You are BIRDING Palawan…

Halfway between two worlds, Palawan is a meeting point for Bornean and Philippine faunas. The island was once connected by a land bridge with Borneo, so that Indo-Malayan species comprise nowadays the majority of native birds. The currents and winds also brought to shores castaways from the northern islands, as a reminder that, after all, Palawan is part of the Philippine Archipelago. But isolation ended up endowing the island with its own character, yielding up to 20 endemics that are found nowhere else on Earth.

This overwhelming biodiversity, and the fact that natural sites are well preserved and easy to reach, make Palawan a WORLD CLASS BIRD WATCHING DESTINATION.

Our bird watching tours include
  • TRANSPORTATION

    to and from the bird watching sites

  • GUIDING

    to search birds in a safe and efficient way

  • PORTER SERVICE

    we carry your equipment wherever you need to go

 

Learn more about Palawan birds in...

www.palawanbirds.com

Custom tours

Our service is adapted to your needs

Native guides

Local guides will help you to find your bird safely

Expert support

We are avian biologists eager to share our knowledge

Rainforests

The fact that rainforests are the richest land ecosystem is well exemplified by birds. Definitely it is not easy to give a whole picture of rainforest bird diversity in just a few lines. At least, when it comes to Palawan, three iconic species may serve as guidance.

Palawan Hornbills (Anthracoceros marchei) are, indisputably, the lords of the canopies of Palawan. They are, like other frugivores, forest engineers playing a major role on seed dispersal and forest regeneration. Hornbills share the heights of trees with three more Palawan endemics, the Yellow-throated Leafbird (Chloropsis palawanensis), Palawan Tit (Parus amabilis), and Palawan Flowerpecker (Prionochilus plateni), and with a number of Indo-Malayan species, such as the Asian Fairy-Bluebird (Irena puella), Fiery Minivet (Pericrocotus igneus), Common Iora (Aegithina tiphia), Chestnut-breasted Malkoha (Phaenicophaeus curvirostris), and Great Slaty Woodpecker (Mulleripicus pulverulentus), which will particularly delight Philippine birders from outside Palawan, as they can only be seen here within the archipelago.

Down in the forest floor, the elusive Palawan Peacock-Pheasant (Polyplectron emphanum) will be on the centre stage, getting much of the attention of naturalists venturing into the woods. Fortunately for them, the often fruitless peacock search will also serve to encounter some other interesting birds, including two more Palawan endemics, the Ashy-headed Babbler (Malacocincla cinereiceps) and the Falcated Ground-Babbler (Ptilocichla falcata), and a very nice target for photography, the Philippine Pitta (Erythropitta erythrogaster). From above their heads, but still in the understory, bird watchers will themselves be watched by a trio of endemic perch-hunters, comprised by the Blue Paradise-Flycatcher (Terpsiphone cyanescens), Palawan Blue Flycatcher (Cyornis lemprieri), and White-vented Shama (Copsychus niger). The tangle-specialist Palawan Flycatcher (Ficedula platenae) will definitely be much more shy and difficult to locate than them.

The edge of the forest, as well as the clearings and open areas, are the habitat for the third of our icons, the Philippine Cockatoo (Cacatua haematuropygia). Once widely distributed across the Philippines, this majestic bird is nowadays restricted to a few spots in Masbate, Mindanao and Tawi-Tawi, being its last stronghold the tiny Rasa Island off the shore of Palawan. Leastways the former range of Philippine Cockatoos is still inhabited by outstanding psittacines such as the Blue-headed Racquet-tail (Prioniturus platenae), and the Blue-naped Parrot (Tanygnathus lucionensis), both of which are endemic to Palawan. The Hill Myna (Gracula religiosa), another Indo-Malayan species that occurs only in Palawan within the Philippines, could well compete with cockatoos to represent Palawan birds, at least with regard to its striking behaviour and good reputation among bird keepers.

Wetlands

In the past few years the Philippine Duck (Anas luzonica) has become a symbol for the conservation of Philippine endemic wildlife. Long thought to be absent from Palawan, the species has recently been discovered to inhabit the Lake Manguao, the largest freshwater lake in the island. It shares now habitat with the more common, but no less beautifully coloured, Wandering Whistling-Duck (Dendrocygna arcuata).

Palawan water bodies are extraordinarily rich in Ardeidae species. About half of world’s Ixobrychus bitterns occur in the island, which is also visited in winter by Great Bitterns (Botaurus stellaris). The Rufous Night-Heron (Nycticorax caledonicus), a beautifully coloured night-heron has, like the Wandering Whistling-Duck, an Australasian distribution. Large herons are represented by the majestic Great-billed Heron (Ardea sumatrana), and by some other species to which European birders will be quite familiar: the Purple Heron (Ardea purpurea), the Great Heron (Ardea cinerea), and Great Egret (Egretta alba).

The abundance of prays attracts raptors to the shores. Brahminy Kites (Haliastur indus), White-bellied Sea-Eagles (Haliaeetus leucogaster), and Ospreys (Pandion haliaetus) are likely to be seen perching from dead trees near the water, often among basking Darters (Anhinga melanogaster) and Stork-billed Kingfishers (Pelargopsis capensis).

