above: fog drifts through the forested hills of St Pauls Subterranean Park, Palawan,
while rice paddies dominate the lowlands; below that is a Chocolate Hawk-Owl
at night in lowland Mindanao (PICOP forest). Photos © D. Roberson
This is an annotated list of our Dec 2005—Jan 2006 birding trip to the Philippines, prepared by Don Roberson. The trip was led by Tim Fisher (TF); other participants were Blake Matheson (BTM), Jon & Anne King (JK, AK), and Volker Schmidt (VS). References to "others" or to specific observers (by acronyms) report species I did not personally observe. I had visited the Philippines on a Kingbird tour in 1990, and sometimes I compare or contrast my observations from that trip.
In the annotated list, there are four columns:
  • English and scientific name; if the bird was a lifer for me this trip, there is as asterisk * [if it would have been a lifer for me but I missed it, the asterisk is in parentheses]
  • "E" for a Philippine Endemic, and "NE" is a Near-Endemic, followed by (if applicable) the Birdlife International categorization of threatened and endangered species, to wit:
    • CR = CRitically Endangered
    • EN = Endangered
    • VU = Vulnerable [=threatened]
    • NT = Near-threatened
  • The year of the trip. Although the month-long trip spilled over into 5 days of January 2006, for ease of reference it is referred to as the "2005 trip." 
  • Comments about status, distribution, and (sometimes) taxonomy; sometimes I also quote from my field notes about identification
"Near-endemics" are those species that barely occur outside the Philippines, usually just barely reaching Lan Yu I., off Taiwan [e.g., Philippine Cuckoo-Dove, Black-chinned Fruit-Dove], or occurring on small islets north of Borneo [e.g., Mantanani Scops-Owl, White-vented Whistler, Coleto], or barely extending to Talaud Is. in Indonesia [e.g., Rufous Paradise-Flycatcher, Chocolate Hawk-Owl]. All all birders who visits the Philippines include these among their list of "endemics" (and so did we) although technically they are "near-endemics."
 Scanning for marsh birds at Bislig airport
   near dusk on 26 Dec 2005 © Anne King
Wandering Whistling-Duck Dendrocygna arcuata 2005 30 each at Lake Lubao (Mindoro) and Bislig airport marsh (Mindanao)
Philippine Duck Anas luzonica E/VU 2005 A pair at Lake Lubao (Mindoro); a couple pair in Bislig airport marsh (Mindanao); and then huge numbers (~1200) at Candaba marsh (Luzon)
Garganey Anas querzuedula 2005 Others had 800 or so at Candaba marsh (Luzon)
Northern Pintail Anas acuta 2005 Others had 100 or so at Candaba marsh (Luzon)
Common (Green-winged) Teal Anas crecca 2005 A few by others at Candaba marsh (Luzon)
Northern Shoveler Anas clypeata 2005 Others had 100 or so at Candaba marsh (Luzon)
Eurasian Wigeon Anas penelope 2005 About 15 by others at Candaba marsh (Luzon)
Common Pochard Aythya ferina 2005 Others had a male at Candaba marsh (Luzon) where it is rare
Tufted Duck Aythya fuligula 2005 Some 88 were counted by others at Candaba marsh (Luzon)
Tabon Scrubfowl Megapodius cumingii 2005 Two seen (more heard) at "Central Park Station" in St. Pauls Subterranean Park (Palawan). Tapes were needed to obtain views.
Blue-breasted Quail Coturnix chinensis 2005 A pair was flushed from grassland at Sablayan (Mindoro)
Palawan Peacock-Pheasant Polyplectron napoleonis (=emphanum)* E/VU 2005 The long-present acclimatized male was still at the subterranean river picnic area in St. Pauls Park (Palawan). We had lengthy views as it strutted and then displayed to a newly arrived female there (we were told there were actually two females present recently). A truly an incredible experience with this otherwise very shy and threatened species.
Little Grebe Tachybaptus ruficollis 2005 Others had ~5 at Candaba marsh (Luzon)
Gray Heron Ardea cinerea 2005 Many (est 180) at Candaba marsh (Luzon)
Great-billed Heron Ardea sumatrana 2005 Others saw one in flight at La Rasa Island (off Palawan) where it flushed the roosting cockatoos
Purple Heron Ardea purpurea 2005 Singles on a couple days on Mindoro and fair numbers (25) at Candaba marsh (Luzon)
Great Egret Ardea alba 2005 A few daily in fields and marshes on Palawan
Intermediate Egret Egretta intermedia 2005 Up to 15/day while enroute on Mindoro; a few daily on Palawan; others had one on Mindanao; and 100 or so at Candaba marsh (Luzon)
Chinese Egret Egretta eulophotes NT 2005 Three were feeding at the tide-line in coastal mangroves near Puerto Princesa (Palawan) in direct comparison to many 
Little Egret Egretta garzetta 2005 Rather common on Palawan and Mindoro but only a few elsewhere (e.g. Candaba marsh on Luzon)
Eastern Reef-Egret Egretta sacra 2005 Four dark-morph individuals along the rocky shore at St. Pauls Subterranean Park (Palawan)
Chinese Pond Heron Ardeola bacchus 2005 JK had a couple at Candaba marsh (Luzon)
Striated Heron Butorides striatus 2005 A couple seen during the drive to Sablayan (Mindoro) and another flushed along the Balsahan trail (Palawan) by others
Black-crowned Night-Heron Nycticorax nycticorax 2005 Others had a large roost (50) at Candaba marsh (Luzon)
Cattle Egret Bubulcus ibis 2005 Widespread and common throughout lowlands everywhere
Yellow Bittern Ixobrychus sinensis 2005 Three in rice paddies enroute to Sablayan (Mindoro) and a dozen or so at Candaba marsh (Luzon)
Cinnamon Bittern Ixobrychus cinnamomeus 2005 Two in rice paddies on Mindoro; others had a few more on Palawan and Luzon (Candaba marsh)

Yellow Bittern
7 Dec 2005 Mindoro © D. Roberson

Cinnamon Bittern
7 Dec 2005 Mindoro © D. Roberson
Osprey Pandion haliaetus 2005 Singles at Lake Lubao (Mindoro )and at Puerto Princesa (Palawan)
Barred Honey-buzzard Pernis celebensis 2005 One or two most days at PICOP (Mindanao)
Oriental Honey-buzzard Pernis ptilorhynchus 2005 One soaring over Mt. Kitanglad (Mindanao) most days and a couple over the Sierra Madre foothills on the hike down from Hamut (Luzon); others had another on Palawan
Brahminy Kite Haliastur indus 2005 Scattered individuals in the lowlands of Mindoro & Negros & Bohol & Mindanao
White-bellied Sea-Eagle Haliaeetus leucogaster 2005 Pair over Lake Lubao (Mindoro)
Crested Serpent-Eagle Spilornis cheela 2005 A pair along the Balsahan trail (Palawan)
Philippine Serpent-Eagle Spilornis holospilus E 2005 A few almost daily in forested country on most islands (except Palawan where previous species replaces it)
Eastern Marsh-Harrier Circus spilonotus 2005 A couple over Candaba marsh (Luzon)
Crested Goshawk Accipiter trivirgatus 2005 Single birds in forests on Palawan and at PICOP (Mindanao)
Japanese Sparrowhawk Accipiter gularis 2005 Two (an adult female and an imm.) on Mt. Makiling (Luzon); an Accipiter sp.? on Mt. Polis (Luzon) was either this species or Chinese Goshawk A. soloensis
Besra Accipiter virgatus 2005 A conspicuous pair hung around the camping area at Rajah Sikatuna Park (Bohol)

19 Dec 2005 at Rajah Sikatuna Park, Bohol © Blake Matheson

Crested Goshawk
16 Dec 2005 on 'ZigZag Rd,' Palawan © Blake Matheson
Great Philippine Eagle Pithecophaga jeffereyi E/CE 2005 This great bird was seen only twice on Mt. Kitanglad (Mindanao): an adult swept down the canyon past the upper lookout spot just after we had left the viewpoint. Carlito, our local guide who had remained behind, shouted but only BTM & VS were close enough to rush back in time for an exhilarating but brief encounter; the rest of us reached the viewpoint moments too late. The next day was spent in vigil at the middle viewpoint and the eagle briefly appeared perched on a snag. Only JK & TF got brief views before it glided off and out-of-site. AK & DR missed the species entirely this trip [DR's photos of an adult and nest are in an earlier report from 1990; also on Mt. Kitanglad].
Rufous-bellied Eagle Hieraaetus kienerii 2005 A couple adults and an imm. were watched soaring over the foothill forest on the hike enroute to Hamut (Luzon)
Changeable Hawk-Eagle Spizaetus cirrhatus 2005 One young bird was briefly perched at a Palawan viewpoint east of Sabang; it was scoped by DR only
Philippine Hawk-Eagle Spizaetus philippensis E/VU 2005 Single imms in flight on Mt. Makiling (Luzon) and at PICOP (Mindanao); TF had another calling on Bohol
Philippine Falconet Microhierax erythrogenys E 2005 Locally conspicuous: up to 8 perched together on Mt. Makiling (Luzon); 3-4 each day at PICOP (Mindanao); and singles at Sablayan (Mindoro) and Hamut (Luzon)
Peregrine Falcon Falco peregrinus 2005 VS & TF had singles on Mt. Kitanglad on different days
Spotted Buttonquail Turnix ocellata * E 2005 We scoped well down the muddy farm track near Mt. Makiling (Luzon) on two afternoons and saw 2-4 birds each time (but only the observers on the scopes at each instance got good views)
Barred Buttonquail Turnix suscitator 2005 About 3 were seen on the muddy farm track near Mt. Makiling (Luzon) while scoping for the previous species; JK saw two more at roadside from the bus enroute to Tabunan (Cebu)
Slaty-legged Crake Rallina eurizonoides 2005 BTM had one cross the track on the hike back from Hamut (Luzon); habitat was grassland scrub at this point
Barred Rail Gallirallus torquatus 2005 A few scattered here and there: 2 running across the grass at the American Cemetery (Manila; DR & Jon Hornbuckle only); up to 9 at the runway edge on Negros in pouring rainstorm; a couple in Candaba marsh (Luzon); and heard at Mt. Makiling (Luzon; TF)
Plain Bush-hen Amaurornis olivaceus E 2005 Two crossing the muddy buttonquail track near Mt. Makiling (Luzon) were the only ones seen nicely; others heard at Mt. Kitanglad (Mindanao)
White-breasted Waterhen Amaurornis phoenicurus 2005 A few seen at Candaba marsh (Luzon) and others had another at Bislig airport marsh (Mindanao); more heard on Mindoro and Palawan
White-browed Crake Porzana cinerea 2005 As many as 9 seen in Candaba marsh (Luzon); two more seen at Lake Lubao (Mindoro) while others had a couple on Palawan
Watercock Gallicrex cinerea 2005 We flushed a startled female in thick wet grass at Sablayan (Mindoro) for flight views
Purple Swamphen Porphyrio porphyrio 2005 We all watched one at close range in the Bislig airport marsh (Mindanao); others had ~20 more in Candaba marsh (Luzon). The Philippine population is distinctive (race pulverulentis) and may constitute a separate species. It is certainly much paler and grayer than Australasian or African populations
Common Moorhen Gallinula chloropus 2005 A half-dozen were on Lake Lubao (Mindoro) and more (15) were in Candaba marsh (Luzon)
Eurasian Coot Fulica atra 2005 Others had a couple in Candaba marsh (Luzon)

