus velutinus Philippine Eagle-Owl Bubo philippensis Giant Scops Owl Mimizuku gurneyi Philippine Hawk-Owl Ninox philippensis Palawan Scops Owl Otus fuliginosus Luzon Scops Owl Otus longicornis Philippines Scops Owl Otus megalotis Mindoro Scops Owl Otus mindorensis Minadanao Scops Owl Otus mirus Philippine Frogmouth Batrachostomus septimus Philippine Nightjar Caprimulgus manillensis Philippine Swiftlet Aerodramus mearnsi Whitehead's Swiftlet Aerodramus whiteheadi Pygmy Swiftlet Collocalia troglodytes Philippine Spinetailed Swift Mearnsia picina Philippine Trogon Harpactes ardens Blue-capped Kingfisher Actenoides hombroni Spotted Kingfisher Actenoides lindsayi Silvery Kingfisher Alcedo argentata Indigo-banded Kingfisher Alcedo cyanopectus Philippine Dwarf Kingfisher Ceyx melanurus Rufous-lored Kingfisher Todiramphus winchelli Writhed Hornbill Aceros leucocephalus Walden's Hornbill Aceros waldeni Palawan Hornbill Anthracoceros marchei Sulu Hornbill Anthracoceros montani Rufous Hornbill Buceros hydrocorax Tarictic Hornbill Penelopides panini Philippine Pygmy Woodpecker Dendrocopos maculatus Sooty Woodpecker Mulleripicus funebris
Number of endemics: 178
Wattled Broadbill Sarcophanops steerii Whiskered Pitta Pitta kochi Azure-breasted Pitta Pitta steerei Blackish Cuckoo-shrike Coracina coerulescens McGregor's Cuckoo-shrike Coracina mcgregori Black-bibbed Cuckoo-shrike Coracina mindanensis White-winged Cuckoo-shrike Coracina ostenta Black-and-white Triller Lalage melanoleuca Green-backed Whistler Pachycephala albiventris Yellow-bellied Whistler Pachycephala philippinensis Mountain Shrike Lanius validirostris Isabela Oriole Oriolus isabellae Philippine Oriole Oriolus steerii Balicassiao Dicrurus balicassius Blue-headed Fantail Rhipidura cyaniceps Black-and-cinnamon Fantail Rhipidura nigrocinnamomea Blue Fantail Rhipidura superciliaris Celestial Monarch Hypothymis coelestis Short-crested Monarch Hypothymis helenae Blue Paradise-flycatcher Terpsiphone cyanescens Palawan Tit Parus amabilis Elegant Tit Parus elegans White-fronted Tit Parus semilarvatus Sedis) Philippine Tailorbird Orthostomus castaneiceps Sedis) White-eared Tailorbird Orthostomus cinereiceps Sedis) Gray-backed Tailorbird Orthostomus derbianus Sedis) Black-headed Tailorbird Orthostomus nigriceps Sedis) Yellow-breasted Tailorbird Orthostomus samarensis Sulphur-bellied Bulbul Iole palawanensis Yellowish Bulbul Ixos everetti Philippine Bulbul Ixos philippinus Zamboanga Bulbul Ixos rufigularis Streak-breasted Bulbul Ixos siquijorensis Yellow-wattled Bulbul Pycnonotus urostictus Long-tailed Bush Warbler Bradypterus caudatus Benguet Bush Warbler Bradypterus seebohmi Luzon Bush Warbler Cettia seebohmi Lemon-throated Leaf Warbler Phylloscopus cebuensis Philippine Leaf Warbler Phylloscopus olivaceus Bagobo Babbler Leonardina woodi Brown Tit-Babbler Macronus striaticeps Ashy-headed Babbler Malacocincla cinereiceps Melodious Babbler Malacopteron palawanense Miniature Tit-Babbler Micromacronus leytensis Rabor's Wren-Babbler Napothera rabori Falcated Wren-Babbler Ptilocichla falcata Striated Wren-Babbler Ptilocichla mindanensis Rusty-crowned Babbler Stachyris capitalis Golden-crowned Babbler Stachyris dennistouni Palawan Striped Babbler Stachyris hypogrammica Panay Striped Babbler Stachyris latistriata Black-crowned Babbler Stachyris nigrocapitata Negros Striped Babbler Stachyris nigrorum Pygmy Babbler Stachyris plateni Flame-templed Babbler Stachyris speciosa Luzon Striped Babbler Stachyris striata Chestnut-faced Babbler Stachyris whiteheadi Cinnamon Ibon Hypocrytadius cinnamomeus Black-masked