Saturday 17 November 2018

Philippines - Palawan & Luzon : November 2018 - Part 4

Day 8 - 8th November 2018 : Subic Bay > Infanta

We got a short morning session to clean things up in Subic Bay before a long drive to Infanta. Conditions were less than ideal, as it started off quite windy. Mark wanted to try once again for the rare White-fronted Tit, unfortunately none were heard. Birds were again perched on bare trees, Colasisi and Whiskered Treeswifts amongst the first birds, a trio of Rufous-crowned Bee-eaters provided an interesting photo opportunity. Bar-bellied Cuckooshrikes were again present but far.

Whiskered Treeswift & Colasisi

Rufous-crowned Bee-eater

Bar-bellied Cuckooshrike

A quick change of location yielded a Green Racquet-tail perched on top of a tree, it provided good views but with it's most prominent feature hidden. It wasn't until the bird decided to take to the air that we were able to appreciate it's interesting looking tail.

Green Racquet-tail - finally showing it's diagnostic feature!

A little further along a pair of confiding Blue-naped Parrots provided excellent views. I've seen this species in Sabah before, although some had argued that those are feral birds, theres little debate here whether these are genuinely wild birds. This species is listed as Near Threatened, undergone heavy habitat loss and trapping throughout it's range, Subic Bay is now one of the stronghold for this species in the Philippines.

Blue-naped Parrot - a Subic Bay speciality

Red-crested Malkohas were again present, I could look at this crazy looking malkoha all day long, it's red fluffy crest look as though the bird's head is on fire.

Red-crested Malkoha

Subic Bay is all about woodpeckers, and we couldn't go without seeing more of them. Both White-bellied Woodpeckers and Luzon Flamebacks showed well that morning. We heard the Sooty Woodpeckers a few times but they never showed.

White-bellied Woodpecker - female

Luzon Flameback - male

Finally, our time in Subic ended with a pair of Philippine Serpent Eagles which soared low over the forest. Although similar looking to the Crested Serpent Eagle, they are darker overall with distinct greyish throats, they are also said to have more well defined spots on the underside and wings, I also observed more spots on the upper mantle when compare to the Crested Serpent Eagles we get in Hong Kong.

Philippine Serpent Eagle - quality bird to end our time at Subic

We checked out of the hotel and continued on our journey to Infanta. We had to go through Quezon city again before we were able to head eastwards, which meant heavy traffic once again...Jeepneys, a popular form of public transport in the Philippines provided plenty of 'entertainment' onboard, as each vehicle is different from the other, with different paint jobs and designs, so in some ways each Jeepney is in itself a piece of art. They are not very safe, emissions are terrible and they create huge congestions as they can stop wherever and whenever they want...but it certainly is unique to the Philippines.

Jeepney - a unique feature of the Philippines

Before lunch we made a quick stop at the University of the Philippines Diliman (UPD), where Mark know of a day roost for Philippine Nightjars. We were not disappointed and were looking at a sleeping bird as soon as we got off the van at the carpark. The nightjar opened its eyes briefly to see all the commotions but soon went back to sleep as it recognised no threats. We also tried for an old Luzon Scops Owl roost, Mark wasn't sure whether they were still there, turns out the roosting spot had changed drastically. We only added Pied Trillers thereafter.

Philippine Nightjar

Pied Triller

After lunch it was more driving and sleeping...It felt like forever but we finally arrived at the Angono-Binangonan Petroglyphs Site at 4pm. This site has been declared National Cultural Treasure in 1973 by the National Museum of the Philippines, as the petroglyphs are the oldest known rock art in the Philippines, dating back to neolithic time. It is also here that a pair of Philippine Eagle Owls had chose to nest. We were greeted by a few birds as we exited the tunnel, including a male Red-keeled Flowerpecker.

Entrance to the Angono-Binangonan Petroglyphs site

Red-keeled Flowerpecker

The petroglyphs is located under an overhanging rock shelter, with 127 drawings of symbolic representations of animals and human figures in stylised forms. Erosion and vandalism over the years had taken it's toll and most of the figures are now indistinguishable, although very clearly men-made. This site is sacred in the indigenous culture and believed to be the home of ancestral spirits.

