|COMPLETE CHECKLIST OF SPECIES SEEN WITHIN THE PHILIPPINES - 2003
When one scans the below list, perhaps the most glaring issues for a practiced birdwatcher, ornithologist or scientist interested in the fauna of the Philippines will be the absence of certain records. An example might be the complete absence of records for Philippine Eagle, or a sole record for Hooded Pitta. However, we beg the indulgence of the reader in first explaining that this is the first ever attempt to list all ornithological sightings for a single year and it is the first time that an independent group has tried to collect reports from the wide variety of groups and individuals bird watching in the country.
Within our group we were successful at keeping and maintaining records. In addition we set in motion a Records Committee (see separate paper) for the future. However we were only able to gain records from few non-members, a couple of NGOs and very few visiting foreign birders. It must be our aim to increase this reach in the future.
In this sense, this report is just a small stepping stone towards a nationwide records database. It provides an excellent record of Metro Manila sightings but a poor reflection of what is happening elsewhere. Given time and cooperation we hope this will change.
We wish to thank those who did cooperate with us and we would like to invite others to submit records though the club’s email system.
Only reported from the Candaba Marsh and Lubao areas between September and December with a maximum count of 10 birds at Candaba on Sept. 14th.
One adult bird reported on May 15 from Jessie Beazley Reef, Sulu Sea. Apparently this species does not breed anymore on Tubbataha Reef – the only known breeding site in the Philippines. A potential alternative breeding area in the Spratley groups remains unvisited by ornithologists for many years. If absent from here the breeding population of this magnificent bird has been extirpated and can be added to the list of species which have died out in the country.
From its stronghold in the Sulu Sea one report of 20 birds on May 16 from Jessie Beazley Reef. The breeding populations are known to have declined constantly for more than 20 years and urgent conservation action is needed to maintain it as breeding species in the country
4 were reported off Panay Island on Nov. 8. Though not reported to the WBCP there are other positive reports of frigatebirds breeding within the known ranges for Greater Frigatebird Fregata minor in the Sulu Sea
A winter visitor with the last reported sighting being on April 7th in the Coastal Lagoon MM, and the first of the autumn on Sept. 14 in Candaba. Also recorded in Palawan, Sampaloc Lake (Laguna) with up to 12 birds, Rizal (Pangasinan) and along the MM coastline. Interestingly, this species was a new species for Sampaloc Lake in 2003 but was subsequently recorded regularly (NL). The peak count in MM where regular counts were made were, was of 62 birds on March 2nd. The peak autumn count was only 2 birds.
ecorded in the winter months with the last sighting at Lian, Batangas on May 10 and the first record for the autumn on September 14 at Candaba. Also recorded in Talaytay Watershed (Aurora), various sites in Pampanga, Rizal (Pangasinan) and Palawan. Within MM, perhaps the most remarkable discovery was of a wild bird roosting on Monkey Island in the Manila Zoo on Jan 11. Never a numerous bird, peak counts were for 6 at Candaba and 4 at Tambo, MM.
Recorded between January and April 6 and then again from August 31 to the end of the year from many sights around the country. The main arrival seemed to be in October. Peak site counts were of 100 or more birds in Lubao (Oct 31) , Puerto Rivas, Bataan (Dec. 8) and at Tambo on Aug. 31.
No over-summering records were received or breeding data.
Eastern Reef Egret
Records were received from Palawan (Puerto Princesa, St. Pauls’ & Rasa Island) and Puka Beach on Boracay. Reports were from Feb (2), July (1) and Dec. (1) with a maximum count of 4 birds in Puerto Princesa.
Recorded widely in every month of the year except for July and August. Migrating birds were noted in early April and late September. Peak counts in Pampanga of 1000+ birds in both Lubao (Oct 31) and Pasak River (Oct 11). Elsewhere counts of a few hundred were not unusual. Recorded from the following provinces; Palawan, Cavite, Laguna, Pampanga, Nueva Ecija, Pangasinan, Bataan and Metro Manila. The peak MM count was of 50+ birds on Dec 24.