White-eye Lophozosterops goodfellowi Yellowish White-eye Zosterops nigrorum Philippine Fairy-bluebird Irena cyanogastra Sulphur-billed Nuthatch Sitta oenochlamys Stripe-breasted Creeper Rhabdornis inornatus Stripe-headed Creeper Rhabdornis mystacalis Apo Myna Basilornis mirandus Coleto Sarcops calvus Ashy Thrush Zoothera cinerea Black Shama Copsychus cebuensis White-browed Shama Copsychus luzoniensis White-vented Shama Copsychus niger Blue-chested Blue Flycatcher Cyornis herioti Little Slaty Flycatcher Ficedula basilanica Cryptic Flycatcher Ficedula crypta Furtive Flycatcher Ficedula disposita Palawan Flycatcher Ficedula platenae Ashy-breasted Flycatcher Muscicapa randi White-throated Jungle Flycatcher Rhinomyias albigularis Slaty-backed Jungle Flycatcher Rhinomyias goodfellowi White-browed Jungle Flycatcher Rhinomyias insignis Luzon Water Redstart Rhyacornis bicolor Philippine Leafbird Chloropsis flavipennis Yellow-throated Leafbird Chloropsis palawanensis Flame-crowned Flowerpecker Dicaeum anthonyi Red-keeled Flowerpecker Dicaeum australe Bicolored Flowerpecker Dicaeum bicolor Black-belted Flowerpecker Dicaeum haematostictum Buzzing Flowerpecker Dicaeum hypoleucum Olive-capped Flowerpecker Dicaeum nigrilore Whiskered Flowerpecker Dicaeum proprium Pygmy Flowerpecker Dicaeum pygmaeum Cebu Flowerpecker Dicaeum quadricolor Scarlet-collared Flowerpecker Dicaeum retrocinctum Olive-backed Flowerpecker Prionochilus olivaceus Palawan Flowerpecker Prionochilus plateni Handsome Sunbird Aethopyga bella Apo Sunbird Aethopyga boltoni Flaming Sunbird Aethopyga flagrans Lina's Sunbird Aethopyga linaraborae Gray-hooded Sunbird Aethopyga primigenia Metallic-winged Sunbird Aethopyga pulcherrima Lovely Sunbird Aethopyga shelleyi Naked-faced Spiderhunter Arachnothera clarae Red-eared Parrotfinch Erythrura coloria Green-faced Parrotfinch Erythrura viridifacies White-cheeked Bullfinch Pyrrhula leucogenis
Fatbirder's very own checklists are now available through WebBirder
A Guide to the Birds of the Philippines
Robert S Kennedy, Pedro C. Gonzales, Edward C Dickinson, Hector C Miranda Jr & Timothy H Fisher Paperback - 528 pages (August 2000) Oxford University Press
See Fatbirder Review
ISBN: 0198546688Buy this book from NHBS.com
Photographic Guide to the Birds of the Philippines
Tim Fisher and Nigel Hicks Series: Photographic Guides Series (New Holland Natural History) 141 pages, 240 col photos. New Holland Publishers - Revised edition 2010
ISBN: 1847738303Buy this book from NHBS.com
The Birds of The Philippines
An Annotated Checklist - EC Dickinson, RS Kennedy and KC Parkes Series: BOU Checklists 12 507 pages, 6 col plates, tabs, 14 maps. British Ornithologists' Union 1991
ISBN: 0907446124Buy this book from NHBS.com
A Manual of Philippine Birds (1909)
by Richard Crittenden McGregor - Kessinger Publishing (2008) - 792 pages ISBN: Out of Print
Guides & Tour Operators
Birding Adventure Philippines
Birding tours anywhere in the Philippines…
Local birders willing to show visiting birders around their area…
Endemic Pursuit Tours
I specialise in guided bird watching trips to the various islands of the Philippines with special emphasis on finding the endemic species some of which are now very rare…
Rockjumper Birding Tours
Our tour takes us in search of some of the world’s most beautiful and endangered birds. These include Philippine Eagle, Palawan Peacock-Pheasant, Azure-breasted Pitta and Philippine Trogon. Our Visayan Islands Extension targets the critically endangered Cebu Flowerpecker, Flame-templed Tree Babbler and Visayan Broadbill, amongst many others.
