The Philippines, a nation of more than 7000 islands, boasts a checklist of close to 700 species of birds. Approximately one-third of these are endemic to the country, and include spectacular species such as the Palawan Peacock-Pheasant and the Philippine Eagle, one of the world’s largest and most critically endangered raptors. With a rapidly growing human population that has recently hit 107 million (1/3 the population of the U.S. in an area ¾ the size of California) and lax environmental protections, many other endemics are also endangered, and once-common species are becoming harder to find, making this a birding destination to visit sooner rather than later. The Philippines is best birded in the dry season between January and May, coincident with the academic year when we normally cannot travel for an extended period. With Cathy on sabbatical and free from that schedule, this seemed like the perfect year to make the trip. Moreover, in June 2018 Cathy had attended a conference in Cebu City and had used that opportunity to do some reconnaissance, spending several days birding on the islands of Cebu and neighboring Bohol in the company of local guide Nicky Icarangal of Birding Adventure Philippines (firstname.lastname@example.org). Impressed both by Nicky’s birding skills and his facility with logistics, we decided to travel with Birding Adventure Philippines again, this time arranging a 3-week tour covering the three main islands of Luzon, Mindanao and Palawan. Although some of the sites we visited are in well-traveled areas with good tourism infrastructure and could quite easily be visited independently, others required logistics and permits that would be difficult to arrange without local assistance. Security is an issue throughout the Philippines, especially on Mindanao, and we heard stories of birders being kidnapped, getting caught in crossfire between rebel groups and the Philippine army, and stumbling upon bodies dumped on the roadside. In addition to being a very skilled birding guide, Nicky is also a firearms-licensed security expert with well-placed connections throughout the country, and we felt very safe traveling in his company. In those areas where security was a particular concern (northern Luzon and Mindanao) he made sure we were always accompanied by savvy locals who knew and were known by the residents of the surrounding community.
The Philippines is not a particularly easy place to travel. Visiting the different islands requires taking domestic flights whose schedules are predictable only in that they are certain to be delayed. Traffic in the cities (especially Manila) is atrocious, and in the outlying rural areas the roads are narrow and congested with slow-moving trucks, jeepneys (open-sided, converted military vehicles that are the primary form of public transportation), motorbikes, and “tricycles” (motorbikes with sidecars, the local version of a tuk-tuk). Getting anywhere takes time and patience, and there were several days on which we did little or no birding, most of the day being devoted simply to getting from point A to B.
Our itinerary followed a pretty standard birding route, mostly visiting the relatively few national parks and accessible protected areas. These included:
La Mesa Ecopark (Luzon): A lushly vegetated protected area in the Quezon district of metropolitan Manila that is home to several endemic species that can be difficult to find elsewhere, in particular Ashy Thrush.
Subic Bay (Luzon): Former U.S. military base that has been (relatively) protected from logging and now supports a number of resorts and tourism enterprises. Although populations of many species have declined here due to illegal hunting since the U.S. pulled out in the early 1990s, it is still the easiest place to see many of the Luzon endemics such as White-lored Oriole and Northern Sooty Woodpecker.
Mt. Polis (Luzon): The main road over Mt. Polis in the Cordillera Mountains of northern Luzon offers easy access to montane habitat where numerous high-elevation Luzon endemics can be found. The closest accommodations are an hour away in the village of Banaue, home to 2000-yr-old rice terraces that have been declared a UNESCO World Heritage site.
Mt. Makiling (Luzon): Easily accessible mountain park adjacent to the University of the Philippines campus in Los Banos, about 2 hours south of Manila. The mountain trail is a good place to see montane forest endemics, including Luzon Bleeding-Heart, and the nearby Botanic Gardens and agricultural facilities of the university support a variety of open-country and wetland species.
Infanta, Quezon Province (Luzon): A newly built highway through the mountains about 2 hrs east of Manila has opened up a formerly inaccessible area to roadside birding. Several endemics that could previously only be seen in the Sierra Madre Mountains of northern Luzon occur here, including Whiskered Pitta. There are, however, no easy accommodations nearby.
Cinchona Heritage Park, Mt. Kitanglad (Mindanao): Protected montane forest that supports many of the high-elevation Mindanao endemics and is the site of a recent Philippine Eagle nest. A permit is required for access, and the nearest basic hotel is an hour away in the town of Malaybalay.
Del Monte Lodge, Mt. Kitanglad (Mindanao): On the opposite side of Mt. Kitanglad from Cinchona, this is a very rustic lodge that is reached by a 45-minute hike from the nearest village. There is no electricity, and all provisions including sleeping bags have to be brought in by horseback. If there is no active nest, this is the most reliable place to see the Philippine Eagle, and a viewing station has been set up about an hour’s hike from the lodge. Other endemics that can be seen here include Bukidnon Woodcock and the high-elevation Apo Sunbird.
Eden Nature Park, Davao City (Mindanao): An upscale resort outside of Davao with extensive grounds. A nearby village hosts the rare, endemic Whiskered Flowerpecker.
PICOP (Mindanao): A former logging concession in northeastern Mindanao that is supposed to be protected but is in fact rapidly disappearing due to illegal logging and settlement. Access is controlled by the military and a permit is required to enter. Despite the loss of most large trees, the forest here still supports many of the Mindanao endemics including Wattled Broadbill and Celestial Monarch. Nearest accommodations are over an hour away in Bislig.
Puerto Princesa Underground River NP, Sabang (Palawan): Although St. Paul’s Underground River is considered to be one of the seven natural wonders of the world, this national park has been of more interest to birders as the territory of a habituated, male Palawan Peacock-Pheasant, easily one of the world’s most spectacular but difficult to see birds. Virtually every birder who has ever seen this species has seen the lone bird that resided here for the past 20 years. Tragically, he disappeared (presumed to have died) a mere week before we arrived on Palawan. A majority of the other Palawan endemics can be seen in the vicinity of Sabang, including the critically endangered Philippine Cockatoo. Sabang is a beach resort with a wide range of available accommodations suited to all budgets.
Irawan Ecopark, Puerto Princesa (Palawan): Protected natural area (permit required for entry) on the outskirts of Puerto Princesa City. Two Palawan endemics that are not present at Sabang (Palawan Flycatcher, Melodious Babbler) can be found here.
Our accommodations ran the gamut from high end luxury hotels and resorts to quite basic hotels in small towns (all with en suite bathrooms and hot water) to “glamping” on the side of Mt. Kitanglad. Almost all of them had restaurants on site (often buffet-style) where we ate dinner as well as breakfast or lunch if we happened to be there. On some of our particularly early mornings, we were grateful for the ubiquitous 7-11 franchises, open 24 hours. The Philippines is a pork-lover’s paradise, but seafood and vegetable dishes were also usually available and generally very good options when the pork-at-every-meal routine got old.
The standard field guide to the region is Kennedy et al.’s “Guide to the Birds of the Philippines,” first published in 2000 and very out of date taxonomically. There have been recent, multiway splits of numerous species (e.g., 5-way split of Tarictic Hornbill, 7-way split of Philippine Hawk-Owl) that are not included in this guide. The more recent, small photographic guide “A Naturalist's Guide to the Birds of the Philippines” (Tanedo et al., 2015) also does not illustrate all of the species, although it does include a complete and more up-to-date checklist. Fortunately, most of the splits have been along geographic lines, with newly split species occurring on different islands. As a result, location is usually sufficient to confirm the identification of otherwise similar species. In the course of three weeks on the three main islands we saw 250 species, 137 of them endemic to the Philippines. An additional 15 endemics were seen by Cathy during four days birding on the smaller islands of Cebu and Bohol in June 2018.