White-browed Crake
31 Dec 2005 in Candaba marsh, Luzon © D. Roberson

Purple Swamphen
26 Dec 2005 at Bislig marsh, Mindanao © B. Matheson
Pheasant-tailed Jaçana Hydrophasianus chirurgus 2005 Others had two in Candaba marsh (Luzon)
Greater Painted-snipe Rostratula benghalensis 2005 Singles were seen in rice paddies on Palawan (TF only) and in flight at Bislig marsh (Mindanao; BTM only)
Black-winged Stilt Himantopus himantopus 2005 Two were in rice paddies on Palawan; others counted 17 more in Candaba marsh (Luzon)
Pacific Golden Plover Pluvialis fulva 2005 Up to 40 were along the shore at Puerto Princesa (Palawan); others had 3 more in Candaba marsh (Luzon)
Black-bellied (Gray) Plover Pluvialis squatarola 2005 Up to 20 were along the shore at Puerto Princesa (Palawan); others had another inland at Candaba marsh (Luzon)
Little Ringed Plover Charadrius dubius 2005 One in rice paddies on Palawan was matched by another seen by some on Mindoro
Snowy (Kentish) Plover Charadrius alexandrius 2005 A half-dozen were along the shore at Puerto Princesa (Palawan); JK had many (130) in Candaba marsh (Luzon)
Malaysian Plover Charadrius peronii 2005 Two in basic plumage were on the sandy shore of St. Pauls Park (Palawan)
Lesser Sandplover Charadrius mongolus 2005 JK had a couple among Greater Sandplovers at Puerto Princesa (Palawan)
Greater Sandplover Charadrius leschenaultii 2005 Ten or more were on the shore at Puerto Princesa (Palawan)
Whimbrel Numenius phaeopus 2005 At least two on the shore at Puerto Princesa (Palawan)
Marsh Sandpiper Tringa stagnatilis 2005 Up to 14 were seen in rice paddies in central Palawan; another was at Candaba marsh (Luzon)
Common Greenshank Tringa nebularia 2005 Some 7 were in rice paddies on Palawan
Wood Sandpiper Tringa glareola 2005 This was the common wader of the rice paddies: estimated at 55 on Palawan and over 250 in Candaba marsh (Luzon)
Common Sandpiper Actitis hypoleucos 2005 A few daily on Palawan; a few more along the river at Sablayan (Mindoro) and in Candaba marsh (Luzon)
Gray-tailed Tattler Heterosceles brevipes 2005 Fair numbers on the beach at Puerto Princesa (Palawan)
Ruddy Turnstone Arenaria interpres 2005 Others had one on the beach at Puerto Princesa (Palawan)
Long-toed Stint Calidris subminuta 2005 A half-dozen were feeding in shallow rice paddies in central Palawan
dowitcher (Long-billed/Short-billed) Limnodromus sp? 2005 JK & VS had an American dowitcher fly past them in Candaba marsh (Luzon) but extensive efforts to relocate it failed. There are no documented Philippine records so this was a potential country first

Wood Sandpiper
15 Dec 2005 on Palawan © D. Roberson

Long-toed Stint
15 Dec 2005 in Palawan rice paddies © D. Roberson
Bukidnon Woodcock Scolopax bukidnonensis * E 2005 Every dawn and dusk — almost to the exact minute each time — a displaying male flew near our camp on Mt. Kitanglad (Mindanao). The bird was seen each time someone stood in the grassy pasture a few hundred yards above our camp. Each dawn and dusk the woodcock would fly in display 2-3 times giving its very eerie key-jangling call and that would be it. This species was only discovered in 1993 and just recently described to science; it was one of the trip's highlights
Common Snipe Gallinago gallinago 2005 DR saw two in flight at Candaba marsh (Luzon) when flushed by workers out in the wet rice paddies
Black-headed Gull Larus ridibundus 2005 Over a dozen were seen during the outrigger ride to La Rasa Island from Palawan; fair numbers (up to 15) were seen during ferry rides between Cebu and Bohol
Great Crested Tern Sterna bergii 2005 Several (up to 20) on ferry rides between Cebu and Bohol, another two enroute to La Rasa Island, and others scoped one from Puerto Princesa (Palawan)
Black-naped Tern Sterna sumatrana 2005 JK & AK & VS had a half-dozen on the ferry ride from Bohol to Cebu
Common Tern Sterna hirundo 2005 JK and others had some distant terns — likely this species — on the ferry ride from Bohol to Cebu
Bridled Tern Sterna anaethetus 2005 Hundreds of dark-backed terns were being pushed ahead of a storm front as we scope the eastern channel from near Puerto Princesa (Palawan). After prolonged study with scopes, but at a long distance, it was clear there were both Bridled & Sooty Terns among them, on the basis of differences in size, back color, and flight style. Most were much too far to place to a specific species so we did not determine even the proportions between these two terns
Sooty Tern Sterna furcatus 2005 Seen off Palawan; see preceding species
Whiskered Tern Chlidonias hybridus 2005 Common around Manila harbor; during ferry rides between Cebu and Bohol (up to 100/trip); and over Candaba marsh (Luzon)
White-winged Tern Chlidonias leucopterus 2005 DR had a single basic-plumaged bird fly past him at Candaba marsh (Luzon)
Rock Pigeon Columba livia 2005 This introduced non-native was common in big and mid-sized cities; one at the pass on Mt. Polis (Luzon) was a surprise and might have been a racing pigeon
Island Collared-Dove Streptopelia bitorquata 2005 Others recorded a few at Candaba marsh and the lower agricultural slopes of the Hamut hike (both Luzon)
Spotted Dove Streptopelia chinensis 2005 Widespread almost everywhere in open lowlands
Philippine Cuckoo-Dove Macropygia tenuirostris NE 2005 Widely recorded in wooded country in small numbers (Palawan & Negros & Mindanao & Luzon)
Emerald Dove Chalcophaps indica 2005 Four were flushed from the track up Mt. Canloan (Negros); scattered singles seen elsewhere (Palawan & Luzon & Mindanao)
Zebra Dove Geopelia striata 2005 Rather common in open country on Mindoro & Palawan; fewer elsewhere but others had birds on Cebu & Luzon

Amethyst Dove
19 Dec 2005 in Rajah Sikatuna Park, Bohol © D. Roberson

Yellow-breasted Fruit-Dove
26 Dec 2005 in PICOP forest, Mindanao © D. Roberson
Luzon Bleeding-heart Gallicolumba luzonica E/NT 2005 During the 4-day hike to and from Hamut on Mt. Dos Carneros a bleeding-heart was flushed from the edge of the trail at least 4 times (about once a day). On these 4 instances the bird was seen to be this species by some of the group; usually but not also the person in the lead (or the person by themselves). Views ranged from relatively good to relatively poor as each time the bleeding-heart flew up a short distance and then landed and ran. Never were we able to have everyone see the bird in these circumstances. In addition there were times when pigeons flushing from the ground were heard but not seen in dense habitat; these may also have been bleeding-hearts. They appear to be not uncommon here but very difficult to see
Mindoro Bleeding-heart Gallicolumba platenae * E/CR 2005 One of these critically endangered pigeons was snared the day before we arrived but was confiscated by the prison superintendent and given to us for release. We released it well inside the forest and well away from the trail in nice thick habitat. We expected the bird to fly or run quickly away when released but instead it flew up to a low perch and remained for 20 minutes. It preened; walked up and down the branch; and appeared to consider its options. During this time DR was able to obtain telephoto photos without a flash. Eventually it flew downhill and away. The next day and much farther up the hill a bleeding-heart was flushed by our guide who was in the lead on the trail. None of us saw it despite substantial effort. Given the distances involved this was a different bird.
White-eared Dove Phapitreron leucotis E 2005 A few seen in forest on most islands visited (except Palawan & Negros). Sites included Sablayan (Mindoro); Rajah Sikatuna Park (Bohol); Tabunan (Cebu); PICOP (Mindanao); Mt. Makiling & Hamut (Luzon). Many more heard than seen at these places
Amethyst Dove Phapitreron amethystina * E 2005 One or two seen both days at Rajah Sikatuna Park (Bohol) were probably the same birds coming to a fruiting tree. TF heard more at Kitanglad & Hamut
Pompadour Green-pigeon Treron pompadora 2005 Up to 40 coming to roost near dusk on Road 1-4 in PICOP (Mindanao) were the only ones seen. Pigeons in general were much scarcer this trip than any of us had anticipated
Thick-billed Green-pigeon Treron curvirostra 2005 Two scoped nicely at Sablayan (Mindoro) and one near Sabang (Palawan) were it
Yellow-breasted Fruit-Dove Ptilinopus occipitalis E 2005 Only one was seen: at a fruiting tree near dusk on Road 1-4 in PICOP (Mindanao). Others were heard on Mindoro & Mt. Kitanglad & during the Hamut hike
Flame-breasted Fruit-Dove Ptilinopus marchei (*) E/VU 2005 Almost a dozen large dark pigeons flushed individually ahead of our group on the ridge trail above Hamut (Luzon) but only one of us (JK) saw any well enough to tick. The species would have been a lifer for all of us
Cream-bellied Fruit-Dove Ptilinopus merrilli (*) E 2005 Heard daily above our camp at Hamut (Luzon) but only JK actually saw this bird (and it was in flight)
Black-chinned Fruit-Dove Ptilinopus leclancheri * NE 2005 A single subadult male was scoped at PICOP (Luzon); others were heard but not seen on Mindoro
Pink-bellied Imperial-Pigeon Ducula poliocephala E 2005 Heard daily on Mindoro and a few were calling at PICOP but only one was seen. This calling bird was spotted by JK in the canopy of a large tree and gave nice scope views
Green Imperial-Pigeon Ducula aenea 2005 The common large pigeon on Mindoro and Palawan with 60/day to 100/day, respectively. Only singles here and there were seen at PICOP (Mindanao)

Green Imperial-Pigeon
15 Dec 2005 on Balsahan trail, Palawan © B. Matheson

Blue-crowned Racquet-tail
8 Dec 2005 at Sablayan, Mindoro © D. Roberson (digiscoped)
Philippine Cockatoo Cacatua haematuropygia E/CR 2005 About 35 came to their roost near dusk but due to windy weather and choppy seas we were required to remain rather far offshore the north shore of La Raza Island so views were distant. At one point they all flushed briefly (because of a Great-billed Heron flying by) and perhaps the best views were then. The population of this lovely species has spiraled downward in the last  decade and this is now the only 'regular' spot to see them
Guaiabero Bolbopsittacus lunulatus E 2005 Heard most days in PICOP forest (Luzon), and also occasionally during the Hamut hike, but only seen briefly a couple of times
Mindanao Racquet-tail Prioniturus waterstradti * E 2005 Surprisingly common at upper elevations on Mt. Kitanglad with up to 60 seen on one day. Views were usually in flight but many flew right overhead. Collar (1997) and others now split the Mindanao montane racquet-tail from the montane bird on Luzon
Blue-headed Racquet-tail Prioniturus platenae (*) E/VU 2005 A family party of 4 was seen by most (except DR who only heard them) around the subterranean river picnic spot at St. Pauls (Palawan)
Blue-crowned Racquet-tail Prioniturus discurus E 2005 One or two seen daily at Sablayan (Mindoro) included one perched; an unexpected miss elsewhere on the trip
Blue-naped Parrot Tanygnathus lucionensis 2005 Small numbers daily at  Sablayan (Mindoro) and around St. Pauls Park (Palawan) with a few on the Balsahan trail (Palawan)
Philippine Hanging-Parrot (Colasisi) Loriculus philippensis E 2005 Small numbers daily at Sablayan (Mindoro) and on Mt. Kitanglad (Mindanao) plus another at Mt. Makiling (Luzon)
Philippine Hawk-Cuckoo Cuculus pectoralis E 2005 One seen in flight several times in response to tape on Mt. Kitanglad (Mindanao); others heard there. A comparatively recent split (see King 2002a)
Plaintive Cuckoo Cacomantis merulinus 2005 Heard only on this trip: at  PICOP (Mindanao). We did not put in much effort to see this or the next species as they are widespread elsewhere in southeast Asia and/or Australasia
Brush Cuckoo Cacomantis variolosus 2005 Heard daily in fair numbers on  Bohol & Cebu & Mt. Kitanglad (Mindanao) but not seen this trip; see preceding comment
Violet Cuckoo Chrysococcyx xanthorhynchus 2005 A couple of males seen at PICOP (Mindanao) — some of them singing — and another on the Hamut hike (Luzon)
Asian Drongo-Cuckoo Sumiculus lugubis 2005 One seen nicely as it  ate a caterpillar at St. Pauls Park (Palawan) and heard daily there
Philippine Drongo-Cuckoo Sumiculus velutinus E 2005 Heard daily on Mindoro and also heard most days on Bohol & Mindanao but only seen once: one perched high in a bare tree at PICOP. This species gives a variety of vocalizations — with 5 to 9 notes counted in the series given by various individuals — and we were not very impressed by this split from the preceding taxon
Chestnut-breasted Malkoha Phaenicophaeus curvirostris 2005 A few (2-4) seen each day at St. Pauls Subterranean Park (Palawan)
Red-crested Malkoha Phaenicphaeus superciliosus * E 2005 Several (3-5) each day in the forest at Mt. Makiling (Luzon). On our first afternoon they were right at our lodgings and BTM got great photos (see 'Daily Journal,' page 2)
Scale-feathered Malkoha Phaenicophaeus cumingi E 2005 Several (2-5) each day in the forest on Mt. Makiling (Luzon); also singles seen or heard on various dates on Mt. Polis and the Hamut hike (Luzon)
Rufous Coucal Centropus unirutous * E 2005 A noisy group of a half-dozen  were rather badly seen in glooming mists early in the morning on the 2nd day of the hike to Hamut. Alas they were only rarely heard thereafter so our initial marginal views were all we had
Black-faced Coucal Centropus melanops E 2005 The lowland coucal was seen  or heard daily on Bohol and in PICOP forest (Mindanao) but was generally secretive and rather difficult to see (although eventually we all had great views)