CloudBirders was created by a group of Belgian world birding enthusiasts and went live on 21st of March 2013. They provide a large and growing database of birding trip reports, complemented with extensive search, voting and statistical features.
2007 [08 August] - Lim Kim Seng
…we were in the forest by 05h30 but we failed to see any of the night birds we were after despite hearing at least two Philippine Frogmouths at Road 1…
2007 [03 March] - Sam Woods - Tropical Birding
… Some of the highlights included Luzon Bleeding-Heart, Rufous Hornbill and Flame-breasted Fruit-Dove on Luzon; a brace of stunning pittas at PICOP in Mindanao with both Steere's & Red-bellied Pittas seen extremely well, along with great looks at a Mindanao Wattled Broadbill there also; in addition to breathtaking views of the national bird of the Philippines - the mighty Monkey-eating (Great Philippine) Eagle, at a new nest site in a remote area of Mindanao ; and Palawan, as ever, weighed in with all the possible endemics recorded there including Palawan Flycatcher, Palawan Hornbill and the exquisite male Palawan Peacock-pheasant that performed extraordinarily well at the Underground River National Park…
2008 [03 March] - Henk Hendriks
We decided to follow a more or less “standard” itinerary for our first visit to the Philippines and to take our time at the different sites. So we visited Mount Makiling, Mount Polis and Candaba Swamp on Luzon, Mount Kitanglad and PICOP on Mindanao and the island of Palawan. Beside these sites we opted to visit Hamut Camp on Luzon, which turned out to be quite an adventurous trip…
2008 [05 May] - Stijn De Win
This is a report on a series of birding trips to Subic, all made in February – May 2008. For detailed information on Subic Bay, incl. birding maps, detailed directions and a bird list, please visit the Asian Birding Sites Database on the Birding2asia website : www.birding2asia.com Any locations mentioned in the daily accounts below are described on these pages…
2009 [03 March] - Stijn De Win
…A brief stop in the rice fields just before reaching the reserve revealed the first common birds; Striated Grassbird, Chestnut Munias, Zitting Cisticola, Intermediate Egret… An Oriental Pratincole briefly seen overhead marked the first northwards migration of the species for this year, with more birds recorded over the forest at Subic later on in the tour….
2009 [03 March] - Tim Fisher
…The Philippines really are blessed with a fabulous set of endemic birds, and our highlights ranged from the amazing Mindanao Wattled Broadbill, to the dazzling Palawan Peacock-Pheasant to the awesome Philippine Eagle…
2010 [02 February] - Simon Harrap
…we recorded a total of 306 species including an extremely high proportion of the available endemics (the exact total of endemics depends upon the taxonomy followed). Highlights included the awesome Philippine Eagle, Palawan Peacock-Pheasant, a superb set of kingfishers (including the beautiful Silvery, Spotted Wood and Rufous-lored Kingfishers), five endemic hornbills, Red-bellied and Azure-breasted Pittas, brilliant nightbirds (including Philippine and Chocolate Hawk-Owls, Luzon and Palawan Scops Owls, Spotted Wood Owl, and Philippine and Palawan Frogmouths), Falcated Ground-Babbler, six endemic sunbirds and nine endemic flowerpeckers…
2010 [03 March] - Stijn De Win
This year’s tour took off with our successful visit to Mt.Kitanglad and consequently scored on ‘the’ Great Philippine Monkey-eating Eagle right away on the first full birdwatching day on the mountain. Excellent start and together with plenty other highlights inclusive Red-eared Parrotfinch, Apo Myna and Sunbird, White-cheeked Bullfinch, Blue-capped Wood Kingfisher, Mountain Shrike, Bukidnon Woodcock and an incredibly obliging Philippine Frogmouth, left Mindanao to pick up the endangered Black Shama on Cebu…
2011 [08 August] - Geoff Dobbs