25 March: La Mesa Ecopark and Subic Bay (Luzon)
We had arrived in Manila the previous morning on an overnight flight from California via Taipei (China Airlines), and checked in to the Midas Hotel and Casino, a large luxury hotel convenient to the airport. With no garden or nearby natural areas to tempt us out into the humid heat to look for birds, we had spent the day in the air-conditioned hotel, organizing our gear and catching up on sleep. Now Nicky picked us up at 6 a.m. to go to La Mesa Ecopark, a natural area in the Quezon section of Manila. The main birding attraction here is Ashy Thrush, an endemic that is difficult to see anywhere else. It did not take long to find a very cooperative pair willing to pose for close-up photos. While at La Mesa we also picked up Philippine Magpie-Robin, Lowland White-eye, and Golden-bellied Gerygone—three species that we never saw again elsewhere—as well as Gray-backed Tailorbird and Philippine Pied-Fantail.
By mid-morning we were on the road to Subic Bay, arriving there in time for a late lunch at our accommodations, the Kamana Sanctuary, a resort hotel located within the protected area. After it cooled down a bit in the late afternoon we headed for the Hospital Road, stopping along the way to view a large colony of Rufous-crowned Bee-eaters nesting in a roadside embankment. There was a fair amount of activity along Hospital Road, and we quickly picked up a number of the more common and widespread species such as White-eared Brown-Dove, Philippine Green-Pigeon, Yellow-breasted Fruit-Dove, Philippine Coucal, Philippine Hanging-Parrot (Colasisi), Guaiabero, Brown-breasted Kingfisher, Elegant Tit, Balicassiao, Stripe-sided Rhabdornis and Coleto. Some of the more localized Luzon endemics were also present, including Luzon Flameback and Northern Sooty Woodpecker, Blackish Cuckooshrike, Scale-feathered Malkoha, and Green Racquet-tail. We timed our return to Kamana for dusk in order to look for Chocolate Boobooks on the way, finding three of them perched on telephone wires along the road leading to the resort.
26 March: Subic Bay (Luzon)
We started the morning at Hill 394, a restricted area (special permit required) within an old US military munitions storage facility that is still being used to store and dispose of hazardous materials. First bird of the morning was our primary target, a White-lored Oriole teed up at the top of a tall, dead tree. We also found Rufous Coucal and Red-crested Malkoha—both in the same field of view—got excellent looks at Luzon Hornbill, and ticked Philippine Fairy-Bluebird and Philippine Falconet. After a late breakfast back at the resort we checked a few areas around the Nabasan and Hill 394 roads, but it was already getting hot, activity had died down, and our only new sighting was a pair of diminutive Philippine Woodpeckers. We kicked back at Kamana during the heat of the afternoon, testing out the beachside infinity pool where Pacific Swallows and Gray-rumped Swiftlets occasionally swooped in for a drink. Late in the day we headed back out, first to the Nabasan area where Nicky teased a Trilling (Green-backed) Tailorbird and a White-browed Shama into view, then to the Cubi area where we got second looks at many of the same species we’d seen yesterday on the Hospital Road. Today on the way back to Kamana at dusk we scored a responsive Philippine Scops-Owl, along with two more Chocolate Boobooks and two Great Eared-Nightjars.
27 March: Subic Bay to Banaue (Luzon)
An early-morning prowl around the Nabasan area got us good looks at a Spotted (Wood)-Kingfisher along with “upgraded” views of Green Racquet-tail, Luzon Flameback and Red-crested Malkoha. After a quick breakfast back at the resort we hit the road for the very long drive to Banaue in North Luzon. Although only about 200 km, most of the route consists of narrow, winding two-lane roads populated by slow trucks and even slower tricycles, making for tedious travel. The only birding en route was a quick stop late in the day at one of the bridges in Lagawe, where we found Indigo-banded Kingfisher. We arrived at the Banaue Hotel in time for dinner, and retired promptly in preparation for a very early morning.
28 March: Mt. Polis (Luzon)
By 4 a.m. we were on our way to Mt. Polis, hoping to get there in time to find Luzon Scops-Owl. Indeed, several were calling when we arrived, including one that was hidden in trees just back from the edge of the road. But the owl wouldn’t budge in response to tape, and eventually stopped calling as the dawn chorus broke around us. We ate our picnic breakfast on the roadside, and as it gradually got light set about looking for the sources of the cacophony. Surprisingly, the first birds we got in our bins were a pair of Flame-crowned Flowerpeckers of the yellow-crowned Luzon race, an uncommon species that hadn’t really been on our radar. The rest of the chorus consisted of Luzon (Mountain) Sunbird, Turquoise Flycatcher, Chestnut-faced Babbler, Mountain White-eye, Green-backed Whistler and Mountain Leaf Warbler. As we worked our way further down the road towards the Bay-yo rice terraces, we pulled Mountain Tailorbird and Philippine Bush-Warbler out of the shrubbery, found a pair of Fire-breasted Flowerpeckers, and hit a nice mixed flock that included Citrine Canary-Flycatcher, Sulphur-billed Nuthatch, and Blue-headed Fantail. We finished the morning with a Luzon Redstart along the river at the bottom of the mountain, and then retraced our route back to Banaue for lunch and a short nap. After spending the late afternoon looking unsuccessfully for Mountain Shrike in the vicinity of the Banaue Ethnic Village, we waited for dusk along one of the tracks that leads to the Banaue rice terraces. It was quiet, and the only new birds we picked up were Brush (Rusty-breasted) Cuckoo and Little Pied Flycatcher. As it got dark a Philippine Frogmouth called nearby, but the only Luzon Scops-Owl to be heard was very distant and apparently not inclined to come closer.
29 March: Mt. Polis (Luzon)
At 4:45 a.m. we were back in the same spot, playing a tape and still getting no response. It got lighter and lighter, the dawn chorus started, and we had lost all hope when suddenly a Luzon Scops-Owl silently flew in and landed right above Nicky’s head! Elated, we continued on up to the village at the top of the mountain where we grabbed coffee and then ate our breakfast watching a pair of Mountain Shrikes in a pasture. An Eastern Buzzard was also a nice find, but both species were eclipsed by the pair of White-cheeked Bullfinches that Nicky spied feeding quietly along the roadside. We again worked our way down the road as far as the Bay-yo terraces, where we found a pair of soaring Philippine Serpent-Eagles and spent considerable time trying to lure a calling Benguet’s Bush-Warbler into view. Unsuccessful in that endeavor, we again adjourned to Banaue for lunch before returning to try again in the late afternoon. The Benguet’s Bush-Warbler of the morning had been replaced by an aggressively territorial Philippine Bush-Warbler who offered good photo ops by coming out into the open to attack Nicky’s Bluetooth speaker. Further up the road, however, we could hear two Benguet’s Bush-Warblers calling downslope. Nicky set up the speaker to bring one of them to a small gap in the vegetation, hoping we might get at least a quick glimpse of the bird as it crossed. When the warbler eventually did appear in the gap, it surprised us by stopping and sitting still and singing for over 5 minutes, and we came away with photos and video of this shy skulker. On the way back to Banaue we made one last attempt to find the two target species that had eluded us so far, Flame-breasted Fruit-Dove and Luzon Racquet-tail, but ended up going home without either of them.