This endangered species was recorded at its ‘regular’ sites of Olango and Puerto Princesa but more remarkably was the discovery of birds in Manila Bay in the autumn of this year. In addition a large count of 50+ birds on Rasa Island, Palawan on Dec. 4 was of note.
Site records were:
Olango - Jan 20 (11), March 23 (?), Sept. 16 (3), Sept. 20 (3) & Sept. 22 (11)
Puerto Princesa – Feb 3 (1), Dec. 4 (11)
Mangrove Island, Paranaque – Oct 26 (1) & Nov 9 (1)
Tambo Mudflats – Dec. 15 (1), Dec 24 (1)
Recorded in every month of the year except May & July, peak numbers were still in the winter months. A very widespread bird, arrival seemed to occur from late August through to mid-October with significant numbers (300) being present at Candaba on Sept. 14th. Counts in the hundreds were not unusual, though the peak counts came from Iwahig Penal Colony (1000+ in December). Probably recorded in every province from which reports were received. In MM counts were typically in the single figures to mid teens with only a few large counts being recorded – particularly towards the end of the year with 226 as peak numbers in the Paranaque wetlands;
Little Heron (Striated Heron)
Widely reported in low numbers from around Luzon and on Olango Island. In Metro Manila it was a core species in the Paranaque wetland areas. Recorded throughout the year in small numbers, the maximum count being of 20+ birds on the Taal Lake shore on Feb. 16. In MM the highest count was 13 birds at Tambo on Sept. 27th.
cattered reports received from Palawan, Sorsogon, Mindoro, Busuanga, Cavite, Nueva Ecjia, Pangasinan and Zambales. Although most counts were of less than 20 birds the flocks at Iwahig Penal Colony, Palawan of 3,000+ birds are most noteworthy as well as a overnight roost site in Rizal, Pangasinan with 1,800 birds.
White Egret sp
Many reports of egrets unassigned to species were received, the most noteworthy being the flocks off the North Luzon Expressway (regularly 1000+ birds) and a flock of 252 birds flying towards the reclamation area on Oct. 25.
Black-Crowned Night Heron
ow, a common bird around the Philippines – particularly in Luzon and a fact illustrated by the discovery of a nesting colony within Metro Manila in the Asia World complex in 2002. This colony was estimated to have about 150 breeding pairs on July 6 and an evening count of immature birds leaving the site on July 20 totaled 290 or a total population of around 590 individuals. However, eggs and chicks were increasingly being collected by nearby communities. Numbers dropped off rapidly after the end of the breeding season in August. Other sightings in MM included at the Zoo, Makati, UP Campus and the Cemeteries!
Elsewhere, small numbers were recorded in Laguna, Taal, Candaba & Pasak River Pampanga, San Pablo, Iwahig Palawan, and Pangasinan with no count higher than 10 birds.
Rufous Night Heron
A scarcer bird (although some may escape unidentified among Black-crowned Night-Herons) with records outside MM only from UP Los Banos (13 on Jan. 26), San Pablo City (1 on May 17) and Montible Highway, Palawan (1 Dec. 7).
In MM a breeding colony of more than 100 pairs in Paranaque was not re-established in 2003. It is speculated this was either because of competition with the previous species or due to disturbance in the former breeding area. However, up to 20 were seen at Tambo in the spring and up to 6 were present in the Manila Zoo colony, including 2 juveniles.
A common bird throughout lowland Philippines although not always reported. The highest count came from Candaba where 20 were seen on Sept. 14.
In MM, 1-2 birds regularly seen in the Paranaque area with sightings coming also from the old Nayong Pilipino, Libingan ng mga Bayani, Ninoy Aquino Park Q.C. among others.
Similarly common but under reported. 50+ were at Candaba on Sept. 14 and the species was reported from provinces around the country mainly in the winter months. In MM, up to 5 birds were seen in the coastal area, but 1-2 were present in every month of the year.
Also reported from the old Nayong Pilipino, Libingan ng mga Bayani and UP Diliman.
Only reported from Candaba Marsh where the normal breeding population was well represented in September with up to 20 birds flying around. The last, a single bird, was recorded at Candaba on Oct. 12.