This report is based on three visits to the Philippines, 2009-2011. The latest being: 28th July - 17th August 2011: with Chris Straw - Mindanao PICOP and Mt Pasian, Zamboanga, Palawan Chris only, Luzon Mt Makiling, Mt Polis and Subic, and Mindoro only vicinity of Puerto Galera…
2012 [11 November] - Carlton Collier
Dulang-dulang - birds seen : White-cheeked Bullfinch, Apo Myna, Apo Sunbird, Mindanao Hornbill, Mindanao Long-tailed Ground Warbler, heard only Mindanao Scops Owl…
2013 [02 February] - Rob Hutchinson
…A clean-up on Palawan included a surprise daytime Mantanani Scops Owl, Falcated Ground Babbler, the rare Red-headed Flameback, Philippine Cockatoo and the ever obliging Palawan Peacock Pheasant, the latter alone making the trip worthwhile – go soon while he is still around…
2013 [02 February] - Stijn De Win
…There’re 2 good and easy birding sites to visit near Davao, I did focus on a site called ‘Barangay Eden’ in the foothills of the majestic Mt. Apo, as this is the best place in Philippines to connect with the rare and localized Whiskered Flowerpecker. Besides numerous sightings of this the site did hold many of the same Mindanao mountain specialities also found on Kitanglad…
2013 [03 March] - Rob Hutchinson
…The tour was extremely successful finding all expected endemics on Mindoro including Mindoro Hornbill, Mindoro Boobook and the critically endangered Black-hooded Coucal. In the Sierra Madre mountains of northern Luzon the highlight was the enigmatic Whiskered Pitta with a fine supporting cast of Sierra Madre Crow, Golden-crowned and Luzon Striped Babblers, Cream-bellied Fruit Dove and more. A most unexpected typhoon cut short our time on Bohol but we still found Yellow-breasted Tailorbird, Black-crowned Babbler and Visayan Wattled Broadbill, before a full day on Cebu with Black Shama, Cebu Bulbul and Cebu Boobook…
2013 [03 March] - David Marques - Luzon & Palawan
…The forest along the road looks great and although we did not get the Palawan Flycatcher in the heat of the mid-day, it must be around there. The Melodious Babbler was more responsive to tape, but a hard skulker….
2013 [03 March] - Dave Stejskal & Mark Villa
…Others that got our attention on the islands were that close Palawan Scops-Owl and Javan Frogmouth, confiding Tabon Scrubfowl, the small group of endangered Philippine Cockatoos headed to roost, our timely group of Palawan Hornbills, stunning Blue Paradise-Flycatcher, and a very cooperative Falcated Wren-Babbler, to mention just a few…
2013 [04 April] - Arjan Brenkman & Jan van der Laan
…Other species we saw where Chinese Sparrow-Hawk, Asia Koel, Blue-naped Parrot, White-lored Oriole, Philippine Serpent-Eagle, Philippine Pygmy Woodpecker, Kamchatka Leaf Warbler, Japanese Leaf Warbler (both splits from Arctic Warbler), Spotted Wood-Kingfisher, White-breasted Kingfisher, Red Junglefowl, Rufous-headed Bee-eater, Oriental Dollarbird, Whiskered Treeswift, Brahminy Kite, Blue Rock-Thrush, Crested Myna, a distant Roseate (or Black- naped?) Tern, Philippine Falconet, Rufous Coucal, Philippine Green-Pigeon, Luzon Flameback, Guiabero, Colasisi, Barred Rail, Plain Bush-Hen, Emerald Dove, Green Imperial Pigeon, Luzon Hornbill, Scale-feathered & Rough-crested Malkoha, Philippine Hawk-Cuckoo, White-breasted Treeswallow, Amethyst Brown-Dove, Blackish Cuckoo-Shrike…
2013 [09 September] - Charles Harper
…Also, we were not able to visit private Pandan Island (in Honda Bay off Puerto Princesa) for its islet specialties: an unscrupulous foreign birding guide had shaken the tree holding the Mantanani Scops Owl, so the island's owner has forbidden access to future birders for the present….
2013 [12 December] - Jim Holmes
2013 [12 December] - Jim Holmes - Palawan
2014 [02 February] - Simon Harrap
…It was predictably quiet, but we did have Green Racket-tail more views of Rufous Coucal and, towards dusk, a brief look at a Spotted Wood Kingfisher….