Ancient rock arts

It only seems fit that such a sacred and mysterious place should house one of the most spectacular night birds in all of Philippines. It felt like some sort of pilgrimage to walk up those stairs to see these big owls. One was well hidden behind branches and vines, while the other was in better view, guarding the nest from it's vantage point. This is a rare owl in the Philippines, with most records from Luzon. It is a vulnerable species mainly due to habitat loss. Although it is the largest owl in the Philippines, it is one of the smallest within the genus Bubo.

Philippine Eagle Owl - largest owl in the Philippines

Back outside the carpark we waited a little while for possible Bright-capped Cisticolas in promising habitats, but we only added a Blue Rock Thrush as well as Long-tailed Shrike.

Blue Rock Thrush

Long-tailed Shrike - race nasutus

It was yet another long drive towards Infanta. We stayed overnight in the hostel call Tanay Hills. It was basic and rooms were actually not bad, but the only problem was that quality of the buildings were terrible, shower head broken, toilet seats and taps missing...The staffs were however friendly and tried to fix the problems, and once they changed rooms for us everything was OK. We had an early night to prepare for our first birding day at Infanta.

Day 9 - 9th November 2018 : Infanta

Who would have thought that clear starry night transformed into pouring rain in a matter of one night. It was hammering it down with rain at breakfast and we knew immediately that it was going to be a wet day. We pushed on none the less and drove towards Infanta.

Infanta is a relatively new birding site, but had proved to be quite good in the last year or two, with various endemic goodies including the rare Whiskered Pitta and Rufous Hornbill, but the site also hosts a large variety of smaller endemic birds, such as Blue-headed Fantail, Elegant Tit, Yellowish White-eye, Bicoloured Flowerpecker, Buzzing Flowerpecker, Philippine Fairy-bluebird and so on...So we knew worst come to worst we will still get some new birds here.

Birding in the pouring rain...

The rain was heavy when we began our morning walk, things were looking rather grim. I was just about to lose hope of seeing anything special when Captain suddenly exclaimed "Malkoha!". Soon, we were all enjoying absolutely stellar views of the amazing Scale-feathered Malkoha, one of my main target on this trip. Other-worldly is the only suitable description I have for this species, with it's wonderfully bizarre scales like feathers on it's chin and crown, it was certainly the bright spot of the morning.

Scale-feathered Malkoha - star bird!

Soon after we were blessed with a short rainless hour where things certainly picked up. Philippine Bulbuls were numerous here, as were Elegant Tits. A good looking Blue-headed Fantail hopped in front of me for a great view.

Philippine Bulbul

Elegant Tit

Blue-headed Fantail

Another star species that morning were a small flock of Philippine Fairy-bluebird, feeding in a fruiting tree. This beautiful species is now Near Threatened due to habitat loss (what isn't nowadays?) as population is likely to be very fragmented now. Infanta is apparently one of the easiest place to see them.

Philippine Fairy-bluebird

Rain poured down once again as we took shelter inside a little chapel. A Flaming Sunbird fed on the flowers just outside provided a good look. The rain wasn't stopping, so we sat down for some coffee and cookies. I on the other hand started looking at spiders around the chapel, a perfect example of "when you can't bird, do something else".

Flaming Sunbird - male

Cyclosa sp.

Theridiidae sp.

Argiope sp.

Borboropactus sp.

At that point we thought we should go for an early lunch, so we drove to D'Hulk Resto-Park, a little restaurant on the roadside of R-6 with a massive fibre-glass Hulk model at it's door. Sure enough, as soon as we got out of the van weather improved. With improved weather came birds, and soon we were bang in the middle of a large bird wave. Elegant Tits were everywhere and provided excellent views.

Elegant Tit

Yellowish White-eyes also came down low to feed, while different Flowerpeckers also made an appearance, including Buzzing Flowerpeckers, Orange-bellied Flowerpeckers and Pygmy Flowerpeckers. Race xanthopygium of the Orange-bellied Flowerpecker looked nothing like the nominate race, I suspect these will be split in the near future. A pair of Bicoloured Flowerpeckers also made an appearance but did not provide good views.