Asian Drongo-Cuckoo
9 Dec 2005 at St. Pauls Park, Palawan © D. Roberson

Black-faced Coucal
20 Dec 2005 at Rajah Sikatuna Park, Bohol © D. Roberson
Black-hooded Coucal Centropus steerii * E/CR 2005 Singles seen during our two full days in the forest at Sablayan (Mindoro) and at least 3-4 heard on one day. The all-dark Mindoro race of Philippine Coucal presents a field i.d. problem here but vocalizations are quite distinctive (lower & deeper in Black-hooded Coucal which were calling all morning). Of the birds seen my notes describe a "large, rangy, very long-tailed coucal with a long thin hooked bill. Body basically grayish-brown with black crown (contrast to rest of face) and  slaty-blackish tail" rather than the "glossy black plumage of the smaller more compact Mindoro race of Phil. Coucal." Birdlife International rates it was "critically endangered" but my impression was  that it was present in larger numbers than previously suggested. Birdlife International says that a maximum of 4/day is the recent high count. We had 3 (and maybe 4) calling within a rather small area of the Sablayan forest; a more widespread survey would have yielded a good many more that day. I suspect the vocalizations are seasonal and/or weather dependent (3-4 heard our first day just after rain stopped but none heard in same area our last day when weather different) and that the birds are so secretive that they are easily over-looked
Lesser Coucal Centropus bengalensis 2005 One seen (DR only) from the plane as it flushed in an marsh adjacent to the airport runway on  Negros; another heard in rank swampy marshes near the bottom of the Hamut hike (Luzon)
Greater Coucal Centropus sinensis 2005 Heard daily on Palawan and others saw it several times
Philippine Coucal Centropus viridis E 2005 Widespread and common; much more often heard than seen (but between the group dozens were seen between numerous locales). Recorded on every island visited except Palawan. The race of Mindoro (mindorensis) is all glossy-black without rufous wings; it was heard common and seen daily at Sablayan [see Black-hooded Coucal for i.d. notes]
Australasian Grass-Owl Tyto longimembris 2005 Singles in flight over marshes at Bislig airport (Mindanao) and Candaba (Luzon)

Australasian Grass-Owl
31 Dec 2005 over Candaba marsh, Luzon ·© D. Roberson
Spotted Wood-Owl Strix seloputo (*) 2005 One was heard at some distance near Sabang (Palawan)
Palawan Scops-Owl Otus fuliginosus E 2005 This great little owl was seen well near Lion Cave (not far from St. Pauls Park; Palawan). Our local guide Arnell had located the spot and the bird taped in readily. As with all owls taped in we left it 'winning the battle' with the invisible voice
Philippine Scops-Owl Otus megalotis E 2005 We heard 1-2 every night we  owled on Mt. Makiling (Luzon); at Rajah Sikatuna Park (Bohol); in PICOP forest (Mindanao); and on Mt. Polis and at Hamut (Luzon). Most were not  responsive to tapes but one on Bohol was glimpsed gliding over our heads and one PICOP bird was seen perched in the light for a short time. I felt that all birds were rather giving rather similar calls (easily recognized as this species) and thus am skeptic of any proposed split (as hinted at by Kennedy et al. 2000). Fisher says the biochemical work cited has not been published and probably won't be.
Luzon Scops-Owl Otus longicornis (*) E 2005 Four different owls were calling shortly after dusk in the remaining patch of forest at the pass on Mt. Polis (Luzon) and although one was quite close none responded positively to the tape despite efforts
Mantanani Scops-Owl Otus mantananensis * NE 2005 One was seen (and two  more heard) on La Rasa Island (just off Palawan). This is a small islet specialist that was first discovered on islets off Borneo but has proved to nearly be a Philippine endemic
Giant Scops-Owl Mimizuku gurneyi (*) E/VU 2005 One heard calling one night  and one pre-dawn morning near our camp on Mt. Kitanglad (Mindanao) but neither was very close. Rain on other nights eliminated any chance to  see it. Fisher says this species does not typically respond to tapes; our tape-playing proved to be pointless
Chocolate Hawk-Owl Ninox randi * NE 2005 A rather recent split from N.  scutulata (King 2002b) this taxon has a distinctive call. It was heard a couple places along Road 1-4 in PICOP (Mindanao) and one was seen (in response to tapes) at a distance there [see photo at top of page]
Brown Hawk-Owl Ninox scutulata 2005 One heard each night we owled on Palawan; none were close
Mindanao Hawk-Owl Ninox spilocephala * E 2005 A pair responded to tape by flying right past us (and seen in the spotlight in flight) in PICOP (Mindanao). This and the next 2 species are recent splits (e.g., Konig et al. 1999) and they all have distinctive vocalizations
Philippine Hawk-Owl Ninox philippensis E 2005 Heard daily on Bohol and each night at Hamut (Luzon) but seen nicely in response to tape in pre-dawn owling on Mt. Makiling (Luzon)
Mindoro Hawk-Owl Ninox mindorensis E 2005 Heard every night that it  didn't rain on Mindoro. The first night we ventured a short distance into the forest and had a very responsive bird [see BTM's photo on the opening page]. It was craning its neck to find the invisible intruder and presenting a 'wings half-opened' threat stance. We made sure it won that battle (by turning off the tape and leaving the victor on the field... )
Philippine Frogmouth Batrachostomus septimus E 2005 Heard every night we went owling on Bohol & Mindanao (both Kitanglad & PICOP) but we did not tape any in as Tim had spotted a day-roost of 3 huddled individuals at Rajah Sikatuna Park (Bohol) which permitted unlimited viewing opportunities
Javan Frogmouth Batrachostomus javensis 2005 Heard each night owling on Palawan; one near Sabang was taped in for close views & photos
Great Eared-Nightjar Eurostopodus macrotis 2005 Heard and often 1-2 seen at dusk in many locales: Mindoro & Bohol & Cebu & Mindanao (Mt.  Kitanglad) & near camp 1 on the Hamut hike (Luzon)
Large-tailed Nightjar Caprimulgus macrurus 2005 Heard nightly on Palawan; no real efforts made to see it as it has a wide world range (and most of us had seen dozens before)
Philippine Nightjar Caprimulgus manillensis E 2005 Heard nightly on Mindanao (both Kitanglad & PICOP) but seen best over the Bislig airport at dusk. It was then that DR & BTM could compare it to their recollections of the following observation
Jungle (Gray) Nightjar Caprimulgus indicus 2005 One repeatedly flushed from a hedgerow at the American Cemetery in Manila (Luzon). This is a rarity in the Philippines (Cleere 1998, Kennedy et al. 2000) but DR & BTM & Jon Hornbuckle all had multiple views (in flight) and DR & Hornbuckle tentatively identified it rather quickly from prior experiences. After seeing Philippine Nightjar, which TF says can occur at American Cemetery, DR wrote in his notes that the Philippine looked "smaller, browner, shorter-winged and broader-winged than the nightjar in American Cemetery which was largeish, quite dark, long-winged, quite gray, and had very little white in tail corners."

Philippine Swiftlet
1 Jan 2006 over Mt. Polis, Luzon © D. Roberson

Philippine Needletail
26 Dec 2005 above PICOP forest, Mindanao © D. Roberson
Whitehead's Swiftlet Collocalia whiteheadi * E 2005 At least 3 were identified after good views at or near the pass (1890m) on Mt. Polis (Luzon). The first two were flying up a canyon toward the pass in the early morning. They were large big-headed brownish-sooty swifts with a fast direct flight; both JK & DR immediately proposed they were likely Whitehead's on shape and size. They were disproportionately front-loaded; this shape was quite apparent and was very different than the common swiftlet here (Philippine Swiftlet seen throughout the day here) or any swifts seen elsewhere. Later in the day swiftlets were swirling over the pass from time to time (we were there several times) and at least twice one or more Whitehead's was among them; apparent on size and shape. My notes say that they were always "quite distinctive compared to the smaller, thinner, 'balanced' head-and-tail proportions and twinkling flight of the ever-present Philippine Swiftlets. At one point one cruised low over my head and I got views of a whitish area above the lores and a deeply forked tail. This species is known from Mt. Data (Luzon) but has been reported here before; we all felt good about the i.d. given the good views
Glossy Swiftlet Aerodramus esculenta 2005 Widespread & common in the lowlands of Mindoro; Palawan; Luzon; Cebu; and Mindanao (also up to Mt. Kitanglad) [others also recorded it on Negros]
Pygmy Swiftlet Aerodramus troglodytes E 2005 Small numbers daily at Mt. Makiling and on the Hamut hike (Luzon); on Bohol and at St. Pauls Park (Palawan); on Cebu; and at Mt. Kitanglad (Mindanao)
Philippine Swiftlet Aerodramus mearnsi E 2005 Fairly common (~20) at high elevations on Mt. Polis (Luzon) [In 1990 we also had some on Mt. Kitanglad but not on this trip]
Palawan Swiftlet Aerodramus palawanesis E 2005 Common throughout Palawan (80+/day). The split of this taxon has recently been supported by biochemical evidence (Price et al. 2004, Thomassen et al. 2005)
Island Swiftlet Aerodramus vanikorensis 2005 Widespread and common in lowlands (except Palawan where absent)
Germain's Swiftlet Aerodramus germani 2005 A recent split from Edible-nest Swiftlet [and supported biochemically; see Price et al. 2004] a couple of this taxon were seen over the river that becomes the "underground river" at St. Pauls Park (Palawan; DR only)
Philippine Needletail Mearnsia picina * E 2005 A few seen most days over PICOP forest (Mindanao); it has a very distinctive wing-shape that is not pictured well in the field guide
Brown-backed Needletail Hirundapus giganteus 2005 A small party (8) of these large swifts were seen over St. Pauls Park (Palawan) on one day
Purple Needletail Hirundapus celebensis 2005 Scattered individuals here and there: over Sablayan (Mindoro); above Mt. Canloan (flock of ~10; Negros); and several seen by others over PICOP forest (Mindanao)
Asian Palm-Swift Cypsiurus balasiensis 2005 Three around Mt. Makiling town were all that were seen on this trip; said to be a widespread species in proper habitat
House Swift Apus nipalensis 2005 TF had a single bird over Mt. Makiling
Whiskered Treeswift Hemiprocne comata 2005 Three were working the clearing below our camp on Mt. Kitanglad (Mindanao); then a half-dozen of these graceful birds were noted daily around Hamut camp and vicinity (Luzon)
Philippine Trogon Harpactes ardens E 2005 Four individuals were seen: single females both days on Bohol and another at PICOP; a male photo'd by DR at PICOP; and others were heard on Mt. Makiling and during the Hamut hike (both Luzon)
Common Kingfisher Alcedo atthis 2005 A few on Palawan (in mangroves & at the Sabang pier); one along the river at Sablayan (Mindoro); and at Candaba marsh (Luzon). All are assigned to the race bengalensis
Blue-eared Kingfisher Alcedo meninting 2005 Others glimpsed 1-2 along the river on the Balsahan trail (Palawan; race amadoni)
Indigo-banded Kingfisher Alcedo cyanopecta E 2005 A pair were along a rushing stream that runs through the campus at Mt. Makiling (Luzon; nominate race)
Silvery Kingfisher Alcedo argentata * E/VU 2005 A single bird watched perched and fishing in PICOP (Mindanao; nominate race) at a regular stake-out pond
Oriental Dwarf Kingfisher Ceyx erithacus 2005 VS had one fly-by along Balsahan trail (Palawan)
Stork-billed Kingfisher Pelargopsis capensis 2005 A single bird at the landing bay at St. Pauls Subterranean Park (Palawan; race gouldi) was the only one this trip