2014 [02 February] - Rob Hutchinson
…Although not an ideal time of day we also found a couple more endemics; Yellow- bellied Whistler and an obliging Philippine Leaf Warbler pair. Hanging around after dark both Everett’s and Giant Scops Owl were heard only, but a fantastic Philippine Frogmouth ended proceedings in style…
2014 [02 February] - David & Sarah Blair - Luzon, Bohol, Cebu and Palawan
…we had a very confiding Scale feathered Malkoha, a first for the site we were told. We then saw the Philippine Eagle Owl chick in the tree near the rock crevice where there is said to be a just hatched chick in a nest, we then saw the adults fly but views when they landed in the trees were a bit obscured. This also seems a good general site and in the trees to the left of the museum we had, Elegant Tit, Philippine Pygmy Woodpecker and a Black-naped Monarch. Back at hotel we finished with Great crested Tern and Pacific Swallow…
2014 [02 February] - Stijn De Win - Luzon, Bohol, Cebu and Mindanao
…Spotted Wood Kingfisher had been calling at dusk but the daylight was going fast and so we started the next day in the same spot for the same Kingfisher. It proved fruitful and everyone had good views of the Spotted Kingfisher within a couple minutes…
2014 [02 February] - Chris Chafer - Palawan, Bohol, Cebu & C Luzon
…Started walking just after dawn with some great birds including Spotted Wood Kingfisher, Red-bellied Pitta, Hooded Pitta, White-eared Brown-Dove, Bared Rail, Ashy Thrush, Striated Grassbird, Philippine Tailorbird, Golden-bellied Gerygone, Mangrove Blue Flycatcher and Lowland White-eye. Next was University of Philippines Dillman where we added Philippine Nightjar, White-browed Crake, Glossy Swiftlet, Pygmy Swiftlet, Philippine Woodpecker, Chestnut Munia and White-browed Crake. Late transfer to Mt. Makiling south of Manila where we stayed at TREES Hotel (basic but comfortable). Not a bad start to the trip…
2014 [03 March] - Rob Hutchinson
…A clean-up on the possible Palawan endemics included Falcated Ground Babbler, the rare Red-headed Flameback, Philippine Cockatoo and the ever-obliging Palawan Peacock Pheasant, the latter alone making the trip worthwhile – go soon while he is still around!…
2014 [07 July] - Oscar Campbell - Luzon, Bohol, Cebu & Palawan
...The nucleus of these comprised Mountain and, especially, Yellowish White-eyes, soon followed by Sulphur-billed Nuthatch and Blue-headed Fantail. The elevated viewpoint is handy for flowerpeckers with Bicolored and, especially, Buzzing rather frequent. Also quite easy are Citrine Canary-Flycatcher, Black-naped Monarch, Lemon-throated Leaf-Warbler, Elegant Tit and Balicassio whilst Pygmy Swiftlets are whizzing about everywhere...
2014 [07 July] - Birding2Asia - Lake Dano
...Intact forest at Lake Danao was visited on 3 occasions in 2011 and 4 times in 2012. Sightings other than stuff mentioned above include; Silvery Kingfisher, Philippine Duck, Philippine Woodpecker, Elegant Tit, Sulphur-billed Nuthatch, Buzzing Flowerpecker, Pygmy Flowerpecker, Visayan Pygmy Babbler, Philippine Leaf Warbler, Philippine Drongo Cuckoo, Purple Needletail, Philippine Needletail, Citrine Flycatcher, Rufous-tailed Jungle-Flycatcher, White-eared Brown Dove, Philippine Serpent Eagle, Samar Hornbill, Rufous-fronted Tailorbird, Black-faced Coucal, Red-bellied Pitta and Yellow-breasted Fruit-Dove....
2015 [01 January] - Ralf Jahraus - Luzon and Mindoro
This report is based on an 11 weeks trip to Thailand, Laos and the Philippines on which I was joined by my girlfriend Thai Kong. We travelled 4 weeks by public transport on Luzon and Mindoro and visited the following sites for bird watching: Subic Bay, Candaba Marsh, Banaue (Mt. Polis), Los Banos (Mt. Makiling) and Siburan Forest. It was not just a birding holiday, for we enjoyed some spectacular landscapes or a few days on the beach as well.