Yellowish White-eye

Buzzing Flowerpecker

Orange-bellied Flowerpecker - race xanthopygium

Pygmy Flowerpecker

Ashy Minivets were numerous, while the Blue-headed Fantail posed on various branches, allowing great views and good photo opportunity. A single Yellow-bellied Whistler made a quick appearance, of which I failed to get a photo of.

Ashy Minivet

Blue-headed Fantail

A White-eared Brown Dove was found perched in amongst the flock, it probably wasn't part of the flock but just happened to be there at the time. It took a lot of effort but every one got good views of the endemic Lemon-throated Leaf Warbler in the end.

White-eared Brown Dove

Lemon-throated Leaf Warbler

During lunch we added an Oriental Honey Buzzard in the distance. I also saw a few Purple Needletails from the restaurant viewpoint.

View overlooking forests of Infanta

Oriental Honey Buzzard in the distance

I wanted to say that we had a blast in the afternoon, but the truth was that it never stopped raining. We added very few species and we were all soaked. Mark kept trying for the Whiskered Pitta near possible sites, but none replied. A Buzzing Flowerpecker feeding on some figs was our only consolation in the crappy weather. Before dark we added an Amethyst Brown Dove.

Buzzing Flowerpecker

Day 10 - 10th November 2018 : Infanta > La Mesa Eco Park > Hong Kong

We were grateful to have had at least a few hours of dry weather to catch up on the birds on our last morning, despite all this conditions were less than optimal, as it was even windier than the previous day. We decided to stay near the fruiting tree, hoping to get a fruit dove. It was much of the same birds, with Philippine Fairy-bluebirds and White-eared Brown Doves feeding in the tree.

Philippine Fairy-bluebird

White-eared Brown Dove

Coppersmith Barbet wasn't quite enough to get the crowd going, as it's a pretty common species throughout much of South East Asia. The endemic Yellow-wattled Bulbul was probably the best bird of the morning while the more common Philippine Bulbul in better view was also quite welcomed.

Coppersmith Barbet

Yellow-wattled Bulbul - best bird of the morning

Philippine Bulbul

A pair of Bicoloured Flowerpeckers visited the fig tree occupied by the Buzzing Flowerpeckers the day before. Male was a smart looking bird with black upper parts and pale grey under parts. A rather reclusive Amethyst Brown Dove showed up, it flew off before we could move in for a better photo.

Bicoloured Flowerpecker - male

Amethyst Brown Dove

Finally, a juvenile Rufous-bellied Eagle was our final addition onto our trip list before we began our long journey back into Manila. Weather improved immensely after we packed up around mid-morning. I thought our time in Infanta could not do the site justice, as I could see it potentially being very good, it's a shame we missed nearly all our major targets here, but as is birding sometimes.

Rufous-bellied Eagle - juvenile

Final look of Tanay Hills before departure

It was a very long drive to La Mesa Ecopark, our final birding site. Our goal here was simple, find the Ashy Thrush. La Mesa had became a must for visiting birders, as it is probably the easiest place in the world to find the otherwise elusive Ashy Thrush which is endemic to north Philippines. We had lunch and headed to the "Mini Forest" inside La Mesa. We thought it was going to be much easier, but perhaps we were there during mid-day, or perhaps there were too many people, we simply could not locate the bird after an hour! All the birds just made us worked so hard on our last day!

Entrance of La Mesa Ecopark

We were close to giving up at that point, as we only had 30 minutes left before we had to leave. As I walked into a part of the forest, I suddenly flushed a greyish bird from the ground, it was clear what it was. The bird flew off across the footpath to the other side. I went to look for others, and we waited. Mark walked into the forest and sure enough saw the thrush just a few meters away from him, we all followed and soon everyone got a look at this sneaky bird. It was quite clear that it wasn't afraid of people, it just didn't want to hop into the open. I got lucky in the end when the thrush hopped up onto a log before jumping left behind some thickets.

Ashy Thrush - a hard earned bird...

