Trip report: The Philippines (Feb-March 2017) by Tropical Birding

Guided by Charley Hesse. This was a set-departure tour

The Philippines has done better than most countries for splits in recent years, and there are now almost 250 endemic species, which is over a third of the total number of species. This incredible level of endemism is due to the complex island biogeography of the archipelago, which is far from being unravelled. We sampled a good proportion of the endemics by visiting the islands of Palawan, Mindanao, Luzon, Bohol, Cebu & Negros. Unfortunately, human population pressure has meant that habitat is being destroyed at an alarming rate, and many of these species found nowhere else in the world are now threatened with extinction. We had a mind-blowing trip and had great views of some of the ‘must see’ birds, like Palawan Peacock-Pheasant on Palawan, Great Philippine Eagle at Kitanglad, Southern Silvery-Kingfisher at PICOP, Spotted Kingfisher at Makiling, Philippine Eagle-Owl at Angono, Philippine Frogmouth, Azure-breasted Pitta & Visayan Broadbill on Bohol, and Cebu Boobook on Cebu. The Philippines is particularly rich in endemic owls, with each site having different species. With these very early starts throughout the trip and some sites with some pretty steep trails, the Philippines isn’t the trip for everyone. But for our avid group, the effort was well rewarded with some of the world’s best birds!

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