30 March: Banaue to Los Banos (Luzon)
Waze suggested that today’s drive from Banaue to Los Banos would take 11 hours, longer the later in the day we started. For that reason we left the hotel at 4 a.m., getting several hours down the road before we started to meet other traffic and stopped to grab some breakfast. With minimal stops for food and bathroom breaks, we managed to make it to the UP Los Banos campus by about 2 p.m., beating the app’s most optimistic prediction by an hour. We settled in to the comfortable conference hotel on the campus, and in the late afternoon drove to an outlying area devoted to livestock husbandry and agricultural research. Several Plain Bush-hens were calling from a densely vegetated gully adjacent to an orchard, and we eventually managed to get excellent, unobstructed views of one of them walking along the floor of the gully. Barred Rails were much easier to see, with as many as five at one time in view along the edges of the road. It was dark by the time we returned to the main campus, and it took less than 5 minutes to locate and get great looks at a Luzon Boobook near some academic buildings.
31 March: Mt. Makiling (Luzon)
At 6 a.m. a jeepney driver who lives within the park drove us to the end of the road and start of the trail up Mt. Makiling, getting us there well ahead of any of the early hikers we had passed on the lower parts of the road. We walked the trail slowly and quietly, running across a couple of Pechora Pipits before hearing our primary quarry, Luzon Bleeding-Heart, calling in an area below the trail. That bird didn’t seem inclined to respond to tape, so we had continued on when another one suddenly materialized right beside the trail. We froze, and the bird walked towards us and then worked its way slowly up the adjacent slope, staying in view for several exhilarating minutes. We couldn’t ask for more than that, so worked our way back down to the road, picking up Amethyst Brown-Dove and another Spotted Kingfisher on the way. There was little activity lower down so we proceeded back to the UP campus. The resident Indigo-banded Kingfisher was a no-show along Molawin Creek, so we made do instead with Red-keeled Flowerpecker and Purple-throated Sunbird.
In the late afternoon we visited the Botanic Garden, where we found the hoped-for Flaming Sunbird as well as a surprise Thick-billed (Striped) Flowerpecker, and then returned to the same agricultural area as yesterday to search for buttonquail. We were rewarded almost instantly, as a female Spotted Buttonquail appeared on the roadside as we drove into the area. This evening many birds were visiting a wet spot in the dirt road to drink and bathe, and among the dozens of Red Collared-Doves and Blue-tailed Bee-eaters that were present we saw another two Plain Bush-hens, White-breasted Waterhen, numerous Barred Rails, and a snipe that we didn’t see well enough to identify to species.
01 April: Luzon to Mindanao
Today was another travel day, and once again we were on the road early, this time to try to make it to the airport in Manila through Monday-morning traffic. We arrived in plenty of time for our flight, which was predictably delayed by about an hour, getting us into Cagayan de Oro on Mindanao by about 3 p.m. We were met by a new driver, stopped for a quick, late lunch, then made the several hour drive to Malaybalay, arriving there in the dark and rain. It had been a long day, and we were relieved when Nicky decided we’d wait for daylight before making the hour-long drive to Cinchona in the morning.
02 April: Cinchona Forest Reserve, Mt. Kitanglad (Mindanao)
We ate a picnic breakfast upon arrival at the Cinchona Forest Reserve, watched by a Stripe-breasted Rhabdornis perched high atop a dead tree by the ranger station. We then entered the forest and slowly made our way up to the site where a raised platform had been constructed for viewing a Philippine Eagle nest. The nest had been active last year but the eagles only nest every two years so unfortunately there was nothing to view and the current condition of the platform didn’t tempt us into climbing up to look at the vacant nest. The eagles do apparently still frequent the area, however, so throughout the day we kept a hopeful eye on the nest tree and other large trees nearby. Mindanao holds a very different set of mountain species from Luzon, and in the course of the morning we encountered mixed flocks that included Yellow-bellied Whistler, Philippine Leaf Warbler, McGregor’s Cuckooshrike, Black-and-Cinnamon Fantail, Cinnamon Ibon and Rufous-headed Tailorbird. Blue-capped Kingfisher, Pinsker’s Hawk-Eagle, Mindanao White-eye, Bundok Flycatcher, and another Flame-crowned Flowerpecker—this one of the red-crowned subspecies—rounded out a productive day. As we waited for dusk back at the ranger station a Mindanao Hornbill put in a brief appearance. The first owl of the evening was an Everett’s Scops-Owl that teased us by coming very close but getting away unseen. As we set about playing for Mindanao Scops-Owl, a very cooperative Giant Scops-Owl responded and then sat patiently for photos. Throughout the evening this individual followed us, appearing every time we moved to a new spot to try for the Mindanao Scops-Owl. After an hour with no response from the latter, we made the long drive back to Malaybalay, facing the prospect of a late dinner followed by a very early morning.
03 April: Cinchona Forest Reserve to Del Monte Lodge, Mt. Kitanglad (Mindanao)
A 3:30 a.m. start got us back to Cinchona by 4:30 a.m. Rather than reworking the same areas as last evening, we instead made our way up the road past the ranger station. Philippine Frogmouths were calling, but we again had no response from our main target species. It got light, the dawn chorus started, and we reluctantly accepted defeat. As we turned around to head back to the ranger station, a Mindanao Scops-Owl finally replied, and minutes later flew in to give us a clear, albeit brief, view. Another last-minute, post-dawn save! As we walked back along the road, a Long-tailed Bush-Warbler called and then consented to come out into the open, putting on a prolonged show for the video camera. Gray-hooded Sunbird was also new for the tour. We didn’t really have time this morning for another trek to the eagle-viewing platform and back, so instead drove some distance up the rough dirt road to a vantage point from which we could scan the distant mountainside for raptors. Although we picked up a variety of other species (Gray-faced Buzzard, Oriental Honey-Buzzard, Chinese Sparrowhawk, Philippine Serpent-Eagle) there was no sign of Philippine Eagles, and after two hours of patient scanning we gave in and returned to Malaybalay to pack up and move on to the other side of Mt. Kitanglad.
From Malaybalay to the jumping-off point for Del Monte Lodge is a drive of about 45 minutes that sometimes necessitates transferring to a jeepney for the final leg. Because conditions had been so dry recently the road was in good shape, however, and our van was able to make it the full distance without difficulty. From there it’s another 45 minutes to the lodge on foot, and we found our host, Danny, waiting for us with a horse to take the luggage. Bags loaded and sent on their way, we set off to hike to the lodge carrying just our optics and daypacks. Black clouds on the horizon had been moving gradually closer all afternoon, and about 5 minutes after we set off it began to rain lightly. No problem, we put up the umbrellas to protect the optics and carried on. In another 5 minutes the heavens suddenly opened in a torrential downpour, and we took cover under the only nearby tree, struggling to get the optics into dry-bags and pull on ponchos while simultaneously holding umbrellas over everything. It continued to pour for the entire duration of the hike to the lodge, the hard-packed, deeply rutted dirt trail got more and more slippery and in places turned into a river, and by the time we finally made it to shelter our boots were sodden and pants soaked from the knees down. Fortunately our packs and luggage had not gotten too wet, and we quickly spread everything out to dry in the spacious open-air barn that comprises most of Del Monte Lodge. Nicky’s business partner and fellow guide, Adrian Constantino, had arrived the previous day with all of the provisions for our stay, including a very welcome case of beer that we soon opened. After a tasty and filling meal cooked by Danny’s wife, we retreated to the roomy tent where we would stay while Adrian and Nicky slept in the barn’s open loft.