And that was that, we packed our stuff and got ready to leave for the airport. It probably would have been better if we were there early in the morning or later in the afternoon, but considering how little time we had I am glad we did not dip on this damn bird...A female Red Junglefowl (like) bird foraged around the car park, I am sure it's got Junglefowl genes due to it's greyish legs, although it's probably been domesticated at some point.

Red Junglefowl - likely half domesticated

We knew traffic was going to be bad, but wasn't quite sure how bad. The distance from La Mesa to the airport was approximately 35km, the entire journey took us nearly 3.5 hours...It was probably quicker if we walked. I thought we had left plenty of time, but in the end we were so close to being late...I hate traffic jams, and Manila certainly reminded me just how much I do so. We said our farewell with Mark and boarded the 7:45pm plane back to Hong Kong.


Philippines was an amazing country to travel in. People were so friendly to us wherever we went, they were also extremely polite to foreigners. Most people spoke english which makes communication easy. Food was in general good, with some memorable meals, including some of the best roast pork I've ever had, although vegetarians might have a hard time finding good food in the Philippines, as most meals were quite heavy on meat.

You do waste quite a lot of birding time due to traffic, but this seems unavoidable if you travel in the Philippines. Do leave plenty of time between sites, especially if you have a plane to catch. Connecting flights are known to be prone to delays, Yuen, Alfee and Hailey missed their connection flight back to Hong Kong, which resulted in them having to stay an extra night in Manila, so my advice will be to catch morning flights rather than late flights to ensure you get a backup flight.

Palawan and Luzon are both suitable islands for first time visitors to the country, especially Palawan, where it is more relaxed and birding was slightly easier. Birds were quite far away in Luzon by comparison, even my 500mm lens was struggling at times. This could be a result of continued hunting in the region? If you're a pure birder who doesn't put photography as priority you will have no problem at all, if you're a birder / photographer than there will be times when you wish you were carrying a 800mm lens with 2x extender...But, birders will find the huge variety of endemics irresistible, considering we only sampled a tiny part of this country just tells you how much Philippines has to offer in terms of birdwatching.

One of the plus side about birding in the Philippines is the lack of leeches, although there are leeches in some parts, we encountered none in Palawan and Luzon. Mosquitoes were a slight worry in some areas, as malaria is present in Palawan (although not common). Dengue fever is however more prevalent in the country. I personally did not encountered too many mosquitoes (they didn't seem to like me in the Philippines), but other members of our trip had quite a few bites.

I highly recommend both Totic Failana (based in Palawan) and Mark Jason Villa (based in Luzon) as bird guides, they were both very professional with vast knowledge of the local birds. Both take tours to other parts of the country as well. Also a huge thanks to my travel buddies with organising the trip's logistics and accounting!

We totalled 192 species between Palawan and Luzon, 72 of which were endemic species. We missed a few key target species including the Falcated Wren-babbler in Palawan, Spotted Wood Kingfisher, Philippine Trogon, Rufous Hornbill, Philippine Pitta and Whiskered Pitta, but as with all birding trips, it's impossible to get all the birds in one go, so I will sure come back to this beautiful country for more, hopefully soon!

Full bird list below, endemics highlighted in blue:

1Wandering Whistling-Duck - Dendrocygna arcuataCommon at Candaba
2Garganey - Spatula querquedulaA few seen at Candaba
3Philippine Duck - Anas luzonicaUp to ten birds seen at Candaba, two seen by Captain at Subic.
4Tufted Duck - Aythya fuligulaSmall flock at Candaba
5Tabon Scrubfowl - Megapodius cumingiiUp to two pairs at PPUR
6Palawan Peacock-Pheasant - Polyplectron napoleonisOld male at PPUR, individual at Crocodile Farm missing since our arrival
7Red Junglefowl (Domestic type) - Gallus gallusA few seen at La Mesa, grey legs females
8Little Grebe - Tachybaptus ruficollisA few at Candaba
9Rock Dove - Columba liviaWidespread throughout
10Red Collared Dove - Streptopelia tranquebaricaCommon at Candaba
11Spotted Dove - Streptopelia chinensisWidespread throughout
12Asian Emerald Dove - Chalcophaps indicaOne flew past at Badjao, another last morning at Infanta
13Zebra Dove - Geopelia striataWidespread throughout
14White-eared Brown-Dove - Phapitreron leucotisFairly widespread in forested area in Luzon
15Amethyst Brown-Dove - Phapitreron amethystinusTwo individuals seen at Infanta
16Black-chinned Fruit-Dove - Ptilinopus leclancheriOne seen and heard at Irawan Eco Park
17Green Imperial-Pigeon - Ducula aeneaA few seen at Subic Bay
18Rufous Coucal - Centropus unirufusSmall flocks at Subic Bay
19Greater Coucal - Centropus sinensisOne seen at Badjao
20Philippine Coucal - Centropus viridisFairly widespread at Subic Bay
21Chestnut-breasted Malkoha - Phaenicophaeus curvirostrisCommon in Palawan
22Red-crested Malkoha - Dasylophus superciliosusSmall flocks seen at Subic Bay
23Scale-feathered Malkoha - Dasylophus cumingiPair seen at Infanta
24Plaintive Cuckoo - Cacomantis merulinusHeard at Irawan Eco Park
25Square-tailed Drongo-Cuckoo - Surniculus lugubrisCommonly heard, one seen enroute to Sabang
26Palawan Frogmouth - Batrachostomus chaseniOne seen in Puerto Princesa suburb
27Great Eared-Nightjar - Lyncornis macrotisOne flew past at Subic Bay
28Philippine Nightjar - Caprimulgus manillensisOne roosting at UPD, one flushed at La Mesa
29White-throated Needletail - Hirundapus caudacutusOne amongst Brown-throated Needletail at Zig Zag Road, Philippine rarity!
30Brown-backed Needletail - Hirundapus giganteusCommon in Palawan
31Purple Needletail - Hirundapus celebensisA few seen at Infanta
32Pygmy Swiftlet - Collocalia troglodytesCommon in Luzon
33Grey-rumped Swiftlet - Collocalia marginataCommon in Luzon and PPUR
34Ameline / Philippine Swiftlet - Aerodramus amelis / mearnsiA few seen at Infanta were supposedly Ameline, those darker swiftlets seen near Sabang were possbily this species or Philippine Swiftlets
35Germain's Swiftlet - Aerodramus germaniCommon in Palawan
36Buff-banded Rail - Gallirallus philippensisA few flushed by birdcatchers at Candaba
37Barred Rail - Gallirallus torquatusCommon at Candaba
38Common Moorhen - Gallinula chloropusCommon at Candaba
39Philippine Swamphen - Porphyrio pulverulentusOne seen at Candaba
40Watercock - Gallicrex cinereaCommon at Candaba
41White-breasted Waterhen - Amaurornis phoenicurusCommon at Candaba
42White-browed Crake - Amaurornis cinereaA few at Candaba
43Black-winged Stilt - Himantopus himantopusCommon at Iwahig Penal Farm
44Common Snipe - Gallinago gallinagoA few at Candaba
45Common Sandpiper - Actitis hypoleucosCommon in Palawan
46Common Greenshank - Tringa nebulariaA few at Iwahig Penal Farm
47Marsh Sandpiper - Tringa stagnatilisCommon at Iwahig Penal Farm
48Wood Sandpiper - Tringa glareolaCommon at Iwahig Penal Farm
49Whiskered Tern - Chlidonias hybridaSeen at Iwahig Penal Farm and Candaba