Silvery Kingfisher
26 Dec 2005 in PICOP forest, Mindanao © D. Roberson

Common Kingfisher
12 Dec 2005 at Sabang, Palawan © B. Matheson
White-throated Kingfisher Halcyon smyrnensis 2005 One or two daily in the Mindoro lowlands and in PICOP forest (Mindanao; race gularis). The latter were often in recently logged clear-cuts
Rufous-lored Kingfisher Todirhamphus winchelli * E/VU 2005 This secretive species was seen only at PICOP forest where two responsive individuals were scoped (one at dawn; one near dusk; race mindanensis). Also heard at Rajah Sikatuna Park (Bohol; race nigronum)
White-collared Kingfisher Todirhamphus chloris 2005 Widespread in southern lowlands -- often sitting on poles or lines over rice paddies on Mindoro; Palawan; Negros; Cebu; and Mindanao. Others in the American Cemetery (Luzon). All of the widespread e. Asia race collaris
Spotted Wood-Kingfisher Actenoides lindsayi * E 2005 A secretive species heard at dawn on Mt. Makiling and the Hamut hike (both Luzon; nominate race); TF taped a male in for nice views at the former site
Blue-capped Wood-Kingfisher Actenoides hombroni * E/VU 2005 Tracking down a pair in patchy moss-forest on Mt. Kitanglad was a highlight of the trip. Tim 'trolled' for them many spots before finally getting a response very early one morning. We tried to track them through the dense woods but viewing conditions were difficult. With the help of local guide Carlito, we all eventually got views. It took DR by far the longest to see them, but these efforts were rewarded with a photographic opportunity of the male!
Blue-tailed Bee-eater Merops philippinus 2005 A dozen or more daily at Sablayan (Mindoro) and a dozen at Candaba marsh (Luzon) were the only ones recorded (all nominate philippinus). Surprising, we had no Blue-throated Bee-eater M. viridison this trip
Dollarbird Eurystomus orientalis 2005 Singles daily on Mt. Makiling (Luzon) and one seen by others on Palawan were the only ones seen
Palawan Hornbill Anthracoceros marchei E/VU 2005 A small party was heard but not seen (despite desperate efforts) at St. Pauls Park (Palawan). This was a major miss for the trip ('heard only' birds were not counted as lifers by anyone). TF says they have been seriously declining over the past decade [DR had seen them daily on Palawan in 1990].
Rufous Hornbill Buceros hydrocorax E 2005 Small family groups were seen most days spent in PICOP forest (Mindanao; race mindanensis); also recorded daily (more often heard than seen) on the Hamut hike (Luzon; nominate hydrocorax). The races differ in bill details and color: all-red on Mindanao but with a yellowish-to-ivory tip on Luzon

Rufous Hornbill
27 Dec 2005 in PICOP forest, Mindanao © B. Matheson

Mindanao Tarictic Hornbill
27 Dec 2005 in PICOP forest, Mindanao © B. Matheson
Luzon Tarictic Hornbill Penelopides manillae E 2005 A small party on Mt. Makiling was seen; others on the Hamut hike were only heard (both Luzon). This and the next two species are recent splits; Kemp (1995, 2001) split Tarictic Hornbill into 5 species (one is on Sulawesi). Not everyone accepts this rearrangement (see Dickinson et al. 1991, Kennedy et al. 2000). Dickinson (2003) splits the Sulawesi bird but continues to lump the Philippine taxa. Our impression was that Luzon and Mindanao Tarictics were quite similar, but Mindoro Tarictic was distinctive
Mindanao Tarictic Hornbill Penelopides affinis E 2005 Threesomes were the usual grouping (pair + prior year's chick?): daily seen or heard at Rajah Sikatuna Park (Bohol) and again in PICOP forest (Mindanao)
Mindoro Tarictic Hornbill Penelopides mindorensis * E/EN 2005 A pair was seen at the edge of the forest most days at Sablayan (Mindoro). Of the recent split in 'Tarictic' hornbills this one makes the most sense as females look like males (all other taxa have substantial sexual dimorphism)
Writhed Hornbill Aceros leucocephalus E 2005 A party of male (2 male; 2 female) crossed our path in PICOP forest (Mindanao) for our only encounter
Coppersmith Barbet Megalaima haemacephala 2005 Widespread in lowlands but never common at Mt. Makiling (Luzon) & Mindoro (endemic race haemacephala; heard only on Mindoro); PICOP forest (Mindanao; endemic race mindanensis); and Tabunan (Cebu; distinctive red-headed endemic race cebuensis).
Philippine Pygmy Woodpecker Dendrocopos maculatus E 2005 A few (2-5) daily at Mt. Makiling and also a few during Hamut hike (both Luzon; race validirstris); also some on Mt. Kitanglad (Mindanao; race fulvifasciatus) and one at Tabunan (Cebu; nominate maculatrus)
White-bellied Woodpecker Dryocopus javensis 2005 Female seen one day and then a male the next in forest at Sablayan (Mindoro; endemic race mindorensis; heard daily at Rajah Sikatuna Park (Bohol; endemic race pectoralis) and most days in PICOP forest (endemic race multilunatus)
Common Flameback Dinopium javanense 2005 Up to 4 on one day in St. Pauls Park (Palawan; endemic race everetti)
Greater Flameback Chrysocolaptes lucidus 2005 This widespread Oriental woodpecker appears to be overlumped substantially. Birds we encountered in the Philippines differed greatly island-to-island: birds in PICOP forest (Mindanao; endemic race montanus had golden crowns and back while one seen nicely high on Mt. Polis (Luzon; endemic race haematribon had a crimson back and black crown with white spots). Also heard at Bohol (race punctatus there).
Sooty Woodpecker Mulleripicus funebris E 2005 Good views (esp. of the male) of a responsive pair above Hamut (Luzon; nominate funebris). Tim played the tape where he'd had them a half-year ago and voila!
Great Slaty Woodpecker Mulleripicus pulverulentus 2005 A party of 4 crossed out path in St. Pauls Park; two more of these huge woodpeckers were along 'ZigZag Road' (both Palawan; nominate race)

Great Slaty Woodpecker
16 Dec 2005 along 'ZigZag Road,' Palawan © D. Roberson

Wattled Broadbill
27 Dec 2005 PICOP forest, Mindanao © D. Roberson
Wattled (Mindanao) Broadbill Eurylaimus steerii * E/VU 2005 A pair was watched at close range well out Road 4 in PICOP (Mindanao; there was probably a 3rd bird we did not see well). DR found them as he trailed TF along the road while the rest of the group had lingered behind. The broadbills were suddenly "just there" and available for photos! [DR rated this as his most exciting moment of the trip]. Both the male and female perched quietly for periods of time in mid-canopy on vines and cross-limbs, peering this way and that. The male is washed pale purplish-pink below while the female is all-white underneath. Absolutely fabulous birds
Azure-breasted (Steere's) Pitta Pitta steerii * E/VU 2005 We got fine views of one calling bird at Rajah Sikatuna Park (Bohol) in response to tape. Somewhat surprisingly it was perched well off the ground (30') in a thickly-limbed tree. The azure breast color was stunning. A few others were heard here daily. We also heard 3-5 daily in forest in PICOP (Mindanao) but did not take the time or effort to track them down
Whiskered Pitta Pitta kochi * E/VU 2005 Most of us (TF, BTM, JK, DR, VS) got decent views of the most elusive birds in the world after significant effort. We heard 2-5 daily when in forest on the Hamut (Luzon) hike but most were too distant or in too difficult terrain to try to see. Tim played the tape at several that did not respond. One bird on the ridge above Hamut itself did move in response to the tape but gave only single notes in reply (instead of the full 3-4 note song) and never came close. It was on our 3rd and final day inside the forest and just about as we were leaving the right elevational zone (at ~500m) that a final bird was heard well below the path. We picked a spot to try to tape it up toward us. Some scrambled to viewing perches along a steep gully while others stayed on the trail. The bird responded and was suddenly very close! During the next 20 minutes all but DR & AK got views. Then the pitta shut up until heard above the path in an impenetrable thicket. Recognizing it would never be seen at that spot Tim (and his tape) moved down the trail while DR & AK picked spots in between. The contest between the tape and the hidden bird continued for a bit until he shut up. AK gave up and tried another viewing post but DR hung tight. Suddenly what looked to him like a "big dark murre with bright red belly" suddenly plummeted to earth right above DR and disappeared— it had flown half-way toward the tape. DR was very impressed with the SIZE of this pitta — 50% larger and twice the heft of Red-bellied Pitta. The bird next called below the trail again; down at the spot it had originally been seen. DR got a view of its bill and forehead through tangled branches. It bobbed its head vigorously with each note of its eerie dove-like call. And then it was gone, leaving most of us breathless . . .
Red-bellied Pitta Pitta erythrogaster 2005 A few heard every day in the forest at PICOP (Mindanao). During our first day we spent almost two hours working for everyone to get views; these efforts produced good views for all.
Hooded Pitta Pitta sordida 2005 Several heard at St. Pauls Park and along the Balsahan trail (Palawan) and finally seen at the latter site in response to tape. Once we had found the calling bird, it sat still (with occasional calls) for long periods. This permitted scope views and even some photography!

Hooded Pitta
15 Dec 2005 Balsahan trail, Palawan © D. Roberson
Australasian Bushlark Mirafra javanica 2005 Rather common in grazed grasslands with scattered bushes in the low foothills of the Hamut hike (Luzon; race philippinensis)
Plain Martin Riparia paludicola 2005 One among other swallows in open country on Mindoro (endemic race tantilla)
Barn Swallow Hirundo rustica 2005 Very common throughout the lowlands everywhere. We presume most were migrants from northern populations but there are two endemic races as well
Pacific Swallow Hirundo tahitica 2005 A few scattered throughout lowlands and especially along the coast: recorded Mindoro & Palawan & Cebu & Mindanao & Luzon (and others had on Bohol). Race javanica is the resident Philippine subspecies
Striated Swallow Hirundo striolata 2005 Fair numbers (15-20/day) over Mt. Makiling and the lower foothills of the Hamut hike (both Luzon); also a couple daily at Sablayan (Mindoro). The local race is nominate striolata;this species is a recent split from Red-rumped Swallow H. daurica and neither TF nor JK nor VS thought much of the split
Elegant Tit Pardaliparus elegans E 2005 Mostly a bird of mixed species flocks: found daily on Mt. Makiling (Luzon; nominate elegans) and on the Hamut hike (Luzon; race montigenus); on Mt. Canloan (Negros; race albescens); on Mt. Kitanglad (Mindanao; race mindanensis); and other saw it at Tabunan (Cebu; race visayanus). Clearly there is widespread variation in this taxa;some may even be potential splits
Palawan Tit Pardaliparus amabilis * E 2005 Groups of 3 each in St. Pauls Park and along Balsahan trail were pleasing finds
Sulphur-billed Nuthatch Sitta oenaochlamys E 2005 Another regular component of montane mixed-species flocks (ranging 2-10/day): on Mt. Makiling andin the forest around Hamut (both Luzon; race isarog); and on Mt. Kitanglad (Mindanao; race apo). A Philippine endemic split from Velvet-fronted Nuthatch S. frontalis which occurs on Palawan (Harrap & Quinn 1996; but we missed Velvet-fronted on this trip)
Golden-bellied Flyeater Gerygone sulphurea 2005 This is a member of the Australasian family Acanthizidae and is thus unrelated to the many other warblers and flycatchers whose origins are Asiatic. This flyeater isa bird of mangroves and open country: DR & BTM & Jon Hornbuckle had a half-dozen at the American cemetery in Manila (Luzon)
Citrine Canary-Flycatcher Culicicapa helianthea 2005 This is a member of the newly-described family Stenostiridae that includes some enigmatic Asian and African 'flycatchers' (e.g., Beresford et al. 2005). It is not closely related to any other flycatcher in the Philippines. This species was found only in the montane forests on Mt. Polis and around Hamut (both Luzon; apparently race septentrionalis); it was locally common at the latter locale