2015 [02 February] - Rob Hutchinson - Luzon, Mindanao & Palawan
...innumerable highlights, beginning on Luzon where a vagrant Baer’s Pochard was a treat before we headed to Mount Polis with the rare Flame-breasted Fruit Dove among the montane endemics and Luzon Scops Owl kicking off our night-birding. Heading to the lowlands we crammed in a visit for the highly nomadic Green-faced Parrotfinch before adding Spotted Wood Kingfisher and Green Racquet-tail at Subic Bay.
2015 [07 July] - Oscar Campbell
...This is also a good place to get to grips with Philippine Magpie-Robin, Lowland White-eye and Golden-bellied Gerygone (latter two both very scarce away from metro Manila), Philippine Pygmy Woodpecker etc. amongst others.
2015 [03 March] - Stijn De Win & Pete Simpson - Luzon, Bohol, Cebu, Palawan, Mindanao and Negros
...The Indigo-banded Kingfisher in the park did only show for the tour leader nah. Skittish individual. Good the birds at Makiling performed for both our groups, at the river in the botanical garden.
2016 [04 April] - Charles Davies - Sibaliw Research Station, Panay
Sibaliw Research Station is bang in the middle of the Northwest Panay Peninsula National Park, probably the largest lowland forest patch on Negros and Panay. It’s the place for Negros Bleeding-heart and some other difficult Western Visayan endemics.
2016 [03 March] - Pete Simpson - Subic Bay, Luzon
This short custom tour took in Subic Bay on Luzon, an excellent introduction to Philippine birding, then a standard tour around Mindanao incorporating Eden Resort, PICOP and Mount Kitanglad. Highlights included an excellent haul of Luzon endemics at Subic Bay among which the difficult White-lored Oriole, White-fronted Tit and the very range-restricted Green Racquet-tail. Within Metro Manila we added treats like Ashy Thrush, Philippine Scops Owl and Philippine Nightjar before heading south-east to the Island of Mindanao.
2016 [03 March] - Rob Hutchinson - Luzon, Mindanao & Palawan
The Philippines is one of the top destinations for any world-birder, with more than 250 endemics already recognised, a number which continues to grow as the complex island taxonomy is unravelled. Our standard scheduled tour packs well over half of these endemics into just three weeks, an exceptional tally which is difficult to match anywhere in the world.
2016 [03 March] - Dion Hobcroft
... The other essential bird here showed well, the now endemic and quite rare Philippine Swamphen. Other rails were in good form, with good views of Barred Rail, White-browed Crake, and even a Eurasian Coot, a scarce winter visitor. Plenty of herons were in evidence too, nine species in fact, including performances from Black, Yellow, and Cinnamon bitterns...
2016 [06 June] - Ross & Melissa Gallardy - Palawan, Cebu, Negros, Bohol, and Mindanao
...Most people suggest at least 4-4 ½ days for Palawan to see all the endemics (except Palawan Stripped Babbler), although most spend a few days extra as well. We had an extremely condensed itinerary that should have allowed us to get everything (all endemics plus the Honda Bay specialties), but Palawan Hornbill thought otherwise...
2016 [05 May] - Subhojit Chakladar - Bohol
... The first birds encountered there was a small mixed flock – with the Philippine Leaf Warblers being the easiest to see. There were also a couple of Brown Tit Babblers, Plain-throated Sunbirds, Rufous-fronted Tailorbirds...
2016 [05 May] - Forrest Rowland - Endemics & Visayan Islands
...We started at a patch of mangroves near the airport where our first birds included our first Philippine Pied Fantails and the aurora subspecies of Olive-backed Sunbird. In the scrub we saw: our first Ashy-fronted Bulbuls, Collared Kingfisher, Rufous-tailed Tailorbird, and Pied Trillers...
2016 [05 May] - Rob Hutchinson - Palawan, Negros, Cebu, Bohol, Luzon
The Philippines has an amazing selection of island endemics, and although we find at least 160 on our regular three week tours, the remaining 90 or so currently recognised endemics take much work to locate. After four previous visits this was a very targeted custom tour chasing some of the toughest ones....