50Lesser Frigatebird - Fregata arielSmall flocks observed at Princesa Garden and enroute to Sabang
51Yellow Bittern - Ixobrychus sinensisCommon at Candaba
52Cinnamon Bittern - Ixobrychus cinnamomeusCommon at Candaba
53Black Bittern - Ixobrychus flavicollisA pair seen at Candaba
54Grey Heron - Ardea cinereaCommon at Candaba
55Purple Heron - Ardea purpureaCommon at Candaba
56Great White Egret - Ardea albaCommon in wetlands
57Intermediate Egret - Ardea intermediaWidespread throughout
58Little Egret - Egretta garzettaWidespread throughout
59Pacific Reef-Heron - Egretta sacraA pair seen at Sabang
60Cattle Egret - Bubulcus ibisWidespread throughout
61Javan Pond Heron - Ardeola speciosaOne seen at Candaba
62Striated Heron - Butorides striataCommon in Palawan
63Black-crowned Night-Heron - Nycticorax nycticoraxA few seen at Candaba
64Rufous Night-Heron - Nycticorax caledonicusA few roosting at Crocodile Farm
65Crested Honey-buzzard - Pernis ptilorhynchus philippensisDark morph seen in Palawan, pale morphs seen at Infanta
66Crested Serpent-Eagle - Spilornis cheela palawanensisOne overhead at Irawan Eco Park
67Philippine Serpent-Eagle - Spilornis holospilusA pair at Subic Bay
68Rufous-bellied Eagle - Lophotriorchis kieneriiOne juvenile at Infanta
69Grey-faced Buzzard - Butastur indicusOne enroute to Napsan
70Eastern Marsh Harrier - Circus spilonotusSeen at Candaba
71Crested Goshawk - Accipiter trivirgatus palawanusOne enroute to Napsan
72Besra - Accipiter virgatusOne at Zig Zag Road, thicker maler stripe and thicker tail bands than Japanese Sparrowhawk
73Brahminy Kite - Haliastur indusCommon at Subic Bay
74White-bellied Sea-Eagle - Haliaeetus leucogasterA few in Palawan
75Mantanani Scops Owl - Otus mantananensisPair seen at Cana Island
76Luzon Scops Owl - Otus longicornisHeard at Subic Bay
77Philippine Eagle Owl - Bubo philippensisPair seen at roost Angono-Binangonan Petroglyphs Museum
78Spotted Wood-Owl - Strix seloputoPair seen at Badjao
79Luzon Boobook - Ninox philippensisHeard at Subic Bay
80Palawan Hornbill - Anthracoceros marcheiA few observed at Crocodile Farm
81Luzon Hornbill - Penelopides manillaeWidespread at Subic Bay
82Common Kingfisher - Alcedo atthisCommon in Palawan
83Blue-eared Kingfisher - Alcedo menintingSeen at Irawan Eco Park
84Rufous-backed Dwarf-Kingfisher - Ceyx rufidorsaIrawan Eco Park and Crocodile Farm
85Stork-billed Kingfisher - Pelargopsis capensisOne at Badjao, also enroute to Iwahig
86Brown-breasted Kingfisher - Halcyon gularisFairly common at Subic Bay
87Collared Kingfisher - Todiramphus chlorisCommon throughout
88Rufous-crowned Bee-eater - Merops americanusFairly common at Subic Bay
89Blue-tailed Bee-eater - Merops philippinusA few at Candaba
90Dollarbird - Eurystomus orientalisCommon in suitable habitats
91Coppersmith Barbet - Psilopogon haemacephalusA few at Subic Bay, pair feeding on fruiting tree at Infanta
92Philippine Pygmy Woodpecker - Yungipicus maculatusA few at Subic Bay
93Luzon Flameback - Chrysocolaptes haematribonFairly common at Subic Bay
94Red-headed Flameback - Chrysocolaptes erythrocephalusOne seen enroute to Napsan
95Spot-throated Flameback - Dinopium everettiFairly common in Palawan
96Northern Sooty-Woodpecker - Mulleripicus funebrisA few at Subic Bay
97White-bellied Woodpecker - Dryocopus javensisFairly common at Subic Bay
98Philippine Falconet - Microhierax erythrogenysOne seen at Subic Bay
99Oriental Hobby - Falco severusOne seen overhead at Crocodile Farm
100Philippine Cockatoo - Cacatua haematuropygiaRoosting behind Princesa Garden
101Blue-headed Racquet-tail - Prioniturus platenaeSmall flocks seen at Iwahig Penal Farm
102Green Racquet-tail - Prioniturus luconensisA few seen at Subic Bay