Palawan TIt
15 Dec 2005
along Balsahan trail, Palawan 
© B. Matheson

Sulphur-bellied Bulbul &
Olive-backed Sunbird
feeding on a flowering palm
13 Dec 2005 at St. Pauls Park, Palawan © D. Roberson
Black-headed Bulbul Pycnonotus atriceps 2005 A few daily on Palawan (esp.Balsahan trail; others also had in St. Pauls Park)
Yellow-wattled Bulbul Pycnonotus urostictus E 2005 Patchily encountered at forest edge: Mt. Makiling (Luzon; race urostictus) and Hamut (Luzon; race ilokensis); PICOP forest (Mindanao; race philippensis; 8 on one day but none thereafter); and others had on Bohol (race atricaudatus)
Yellow-vented Bulbul Pycnonotus goiavier 2005 Very common and widespreadin open country and around human habitation (except does not occur on Palawan).Most were the nominate race but those on Bohol & Cebu are race samarensis
Olive-winged Bulbul Pycnonotus plumosus 2005 Daily in small numbers(2-6) at St. Pauls Park (Palawan; endemic race cinereifrons)
Grey-cheeked Bulbul Alophoixus bres 2005 A few daily in the forests on Palawan (endemic race frater)
Sulphur-bellied Bulbul Ixos palawanensis E 2005 A couple in St. Pauls Park (Palawan)
Philippine Bulbul Ixos philippinus E 2005 This is a widespread and common bulbul in forest or forest-edge (except Palawan). It is surprising difficult to see despite its numbers (often 25-30/day). Local populations are distinctive in plumage and (sometimes) in calls. Birds on Luzon (philippinus) and Cebu/Bohol/Mindanao (race saturatior) had rusty-washed throats withwhitish shaft streaks but those on Mindoro (mindorensis) lacked these featuresand were plain brownish-olive. It is possible two species are involved
Streak-breasted Bulbul Ixos siquijorensis (*) E/EN 2005 This species was recently rediscovered on Cebu. A few of us (JK, BTM) saw it in the forest at Tabunan (Cebu; race monticola). The best views were from the uppermost platform visited only by JK. The rest of us saw larger bulbuls in flight at a distance from the lower platform but did not see them well enough to tic
Yellowish Bulbul Ixos everetti E 2005 Common daily in PICOP forest (Mindanao; nominate race)

White-throated Kingfisher
27 Dec 2005 in PICOP forest, Mindanao © B. Matheson

Philippine Bulbul
18 Dec 2005 in Rajah Sikatuna Park, Bohol © D. Roberson
Zitting Cisticola Cisticola juncidis 2005 A couple in paddy fields on Palawan (race nigrostriata) and then seen common in Candaba marsh (Luzon: race tinnabulans)
Golden-headed Cisticola Cisticola exilisis 2005 A few daily in the fields adjacent to 'buttonquail' alley at Mt. Makiling; also some in grasslands at the start of the Hamut hike (both Luzon; race semirufa)
Luzon Bush-Warbler Cettia seebohmi E 2005 Common in thick understory at higher elevations on Mt. Polis (Luzon) but hard to see. We taped upthe first one but actually saw a fair number thereafter (and DR got good photos of a bird sunning in a tiny shaft of sunlight)
[Benguet Bush-Warbler Bradypterus seebohmi (*) E 2005 This must be the sneakiest bird in the world. We had two responding to tape at mid-elevations on Mt. Polis (Luzon) but despite an hour+ of effort did not see a single feather on either bird. It lives on grassy hillsides whichdo not seem to offer that much cover but birds moved substantial distances through the clumps of short grass (as indicated by the vocalizations) without moving a blade. I can only compare it to a shy mouse. We had set up Tim with the tape in a spot to coax one to cross a short open area but it justwould not do it.]
Long-tailed Ground-Warbler Bradypterus caudatus E 2005 This species has a very high-pitch call, up in the register zone of Golden-crowned Kiglet but a single pulse rather than sibilant. Once learned we found the species to be reasonably common at high elevations on Mt. Kitanglad (Mindanao) and Mt. Polis (Luzon). We delayed efforts to tape one up until Polis however (in retrospect a mistake). Efforts to see several on Mt. Polis got responses but never produced tickable views of any bird. [DR had seen a couple well on Kitanglad back in 1990; we probably should have worked for them there but rain and eagle-waiting shortened our birding time there considerably.]
Oriental Reed-Warbler Acrocephalus orientalis 2005 Common at Candaba marsh (Luzon) but secretive. Some were singing constantly from lines of planted eucalyptus in the marsh. Others birding more widely around the marsh flushed individual warblers that may have been Clamorous Reed-WarblerA. stentoreus and/or Middendorff's Warbler Locustella ochotensisbut views were poor and neither of these species was confirmed. [DR now wonders about his own claims of A. stentoreus here in 1990 wheni.d. criteria were much more poorly known.]
Mountain Tailorbird Orthotomus cuculatus 2005 Fairly common in mixed bird parties in scrub at higher elevation on Mt. Polis (Luzon; race philippinus). Birds here look similar to birds on Borneo but very different from the next species which is a recent split
Rufous-headed Tailorbird Orthotomus heterolaemus E 2005 Heard dailyon Mt. Kitanglad (Mindanao) and most of us saw one or more [DR had seen them in 1990 and did not work hard to see one this trip]
Philippine Tailorbird Orthotomus castaneiceps E 2005 A very aggressive pair responded vigorously to tape at forest edge during the Hamut hike (Luzon; race chloronotus) permitting excellent views. The species was thereafter heard commonly in the forest understory in the Hamut vicinity.
Rufous-fronted Tailorbird Orthotomus frontalis E 2005 Nicely seen in a mixed bird party at Rajah Sikatuna Park (Bohol); heard (and sometimes seen by others) in PICOP forest (Mindanao)
Grey-backed Tailorbird Orthotomus derbianus E 2005 This southern Luzon endemic is split from Philippine Tailorbird. TF is not much impressed with the split; in large part because the range of vocalizations of each are similar. In any event we finally saw a single Gray-backed on Mt. Makiling after working with numerous individuals that just refused to show themselves. Birds in this taxon have a remarkable ability to stay hidden in the tangles in the canopy even when responding aggressively to tape. Our eventual views were okay but not stunning (as they would be later with Philippine Tailorbird)
Rufous-tailed Tailorbird Orthotomus sericeus 2005 A few seen or heard daily on Palawan (nominate race)
Black-headed Tailorbird Orthotomus nigriceps E 2005 Scattered pairs were heard widely in the PICOP forests but were shy and hard to see. Tapes brought views of the first one. Later AK & DR got great views of a different pair working with a mixed species flock along Road 4; Anne enjoyed the experience enough to list it high among her 'top ten' birds of the trip
Yellow-breasted Tailorbird Orthotomus samarensis E 2005 A few pairs heard in Rajah Sikatuna Park (Bohol). Tim and his tape worked with one pair for views by our group (except DR who had seen them before and spent the time fruitlessly chasing a pitta in hopes of photos)
Arctic Warbler Phylloscopus borealis 2005 Widespread migrant often seen with mixed species flocks (but sometimes by itself): on Mindoro & Palawan & Cebu & northern Luzon.
Lemon-throated Warbler Phylloscopus cebuensis * E 2005 Rather common (and much more easily found when the cheerful 'chip-chee-u' call is learned) in forest around Hamut (n. Luzon; race luzonensis). Some also saw birds on Mt. Canloan (Negros; race cebuensis) and DR had one with a mixed flock on Mt. Makiling (s. Luzon; race sorsogonensis)
Mountain Leaf-Warbler Phylloscopus trivirgatus 2005 Common at high elevations on Mt. Kitanglad (Mindanao; race malindangensis) and Mt. Polis (Luzon; race benguetensis). The latter birds are extensively yellow below and not at all like those on Kitanglad; it seems very likely that two species are involved
Philippine Leaf-Warbler Phylloscopus olivaceus E 2005 Regular in small numbers in mixed species flocks on Bohol and in PICOP forest (Mindanao; also lower elevations of Mt. Kitanglad)
Tawny Grassbird Megalurus timoriensis 2005 Common in clumps of grass in open country throughout (except Palawan). These were race tweeddalei (there is a different race on Cebu/Bohol but none were actually seen there). There is a distinctive race on Mindoro (mindorensis) but we disagreed about the grassbirds were saw there (the majority of our group think they were the next species). Research continues
Striated Grassbird Megalurus palustris 2005 Widely distributed with birds seen in grasslands below Mt. Makiling and in Candaba marsh (Luzon); on the slopes of Mt. Kitanglad and in PICOP vicinity (Mindanao); and (perhaps) Mindoro (see preceding species for discussion). All were of the Philippine endemic race forbesi

Stripe-headed Rhabdornis
27 Dec 2005 in PICOP forest, Mindanao © B. Matheson

Tawny Grassbird
7 Dec 2005 near Siburan, Mindoro © B. Matheson
Ashy-headed Babbler Malacocincla cinereiceps E 2005 Several were seen (and more heard) along the Balsahan trail (Palawan). Several of us (e.g., AK& DR) had individual close encounters with others along the trail without the benefit of tape
Melodious Babbler Malacopteron palawanense E 2005 One was very nicely seen in response to tape along the Balsahan trail (Palawan); a few others heard in the vicinity
Streaked Ground Babbler Ptilcochla mindanensis * E 2005 A couple pairs were taped in for views at Rajah Sikatuna Park (Bohol); they most walked or ran from hiding spot to hiding spot but one perched briefly on a stairway banister. Others were heard in PICOP (Mindanao)
Falcated Ground-Babbler Ptilcochla falcata * E 2005 One seen in response to tape in St. Pauls Subterranean Park (Palawan). Quite a striking bird once one got the bins on it.]
[Rabor's Wren-babbler Napothera rabori (*) E 2005 Some of the group (TF, JK, AK, BTM) had a responsive calling male at "old camp 1" on the Hamut hike but it was at dusk and efforts to see it failed
Pygmy Babbler Stachyris plateni E 2005 Small parties (2-6/day) were encountered with mixed species flocks in PICOP forest (Mindanano). I got incredible scope views of one; what a difference it makes to see them 'up close'
Golden-crowned Babbler Stachyris dennistouni * E 2005 A half-dozen or so seen daily in mixed species flocks in the forest around Hamut (Luzon). This was a more attractive species than the field guide art had suggested
Black-crowned Babbler Stachyris nigrocapitata E 2005 Fair numbers (6-10/day) with mixed species flocks in Rajah Sikatuna Park (Bohol)
Rusty-crowned Babbler Stachyris capitalis * E 2005 A few (2-8/day ) in mixed species flocks in PICOP forest (Mindanao)
Flame-templed Tree-babbler Stachyris speciosa * E/EN 2005 A small party(~8) was with a mixed species flock at 950m on Mt. Canloan (Negros). This very engaging two-island endemic was the only species to appear on everyone's 'top ten' birds-of-the-trip picks
Chestnut-faced Babbler Stachyris whiteheadi E 2005 Rather common and often with mixed species flocks at high elevation on Mt. Polis (Luzon)
Luzon Striped-Babbler Stachyris striata * E 2005 Uncommon but seen dailyin mixed species flock in the forest around Hamut (Luzon). Seen less often and usually less well than Golden-crowned Babbler — the other specialty endemic babbler here
Striped Tit-Babbler Macronous gularis 2005 Fairly common (up to 10/day) in forests on Palawan (St. Pauls Park & Balsahan trail; race  woodi)
Brown Tit-Babbler Macronous striaticeps E 2005 Encountered in small numbers (3-4/day; usually in mixed species flocks) in forests on Bohol and on Mt. Kitanglad (Mindanao); others had more in PICOP forest (Mindanao)
Lowland White-eye Zosterops meyeni E 2005 A common species in open country on Luzon but we visited this habitat only twice: the American Cemetery in Manila and the campus below Mt. Makiling (nominate race)
Everett's White-eye Zosterops everetti E 2005 A fairly common species at Tabunon (Cebu) but only found patchily in Rajah Sikatuna Park (Bohol) and PICOP forest (Mindanao; race basilanicus)
Yellowish White-eye Zosterops nigrorum E 2005 Common in forest below1000m on Mt. Makiling (Luzon; race luzonicus) but not in more open habitats used by Lowland White-eye; and on Mt. Canloan (Negros; race nigrorum)
Mountain White-eye Zosterops montana 2005 Abundant (often 100+/day) on Mt. Kitanglad (Mindanao; race vulcani) and scattered flocks high onMt. Polis (Luzon; race whiteheadi)
Black-Masked-White-eye Lophozosterops goodfellowi E 2005 A few (1-8) most days on Mt. Kitanglad (Mindanao)
Cinnamon Ibon Hypocryptadius cinnamomeus E 2005 Regular (10-15/day) in mixed species flocks on Mt. Kitanglad (Mindanao). I have no doubt this is not a white-eye but belongs to some other group; I understand that biochemical research on this topic is underway
Asian Fairy-bluebird Irena puella 2005 A few seen or heard daily on Palawan (endemic race tweedalei)
Philippine Fairy-bluebird Irena cyanogaster E 2005 Generally seen in pairs: at Rajah Sikatuna Park (Bohol; race ellae) & PICOP forest (Mindanao; race hoogstraali) & during Hamut hike (Luzon; nominate race).