2016 [12 December] - Pete Simpson - Mindanao
...Among the targets found were Giant Scops Owl and Chocolate Boobook during night forays, while diurnal birding found Whiskered Flowerpecker, Lina’s and T’boli Sunbirds, Mindanao Miniature Babbler, Cryptic Flycatcher, plus some easier gaps filled like Steere’s Honey Buzzard and Philippine Swiftlet. These were of course just the highlights and there were many other highlights among the total of 89 endemics seen including both Short-crested and Celestial Monarch....
2016 [11 November] - Petri Hottola - La Mesa Ecopark, Manila
...The spot has open, exposed mud along the stream and semi-open undergrowth. Unfortunately, at the time of my visit, somebody had also made a camp right next to it, with a fire, and was cutting firewood there. His chickens (many) had also occupied the habitat which has been favored by the thrushes, Slaty-legged Crakes and Red-bellied and Hooded Pittas...
2017 [02 February] - Dani Lopez-Velasco
...The once almost impossible Philippine Eagle-Owl showed brilliantly near Manila, odd looking Philippine and Palawan Frogmouths gave the best possible views, impressive Rufous and Writhed Hornbills (amongst 8 species of endemic hornbills) delighted us, and both Scale-feathered and Rough-crested (Red-c) Malkohas proved easy to see. A pair of Ashy Thrushes gave amazing views, and Celestial Monarch, getting very rare these days, was seen nicely as well....
2017 [02 February] - Rob Hutchinson - Luzon, Mindanao & Palawan
...From here we headed up for two wet days on Mount Polis where, despite the weather, we had some excellent birding. The skulking Benguet, Luzon (Long-tailed) and Philippine Bush Warblers all performed and other important endemics like Chestnut-faced Babbler, Green-backed Whistler, Luzon Blueheaded Fantail, Luzon Metallic-winged Sunbird, Yellowish White-eye, Flame-crowned Flowerpecker, Mountain Shrike and Luzon Water Redstart all obliged...
2017 [03 March] - Charley Hesse
... In the late afternoon we did some birding along the road which was very productive, and we saw 3 enormous Great Slaty Woodpeckers vocalizing in a tree, plus Blueheaded Racquet-tail, Blue-naped Parrot, Ashy Drongo, Common Hill Myna, Purple-throated Sunbird, plus the Palawan endemic Palawan Tit, Ashy-fronted & Gray-throated Bulbuls....
2017 [02 February] - Bruce Wedderburn - Luzon, Palawan, Cebu, Negros, Siquijor, Bohol & Mindanao
...Even though it was getting warm in the late morning, this area produced some excellent birds including Grey-headed Fish Eagle, Coleto, Green Racket-tail (only bird seen on the trip and a key target for the Subic Bay area), Balicassiao, Philippine Fairy-bluebird, Rough-crested Malkoha, Whiskered Treeswift, Oriental Dollarbird and many Philippine Bulbul....
2017 [03 March] - Rob Gordijn & Helen Rijkes - Luzon & Palawan
...Activity was very slow during the day and we found no birds here that we did not see elsewhere (Ashy-headed babbler, Palawan Flowerpecker and HO Palawan Hornbill). The owling session gave us a close-by calling Palawan Frogmouth, HO Spotted Wood-owl and a fly-by sighting of Palawan Scops-owl....
Places to Stay
Sangat Island Reserve
Sangat Island Reserve is a wonderful spot close to nature where the rooms blend in with the surrounding flora and fauna and it is just a step away from a myriad of diving opportunities like no other. Get back to nature, forget the material world most of us live in and escape the pressures you left behind.
…the official website of the Wild Bird Club of the Philippines. Our group of enthusiastic amateurs welcome you to enjoy the wonderful avifauna of the Philippines. Checkout our trip reports, and ever-growing list and gallery of resident and migratory birds. email email@example.com
The Haribon Foundation
9A Malingap Cot, Malumanay Streets, Teachers Village, 1101 Diliman, Quezon City. +63 2 4362756 firstname.lastname@example.org
About Haribon Foundation Our Vision: Haribon's vision is sustainable development for the Philippines. This means creatively ensuring that the needs for the present are met without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. (From the World Commission on Environment & Development) Addressing poverty, Haribon envisions the need for management of natural resources to be community-based, socially equitable and scientifically sound. Haribon's vision is life-cantered, nature-promoting and pro-Filipino.