103Blue-naped Parrot - Tanygnathus lucionensisOne enroute to Sabang, a few at Subic Bay
104Guaiabero - Bolbopsittacus lunulatusOne flew past at Infanta
105Philippine Hanging-Parrot - Loriculus philippensisA few at Subic Bay
106Golden-bellied Gerygone - Gerygone sulphureaWidespread in lowlands
107White-breasted Woodswallow - Artamus leucorynchusCommon throughout
108Common Iora - Aegithina tiphiaFairly common in suitable habitats
109Fiery Minivet - Pericrocotus igneusA few seen at Napsan
110Ashy Minivet - Pericrocotus divaricatusCommon in wooded areas
111Bar-bellied Cuckooshrike - Coracina striataOne seen at Napsan, common at Subic Bay
112Pied Triller - Lalage nigraCommon in suitable habitats
113Blackish Cuckooshrike - Analisoma coerulescensA few seen at Subic Bay
114Yellow-bellied Whistler - Pachycephala philippinensisOne seen at Infanta
115Brown Shrike - Lanius cristatusCommon throughout
116Long-tailed Shrike - Lanius schachCommon at Candaba
117Black-naped Oriole - Oriolus chinensisFairly common in suitable habitats
118Ashy Drongo - Dicrurus leucophaeusFairly common in Palawan
119Hair-crested Drongo - Dicrurus hottentottusCommon in Palawan
120Balicassiao - Dicrurus balicassiusSmall flocks at Subic Bay
121Blue-headed Fantail - Rhipidura cyanicepsA few observed at Infanta
122Philippine Pied-Fantail - Rhipidura nigritorquisWidespread throughout lowlands
123Black-naped Monarch - Hypothymis azureaFairly common in suitable habitats
124Blue Paradise-Flycatcher - Terpsiphone cyanescensOne male at Irawan Eco Park, female seen at Iwahig Penal Farm
125Slender-billed Crow - Corvus encaWidespread in Palawan
126Large-billed Crow - Corvus macrorhynchosCommon at Subic Bay
127Barn Swallow - Hirundo rusticaWidespread throughout
128Pacific Swallow - Hirundo tahiticaWidespread throughout
129Striated Swallow - Cecropis striolataOne seen enroute to Manila
130Citrine Canary-Flycatcher - Culicicapa heliantheaHeard at Infanta
131Elegant Tit - Periparus elegansCommon at Infanta
132Palawan Tit - Periparus amabilisA few seen near Napsan
133Yellow-wattled Bulbul - Brachypodius urostictusSeen at Infanta
134Black-headed Bulbul - Brachypodius atricepsA few seen near Irawan and enroute to Napsan
135Yellow-vented Bulbul - Pycnonotus goiavierWidespread in suitable habitats in Luzon
136Ashy-fronted Bulbul - Pycnonotus cinereifronsCommon in Palawan
137Grey-throated Bulbul - Alophoixus fraterFairly common in Palawan
138Sulphur-bellied Bulbul - Iole palawanensisOne seen at Napsan, a few at PPUR
139Philippine Bulbul - Hypsipetes philippinusCommon in Luzon
140Lemon-throated Leaf Warbler - Phylloscopus cebuensisOne seen at Infanta
141Arctic Warbler - Phylloscopus borealisCommon in wooded areas
142Clamorous Reed Warbler - Acrocephalus stentoreusA few seen at Candaba
143Tawny Grassbird - Megalurus timoriensisHeard at Infanta
144Striated Grassbird - Megalurus palustrisCommon at Candaba
145Rufous-tailed Tailorbird - Orthotomus sericeusCommon in Palawan
146Grey-backed Tailorbird - Orthotomus derbianusHeard at Infanta
147Green-backed Tailorbird - Orthotomus chloronotusHeard at Subic Bay
148Zitting Cisticola - Cisticola juncidisCommon at Candaba
149Yellowish White-eye - Zosterops nigrorumCommon at Infanta
150Pin-striped Tit-Babbler - Mixornis gularisA few seen at Irawan Eco Park
151Palawan Babbler - Malacopteron palawanenseHeard and seen briefly at Zig Zag Road
152Ashy-headed Babbler - Pellorneum cinereicepsOne seen at Badjao
153Palawan Fairy-bluebird - Irena tweeddaliiA few at Napsan
154Philippine Fairy-bluebird - Irena cyanogastraCommon at Infanta
