Easy Philippines: Feb 24—Mar 11, 2018
Register for WaitlistTour Details
Past Field Lists:
- Feb 24, 2016: Easy Philippines: PDF (3 MB)
- Feb 24, 2010: The Philippines: PDF (96.4 KB)
- Feb 08, 2008: Philippines: PDF (204.2 KB)
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Palawan Peacock-Pheasant— Photo: Dion Hobcroft
The 7,000 islands of the Philippines hold an extraordinary 240 or more endemic bird species out of more than 600 kinds known to occur. With endemics such as Scale-feathered Malkoha, Visayan Hornbill, Magnificent Sunbird, and Palawan Peacock-Pheasant, as well as some equally great non-endemics, the birds of the Philippines are without doubt some of the most exciting in the world.
The geographic location and geological history of this amazing country have conspired to create a suite of fascinating endemic species—birds, mammals, reptiles, and plants. Wedged between China, Japan, Malaysia, and Indonesia and consisting of over 7,000 islands, successive invasions from different biogeographic zones and a complex geography in the Philippines have led to an adaptive radiation of myriad species. Many species in the Philippines have been subject to taxonomic review in recent years with a huge amount of splitting taking place.
Our birding near Manila gives us an excellent introduction to the birds of Luzon. We will explore four major sites: Mount Makiling, Candaba Marshes, La Mesa, and Subic Bay, which are home to some 50 endemics. Philippine Duck, Spotted Buttonquail, Philippine Hawk-Eagle, Philippine Serpent-Eagle, Philippine Falconet, Plain Bush-hen, Philippine Swamphen, Luzon Bleeding-Heart, White-eared Brown-dove, Black-chinned Fruit-Dove, Philippine Green-Pigeon, Guaiabero, Philippine Hanging-Parrot, Green Racquet-tail, Philippine Hawk-Cuckoo, Scale-feathered Malkoha, Red-crested Malkoha, Rufous Coucal, Philippine Scops-Owl, Luzon Hawk-Owl, Chocolate Boobook, Luzon Hornbill, Philippine Trogon, Spotted Wood Kingfisher, Indigo-banded Kingfisher, Brown-breasted Kingfisher, Northern Sooty Woodpecker, Luzon Flameback, Philippine Woodpecker, Philippine Fairy-bluebird, Balicassiao, Blackish Cuckoo-shrike, White-lored Oriole, Elegant Tit, White-fronted Tit, Sulphur-billed Nuthatch, Stripe-headed Rhabdornis, White-browed Shama, Ashy Ground-Thrush, Gray-backed and Trilling tailorbirds, Lemon-throated Leaf-Warbler, Yellow-bellied Whistler, Coleto, Flaming and Lovely sunbirds, and Buzzing and Striped flowerpeckers can all be found here.
We will travel to the beautiful island of Palawan, which forms a bridge between the main Philippine islands and Borneo. Palawan is home to some 20 or more endemics depending on your taxonomy. St. Paul’s National Park is beautifully located between high limestone cliffs and white sandy beaches and is covered by pristine forest. It is the home of the Underground River, a World Heritage Site. We will take a picturesque boat ride into the park, which is rich in birds including Tabon Scrubfowl, the stunning Palawan Peacock-Pheasant, Blue-naped Parrot, Blue-headed Racquet-tail, Palawan Hornbill, Great Slaty Woodpecker, Spot-throated Flameback, Red-headed Flameback, Hooded and Red-bellied pittas, Yellow-throated Leafbird, Sulphur-bellied and Palawan bulbuls, Palawan Tit, Ashy-headed Babbler, Falcated Ground-Babbler, White-vented Shama, Palawan Blue-Flycatcher, Blue Paradise-Flycatcher, Lovely Sunbird, and Palawan Flowerpecker. In the evening, we will go in search of the Palawan Scops-Owl and the Palawan Frogmouth.
Another beautiful island that offers excellent birding is Negros. National parks like the excellent Twin Lakes protect extensive forests. Exploring these forests will give us the chance for another suite of special endemics. Visayan Hornbill, Yellow-faced Flameback, Negros Scops-Owl, White-winged Cuckoo-shrike, Flame-templed Babbler, Visayan Fantail, Visayan Bulbul, Visayan Shama, Maroon-naped and Magnificent sunbirds, and Black-belted Flowerpecker are amongst some of the special birds here.
Hotels good to very good; food good; plenty of roadside birding; easy trails, with one slightly uphill; midday siestas where possible; humid and tropical in lowlands, slightly cooler at Mount Makiling; overall easy tour.