The Philippines is home to some of the world’s most exotic birds. With more than 600 bird species to choose from including several species of hornbills, colorful fruit doves, rare parrots and fascinating eagles and owls — it's really fun to explore and learn more about these beautiful and unique birds. Here is a list of 12 exotic birds endemic to this “bird-paradise” country.
Each country has its own unique variety of birds native to its geographical location. The Philippines is home to some of the world’s most exotic birds, too. It is believed that 185 of these species can be found only in the Philippines. Sad to say, these birds are faced with the threat of eventual extinction, because of deforestation and human threat. Let me introduce you to some of the Philippines’ exotic birds:
The Handsome Sunbird
The Handsome Sunbird (Aethopyga bella) is found only in the Philippines. It is one of the smallest sunbirds in the Philippines. Handsome songbirds inhabit subtropical or tropical moist lowland forests and subtropical or tropical moist mountain habitat. They may be seen singly or in pairs frequenting flowering and fruiting trees. About 254 mm total length, they feed on nectar as well as small insects.
The Spotted Wood Kingfisher
The Spotted Wood Kingfisher (Actenoides lindsayi) is endemic to the Philippines widespread in Luzon, Panay, Negros, Marinduque and Catanduanes. It inhabits subtropical or tropical moist lowland forests, perches motionless in dark recesses. It measures around 254 mm long. The Spotted Wood Kingfisher is classified as Least Concern.
The Palawan Leafbird
The Yellow-throated Leafbird (Chloropsis palawanensis) is a small bird endemic to the Palawan and the Calamian Group in the Philippines. It commonly inhabits forest, forest edge, and scrub. With a distinctive green color, it measures to about 15.8 – 17.2 cm long. It has pointed slender bill, yellow throat, broad wings and long dull blue tail. Feeds on fruits and seeds. The Yellow-throated Leafbird is classified as Least Concern.
The Luzon Bleeding-heart
The Luzon Bleeding-heart (Gallicolumba luzonica) known for the splash of vivid red color at the heart of their white breasts, is a ground dove endemic to the central and southern parts of Luzon, and Polillo Islands, in the Philippines. This species is found in lowland forest (below 1,400 m). Generally slate grey in color, it measures about 25 cm long and weighs about 150-200 g. It has a round body, black bill, a short tail and long red legs. It feeds primarily on seeds, fallen berries, grubs, insects, and worms. The species is threatened by habitat loss, and rampant hunting. The Luzon Bleeding-heart is classified as Near Threatened.
The Yellow-breasted Fruit Dove
The Yellow-breasted Fruit Dove (Ptilinopus occipitalis), locally called Punay, is one of the five endemic fruit-doves endemic to the Philippines. This colorful dove is widespread over the country except the Palawan region. This species inhabit lowland and mid elevation forests and are seen singly or in pairs. Generally, Yellow-breasted Fruit-dove are frugivorous ( animals that eats mainly fruits). Adults reach 28-33cm in length and weigh about 204-278 g. The species is Not globally threatened.
The Philippine Cockatoo
The Red-vented Cockatoo (Cacatua haematuropygia), popularly known as the Philippine Cockatoo is a critically endangered bird native to the Philippines. Its natural habitat includes mangrove forests, lowlands, forest edges and riverine. The Katala as it is locally called, measures about 33 centimeters in length with an 8.6 inch wingspan and weighs 0.29 kilograms. It is easily recognized by its all-white plumage and by the red feathers around the vent. A highly-social species, they can be seen in groups of up to 30 or more. It feeds on the seeds and fruits of wild trees. The Red-vented Cockatoo is classified Critically Endangered due to habitat loss and rampant pouching
The Palawan Peacock-Pheasant
The Palawan Peacock-Pheasant (Polyplectron napoleonis), is a medium-sized bird found only in the humid forests of Palawan in southern Philippines. It inhabits primary and secondary forest. The species is known for the male’s distinctive high pointed crest, a white stripe over the eyes, and vibrant plumage (metallic-green head and long black tail). The tail feathers are marked with two sets of large and striking green-blue ocelli (peacock eyes). Adult males measure about 50 cm long. Females are smaller, and typically brown in color. An omnivore, it feeds on seeds, nuts, small fruits, insects and other invertebrates. The Palawan Peacock-Pheasant is classified by the IUCN as Vulnerable.
The Philippine Duck
The Philippine Duck (Anas luzonica) is the Philippines only endemic duck. It is found from all the major islands and eight smaller islands of the country. It is a large dabbling duck with almost grayish brown plumage. It has cinnamon head, black crown, bluish-gray bill and grayish brown legs. Adult males measure about 48-58 cm. tall. It inhabits all types of wetlands foraging for shrimps, fish, insects, as well as young vegetation. The Philippine duck is listed as Vulnerable because of over-hunting and habitat loss.
The Philippine Eagle
The Philippine Eagle (Pithecophaga jefferyi), considered the world’s largest eagle, is an endangered eagle endemic to forests in the Philippines. This imposing Raptor can be found on four major islands: eastern Luzon, Samar, Leyte and Mindanao. It inhabits in dipterocarp and mid-Montane forests at elevations of over 1,800 meters. It has brown and white-colored plumage, a distinctive shaggy crest, bluish bill, yellow feet, and dark brown tail with blackish bars and a white tip.
Locally called ‘haribon’, adult males generally measure 86 to 102 cm (2.82 to 3.35 ft) long with a wing span of 2 meters and weighs 4.7 to 8 kilograms (10 to 18 lbs). It feeds on monkeys, wild cats, large snakes, flying lemurs, and hornbills. Life expectancy is about 30 to 60 years. In 2010, the IUCN and BirdLife International listed this species as critically endangered.
The Philippine Falconet
The Philippine Falconet (Microhierax erythrogenys), the Philippines smallest Raptor, is found in most Philippine islands except Palawan. Its preferred habitat includes subtropical or tropical moist lowland forests. It is about 6 1/2 inches in length with black upperparts and white underparts. It has pointed wings, rounded tail, serrated beak and enormous claws. It feeds on lizards, insects, small invertebrates and even small birds.
The Philippine Eagle-Owl (Bubo philippensis) is any of two species of bird belonging to the Strigidae family. Locally known as the “kuwago” or “bukao”, it is found in forest edges near streams on the islands of Bohol, Catanduanes, Leyte, Luzon, Mindanao, and Samar. The largest owl in the Philippines, it measures about 40–50 cm (16–20 in) and a wingspan of about 35 cm (14 in). The plumage is overall Rufous colored. It has dark brown wings and tail, small slanting ear tufts and yellow eyes.
The Rufous Hornbill (Buceros hydrocorax), also known as Philippine Hornbill, is the biggest of all Philippine Hornbills. Its population occurs in 11 islands: Biliran, Bohol, Buad, Calico-an, Dinagat, Leyte, Luzon, Marinduque, Mindanao, Samar, and Siargao. Locally known as ‘Kalaw‘, this species inhabit primary evergreen forests up to 2,100 m. It has a remarkable bright red-orange down-curved beak and casque (any sub-species include red and yellow). Plumage is black and brown with white tail. Adults can reach up to 30 inches long. It feeds on berries, fruits, insects as well as decaying flesh. This species is being listed by the IUCN / Birdlife International as ‘Critically Endangered’.