155Grey-streaked Flycatcher - Muscicapa griseistictaCommon in wooded areas
156Asian Brown Flycatcher - Muscicapa dauuricaTwo seen at Irawan Eco Park, Philippine rarity
157White-browed Shama - Copsychus luzoniensisHeard at Subic Bay
158White-vented Shama - Copsychus nigerA few seen at Irawan, Zig Zag Road
159Palawan Blue Flycatcher - Cyornis lemprieriMale at Napsan and PPUR, female at Irawan
160Mangrove Blue Flycatcher - Cyornis rufigastraPair at Badjao
161Blue-and-white Flycatcher - Cyanoptila cyanomelanaOne seen at Napsan
162Narcissus Flycatcher - Ficedula narcissinaOne seen at UPD
163Palawan Flycatcher - Ficedula platenaeIrawan feeding station
164Blue Rock Thrush - Monticola solitariusOne seen at Infanta, one at Angono-Binangonan Petroglyphs
165Pied Bushchat - Saxicola caprataA few at Candaba
166Ashy Thrush - Geokichla cinereaOne seen at La Mesa
167Stripe-sided Rhabdornis - Rhabdornis mystacalisA few at Subic Bay
168Asian Glossy Starling - Aplonis panayensisWidespread throughout
169Coleto - Sarcops calvusCommon at Subic Bay
170Common Hill Myna - Gracula religiosaZig Zag Road and enroute to Sabang
171White-shouldered Starling - Sturnia sinensisSmall flock at Candaba seen by Captain
172Yellow-throated Leafbird - Chloropsis palawanensisFairly common around Palawan
173Palawan Flowerpecker - Prionochilus plateniWidespread in Palawan
174Striped Flowerpecker - Dicaeum aeruginosumA few seen at Zig Zag Road
175Bicoloured Flowerpecker - Dicaeum bicolorA few at Infanta
176Red-keeled Flowerpecker - Dicaeum australeOne at UPD, also at Angono-Binangonan Petroglyphs
177Orange-bellied Flowerpecker - Dicaeum trigonostigma xanthopygiumA few at Infanta
178Buzzing Flowerpecker - Dicaeum hypoleucumA few at Infanta
179Pygmy Flowerpecker - Dicaeum pygmaeumFairly widespread in Palawan and Infanta
180Brown-throated Sunbird - Anthreptes malacensisCommon in Palawan
181Purple-throated Sunbird - Leptocoma sperataCommon in Palawan
182Copper-throated Sunbird - Leptocoma calcostethaA few at Badjao
183Olive-backed Sunbird - Cinnyris jugularis auroraCommon in Palawan
184Lovely Sunbird - Aethopyga shelleyiFairly common in Palawan, prefers wooded areas
185Flaming Sunbird - Aethopyga flagransA few at Infanta
186Pale Spiderhunter - Arachnothera dilutiorFairly widespread in Palawan, seen at Crocodile Farm
187Grey Wagtail - Motacilla cinereaWidespread in suitable habitats
188Paddyfield Pipit - Anthus rufulusWidespread in suitable habitats
189Eurasian Tree Sparrow - Passer montanusWidespread throughout
190Scaly-breasted Munia - Lonchura punctulataWidespread throughout
191White-bellied Munia - Lonchura leucogastraOne nest observed at Irawan Eco Park
192Chestnut Munia - Lonchura atricapillaWidespread throughout


  1. Trust me, any picture of an Amethyst Brown Dove is a good picture, they're extremely elusive... Looks like a great trip! Infanta is a great place but dipping on at least one target is almost guaranteed there, you need a few trips to properly clean up. Great pictures and a great blog post as always!

    1. Thanks Forest, I definitely will try Infanta again next time, although Mindanao and other islands is also tempting...

    2. Mindanao is fantastic! Perhaps the hardest island of the Philippines to bird on (besides Sulu!), but also arguably with the best endemics. I lived there for two years, and my favorite endemics and birding spots in the country are there.

  2. Great post - I can't decide between the owl, the malkoha or the thrush for my favourite.....

    1. Me neither, but I would personally go for the Malkoha for 'saving' us from a misery rainy day!

  3. I enjoyed reading this so much, brilliant trip