04 April: Del Monte Lodge, Mt. Kitanglad (Mindanao)
A fighting cock tied to a nearby tree made sure we didn’t oversleep, and after a big breakfast we pulled on our still-damp pants and boots and made our way to the eagle lookout. The hike through cultivated land takes about 45 minutes at a brisk walking pace, but this morning it took about 3 hours as we slowly birded our way there. Along the way we picked up new species such as Red-cheeked Parrotfinch, Apo Myna, Short-tailed Starling, Olive-capped Flowerpecker, and fly-by Mindanao Racquet-tails and Philippine Cuckoo-Doves. Upon arrival at the eagle viewing spot, we settled in to watch the adjacent mountainside for as long as it would take to see a Philippine Eagle. Comfortable chairs had been brought up for us on horseback, and lunch was eventually delivered by horse as well. Although periodic moments of excitement were brought on by distant Gray-faced Buzzards, Oriental Honey-Buzzards, Philippine Serpent-Eagles and a Pinsker’s Hawk-Eagle, the wait for a Philippine Eagle stretched on into the afternoon. When one finally appeared at about 2:30 p.m., soaring over the canopy below us, it was instantly unmistakable, with its broad wings, completely white undersides and golden-sheened head. We watched for 10-15 minutes as it made it way across the mountainside, landing for a few minutes at a time before soaring on to another tree. After the eagle disappeared around the back of the mountain we called it a successful day, and hiked back down to the lodge for a celebratory beer. At dusk we walked back the short distance to a small wetland area to look for Bukidnon Woodcock. Unfortunately the conditions had been so dry the woodcock had not been displaying recently, but we did get a very quick look at one that made a short flight across the wetland. Philippine Nightjars were calling, and we managed to get a similarly brief view of one of them, too. Neither the Everett’s Scops-Owl nor the Philippine Frogmouth that were calling by the lodge cooperated tonight.
05 April: Del Monte Lodge, Mt. Kitanglad (Mindanao)
With our number one target species ticked yesterday, today we would try for number two, the high-elevation Apo Sunbird. Without stopping it did take us less than an hour today to get to the eagle lookout, where we rested only briefly before continuing on up the ridge. After another 2 hrs of steady and occasionally steep climbing through forest we arrived in Apo Sunbird territory, where Danny located a pair that were feeding a fledgling. We watched them come and go for about a half hour and then trekked back down to the eagle lookout for lunch. Although we put in another couple of hours scanning for eagles, today’s weather conditions were apparently not conducive to soaring, and none of the raptors or numerous swifts that had been present yesterday were to be seen today. So it was back to the lodge for a beer and to kick back until dusk when we would try again for various nocturnal birds. Woodcocks were a no-show, but tonight we managed good views of two different Philippine Frogmouths along with a Crested Goshawk on a night roost.
06 April: Del Monte Lodge to Davao (Mindanao)
After another filling breakfast we loaded our luggage back onto the horse and hiked down to the village, in considerably drier and more pleasant conditions than those we’d arrived in. Along the way we picked up two new species, Brown Tit-Babbler and Buzzing (White-bellied) Flowerpecker. Another long drive filled the day, across the island to Davao. We arrived at the Eden Nature Park in the late afternoon, and after checking into our accommodations headed out to a nearby orchard where Japanese Night-Herons had been resident for some time. Unfortunately they had disappeared recently, and after two hours of wandering around in intermittent showers we came away with nothing to show for our efforts other than the ubiquitous Olive-backed Sunbirds and Philippine Bulbuls.
07 April: Davao to Bislig (Mindanao)
We paid an early morning visit to a nearby village frequented by the rare and localized endemic Whiskered Flowerpecker. While there, a brief foray down a wooded ridge got us Cryptic Flycatcher plus an unexpected but very welcome Mindanao Blue Fantail. The rest of the morning was spent walking some of the trails along the creek in Eden Nature Park, looking for Southern Silvery Kingfisher. Eventually we located one, and followed it along the creek, trying for close photos. After one of its short flights upstream the kingfisher landed only to be chased from its perch by another bird, which turned out to be an immature Blue-breasted (Red-bellied) Pitta! We turned our attention and cameras to that species, which sat quietly for some time, sunning itself and preening. Returning to our room to check out, we discovered several active Ridgetop Swiftlet nests under the balcony. Before leaving Davao we paid a visit to the Philippine Eagle Center, a captive breeding and rehabilitation facility that offers excellent opportunities to see Philippine Eagles and other birds of prey (Pinsker’s Hawk-Eagles, White-bellied Sea-Eagle, Gray-headed Fish-Eagle, various owls) at very close range. Plenty of wild birds can be found within the grounds, too, and we scored Yellow-wattled Bulbul and Black-faced Coucal here. A really nice lunch at a nearby organic farm-restaurant fueled us for the 4-hr. drive to Bislig.
Until now the trip had been going very smoothly, and the birding gods had been smiling on us. We’d found most of our target species, enjoying unparalleled looks at a number of them. Tonight our luck began to change. Over dinner Nicky relayed the devastating news he had just received that the resident Palawan Peacock-Pheasant at Puerto Princesa Underground River NP had apparently disappeared, having been missed by two birding groups in the past week. As that species was our number one target for the entire trip, the news put a serious damper on the next few days, although we tried to keep alive the hope that its absence would be temporary. The mood of the trip was not helped by a turn in the weather followed by tedious travel delays as we tried to leave Mindanao for Palawan.
08 April: PICOP (Mindanao)
PICOP is a former logging concession that has been turned over to the Philippine army to safeguard as a protected area, and permits are required for entry. Unfortunately, it’s protected on paper only, and the forest is rapidly disappearing in the face of ongoing illegal logging and settlement. From Bislig it is now necessary to drive 1-1/2 to 2 hrs. to reach the less disturbed western regions of the tract. Today we went to the closer Road 4, surprising three Plain Bush-Hens in the road on the way in (for a bird that’s supposed to be very difficult to see, we had certainly done well on this trip!). The first part of the morning brought us a number of new species, including Short-crested Monarch, fly-by views of both Rufous and Writhed Hornbills, Mindanao Pygmy-Babbler, Bicolored Flowerpecker, Yellowish Bulbul and several Philippine Spinetailed Swifts among the more numerous Pygmy Swiftlets. As we moved down the road to check a palm plantation for sunbirds it began to rain steadily, and for the rest of the day the rain let up for only brief periods. During those short dry intervals we managed to get killer looks at several Blue-crowned Racquet-tails feeding in nearby trees, and teased a skulking Black-headed Tailorbird out for a quick look, but by mid-afternoon we gave in and returned to drier Bislig to look for waterbirds. The lake on the outskirts of town did not disappoint, with a flock of about 30 Philippine Ducks present as well as some Wandering Whistling-Ducks. We were intrigued to see both Little Egrets and Intermediate Egrets feeding by plunge-diving, a behavior we’d never witnessed. They would fly very slowly over the water’s surface—in danger of stalling as they tried to hover—before belly-flopping into the water and often coming up with a fish!
09 April: PICOP (Mindanao)
It was still raining as we left the hotel at 3:30 a.m. which didn’t bode well for our attempt to find a Mindanao Boobook. Although we did hear one, it was some distance away and (quite sensibly given the weather!) declined to respond to our invitation to come closer. We did, however, have a Rufous-lored Kingfisher fly in and perch above us briefly in the early morning half-light. Today we continued further out to Road 42 and endured another day of unrelenting drizzle. In the very few and all-too-short breaks during which there was some bird activity we managed to track down Philippine Trogon, Rusty-crowned Babbler, Olive-backed Flowerpecker, Metallic-winged Sunbird and a pair of Handsome Sunbirds who were attending a nest with several chicks in it. Patiently stalking an Azure-breasted Pitta through very wet understory vegetation paid off in the end with a brief full-frontal view for Cathy. As we made the long drive back out of the area in the late afternoon our driver spotted a Naked-faced Spiderhunter feeding in a palm on the roadside, and a bird perched atop a distant dead tree turned out to be an Indian Cuckoo. Deciding not to stay out for another attempt at Mindanao Boobook, we returned to the hotel and a dinner that included two local specialties, pork belly and durian, both brought in from outside. It was a pleasant end to our stay here, but all in all the weather had made for a disappointing two days, and we left having dipped on about a dozen endemics we had hoped to see, including megas such as Wattled Broadbill and Celestial Monarch.
