12 Exotic Birds Endemic to The Philippines

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.

Philippine Eagle-Owl

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.

Philippine Hornbill

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’.

53 thoughts on “12 Exotic Birds Endemic to The Philippines

  1. betchai

    oh, i wish to see them all in the wild,i see a few of them in the aviary, and I did not even know that the cockatoo is native to the Philippines. this is such a treasure of information you are sharing, Donald.

  2. Franc Ramon

    Philippines do have a lot of exotic birds. I'm sure there's more out there yet to be discovered.

  3. mhie@travelentz

    I never know that there are a lot of exotic birds in Philippines. Thanks for sharing.

  4. elizabeth

    the handsome sunbird is indeed very handsome, thanks for this wealth of information about our native birds, i still have to see most of them, they all are lovely and beautiful.

  5. Alex Reillo

    The Philippine eagles have a sanctuary in Davao City. I really admire these predators, especially if you see them fly.

  6. yannie

    I'm amazed to know that those are from Philippines. Hope we can just see them flying freely instead caged in the zoo.

  7. candyzmakeuptreasures

    I hope to see them in person and my future children up to grandchildren. I love staring at those photos. I still can’t believe there are colorful and unique bird species like them.

  8. MaryJane Tauyan

    wow those birds looks incredibly beautiful! we should be trying to do somthing to save them for the future kids happiness and mother earth too!

  9. Rcel

    What lovely creations! Too bad not everybody has the chance to see these birds with their own eyes.

  10. betchai

    i only saw a few of them in the aviary and i wish i would be given a chance to see a few of them, very interesting to know a lot of our bird specie

  11. kulasa zen

    oh my, they all look so gorgeous!!! I wish they will flourish and remain on our land for our kids to see!

  12. Ria Cervantes

    I'm amazed with the number of beautiful aviary species we have in the country. They're all stunning Kuya.

  13. lencilicious

    The Cockatoo is so nice. So many beautiful birds in the Philippines. I hope that their species will continue to be seen in the country.

  14. nova hedges

    wow!!! where was i to learn about this. i've never thought that there are so many wonderful birds in the Philippines, pity me for this knowledge. the only thing that i'm proud of is the philippine eagle we have.

  15. Gene

    I cannot believe that these birds exist here in the Philippines! I think I only know some of them. Now I know where to get details kapag iho-homework ng anak ko sa school haha!

  16. Riza Acebuche

    Great compilation you have Tay. Kung studyante lang ako gagawin ko tong reference sa mga assignments ko.

  17. Noel Autor

    Those birds are really beautiful. I didn't know that some of them are indigenous to the Philippines such as the cockatoo and the pheasant.

  18. Rachael

    Honestly I have an irrational fear of birds but I have to say that these are really beautiful and nature in its glory!

  19. igrowhort.com

    Beautiful work, such amazing birds and wonderful colours! Love the detail you have provided about each species, very informative. I shall be sharing with friends, Thanks Stephen

  20. Rochkirstin Santos

    Where can we see the Handsome Sunbird? I'm interested to know if there's a female version… maybe Beautiful Sunbird is what it's called? 🙂

  21. Loudthinkin

    Beautiful. .. such pretty birds.. I wonder how many of them are seen around the cities.. The peacock is the national bird of india but we hardly ever see one in the city.

  22. Fernando Lachica

    Lots of beautiful birds and I saw the owl and hornbill only. The Philippines I think has a lot more to discover.

  23. Suzanne

    Such lovely birds and so many different ones, how wonderful! I can see why the Handsome Sunbird got his name 🙂

  24. Tiffany Yong W.T.

    The Eagle Owl look so cute. He's like dressed in vibrant orange while his eyes were like 0.0 I'm so tired, so can you stop taking photos of me and let me go get a cup of coffee?

  25. fyhmd

    Beautiful pictures. Of course the Philippine Eagle is majestic. I like the color of that green leaf bird – perfect camouflage. – Fred

  26. Phylicia Marie Pineda

    I didn't know we had so many beautiful birds endemic to our country! I hope they (government) do something to change the near threatened status of the Luzon Bleeding Heart.

  27. SlickMaster

    I guess I learned something new here. A lot in fact, and how about that Philippine duck? It's like the irony's on us: we have that type of duck and yet it's endangered. That should have been part of out national signs (sagisag), along with others meintioned here considering they were named after out country in the first place.

  28. ListOTop

    These are sth interesting, only heard about cockatoo and bleeding heart, others are unknown for me, thanks for sharing

  29. Vanessa

    Wow, it turns out the Philippines have one of the rarest and at the same time most beautiful and unique creatures on earth. This does not surprise me because nature there is so pristine and the flora and fauna are present in such a variety there.

  30. Eliz Frank

    Your photos are stunning and the range of beautiful and colorful birds is impressive… I'm a bird watcher and would love to take better pictures like these featured.

  31. Anonymous

    Astig tong site nyo..wish mag effort pa ang gobyerno natin para hindi sila tuluyang mawala..

  32. Richard Luis

    Oh yes our native Cockatoo was once abundant, but pinoys don’t put so much care on wildlife also the practice of using birds as children’s toys should be stopped! As in now!
    We see a lot of kulasisi and mynah’s being sold in Quiapo and ca wreak havoc on these bird’s population
    What is DENR doing?

    1. admin Post author

      I also do not like when animals are held at home. However, there are people who save animals and take them home to cure and take care of them. It’s just great that there are people like you who concern about environment and animals’ and birds’ population.

  33. Adonis

    The picture of the philippine eagle here is not a philippine eagle but a brahminy kite or banog..

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