Brown Shrike
27 Dec 2005 in PICOP forest, Mindanao © B. Matheson

Cinnamon Ibon
23 Dec 2005 on Mt. Kitanglad, Mindanao © D. Roberson
Rufous-tailed Jungle-flycatcher Rhinomyias ruficauda 2005 Single individuals were perched quietly alone in dark forests at Rajah Sikatuna Park (Bohol; endemic race boholensis) and in PICOP forest (Mindanao; endemic race samarensis)
Grey-streaked Flycatcher Muscicapa griseisticta 2005 Widespread and conspicuous winterer (but only 1-5/day) in forests. Birds were often perched atop the highest dead tree or snag. Recorded Mt. Makiling & Hamut (Luzon) & Palawan & Bohol & Cebu & Mindanao.
Mugimaki Flycactcher Ficedula mugimaki * 2005 Single female-plumaged birds were seen low in forest among mixed species flocks at Rajah Sikatuan Park (Bohol; JK only) and Mt. Kitanglad (Mindanao; DR only)
Snowy-browed Flycatcher Ficedula hyperythra 2005 DR photographed a male at high elevation on Mt. Kitanglad (Mindanao; race montigena); JK had a female above Hamut (Luzon; race dulangana)
Little Slaty Flycatcher Ficedula basilanica * E/VU 2005 TF knew a stake-out spot well out Road 4A in PICOP (Mindanao; nominate race). We tried it one drizzly afternoon with no success. On our final day here we drove 2 hours early in the morning just to try again — and this time a very engaging male responded to the tape
Palawan Flycatcher Ficedula platenae E/VU 2005 One finally seen nicely in a steep gully on the windy road back to Puerto Princesa. We had tried the stake-out spot early in the morning without success but made a final last-minute effort in late morning before the dash to the airport. This time there was a response to the tape. The very shy bird circled us — perching only briefly in any spot and always very low in thickets — but we all eventually got good views. It is surprising how something so bright orange-and-white can be so difficult to see
[Furtive Flycatcher Ficedula disposita (*) E 2005 Two of our group (JK, VS) believed they heard one call in response to tape well up the Hamut hike (Luzon) but efforts here and elsewhere on the hike never succeededin getting any views]
Little Pied Flycatcher Ficedula westermanni 2005 Encountered in small numbers on Mt. Kitanglad (Mindanao; race westermanni) and Mt. Polis (Luzon; race rabori); others also had one on Mt. Canloan (Negros)
Mountain Verditer-Flycatcher Eumyias panayensis 2005 Fairly common (~8/day) on Mt. Kitanglad (Mindanao; endemic race nigriloris) and also a few around Hamut in the Sierra Madre (Luzon; endemic race nigrimentalis)
Blue-breasted Flycatcher Cyomis herioti (*) E 2005 Some of the group (BTM, JK, VS) had brief views of a female above Hamut (Luzon). It was in the vicinity of a mixed flock. TF says they don't join feeding flocks but the spot was near where a pair had been the previous May
Palawan Blue-Flycatcher Cyomis lemprieri E 2005 Most of the group got nice views with tape at St. Pauls Subterranean Park (Palawan) [DR had elected to take the boat ride into the cave; he had seen the species back in 1990]
Mangrove Blue-Flycatcher Cyornis rufigastra 2005 Male in the forest at Sablayan (Mindoro; endemic race mindorensis) and two more at Tabunan (Cebu; endemic race philippinensis)

Snowy-browed Flycatcher
23 Dec 2005 on Mt. Kitanglad, Mindanao © D. Roberson

Little Pied Flycatcher
1 Jan 2006 on Mt. Polis, Luzon © D. Roberson
Oriental Magpie-Robin Copsychus saularis 2005 Five in the forest at Tabunan (Cebu; race mindanensis)
White-browed Shama Copsychus luzoniensis E 2005 Individuals of two distinctive populations were seen and heard. Birds were white wingbars and rufous rumps were on Luzon (seen at Mt. Makiling; heard widely around Hamut — these are of the nominate race). The shama lacking these features (race superciliaris) was nicely seen on Mt. Canloan (Negros). Many believe that two species are involved: White-browned & Visayan Shama
White-vented Shama Copsychus niger E 2005 This Palawan endemic was seen daily at St. Pauls Subterranean Park and heard on Balsahan trail
Black Shama Copyschus cebuensis E/EN 2005 Endemic to Cebu, a couple responsive males were seen at Tabunan
Luzon Water-Redstart Rhyacomis bicolor E/VU 2005 A pair were scoped along the river at Bay-Yo on the north side of Mt. Polis (Luzon). The distance from the viewing spot to the birds was substantial and not satisfying; VS undertook an hour's hike to get closer but without success (while the rest of us were frustrated by Benguet's Brush-Warbler). [DR had had a much more satisfying experience in 1990 when a pair was along a rushing stream farther up Mt. Polis and was close enough for photos]
Pied Bushchat Saxicola caprata 2005 Rather common in open country on Luzon: Candaba marsh and grasslands during Hamut hike (endemic nominate race)
Blue Rock-thrush Monticola solitarius 2005 VS had one near Camp 1on Hamut hike and JK saw one from the bus leaving Banaue (both Luzon; chestnut-bellied race philippensis)
Island Thrush Turdus poliocephalus 2005 Several heard and one seenin flight high on Mt. Polis (Luzon; race thomassoni)
Eyebrowed Thrush Turdus obscurus 2005 This wintering migrant was encounteredin large flocks daily on Mt. Kitingland (200+) while others were seen atthe American cemetery and on Mt. Makiling (Luzon)
White-browed Shortwing Brachypteryx montana 2005 Heard daily on Mt.Kitinglad (Mindanao) where single males were glimpsed several times as they dashed across the path (sometimes in response to tape, and sometimes not; race mindanensis)

White-vented Shama
13 Dec 2006 in St. Pauls Park, Palawan © D. Roberson

White-browed (Visayan) Shama
17 Dec 2005 on Mt. Canloan, Negros © B. Matheson
Stripe-headed Rhabdornis Rhabdornis mysticalis E 2005 Seen most commonly at Mt. Makiling (5-8/day; Luzon) but also most days during Hamut hike (Luzon; all Luzon birds nominate race) and in PICOP forest (Mindanao; race minor).
Grand Rhabdornis Rhabdornis grandis * E 2005 Just spectacular views of one high on Mt. Polis (Luzon) that was first spotted in flight by VS; singles were encountered around Hamut in mixed species flocks that also included Stripe-headed Rhabdornis
Stripe-breasted Rhabdornis Rhabdornis inornatus * E 2005 Four daily high on Mt. Kitanglad (Mindanao) where they fed in the canopy
Asian Glossy-Starling Aplonis panayensis 2005 Flocks were common in open lowlands of Palawan & Bohol & Mindanao
Short-tailed Glossy-Starling Aplonis minor 2005 Flocks common (often sitting in bare trees) on Mt. Kitanglad (Mindanao; race todayensis)
Mystery starling Sturnis sp? 2005 A pale Sturnis starling seen in flight amongst a flock of Asian Glossy-Starting at the Last Frontier resort at Sabang (Palawan) was probably a Daurian Starling S. sturninus— a long-distance migrant from east Asia. This species has not yet formally been added to the Philippine list although there are good sight records. We never got good views; it was certainly a "good bird that got away."
Apo Myna Basilornis miranda E 2005 Surprising numbers (~30) in the mossy forest high on Mt. Kitanglad (Mindanao). They were noisy and precocious but elusive when one pointed a camera in their direction. None had the full crest shown in the field guide; that may not develop until breeding season
Coleto Sarcops calvus NE 2005 A few (max 3/day) were seen on Cebu & Mindanao (including PICOP and the forest edge at our Kitanglad camp; race milanonotus) but we only heard birds on Mindoro (race calvus)
Common Hill Myna Gracula religiosa 2005 A flock of 13 perched up for us on the Balsahan trail (Palawan; race palawanensis)
Philippine Leafbird Chloropsis flavipennis E/VU 2005 We found 4 on Road 4 well inside PICOP forest (Mindanao)
Yellow-throated Leafbird Chloropsis palawanensis E 2005 Seen daily (2-8/day) in forest on Palawan (including St. Pauls Park & Balsahan trail)

Common Hill Myna
15 Dec 2005 along Balsahan trail, Palawan © B. Matheson

Yellow-throated Leafbird
12 Dec 2005 in St. Pauls Park, Palawan © D. Roberson
Olive-backed Flowerpecker Prionochilus olivaceus * E 2005 Several (3-6) daily in PICOP forest (Mindanao); sometimes with mixed species flocks. Others had a couple on Hamut hike (Luzon)
Palawan Flowerpecker Prionochilus plateni E 2005 This gorgeous endemic was seen daily on Palawan (but only 2-3/day)
Olive-capped Flowerpecker Dicaeum nigrilore E 2005 One male with a mixed flock of white-eyes and sunbirds visited a flowering shrub often while we were waiting for the eagle on Mt. Kitanglad
Bicolored Flowerpecker Dicaeum bicolor E 2005 We found it on Mt. Kitanglad and PICOP forest (Mindanao) and during the Hamut hike (Luzon), but only 1-2/day
Cebu Flowerpecker Dicaeum quadricolor * E/CR 2005 During the 6 hours spent on the viewing platforms at Tabunan (Cebu) this endangered species was heard several times. Single observers got views of a male (BTM) and a female (DR) but both observations were brief. Red-keeled is the common flowerpecker here and was often seen and heard. In comparison the Cebu Flowerpecker was a bit small and more compact. The standard flight call was a soft but sharp & quick double-note chip. This call (once learned) help to find the male: we heard it in flight and looked where it seemed to go; BTM spotted the male perched at that spot briefly.
     Our local guide (Oking Lucratio-Son)was very skilled at all bird calls. He outlined 5 different calls given by Cebu Flowerpecker. The double-note chip is the most common but others include 'tseet' flight notes, a soft fast trill, and a soft single chip (used as a contact call) that was given by the female seen.
     The female was actually seen by 5 of the group when it landed on a leafy branch in the canopy rather close to the lower platform but unfortunately its front half was hidden behind a leaf for 3 of the birders. Only one (DR) got a good look at the short stubby bill; the brownish-olive upperparts; and the brownish breast. It was thus a small brown flowerpecker with almost a parakeet-like bill. In retrospect this is the only brown flowerpecker occurring on Cebu. Adult Red-keeleds look alike and juvenal-plumaged bird are known only between March-August (Kennedy et al. 2000). Pygmy Flowerpecker (proposed as an alternative by some), which is listed as occurring on Cebu (Kennedy et al. 2000), has actually not been recorded there since the 1950s and is now considered extinct on Cebu (Brooks et al. 1998). In any event both young Red-keeled and any Pygmy Flowerpecker have longish and rather thin and curved bills unlike the bird seen
Red-keeled Flowerpecker Dicaeum australe E 2005 Common and conspicuous (esp. when the constant zit zit zit call is learned) in the forests at Tabunon (Cebu) and PICOP (Mindanao). Others had singles at Mt. Makiling and Hamut (both Luzon)
Orange-bellied Flowerpecker Dicaeum trigonostigma 2005 Widespread but in small numbers (just 1-5/day) in forests at Rajah Sikatuna Park (Bohol) and PICOP (Mindanao); also one on Hamut hike (BTM) and Mt. Makiling (BTM:both Luzon)
Buzzing Flowerpecker Dicaeum hypoleucum E 2005 The most common flowerpecker in forest at PICOP (Mindanao; often a dozen/day); on the Hamut hike and on Mt. Makiling (both Luzon)
Pygmy Flowerpecker Dicaeum pygmageum * E 2005 A pair was seen very well as they called near Sabang (Palawan; race palawanorum); a couple very different birds in PICOP forest (Mindanao; race davao). The latter had a large blackish breast spot and may well represent a different species
Fire-breasted Flowerpecker Dicaeum ignipectus 2005 A few (2-5) dailyon Mt. Kitanglad (Mindanao; race apo).
Visayan Flowerpecker Dicaeum haematostictum * E/VU 2005 This is a fairly recent split from Red-keeled; we watched a singing male perched high on a snag at the town at the base of Mt. Canloan (Negros)
Scarlet-collared Flowerpecker Dicaeum retrocinctum * E/VU 2005 We had nice views of a male at the forest edge at Sablayan (Mindoro) where it is a single-island endemic. TF heard another later in the forest