10 April: Davao to Palawan
Another very long travel day. We left Bislig bright and early to drive back to Davao to catch an 11 a.m. flight to Manila and on to Palawan. Long story short, the flight was delayed by 6 hours due to air traffic congestion, and we finally landed in Manila at about 8 p.m. Fortunately, our flight to Palawan had also been delayed for several hours by the same congestion, with a new ETD that gave us 30 minutes to make the connection. We sprinted through the Manila airport, arriving at the gate breathless and sweaty just as yet another 30-minute delay was announced. It was 11 p.m. by the time we made it to Palawan, where we discovered that—contrary to the assurances of the ground crew in Manila—our luggage had not made the connection. After lengthy discussion with the Cebu Pacific staff and calls to Manila we were promised that our bags would arrive on the 5 a.m. flight and would be delivered promptly to our accommodations—which were still an hour-and-a-half away in Sabang. It was 1 a.m. by the time we got there and got to bed, but at least we had made it and had not lost any birding time. We were missing a few items such as tripods for the scopes, sunscreen and Paul’s boots, but were otherwise equipped for the morning’s birding.
11 April: Sabang (Palawan)
By 6:30 a.m. we were in a motorized outrigger on our way to Puerto Princesa Underground River NP, arriving there well ahead of any other tourists. In the early-morning quiet a Hooded Pitta and a pair of Tabon Scrubfowl were feeding in the open around the ranger station. A quick check of the trails turned up Palawan Blue Flycatcher, Palawan (Gray-throated) Bulbul and Pale Spiderhunter. Nicky then arranged for us to go on the boat trip into the underground river before anyone else arrived. Being paddled silently through the cave with our boatman’s torch the only light, enveloped in the cacophony of hundreds of echolocating swiftlets and bats flying low over the water was a magical experience. We exited the cave just as several boats holding a dozen excited tourists each were preparing to enter, extremely grateful that we’d had such a quiet, private opportunity to enjoy this natural wonder. While we had been in the cave Nicky had been scouring the Palawan Peacock-Pheasant’s territory for signs of the bird. He now met us with the grim confirmation that the bird did indeed appear to be absent. He had, however, discovered the nest of an Ashy-headed Babbler, which we now went to see, picking up White-vented Shama, Ashy Drongo and Pin-striped Tit-Babbler along the way. A pair of Palawan Hornbills rounded out the morning before we returned to the resort for lunch and a nap.
In the late afternoon we headed out to look for Philippine Cockatoos, stopping en route to check a small trail where some fruiting trees produced Thick-billed Pigeon, as well as Palawan, Thick-billed (Striped) and Pygmy Flowerpeckers. We didn’t have too long to wait at the Cockatoo Lookout before three Philippine Cockatoos appeared on the distant hillside, and a stunning pair of Yellow-throated Leafbirds, a Rufous-tailed Tailorbird, and a very vocal Square-tailed Drongo-Cuckoo made that wait quite enjoyable. On the way back to Sabang we stopped at the small trail again to try for owls. Both Palawan Scops-Owl and Palawan Frogmouth were calling very close, but both remained stubbornly hidden in very dense vegetation.
12 April: Sabang (Palawan)
We started the morning with a boat trip through the mangroves adjacent to the Sabang beachfront where we found Ruddy and Blue-eared Kingfishers. Disembarking on the far side of the creek, we spent the rest of the morning hiking the trail that leads to the Underground River. We had success early on with Falcated Wren-Babbler, hit a quiet spell, then had a spate of activity with a pair of Red-headed Flamebacks followed in quick succession by Blue Paradise-Flycatcher, Mangrove Whistler, Lovely Sunbird and a fast-moving Rufous-backed Dwarf-Kingfisher. Nicky hoped we might run across a “wild” Palawan Peacock-Pheasant and at one point saw a shadow of movement he thought might be one, but we did not come away with a tickable sighting of this extremely shy and wary species. In the afternoon we drove back out towards Brgy. Cabayugan where we birded the roadside, finding Palawan Tit, Sulphur-bellied Bulbul, and a pair of Great Slaty Woodpeckers. Hoping for coffee, we then stopped at the Cacaoyan Restaurant. Unfortunately they had closed for the day, but the photo ops offered by Palawan Flowerpeckers, Lovely Sunbirds and the endemic orange-breasted race of Olive-backed Sunbird feeding on cashew fruits in the garden kept us occupied until dusk. We then returned to the trail where we had heard owls and frogmouths last night, but tonight nothing was stirring.
13 April: Sabang to Puerto Princesa (Palawan)
Paul decided to sleep in, but Cathy and Nicky were back out on the trail at 4 a.m. A Palawan Frogmouth cooperated nicely for photos, but the Palawan Scops-Owl from two nights ago was still conspicuously absent. We tried the nearby ATV trail with no luck, where a pair of calling Spotted Wood-Owls also went unseen. After breakfast we returned to the roadside near Brgy. Cabayugan where we finally tracked down a pair of Spot-throated Flamebacks along with a Dark-throated Oriole and some Fiery Minivets. Eventually we pulled ourselves away and made the drive back to Puerto Princesa city in time for lunch. In the late afternoon we visited the Badjao Seafront Restaurant, which sits in the middle of a mangrove forest. Copper-throated Sunbirds and a Pale Spiderhunter were bathing in a fountain by the restaurant entrance, and in the mangroves surrounding the parking lot we found Common Iora and Mangrove Blue Flycatcher along with a number of Philippine Pied-Fantails. At sunset a gorgeous Spotted Wood-Owl put in a welcome appearance. We cut our time with that owl short to go in search of another, taking a boat out of the harbor at dusk to a small island in Honda Bay. Here it did not take long to locate and get good views of a calling Mantanani Scops-Owl.
14 April: Puerto Princesa (Palawan) to Manila
Before leaving Palawan we had a few more endemics to find at the Irawan Eco Park on the outskirts of Puerto Princesa city. Palawan Flycatcher and Ashy-fronted Bulbul came quite easily, while Black-chinned Fruit-Dove and Chestnut-breasted Malkoha were welcome bonus birds. But a calling Melodious Babbler absolutely refused to show, and Blue-headed Racquet-tails were nowhere to be found. Eventually we had to leave for the airport, where we were happy to find that our flight back to Manila was delayed by only an hour.
15 April: Infanta, Quezon (Luzon)
A new road through the mountains at Infanta, a two hour drive from Manila, has opened up a previously inaccessible area to birding, and a number of species that can otherwise only be seen in the Sierra Madre range of northern Luzon have been discovered to occur here. Chief among them is Whiskered Pitta, our primary target for today. Upon arrival, we worked the roadsides and made short forays up the steep hillside, listening in vain for pittas. After four long hours Nicky finally heard a distant response, and we clambered up a steep trail into the forest and settled down to wait. Within just a few minutes the Whiskered Pitta appeared, hopping right up to our feet and then proceeding to spend about 10 minutes feeding in the area adjacent to where we sat, completely unconcerned by our presence. At times it was too close for photos, but we nonetheless came away with many taken at point-blank range. The rest of the morning was anti-climactic as we searched unsuccessfully for the northern sub-species of Rufous Hornbill, heard in the distance but never seen. We eventually broke for a late lunch and then decided to head back into Manila before the height of rush-hour traffic.