We’ve long held a fascination for the Philippine Eagle, the national symbol of the Philippines and the biggest eagle in the world (tied with with the Harpy Eagle of South America). Our trip to Mt. Kitanglad on Mindanao to see wild nesting eagles and other endemic birds sealed the deal! The Philippine Eagle is the coolest most spectacular bird in the world, in our judgement…
A complex of freshwater ponds, swamps and marshes with surrounding areas of seasonally flooded grassland, arable land and palm savanna on a vast alluvial flood plain. The entire area is usually flooded in the wet season, but most of it dries out during the dry season (late November to April) and is converted into rice fields and plantations of water melons. The main area for waterfowl is an impoundment of about 300 ha, with a mixture of open shallow water, small islands, and rafts of floating vegetation, adjacent to the Pampanga River about nine km north of Baliuag. The impoundment is used as a fish pond during the rainy season, and then drained in January or February to be used for agriculture. Candaba Swamp acts as a natural flood retention basin holding wet season overflow from the Maasim, San Miguel, Garlang, Bulu and Penaranda Rivers, and draining into the Pampanga River. The natural retention capacity is estimated at approximately 1.5 billion cubic metres. The average depth of water is l-2m, and the maximum about 5m.
Palawan Biosphere Reserve
Palawan Biosphere Reserve is an island slash of mountain and tropical rain forest filled with rare and interesting birds and four-footed wildlife, bordered by white sand beaches, ringed by coral reefs some 120 miles (190 km) west of the main Philippines group between the Sulu and China Seas. Isolation has helped maintain its largely pristine state, though with discovery of valuable woods and mineral deposits of chrome, copper, manganese, nickel, as well as oil and gas, it is uncertain how long this will last…
Quezon National Park
Find yourself in a virgin forest teeming with numerous forms of wildlife like monkeys, deer, wild pigs, and monitor lizards. Feast your eyes upon the fascinating varieties of flora and be enthralled by the sound of birds like parrots, tarictic, calao, doves, pigeons and jungle fowls. Add to these a refreshing, soothing climate and you have a good description of the wonders offered by Quezon National Park…
The Philippines presently has 6 sites designated as Wetlands of International Importance, with a surface area of 68,404 hectares.
Forums & Mailing Lists
Philippine Bird Photography Forums
Philippine Bird Photography Forums
Mark Jason Has Gone Birding
Mark Jason Villa is a member of the Wild Bird Club of the Philippines where he is part of the records committee. Mark has done volunteer/research work on Humpback Whales (WWF), Montagu's Harrier (AMUS), Calayan Rail (ISLA), and Birds and butterflies in Terranganu, Malaysia and is looking to do more. He currently does some bird guiding…
Go Out and Bird
(Boredom kills) Go Out and Bird. I'm Anthony Sayson and I hate doing nothing (unless I'm asleep). So, during my idle moments I GO OUT AND BIRD. BIRDING is far more than what you think…
Birder from the Philippines writes about her adventures and misadventures in the field…
Birds of Pandi, Makati
I am a young amateur birder who lives in Makati City, Philippines, hence the name of my blog. I created this blog to raise awareness in the environment and for me to share to you my birding adventures and my knowledge. This blog is about me, my moments and my life…
Two Birders To Go
Reflections of a bad Bird Photographer… Birder, photographer and occasional cynic.
The Wandering Pixel
The outdoors, It is where I find peace and solitude. I call it my playground. As a kid who grew up in a logging town, I was exposed at a very early age to the wonders of nature. I've seen ginormous trees, butterflies, lizards, big and small mammals, mountains, different shapes and sizes of insects, the sea, waterfalls, snakes, rivers, birds and what-have-you even before I learned about them in the four corners of a classroom…/
The Philippine [Monkey-Eating] Eagle
The day I finally saw a Philippine Eagle - coming to a nest on Mt. Katanglad on Mindanao - was among the happiest and saddest days of my life. Happy, because I had finally experienced such a magnificent bird in the wild, but sad, because one could hear chainsaws cutting at the edge of its forested home from dawn to dusk every day we were there.
Tonji and Sylvia's Bird List
This is our online life list, in photographs and videos, of wild birds found in the Philippines. There are about 615 species of birds in the Philippines, and of these 181 are endemic, or found only in the Philippines…