Buzzing Flowerpecker
28 Dec 2005 in PICOP forest, Mindanao © D. Roberson

Visayan Flowerpecker
17 Dec 2005 on Mt. Canloan, Negros © B. Matheson
Plain-throated Sunbird Anthreptes malaceosis 2005 About 3 on Mt. Makiling (Luzon) was it for this trip; others had another on Palawan [where I'd seen it in 1990; also at PICOP back then]
Copper-throated Sunbird Leptocoma calcostetha 2005 One head calling in mangroves at St. Pauls Park (Palawan) was the only one this trip (Arnel pointed out the call) [I'd had a number on Palawan in 1990]
Purple-throated Sunbird Leptocoma sperata 2005 Another species that seemed plentiful in 1990 but scarce this trip: others recorded in on Palawan & Bohol [I have nice photos from Palawan back in '90]
Olive-backed Sunbird Cinnyris jugularis 2005 Rather common daily (upto 15/day) on Palawan where the endemic race aurora has a bright orange breast and looks very unlike this species in Australasia; others also recorded it on Negros & Cebu & Luzon
Gray-hooded Sunbird Aethopyga primigenius E 2005 A single bird was in a mixed species flock on Mt. Kitanglad (Mindanao); others were heard daily there by TF. Its comparatively scarcity was unexpected; indeed VS missed it entirely.
Apo Sunbird Aethopyga boltoni * E 2005 Perhaps a half-dozen were among mixed species flocks high in the mossy forest on Mt. Kitanglad (none until we got above 1900m). I had difficulty getting on the first several found by others; it was a tense time until I eventually encountered an eye-level male on my own
Flaming Sunbird Aethopyga flagrans E 2005 Single males on Mt. Makiling (s. Luzon; nominate race) and during the Hamut hike (n. Luzon; race decolor).
Metallic-winged Sunbird Aethopyga pulcherrima E 2005 We saw all 3 subspecies of this endemic: a couple males in mixed species flocks in Rajah Sikatuna Park (Bohol; race decorosa) and then a few found daily in PICOP forest (Mindanao; nominate race). It was most common and obliging high on Mt.Polis (Luzon) where ~10 were seen during our day there (race jeffereyi).
Shelley's (Lovely) Sunbird Aethopyga shelleyi E 2005 Cheke & Mann (2001) and Mann (2002a) split "Lovely Sunbird" into two species: one on Palawan and adjacent islands (nominate shelleyi) and the other in the rest of the Philippines. Logically, A. shelleyi would become Shelley's Sunbird, and it is called that in Mann (200b). Unfortunately, Mann (200b) labeled the other species Lovely Sunbird  A. bella. Dickinson (2003) accepted the split but called the Palawan bird "Lovely" and the remaining species "Handsome Sunbird." This has caused nothing but confusion. It seems best to leave "Lovely Sunbird" as the name for the combined set of taxa, and ues the names Shelley's (on Palawan) and Handsome (rest of Philippines) for the splits. We saw several male Shelley's Sunbird on Palawan: St. Pauls & Balshan & Zig-Zag Road
Handsome (Lovely) Sunbird Aethopyga bella E 2005 See the preceding species for taxonomy. We had a few males most days in PICOP forest (Mindanao; nominate bella) and an apparent female (race bonita) on Negros
Crimson Sunbird Aethopyga siparaja 2005 This was the common and quite gorgeous sunbird in the remaining forest at Tabunan (Cebu; race magnifica)
Little Spiderhunter Arachnothera longirostra 2005 A few most days on Palawan (race dilutior), where rather conspicuous, and in PICOP forest (Mindanao; race flammifera)
Naked-faced Spiderhunter Arachnothera clarae E 2005 A couple daily on Mt. Makiling (Luzon; race luzonensis) including one defending a flowering shrub and feeding frequented) and several more seen by others in PICOP forest (nominate race).

Handsome Sunbird
29 Dec 2005 in PICOP forest, Mindanao © D. Roberson

Olive-backed Sunbird
8 Dec 2005 at Sabang, Palawan © D. Roberson
White-breasted Woodswallow Artamus leucorynchus 2005 Scattered birds (maximum 2-3/day) in open lowlands: Palawan & Bohol (and others had on Mindanao). All of nominate subspecies
Common lora Aegithina tiphia 2005 A few daily on Palawan
White-winged Cuckoo-shrike Coracina ostenta * E/VU 2005 A noisy party of five of these specialty endemics were encountered at 850m elevation on Mt. Canloan (Negros)
Bar-bellied Cuckoo-shrike Coracina striata 2005 Regular most days(3-6/day) at Sablayan (Mindoro; race mindorensis); Mt. Makiling (Luzon; race striata); and St. Pauls Park (Palawan; race difficilis) plus one or two in PICOP forest (Mindanao; race kochii). Males have gray underpartsin the first 3 subspecies but they have barred bellies on Mindanao
Blackish Cuckoo-shrike Coracina coerulescens E 2005 Parties of a half-dozen were noisy in the canopy near Hamut (Luzon) on two different days there (nominate race)
Black-bibbed Cuckoo-shrike Coracina mindanensis E 2005 About 8 were in a large mixed-party flock on Road 4 in PICOP forest (Mindanao; nominate race)
McGregor's Cuckoo-shrike Coracina mcgregori E 2005 Just 1-2 seen each day on Mt. Kitanglad (Mindanao)
Black-and-white Triller Lalage melanoleuca E 2005 A few daily on Mt.Makiling (Luzon) and others also had on Mindoro (both nominate race); also four in PICOP forest one day (Mindanao; race minor)
Pied Triller Lalage nigra 2005 An open-country bird seen in the American Cemetery (Luzon) and on Cebu; others also had at Mt. Makiling town and at Cagayan de Oro (Mindanao). All were of the Philippine race chilensis
Ashy Minivet Pericrocotus divaricatus * 2005 Small flocks of these migrants (10-20 birds) were in the forest at Sablayan (Mindoro) and onMt. Makiling (Luzon)
Fiery Minivet Pericrocotus igneus 2005 We had small flocks at St. Pauls Park and along Balsahan trail (Palawan; nominate race)
Scarlet Minivet Pericrocotus flammeus 2005 Flocks (6-20/flock) were encountered twice in PICOP forest (Mindano; race gonzalesi) and twice on the Hamut hike (Luzon; race novus). It is possible that more than one speciesis involved in this taxa

pair of Common Iora
12 Dec 2005 at Sabang, Palawan © D. Roberson

Fiery Minivet
12 Dec 2005 in St. Pauls Park, Palawan © B. Matheson
Green-backed Whistler Pachycephala albiventris E 2005 A couple high on Mt. Polis (Luzon) and another well above Hamut in the Sierra Madre (Luzon)
White-vented Whistler Pachycephala homeyeri * NE 2005 Three in the forest on Mt. Canloan (Negros; race winchelli) beginning in the lower secondary forest and up into primary forest
Yellow-bellied Whistler Pachycephala philippinensis E 2005 Encountered in mixed flocks in forest most days at Mt. Makiling & around Hamut (Luzon; nominate race); in Rajah Sikatuna Park (Bohol; race boholensis); and on Mt. Kitanglad & PICOP forest (Mindanao; race apoensis)
Brown Shrike Lanius cristatus 2005 Widespread and common in open lowlands(including clear-cut patches in forest; recorded almost every day. Mostor all were presumably of the wintering race lucionensis
Long-tailed Shrike Lanius schach 2005 Widespread in open country on Mindoro & Luzon & Mindanao [daily numbers just 1-8]; others also recorded it on Cebu]. All were presumably the resident race nasutus
Mountain Shrike Lanius validirostris E 2005 A single bird was perched high in a forest snag on Mt. Polis (Luzon) for superb scope views (and photos)
Dark-throated Oriole Oriolus xanthonotus 2005 Heard almost daily on Palawan but not seen. Invariable it was Tim who pointed out the calls
Philippine Oriole Oriolus steerii E 2005 Small numbers (2-3/day) in PICOP forest (Mindanao) were they were comparatively secretive
Black-naped Oriole Oriolus chinensis 2005 Regular and conspicuous in open woods on Mindoro (esp. around our hut at Sablayan); also American Cemetery (Luzon) & Sabang (Palawan) plus others had more on Bohol and in PICOP (Mindanao)
Ashy Drongo Dicrurus leucophaeu 2005 A few daily in St. Pauls Park (Palawan)
Balicassiao Dicrurus balicassius E 2005 Common in the forest on Mindoro and on Mt. Makling (Luzon; both race balicassius). Also at Tabunan (Cebu) and heard commonly on Mt. Canloan (Negros) but just one seen there (race mirabilis). The latter populations have white bellies; this taxa may be composed of more than one species
Spangled/Hair-crested Drongo Dicrurus hottentottus 2005 Taxonomic issues in these drongos are very confused. Some (e.g.,White & Bruce1986) split the Spangled/Hair-crested group in the Philippines; this puts those on Bohol and Mindanao in Spangled Drongo D. bracteatus. While this proposal was adopted on Tim's checklist it has not been adopted by Kennedy et al. (2000) nor by Dickinson (2003) which splits only theAustralasian birds as bracteatus. According to that approach all Philippine birds of this ilk are Hair-crested Drongos. We saw both types:"Hair-crested" commonly on Palawan (race palawanensis) and "Spangled" commonly on Bohol (race samarensis) and Mindanao (race striatus). There may be future taxonomic splits in this group (e.g., endemic birds on Tablas [race menagei] are very distinctive; e.g., Collar 2003]. All the drongos we encountered gave a wide variety of calls so I did not develop any useful field features