We flew home the next morning, having finished the trip with 250 species (plus four heard only), 137 of them Philippine endemics or near-endemics. Missing the Palawan Peacock-Pheasant was of course a huge disappointment as was the weather at PICOP, but there were many highlights to make this an overall very successful trip. And enough missed endemics to perhaps motivate us to return at some time in the near future, while there are still some forests left standing in this sadly overpopulated country.
All sightings have been recorded on eBird.
bold: endemics or near-endemics
LME: La Mesa Eco Park
SUB: Subic Bay
POL: Mt. Polis
UPLB: UP Los Banos
MAK: Mt. Makiling
CIN: Cinchona Heritage Park, Mt. Kitanglad
KIT: Del Monte Lodge & vicinity, Mt. Kitanglad
DAV: Eden Nature Resort and vicinity, Davao
SAB: Sabang (including Puerto Princesa Underground River NP)
PP: Puerto Princesa City
IRA: Irawan Eco Park, Puerto Princesa
Wandering Whistling-Duck (Dendrocygna arcuata): Bislig, 20
Philippine Duck (Anas luzonica): Bislig, 30
Tabon Scrubfowl (Megapodius cumingii): SAB, 2
Red Junglefowl (Gallus gallus): SUB, 1
Red Collared-Dove (Streptopelia tranquebarica): UPLB, 50
Spotted Dove (Streptopelia chinensis): UPLB, 2; PIC, 1; SAB, 2
Philippine Cuckoo-Dove (Macropygia tenuirostris): KIT, 6; PIC, 1; INF, 3
Asian Emerald Dove (Chalcophaps indica): SUB, 2; INF, 1
Zebra Dove (Geopelia striata): UPLB, 5; PP, 2
Luzon Bleeding-heart (Gallicolumba luzonica): MAK, 1
White-eared Brown-Dove (Phapitreron leucotis): SUB, 3; POL, 1; MAK, 1; DAV, 1; PIC, 2
Amethyst Brown-Dove (Phapitreron amethystinus): MAK, 1; PIC, 1
Philippine Green-Pigeon (Treron axillaris): SUB, 11; PIC, 5
Thick-billed Pigeon (Treron curvirostra): SAB, 6
Yellow-breasted Fruit-Dove (Ptilinopus occipitalis): SUB, 3; CIN, 4
Black-chinned Fruit-Dove (Ptilinopus leclancheri): IRA, 1
Green Imperial-Pigeon (Ducula aenea): SUB, 20; PIC, 1; SAB, 20
Rufous Coucal (Centropus unirufus): SUB, 1
Black-faced Coucal (Centropus melanops): DAV, 1
Greater Coucal (Centropus sinensis): PP, 1; IRA, 3
Philippine Coucal (Centropus viridis): SUB, 6; POL, 3; PIC, 2
Lesser Coucal (Centropus bengalensis): UPLB, 1
Chestnut-breasted Malkoha (Phaenicophaeus curvirostris): IRA, 3
Red-crested Malkoha (Dasylophus superciliosus): SUB, 5
Scale-feathered Malkoha (Dasylophus cumingi): SUB, 2; POL, 1; INF, 1
Asian Koel (Eudynamys scolopaceus): SUB, 7; PIC, 3; SAB, 3
Plaintive Cuckoo (Cacomantis merulinus): PIC, 1
Brush (Rusty-breasted) Cuckoo (Cacomantis variolosus): POL, 3; CIN, 1
Philippine Drongo-Cuckoo (Surniculus velutinus): PIC, 1
Square-tailed Drongo-Cuckoo (Surniculus lugubris): SAB, 3
Indian Cuckoo (Cuculus micropterus): PIC, 1
Philippine Frogmouth (Batrachostomus septimus): KIT, 2
Palawan Frogmouth (Batrachostomus chaseni): SAB, 1
Great Eared-Nightjar (Lyncornis macrotis): SUB, 2; CIN, 3; PIC, 1
Philippine Nightjar (Caprimulgus manillensis): KIT, 1
Philippine Spinetailed Swift (Mearnsia picina): PIC, 4
Pygmy Swiftlet (Collocalia troglodytes): PIC, 15
Gray-rumped Swiftlet (Collocalia marginata): very common, Luzon lowlands
Ridgetop Swiftlet (Collocalia isonota): POL, 8; common on Mindanao
Philippine Swiftlet (Aerodramus mearnsi): KIT, 3
Ameline Swiftlet (Aerodramus amelis): PIC, 1; SAB, 200
House Swift (Apus nipalensis): Banaue, 10
Asian Palm-Swift (Cypsiurus balasiensis): UPLB, 1
Whiskered Treeswift (Hemiprocne comata): SUB, 1; CIN, 3
Barred Rail (Gallirallus torquatus): UPLB, 14
Eurasian Moorhen (Gallinula chloropus): UPLB, 2; Bislig, 2
Plain Bush-hen (Amaurornis olivacea): UPLB, 3; PIC, 3
White-breasted Waterhen (Amaurornis phoenicurus): LME, 1; UPLB, 6
Black-winged Stilt (Himantopus himantopus): SAB, 3
Whimbrel (Numenius phaeopus): SAB, 1
snipe sp. (Gallinago sp.): UPLB, 1
Bukidnon Woodcock (Scolopax bukidnonensis): KIT, 1
Common Sandpiper (Actitis hypoleucos): SAB, 1
Spotted Buttonquail (Turnix ocellatus): UPLB, 1
Oriental Pratincole (Glareola maldivarum): UPLB, 3
Cinnamon Bittern (Ixobrychus cinnamomeus): UPLB, 1; SAB, 1
Purple Heron (Ardea purpurea): UPLB, 2
Great Egret (Ardea alba): SAB, 1
Intermediate Egret (Ardea intermedia): Bislig, 3
Little Egret (Egretta garzetta): common in rice paddies
Pacific Reef-Heron (Egretta sacra): SAB, 1
Cattle Egret (Bubulcus ibis): common in rice paddies and fields
Javan Pond-Heron (Ardeola speciosa): Bislig, 5
Striated Heron (Butorides striata): SAB, 2
Black-crowned Night-Heron (Nycticorax nycticorax): UPLB, 1
Osprey (Pandion haliaetus): Bislig, 1; SAB, 2
Black-winged Kite (Elanus caeruleus): KIT, 1
Oriental Honey-buzzard (Pernis ptilorhynchus): CIN, 1; KIT, 3; INF, 1
Crested Serpent-Eagle (Spilornis cheela): SAB, 3
Philippine Serpent-Eagle (Spilornis holospilus): POL, 2; CIN, 1; KIT, 2; PIC, 1; INF, 1
Philippine Eagle (Pithecophaga jefferyi): KIT, 1
Pinsker's Hawk-Eagle (Nisaetus pinskeri): CIN, 1; KIT, 1
Gray-faced Buzzard (Butastur indicus): POL, 1; CIN, 6; KIT, 7
Crested Goshawk (Accipiter trivirgatus): KIT, 1; PIC, 1; SAB, 1
Chinese Sparrowhawk (Accipiter soloensis): CIN, 2
Brahminy Kite (Haliastur indus): SUB, 9; CIN, 1
