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Palawan’s Feathered Friends: A Bird’s Paradise in 2024


Palawan, known for its rich biodiversity and pristine landscapes, is a haven for birdwatching enthusiasts.

sanctuary bird

sanctuary bird

The island is home to a diverse array of bird species, including endemics and migratory birds.

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Here’s a detailed list of birds that you might encounter in Palawan, making it a birdwatcher’s paradise:

1. Palawan Peacock-Pheasant (Polyplectron napoleonis):

  • Description:
    • Known as the “Tandikan” in local language.
    • Distinctive iridescent plumage with an elaborate eye-spotted tail.
    • Endemic to Palawan, making it a sought-after species for birdwatchers.

2. Palawan Hornbill (Anthracoceros marchei):

  • Description:
    • Recognizable by its large size, dark plumage, and a prominent casque on its bill.
    • Endemic to Palawan and nearby islands.
    • Often seen in pairs or small groups flying between trees.

3. Philippine Cockatoo (Cacatua haematuropygia):

  • Description:
    • Also known as the Red-vented Cockatoo.
    • Recognizable by its white plumage, red undertail, and curved crest.
    • Endangered species, and conservation efforts are underway to protect its populations.

4. Blue-headed Racquet-tail (Prioniturus platenae):

  • Description:
    • Vibrant green plumage with a distinctive blue head.
    • Endemic to Palawan and nearby islands.
    • Often found in lowland forests and wooded areas.

5. Philippine Eagle (Pithecophaga jefferyi):

  • Description:
    • One of the largest and most powerful eagles globally.
    • Recognizable by its striking appearance, with a large beak and a prominent crest of feathers.
    • Critically endangered, with conservation efforts focused on its protection.

6. Pied Imperial Pigeon (Ducula bicolor):

  • Description:
    • Large pigeon with a contrasting black-and-white plumage.
    • Often seen in flocks, flying gracefully between trees.
    • Found in various habitats, including forests and coastal areas.

7. Chestnut-breasted Malkoha (Phaenicophaeus curvirostris):

  • Description:
    • Medium-sized bird with a distinctive chestnut-colored breast.
    • Recognizable by its long tail and curved bill.
    • Often found in dense forests and wooded areas.

8. Hooded Pitta (Pitta sordida):

  • Description:
    • Colorful bird with a black head, green body, and vibrant red and yellow underparts.
    • Known for its distinctive call.
    • Inhabits dense vegetation and is often found near water sources.

9. Palawan Tit (Periparus amabilis):

  • Description:
    • Small, lively bird with a black cap, white cheeks, and yellow underparts.
    • Endemic to Palawan.
    • Typically found in montane forests and forest edges.

10. Collared Kingfisher (Todiramphus chloris):

  • Description:
    • Medium-sized kingfisher with blue and white plumage.
    • Often seen near water bodies, including rivers and coastal areas.
    • Wide distribution across the Philippines.

11. Grey Imperial Pigeon (Ducula pickeringii):

  • Description:
    • Large pigeon with grey plumage and a contrasting white band on its tail.
    • Typically found in lowland and montane forests.
    • Feeds on fruits and seeds.

12. Philippine Frogmouth (Batrachostomus septimus):

  • Description:
    • Nocturnal bird with excellent camouflage resembling tree bark.
    • Named for its large mouth, which it opens wide when threatened.
    • Inhabits forests and wooded areas.

13. Rufous-headed Parrotbill (Paradoxornis ruficeps):

  • Description:
    • Small bird with a rufous crown and distinctive markings on its face.
    • Typically found in grassy areas and open habitats.
    • Moves in small flocks and feeds on seeds and insects.

Tips for Birdwatching in Palawan:

  • Local Guides: Consider hiring local birdwatching guides who are familiar with the best locations and can help identify bird species.
  • Binoculars and Field Guide: Carry binoculars and a field guide to birds for easier identification.
  • Timing: Early morning and late afternoon are optimal times for birdwatching when many species are active.
  • Quiet Observation: Birds can be easily startled, so practice quiet observation to avoid disturbing them.
  • Respect the Environment: Follow ethical birdwatching practices, respecting the natural habitat and minimizing disturbances.

Palawan’s avian diversity makes it a captivating destination for birdwatchers, offering the chance to spot rare and endemic species in their natural habitats.

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Whether exploring the forests, coastal areas, or highlands, the island provides a rewarding experience for those who appreciate the beauty and diversity of birdlife.