* Black-faced Spoonbill
After an absence of nearly 100 years, the discovery of 3 birds on Batanes in 2002 was demonstrated not to be an extreme record when 3 were discovered in Iwahig Penal Colony, Palawan on Dec. 3 and were still present in early 2004. A detailed description is with the WBCP archives. Hopefully the report confirms the more regular return of the globally endangered species to the country.
Under reported with just a single record of 943 birds at Malasi Lakes, Cabagan, Isabela between Jan 17-21.
Similarly under-reported with just two records; of 586 birds at Malasi Lakes, Cabagan, Isabela between Jan 17-21 and a single at Subic Bay on Jan 24.
ocalized with Subic Bay being one of the best places to see this species. Up to 1,300 birds were there on Dec. 8-9 and 400+ on Jan. 24. Elsewhere 184 were counted at Malasi Lakes, Cabagan, Isabela between Jan 17-21, 14 on the Pasak River, Pampanga on Oct. 14 and 15+ birds were seen at Brgy. Salvacion, Andangan, Quezon on Dec. 28-29.
Rarely recorded with just two records of 205 birds at Malasi Lakes, Cabagan, Isabela between Jan 17-21 and 3 on the Pasak River, Pampanga on October 4.
Poorly recorded this year with just three records; of 816 birds at Malasi Lakes, Cabagan, Isabela between Jan 17-21, 10 at Candaba on Sept. 14 and a 15+ were seen at Brgy. Salvacion, Andangan, Quezon on Dec. 28-29.
Recorded only from 2 sites; Malasi Lakes (586 on Jan 17-21) and Subic Bay (max. 50 on Dec. 8-9).
Recorded only from 3 sites; Malasi Lakes (1,273 on Jan 17-21), 20 flying south along the Coastal Road towards Cavite on Oct. 2nd and a single at Subic Bay on Dec. 8-9.
Ducks were recorded in the Caylabne Bay area and 50 duck spp. flew north over Tambo on Oct. 26.
Widespread but uncommon – singles seen in Subic, Palawan, Ternate Cavite, Pico de Loro Cavite, Kalayaan Laguna, and Silang Cavite.
In MM, wintering birds at the Paranaque complex peaked at 3 on Dec. 15 while a single was also seen at La Mesa Dam on Dec. 7.
A single record on February 13 from the forest of Pico de Loro (Mt. Palay-Palay-Mataas na Gulod National Park), Cavite is the only record from 2003.
A scarce species, reported between Jan-April and Nov. from Talaytay Watershed, Aurora; Mt. Kitanglad, Bukidnon (2); PICOP, Bislig; Pico de Loro (Mt. Palay-Palay National Park), Cavite (3), Mt. Halcon, Mindoro.
A single record from PICOP, Bislig, Mindanao on Jan.29-30.
Now seemingly very rare – just a single record from Mt. Salaysay, Davao, on Feb. 1 is of concern.
* Black Kite
A single bird of the subspecies lineatus (Black-eared Kite ) was present in the protected area around Pico de Loro, Cavite on Feb. 13 and March 16. If accepted by external review this would be the 2nd record for the Philippines (the other being in 1902). A description is in WBCP archives.
ell reported though not in great numbers. Seen in Mag-Alambak Forest, Cebu; Subic Bay; Mt. Kitanglad, Bukidnon; around Pico de Loro , Cavite; Punta Fuego, Batangas; Boracay Island; Pililia, Rizal and Silang, Cavite.
The protected area around Pico de Loro remained a great place to watch this bird with up 21 present
In MM, a single was present at the American Cemetery from Oct. 11 to the end of the year and a well-publicized individual collapsed in the Malacanang grounds on Oct. 22.
Only 4 records of this species submitted – – with 3 from Palawan (2 birds at Iwahig and singles on the Montible Highway and on Busuanga) and 1 reported at Ternate, Cavite on Feb. 23. Though become scarce the Club is aware of other reports from the Sulu Sea area, Mindoro Oriental, Siargao and Cagayan
* Cinerous Vulture