Eastern Buzzard (Buteo japonicus): POL, 1
Giant Scops-Owl (Otus gurneyi): CIN, 1
Palawan Scops-Owl (Otus fuliginosus): SAB, heard only
Philippine Scops-Owl (Otus megalotis): SUB, 1
Everett's Scops-Owl (Otus everetti): CIN, KIT heard only
Mantanani Scops-Owl (Otus mantananensis): PP, 1
Mindanao Scops-Owl (Otus mirus): CIN, 1
Luzon Scops-Owl (Otus longicornis): Banaue, 1
Spotted Wood-Owl (Strix seloputo): PP, 1
Chocolate Boobook (Ninox randi): SUB, 5
Luzon Boobook (Ninox philippensis): UPLB, 1
Mindanao Boobook (Ninox spilocephala): PIC, heard only
Philippine Trogon (Harpactes ardens): PIC, 1; INF, 1
Rufous Hornbill (Buceros hydrocorax): PIC, 4
Palawan Hornbill (Anthracoceros marchei): SAB, 7
Writhed Hornbill (Rhabdotorrhinus leucocephalus): PIC, 3
Luzon Hornbill (Penelopides manillae): SUB, 6; MAK, 1
Mindanao Hornbill (Penelopides affinis): CIN, 2; KIT, 1; PIC, 4
Blue-eared Kingfisher (Alcedo meninting): SAB, 2
Indigo-banded Kingfisher (Ceyx cyanopectus): Lagawe, 1
Southern Silvery-Kingfisher (Ceyx argentatus): DAV, 1
Rufous-backed Dwarf-Kingfisher (Ceyx rufidorsa): SAB, 1
Ruddy Kingfisher (Halcyon coromanda): SAB, 1
Brown-breasted Kingfisher (Halcyon gularis): LME, 1; SUB, 2; UPLB, 3; CIN, 2; KIT, 3; PIC, 2
Rufous-lored Kingfisher (Todiramphus winchelli): PIC, 1
Collared Kingfisher (Todiramphus chloris): LME, 2; PP, 1; IRA, 1
Spotted (Wood-)Kingfisher (Actenoides lindsayi): SUB, 1; MAK, 2
Blue-capped (Wood-)Kingfisher (Actenoides hombroni): CIN, 1
Rufous-crowned Bee-eater (Merops americanus): SUB, 50
Blue-tailed Bee-eater (Merops philippinus): UPLB, 50
Dollarbird (Eurystomus orientalis): SUB, 3; SAB, 3
Coppersmith Barbet (Psilopogon haemacephalus): SUB, 2; UPLB, 1; PIC, 2; INF, 1
Philippine Woodpecker (Yungipicus maculatus): SUB, 2; KIT, 1
Luzon Flameback (Chrysocolaptes haematribon): SUB, 6
Red-headed Flameback (Chrysocolaptes erythrocephalus): SAB, 2
Spot-throated Flameback (Dinopium everetti): SAB, 3
Northern Sooty-Woodpecker (Mulleripicus funebris): SUB, 6
Great Slaty Woodpecker (Mulleripicus pulverulentus): SAB, 3
White-bellied Woodpecker (Dryocopus javensis): SUB, 2; PIC, 2
Philippine Falconet (Microhierax erythrogenys): SUB, 6; CIN, 2; PIC, 2
Philippine Cockatoo (Cacatua haematuropygia): SAB, 4
Mindanao Racquet-tail (Prioniturus waterstradti): KIT, 7
Green Racquet-tail (Prioniturus luconensis): SUB, 3
Blue-crowned Racquet-tail (Prioniturus discurus): PIC, 4
Blue-naped Parrot (Tanygnathus lucionensis): SUB, 15; SAB, 1; IRA, 2
Guaiabero (Bolbopsittacus lunulatus): SUB, 8; UPLB, 1
Philippine Hanging-Parrot (Colasisi) (Loriculus philippensis): SUB, 8; CIN, 3; KIT, 8; DAV, 2; PIC, 2
Whiskered Pitta (Erythropitta kochi): INF, 1
Blue-breasted Pitta (Erythropitta erythrogaster): DAV, 1
Hooded Pitta (Pitta sordida): SAB, 1
Azure-breasted Pitta (Pitta steerii): PIC, 1
Golden-bellied Gerygone (Gerygone sulphurea): LME, 1
White-breasted Woodswallow (Artamus leucorynchus): SUB, 10; UPLB, 5; CIN, 5
Common Iora (Aegithina tiphia): PP, 2
Fiery Minivet (Pericrocotus igneus): SAB, 3
Ashy Minivet (Pericrocotus divaricatus): LME, 4; UPLB, 6
Bar-bellied Cuckooshrike (Coracina striata): SUB, 9; SAB, 1
McGregor's Cuckooshrike (Malindangia mcgregori): CIN, 1; KIT, 2
Blackish Cuckooshrike (Analisoma coerulescens): SUB, 4
Yellow-bellied Whistler (Pachycephala philippinensis): CIN, 3; PIC, 1
Mangrove Whistler (Pachycephala cinerea): SAB, 1
Green-backed Whistler (Pachycephala albiventris): POL, 4
Brown Shrike (Lanius cristatus): a few seen at most sites
Long-tailed Shrike (Lanius schach): POL, 2; UPLB, 1; KIT, 4
Gray-capped (Mountain) Shrike (Lanius validirostris): POL, 2
Dark-throated Oriole (Oriolus xanthonotus): SAB, 1
White-lored Oriole (Oriolus albiloris): SUB, 1
Black-naped Oriole (Oriolus chinensis): LME, 6; SUB, 7; SAB, 2; IRA, 2
Ashy Drongo (Dicrurus leucophaeus): SAB, 2
Hair-crested Drongo (Dicrurus hottentottus): CIN, 2; KIT, 1; PIC, 1; SAB, 1; IRA, 2
Balicassiao (Dicrurus balicassius): SUB, 8; MAK, 2
Black-and-cinnamon Fantail (Rhipidura nigrocinnamomea): CIN, 6; KIT, 2
Mindanao Blue-Fantail (Rhipidura superciliaris): DAV, 1
Blue-headed Fantail (Rhipidura cyaniceps): POL, 4
Philippine Pied-Fantail (Rhipidura nigritorquis): LME, 3; PP, 3
Short-crested Monarch (Hypothymis helenae): PIC, 2
Black-naped Monarch (Hypothymis azurea): PIC, 2; IRA, 1
Blue Paradise-Flycatcher (Terpsiphone cyanescens): SAB, 2
Slender-billed Crow (Corvus enca): SAB, 5; IRA, 5
Large-billed Crow (Corvus macrorhynchos): SUB, 8; CIN, 3; KIT, 1; DAV, 3; PIC, 5
Barn Swallow (Hirundo rustica): UPLB, 3; Bislig, 5; PP, 1
Pacific Swallow (Hirundo tahitica): SUB, 4; POL, 3; DAV, 4; SAB, 1; INF, 2
Striated Swallow (Cecropis striolata): Banaue, 2; UPLB, 4
Citrine Canary-Flycatcher (Culicicapa helianthea): POL, 1; INF, 1
Elegant Tit (Periparus elegans); SUB, 3; POL, 10; CIN, 5; KIT, 3; INF, 1
Palawan Tit (Periparus amabilis): SAB, 4
Sulphur-billed Nuthatch (Sitta oenochlamys): POL, 4; CIN, 2; KIT, 1
Yellow-wattled Bulbul (Brachypodius urostictus): DAV, 1; PIC, 2
Black-headed Bulbul (Brachypodius atriceps): SAB, 2; IRA, 4