Black-naped Oriole
8 Dec 2005 at Sablayan, Mindoro © B. Matheson

Ashy Drongo
12 Dec 2005 in St. Pauls Park, Palawan © B. Matheson
Blue Fantail Rhipidura superciliaris E 2005 A half-dozen daily at Rajah Sikatuna Park (Bohol; race samarensis) and fairly common in PICOP forest (Mindanao; race apo)
Blue-headed Fantail Rhipidura cyaniceps E 2005 Very common and often the fulcrum of mixed species flock in montane forest at Mt. Polis & around Hamut (Luzon; nominate race? there are 2 races in n. Luzon); these had chestnut bellies. White-bellied birds were found on Mt. Canloan (Negros; endemic race albiventris). It is possible that two species are involved
Black-and-cinnamon Fantail Rhipidura nigrocinnamomea E 2005 Reasonably common in mixed species flocks on Mt. Kitanglad (Mindanao; race hutchinsoni)
Pied Fantail Rhipidura javanica 2005 Common in the American cemetery in Manila (Luzon) and several were conspicuous at Tabunan (Cebu). Others recorded singles on Palawan & Candaba marsh (Luzon). All were of the race nigritorquis (endemic to Philippines)
Short-crested Monarch Hypothymis helenae * E 2005 The group had reasonable views of one male in a mixed flock well out Road 4 in PICOP (Mindanao; nominate race); others (esp. JK) saw a couple more in other mixed flocks(including the Celestial Monarch flock). Our local guide Zardo heard the first Short-crested after Tim had been trolling with the tape for some time. The bird responded well to the tape in the upper and mid-canopy of thickets but did not perch for long at any one spot. It had the uncanny ability to perch just behind vines and leaves in many instances. Eventually we all got views of this cobalt-blue black-masked monarch with a very distinctive call (but it does not look anything like the field guide painting....)
Black-naped Monarch Hypothymis azurea 2005 Found widely in forest; usually with mixed flocks in canopy or mid-canopy. Found on Mindoro & Palawan & Negros & Bohol & Cebu & Mindanao (PICOP) & Luzon (Hamut; all were of nominate race)
Celestial Monarch Hypothymis coelestis * E/VU 2005 The painting in the field guide (Kennedy et al. 2000) makes this look like one of the most incredible birds in the world; it is a nice birds but it is important to note that the species very rarely raises its crest. Rather, the crest flops down the nape producing a look very different from the artwork. Most of us (BTM, JK, AK, DR, TF) had views of a calling male high in the canopy and off Road 4 in PICOP (Mindanao; nominate race). Our local guide Zardo had first heard it after Tim had been trolling with the tape for miles. The bird did not respond to the tape but rather appeared in a mixed species flock high in the canopy a couple of times. Otherwise, based on its calling behavior, it seemed to be patrolling a territory. Views showed a sky-blue monarch with a conspicuous white belly that was a bit larger and longer-tailed than the various Black-naped Monarchs in the same flock. The long crest flopped down the nape and was contrasting pale violet in color. Yet the distant views were brief and rather poor (and VS missed it entirely despite over an hour's effort at the site). Had views been better it would have been a much more heralded event!
Blue Paradise-Flycatcher Terpsiphone cyanescens E 2005 A responsive pair were seen nicely through taping along the road east of Sabang (Palawan). Others were heard daily in forest elsewhere on Palawan
Rufous Paradise-Flycatcher Terpsiphone cinnamomea NE 2005 A few (up to 3/day) in PICOP forest (Mindanao; nominate race). BTM had another on Mt. Makiling (Luzon; race unirufa)
Slender-billed Crow Corvus enca 2005 Two on Mindoro and then daily (up to 15/day) on Palawan. These were all race pusillus ("Palawan Crow") that gave nasal aack-aack calls; it is possible they will be split some day from other populations. Unfortunately, we missed this crow elsewhere in the Philippines and won't benefit from additional splits
Large-billed Crow Corvus macrorhynchos 2005 Common daily in PICOP forest (Mindanao); also daily at Sablayan (Mindoro). A few more were seen at Mt. Makiling and on the Hamut hike (Luzon; all are of race philippinus)
Gray Wagtail Motacilla cinerea 2005 Common and widespread as a wintering migrant in both lowlands and mountains but usually near water
Eastern Yellow Wagtail Motacilla tschutschensis 2005 Common and widespread, esp. in open fields or rice paddies (such as on Palawan or Candaba marsh). Race simillima has been most commonly collected (breeds e. Siberia; Kennedy et al. 2000) but other migrant races may also be present

Rufous Paradise-Flycatcher
27 Dec 2005 in PICOP forest, Mindanao © B. Matheson

Paddyfield Pipit
7 Dec 2005 at Sablayan, Mindoro © B. Matheson
Paddyfield (Oriental) Pipit Anthus rufulus 2005 Common at Canadaba marsh and lower grasslands at start of Hamut hike (both Luzon); also recorded on Mindoro and Palawan
Olive-tree Pipit Anthus hodgsoni 2005 A half-dozen of these wintering migrants were flushed from the road or adjacent scrub as we walked down Mt. Polis; also recorded during Hamut hike (both Luzon)
Pechora Pipit Anthus gustavi (*) 2005 Singles were seen by others (JK, AK, et al.) inside the forest on Mindoro and during Hamut hike (Luzon)
White-cheeked Bullfinch Pyrrhula leucogenis E 2005 JK had one in a mixed species flock high on Mt. Kitanglad (Mindanao); 2-4 more were seen high on Mt. Polis (Luzon) by some (BTM, VS, TF) but missed by others (or flight views too poor; DR) [DR had nice views on Kitanglad back in '90]
[Red-eared Parrotfinch Erythrura coloria (*) E 2005 Our local guideon Mt. Kitanglad (Carlito) & JK heard one or more on Mt. Kitanglad but none were ever even glimpsed]
Scaly-breasted Munia Lonchura punctulata 2005 Small flocks were among Palawan rice paddies and in grasslands at end of Hamut hike (Luzon; all race cabanisi)
White-bellied Munia Lonchura leucogastra 2005 Scattered birds or small flocks were widely recorded. Some were even perched in the canopy of the forest at Tabunan (Cebu; race manueli). Others recorded them on Palawan (race palawana) & Mindanao & Luzon (Hamut; race everetti)
Chestnut Munia Lonchura atricapilla 2005 Locally abundant in marshes or wet grasslands. Flocks estimated at 3000 were at Bislig airport marsh (Mindanao; race jagori) and they filled the air near dusk. More were in Candaba marsh (Luzon; race formosana) and near Sablayan (Mindoro; race jagori)
Eurasian Tree Sparrow Passer montanus 2005 This non-native introduced species was common in towns and cities
I find it interesting to consider the species that I observed during my 1990 tour but which were not seen this trip. Some are simply a matter of luck, but others illustrate how the population status of the birds have changed since then. These are the 30 species involved (3 were heard this trip but not seen):
  • Red Junglefowl Gallus gallus: Presumably was native to the Philippines as an endemic race (philippensis) is described. One very skittish male in the canopy at Rajah Sikatuna (Bohol) was thought to be a wild chicken back in 1990. Today, nothing remotely resembled wild birds
  • Jerdon's Baza Aviceda jerdoni: 2 imms. in the PICOP forest (Mindanao); just missed this trip
  • Chinese Goshawk Accipiter soloensis: Singles each day at Rajah Sikatuna (Bohol) & Mt Makiling (Luzon). An accipiter sp? this trip might have been it
  • Gray-faced Buzzard Butastus indicus: Singles on both days near Balsahan (Palawan); also in PICOP forest & Mt Kitanglad (Mindanao)
  • Slaty-breasted Rail Gallirallus striatus: One in marsh near Bislig (Mindanao) in 1990; seeing rails is just a matter of lauck
  • Rufous-necked Stint Calidris ruficollis: Scattered birds at Puerta Princesa fish ponds (Palawan) in 1990. I'm sure we'd have seen it this trip with more 'paddy bashing'
  • Pintail Snipe Gallinago stenura: Two at Puerta Princesa fish ponds (Palawan). Again, seeable now if one wades through paddies
  • Swinhoe's Snipe Gallinago megala: Eight or so in Bislig marsh (Mindanao) & another in Candada marsh (Luzon). Back then we paid some boys to run through the marsh, spooking up the calling snipe. Today the marsh situation at Bislig is quite different 
  • Oriental Pratincole Glareola maldivarum: Four at Puerta Princesa beach (Palawan) & three at Candada marsh (Luzon). Migrants are just a matter of luck
  • White-throated (Metallic) Pigeon Columba vitiensis: Three on Mt Polis (Luzon). All large pigeons are declining in the Philippines
  • Pink-necked Green-Pigeon Treron vernans: Thirty along the Iwahig penal colony road (Palawan). Now a declining species
  • Spotted Imperial-Pigeon Ducula carola: Two in flight over Mt Polis (Luzon). Tim says this species is seriously declining
  • Red Collared-Dove Streptopelia tranquebarica: Common at American Cemetary in Manila. This is an open country species, and we were rarely in the habitat
  • Mindanao Lorikeet Trichoglossus johnstoniae: Small parties (5 & 6) flew by me on Mt Kitanglad (Mindanao). Tim says this is now very rare there
  • Red-crowned (Luzon) Racquet-tail Prioniturus montanus: Two flew over me while on Mt Polis (Luzon). A near-threatened species on the decline
  • Large Hawk-Cuckoo Cuculus sparverioides: An imm flew right past me in the American Cemetery, Manila. A migrant, just a matter of luck
  • Plaintive Cuckoo Cacomantis merulinus: Heard widely both trips. Five actually seen back in 1990. We didn't try much to see them this trip
  • Brush Cuckoo Cacomantis variolosus: Heard widely this trip; seen on Bohol in 1990. The 1990 trip was in the heart of breeding season
  • Asian Koel Eudynamys scolopacea: A male seen at Bagoinigo fish ponds near Davao (Mindanao). We didn't visit this site in 2005 but Tim says it occurs widely still
  • Palawan Hornbill Anthracoceros marchei: A few seen or heard daily on the Balsahan trail (Palawan). In 2005 we only heard at St. Pauls Park. It is now listed as "Vulnerable" by Birdlife International (2000) and is in serious decline
  • Mangrove Whistler Pachycephala cinerea: Three along the Balsahan trail (Palawan; race plateni). We only did one day there this year instead of two in 1990
  • Clamorous Reed-Warbler Acrocephalus stentoreus: One at the Puerto Princesa fish ponds (Palawan) and others in Candaba marsh (Luzon). Candaba marsh no longer hosts tons of migrant Acros
  • Streaked Reed-Warbler Acrocephalus sorghophilus: One in Candaba marsh (Luzon). The reedy habitat here in 1990 is now all gone
  • Siberian Rubythroat Luscinia calliope: One male in brush along the edge of Manila Bay. This habitat is now all landfill & hotels. Migrants are a matter of luck anyway
  • Brown-headed Thrush Turdus chrysolaus. Numbers in the American cemetery, Manila. This migrant still occurs there regularly; we had only a rainy afternoon there
  • Scaly Ground-Thrush Zoothera dauma: One seen on Mt Polis (Luzon). A skulker and a matter of luck
  • Chestnut-cheeked Starling Sturnia philippensis: Small flock of this migrant in the American Cemetery in Manila. We had only a rainly afternoon there
  • Striped Flowerpecker Dicaeum agile: One at Balsahan (Palawan). Most recent authorities consider it a Philippine endemic but some lump with Thick-billed Flowerpecker D. aeruginosum of Asia (Sheldon 1985). Tim says they are still regular at PICOP
  • Flame-crowned Flowerpecker Dicaeum anthonyi: One male seen nicely on Mt Kitanglad (Mindanao). A near-threatened montane species, it still occurs regularly in low numbers on Mt. Kitanglad & Mt. Polis, according to Tim
  • White Wagtail Motacilla alba: In 1990, I had an ocularis type along Manila Bay, and found a very likely lugens on the sandbar in the river below Banaue (Luzon). There were no records of the latter in the Philippines at the time, but it has since been documented to occur there.
The only mammals identified were
  • Long-tailed Macaque Macaca fascicularis — parties encountered in St. Pauls Park (Palawan), in the forest at Sablayan (Mindoro), and at Rajah Sikatuna Park (Bohol)
  • Irrawaddy Dolphin Orcaella brevirostris — one seen from the outrigger canoe on ride to St. Pauls Park (Palawan)
Several species of rats, bats, and squirrels were not identified, although it is possible that some squirrels will be identified later from field notes
Page 1 of Daily Journal
PHOTOS: All photos on this page are © 2006 Don Roberson, except those © Blake Matheson, and © Anne & Jon King, and so indicated; all rights reserved. Many other shots from this trip are scattered about this web site.

Literature cited:

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