Rare Philippine Birds Ultimate Guide

The Philippines is a beautiful tropical country located in Southeast Asia. Our country is situated in such a manner that allows unique and beautiful biodiversity of all shapes and sizes.

Not only is our country home to the widest selection of plants, but it is also home to some of the most fascinating creatures to walk the planet. Among these are a fan-favorite, none other than our feathered friends, the birds.

Rare Philippine Birds: Endemic Birds Species in the Philippines

There are many birds endemic to the Philippines – 241 of them to be exact! While we cannot go into detail about each one, here is a list of some of the most famous birds found only in the Philippines:

1.) Rare Philippine Birds: Great Philippine Eagle

Scientific Name: Pithecophaga jefferyi

The Great Philippine Eagle is also known as the monkey-eating eagle and locally as Haribon – which was coined from the term “Haring Ibon” which translates to “King of the Birds”. This fascinating eagle takes pride as the country’s national bird species.

In all its glory, the Great Philippine Eagle is known to be very loyal. The eagle is also considered to be one of the rarest eagles not only in the country, but in the world.

This bird species, however, is grasping at the edge of the line. The Great Philippine Eagle, despite its title as a national pride, is now critically endangered.

Rare Philippine Birds Philippine Swamphen

2.) Rare Philippine Birds: Philippine Swamphen

Scientific Name: Porphyrio pulverulentus

Rails, also called Rallidae, are a large family composed of small to medium-sized birds which are ground-living. The Philippine swamphen is one of the rail birds endemic to the Philippines.

This colorful bird species was formerly considered part of the Purple Swamphen species complex, as it shared some similarities with them. However, it was decided that the Philippine swamphen would be placed as a different species altogether.

3.) Rare Philippine Birds: Scale-feathered Malkoha

Scientific Name: Dasylophus cumingi

The Scale-feathered Malkoha is one of two birds of the Philippines that are considered endemic to the country, the other one being the Red-crested or Rough-crested Malkoha. Both malkohas are similar in shape and size, but the scale-feathered malkoha has an easily noticeable white hood.

A malkoha is a large bird which belongs to the Cuculidae cuckoo family. The Scale-feathered Malkoha is endemic to the norther part of the country. The calls of this malkoha are known to high-pitched and chilling shrieks.

4.) Rare Philippine Birds: White-eared Brown Dove

Scientific name: Phapitreron leucotis

The White-eared Brown Dove can commonly be found in woodlands and edges of cultivated fields. These lovely doves can often be seen feasting on different fruits and seeds, as well as figs and acorns.

One of the unique traits of this bird species is its distinctive advertising call which sounds like an accelerating series of “hoots”.

5.) Rare Philippine Birds: Rufous Hornbill

Scientific Name: Buceros hydrocorax

Most Filipinos remember seeing this familiar bird species during their elementary field trips to the zoo, but what most don’t realize is that this unique bird is actually endemic to the Philippines!

If you were one such that were able to see the Rufous Hornbill in action during your trip to the zoo, one of the memorable traits of these Philippine birds is their extremely loud nasal honks. The honks of these birds are so loud that they can even be heard from 1.5 kilometers away!

However, the Rufous Hornbill, or more known locally as Kalaw, is actually threatened with extinction. With its steadily decreasing population due to habitat destruction, poaching, and hunting, these Philippine birds are sadly being threatened.

Rare Philippine Birds Philippine Cockatoo

6.) Rare Philippine Birds: Philippine Cockatoo

Scientific Name: Cacatua haematuropygia

The Philippine cockatoo, also known as the Red-vented cockatoo or locally as Katala, is one of the species of birds of the Philippines with high adaptability. This bird species forages on crops, such as rice and corn.

These birds were once very plentiful in the country and were even once regarded as a pest. However, the Philippine cockatoo is now one of the critically endangered bird species in the country, as it is a victim of illegal wildlife trade and deforestation.

There are various organizations, such as the Katala Foundation, Inc. (KFI), who are working together towards the preservation of this bird species and other globally threatened animals.

7.) Rare Philippine Birds: Palawan Peacock Pheasant

Scientific Name: Polyplectron napoleonis

This colorful bird species is also one of the most famous birds in the Philippines. The Palawan peacock pheasant is among the most attractive Philippine birds due to its striking color and unique mating rituals.

During mating season, a male Palawan peacock pheasant will use its leaf litter to attract females. The male then proceeds to showcase its lavish tail and dances to the opposite sex.

The mating ritual of the Palawan peacock pheasant is always very interesting to those who witness it, making it one of the most fascinating birds in the Philippines.

Rare Philippine Birds Philippine Hanging Parrot

8.) Rare Philippine Birds: Philippine Hanging Parrot

Scientific Name: Loriculus philippensis

The Philippine Hanging Parrot, which is also locally or more commonly known as Kulasisis, is considered the smallest parrot in the country. Standing with a mere length of 14 centimeters, this tiny bird is loved by many,

The Philippine Hanging Parrot is also known for its tendency to roost upside down, similar to how a bat would behave. This characteristic can also be observed in the Philippine Hanging Parrot’s close relatives.

The Kulasisi used to be famous with homeowners to keep as a pet due to its colorful appearance and small size. However, these birds have now also been classified as a concerning species whose population is also being threatened due to habitat loss and illegal wildlife trade. It is currently illegal to trade and collect these birds.

Other Philippine Birds Endemic to the Country

As we’ve mentioned before, there are numerous other rare birds which are classified as endemic to the Philippines. Here are some of the other Philippine birds that can only be found in this country:

– Philippine Duck

Scientific Name: Anas luzonica

– Philippine Falconet

Scientific Name: Microhierax erythrogenys

Philippine Megapode

Scientific Name: Megapodius cumingii

Luzon Buttonquail

Scientific Name: Turnix worcesteri

– Luzon bleeding-heart

Scientific Name: Gallicolumba luzonica

– Cebu flowerpecker

Scientific Name: Dicaeum quadricolor

– Philippine Trogon

Scientific Name: Harpactes ardens

– Cream-bellied fruit-dove

Scientific Name: Ptilinopus merrilli

– Sulphur-billed nuthatch

Scientific Name: Sitta oenochlamys

– Bukidnon woodcock

Scientific Name: Scolopax bukidnonensis

Rare Philippine Birds You Need To Know

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