Yellow-vented Bulbul (Pycnonotus goiavier): LME, 5; SUB, 1; UPLB, 3; KIT, 14; DAV, 1; PIC, 2
Ashy-fronted Bulbul (Pycnonotus cinereifrons): IRA, 2
Gray-throated (Palawan) Bulbul (Alophoixus frater): SAB, 4; IRA, 5
Sulphur-bellied Bulbul (Iole palawanensis): SAB, 1
Yellowish Bulbul (Hypsipetes everetti): PIC, 3
Philippine Bulbul (Hypsipetes philippinus): SUB, 14; UPLB, 2; CIN, 3; KIT, 2; DAV, 7; PIC, 7; INF, 5
Mountain Tailorbird (Phyllergates cucullatus): POL, 2
Rufous-headed Tailorbird (Phyllergates heterolaemus): CIN, 2; KIT, 1
Philippine Bush Warbler (Horornis seebohmi): POL, 5
Philippine Leaf Warbler (Phylloscopus olivaceus): CIN, 3; DAV, 1
Mountain Leaf Warbler (Phylloscopus trivirgatus): POL, 6
Tawny Grassbird (Megalurus timoriensis): KIT, 2
Striated Grassbird (Megalurus palustris): LME, 1; UPLB, 6; KIT, 1
Long-tailed Bush Warbler (Locustella caudata): CIN, 2
Benguet Bush Warbler (Locustella seebohmi): POL, 2
Rufous-tailed Tailorbird (Orthotomus sericeus): SAB, 1; IRA, 1
Gray-backed Tailorbird (Orthotomus derbianus): LME, 1; MAK, 1; INF, 1
Green-backed (Trilling) Tailorbird (Orthotomus chloronotus): SUB, 1
White-browed Tailorbird (Orthotomus nigriceps): PIC, 2
Chestnut-faced Babbler (Zosterornis whiteheadi): POL, 8
Mindanao White-eye (Lophozosterops goodfellowi): CIN, 1
Rusty-crowned Babbler (Sterrhoptilus capitalis): PIC, 1
Mindanao Pygmy-Babbler (Dasycrotapha plateni): PIC, 2
Lowland White-eye (Zosterops meyeni): LME, 7
Yellowish White-eye (Zosterops nigrorum): Lagawe, 1; INF, 2
Mountain White-eye (Zosterops montanus): POL, 5; CIN, 3; KIT, 33; DAV, 3
Pin-striped Tit-Babbler (Mixornis gularis): SAB, 4; IRA, 1
Brown Tit-Babbler (Macronus striaticeps): KIT, 1; DAV, 2
Ashy-headed Babbler (Pellorneum cinereiceps): SAB, 2; IRA, 1
Falcated Wren-Babbler (Ptilocichla falcata): SAB, 1
Philippine Fairy-bluebird (Irena cyanogastra): SUB, 1
Gray-streaked Flycatcher (Muscicapa griseisticta): LME, 1; SUB, 3; CIN, 2; KIT, 2; PIC, 1; SAB, 2
Philippine Magpie-Robin (Copsychus mindanensis): LME, 2
White-browed Shama (Copsychus luzoniensis): SUB, 2
White-vented Shama (Copsychus niger): SAB, 1; IRA, 2
Palawan Blue Flycatcher (Cyornis lemprieri): SAB, 3; IRA, 1
Mangrove Blue Flycatcher (Cyornis rufigastra): PP, 1
Turquoise Flycatcher (Eumyias panayensis): POL, 8
White-browed Shortwing (Brachypteryx montana): POL, CIN, KIT heard only
Little Pied Flycatcher (Ficedula westermanni): POL, 5; CIN, 1
Palawan Flycatcher (Ficedula platenae): IRA, 2
Cryptic Flycatcher (Ficedula crypta): CIN, 1
Bundok Flycatcher (Ficedula luzoniensis): CIN, 1
Luzon Redstart (Phoenicurus bicolor): POL, 1
Pied Bushchat (Saxicola caprata): POL, 1
Ashy Thrush (Geokichla cinerea): LME, 2
Eyebrowed Thrush (Turdus obscurus): LME, 1; SUB, 1; DAV, 4
Stripe-sided Rhabdornis (Rhabdornis mystacalis): SUB, 5; PIC, 2
Stripe-breasted Rhabdornis (Rhabdornis inornatus): CIN, 3; KIT, 6
Asian Glossy Starling (Aplonis panayensis): PP, 5
Short-tailed Starling (Aplonis minor): KIT, 4
Apo Myna (Goodfellowia miranda): KIT, 6
Coleto (Sarcops calvus): SUB, 21; CIN, 5; PIC, 5
Common Hill Myna (Gracula religiosa): SAB, 4
Crested Myna (Acridotheres cristatellus): POL, 3; UPLB, 2
Yellow-throated Leafbird (Chloropsis palawanensis): SAB, 2
Olive-backed Flowerpecker (Prionochilus olivaceus): PIC, 2
Palawan Flowerpecker (Prionochilus plateni): SAB, 6
Thick-billed (Striped) Flowerpecker (Dicaeum agile): UPLB, 1; SAB, 3
Whiskered Flowerpecker (Dicaeum proprium): DAV, 1
Olive-capped Flowerpecker (Dicaeum nigrilore): KIT, 4
Flame-crowned Flowerpecker (Dicaeum anthonyi): POL, 2; CIN, 1
Bicolored Flowerpecker (Dicaeum bicolor): PIC, 3
Red-keeled Flowerpecker (Dicaeum australe): UPLB, 3; DAV, 3; PIC, 2
Orange-bellied Flowerpecker (Dicaeum trigonostigma): MAK, 1; DAV, 1; PIC, 7
White-bellied Flowerpecker (Dicaeum hypoleucum): KIT, 1; INF, 1
Pygmy Flowerpecker (Dicaeum pygmaeum): SAB, 1
Fire-breasted Flowerpecker (Dicaeum ignipectus): POL, 2; KIT, 1
Plain-throated (Brown-throated) Sunbird (Anthreptes malacensis): PIC, 1
Purple-throated Sunbird (Leptocoma sperata): UPLB, 1; PIC, 3; SAB, 10
Copper-throated Sunbird (Leptocoma calcostetha): PP, 2
Olive-backed Sunbird (Cinnyris jugularis): DAV, 9; PIC, 3; SAB, 4
Lovely Sunbird (Aethopyga shelleyi): SAB, 2; IRA, 3
Handsome Sunbird (Aethopyga bella): PIC, 2
Flaming Sunbird (Aethopyga flagrans): UPLB, 1
Metallic-winged Sunbird (Aethopyga pulcherrima): PIC, 2
Mountain (Luzon) Sunbird (Aethopyga jefferyi): POL, 5
Gray-hooded Sunbird (Aethopyga primigenia): CIN, 2; KIT, 2
Apo Sunbird (Aethopyga boltoni): KIT, 3
Pale Spiderhunter (Arachnothera dilutior): SAB, 3; IRA, 1
Naked-faced Spiderhunter (Arachnothera clarae): PIC, 1
Gray Wagtail (Motacilla cinerea): POL, 1; UPLB, 2; CIN, 1; KIT, 2; DAV, 1
Paddyfield Pipit (Anthus rufulus): UPLB, 2; KIT, 1
Pechora Pipit (Anthus gustavi): MAK, 2
White-cheeked Bullfinch (Pyrrhula leucogenis): POL, 2
Cinnamon Ibon (Hypocryptadius cinnamomeus): CIN, 4; KIT, 5
Eurasian Tree Sparrow (Passer montanus): LME, 15; SUB, 7; PP, 6
Red-eared Parrotfinch (Erythrura coloria): KIT, 1
Chestnut Munia (Lonchura atricapilla): UPLB, 10; KIT, 8; DAV, 5; SAB, 3