Mangroves

Dispite in Palawan there is no bird exclusive to the mangroves, the habitat is home to a fascinating blend of freshwater, saltwater, and open forest species which makes worth the visit.

Many birds inhabit mangroves forests simply because of their affinity for open vegetation. The Copper-throated Sunbird (Leptocoma calcostetha) is, within this group, the species more tightly linked to mangroves. Less demanding in terms of habitat, the Mangrove Blue-Flycatchers (Cyornis rufigastra) and Mangrove Whistlers (Pachycephala cinerea), despite their names, are as well abundant in second-growth forests. This is also the case of other passerine species, such as the Purple-throated Sunbird (Leptocoma sperata), Rufous-tailed Tailorbird (Orthotomus sericeus), Golden-bellied Flyeater (Gerygone sulphurea), Philippinee Pied Fantail (Rhipidura nigritorquis), and Narcissus Flycatcher (Ficedula narcissina). The order Columbiformes contributes in this way with two interesting members: the Pied Imperial-Pigeon (Ducula bicolorand the Island Collared-Dove (Streptopelia bitorquata).

Kingfishers are common elements of the mangrove avian fauna, as it couldn´t be otherwise. Three species in particular, among the many found in Palawan, commonly show up in mangrove forests: the Ruddy Kingfisher (Halcyon coromanda), Black-capped Kingfisher (Halcyon pileata), and Blue-eared Kingfisher (Alcedo meninting).

The list is finally completed by some waders and water birds, such as the Beach Thick-knee (Esacus magnirostris), White-breasted Waterhen (Amaurornis phoenicurus), Watercock (Gallicrex cinerea), Little Heron (Butorides striatus), and Cinnamon Bittern (Ixobrychus cinnamomeus).

Mountains

Almost half of Palawan consists of mountains with slopes greater than 30%. A central range, reaching 2,000 m (6,500 ft) at highest point, stretches 500 km (300 miles) its entire length. Such is the significance of mountain habitat to the island ecology.

As altitude increases, nights get colder, temperature range widens, and moisture becomes persistent. As a result, the forest canopy shortens and mosses, lichens and epiphytic plants begin to dominate the landscape. This is without a doubt a territory for specialists, although some adaptable lowland birds, such as the White-breasted Wood-Swallow (Artamus leucorhynchus) and Reddish Cuckoo-Dove (Macropygia phasianella), may also be able to stand the tough conditions of heights.

 

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About ten species of Palawan bird fauna can be considered to be true mountain birds. Most [Mountain Tailorbird (Phyllergates cuculatus), Mountain Leaf-Warbler (Seicercus trivirgatus), White-browed Shortwing (Brachypteryx montana), and Snowy-browed Flycatcher (Ficedula hyperythra)] migrated from Borneo and mainland Asia to colonize the summits of the archipelago. Others [Yellow-breasted Warbler (Seicercus montis), and Sunda Bush-Warbler (Horornis vulcanius)] were not able to reach the oceanic islands and are today restricted to Palawan within the Philippines.

Interestingly two mountain species, the Mountain Whiteeye (Zosterops montanus) and the Citrine Canary-Flycatcher (Culicicapa helianthea), may have evolved somewhere near the Wallace line, whether in the Philippines or in the Moluccas, to later spread across boundary islands by crossing the Talaud archipelago.

The last mountain bird of Palawan, and the only member of the group that is exclusive to the island, is the conspicuous Palawan Striped-Babbler (Zosterornis hypogrammicus). This species is well known to the mountaineers, as they fearlessly approach hikers venturing into the mountains.

Bird watching tour rates
  • Single
  • Day tour
    (simple)
  • All-in-one
    day tour
  • Custom trips
  • Single
  • 30 $
    1,500 ₱
  • 50 $
    2,500 ₱
  • At request (see below)
  • Couple
  • 25 $
    1,250 ₱
  • 40 $
    2,000 ₱
  • Custom trips
  • 3 – 4 pax
  • 20 $
    1,000 ₱
  • 35 $
    1,750 ₱
  • Custom trips
  • 5 – 6 pax
  • 15 $
    750 ₱
  • 30 $
    1,500 ₱
  • Custom trips
  • Group (> 6 pax)
  • 12 $
    600 ₱
  • 25 $
    1,250 ₱
  • Custom trips

Half-day tours

Starting at dawn and typically ending by midday, covering one habitat only.

All-in-one day tours

Lasting all day, will cover both dawn and dusk activity peaks, and several habitat types.

Custom tours

Packages involving more than one day service, a number of locations, or requiring an uncertain period of time until one or several species in particular are achieved (NOTE: if regular, successive “half-day tours” shall not fall into this category and shall be considered separately)

  • Generally, rates for "all-in-one day tours" will apply
  • Additional days have a 15% discount from the previous day rate
  • 30% extra charge if overnight is required

Some tips to plan your trip…

  • What is your profile?

    Are you a CASUAL bird watcher or a SERIOUS birder with clear targets?

  • How far can you get?

    Bear in mind your limitations and select a DIFFICULTY LEVEL according to your capabilities. Seniors and kids can also enjoy by choosing the appropriate tour.

  • What would you like to explore?

    Focus on your PREFERED HABITAT. Avoid wasting time in travelling. Stay longer in one place and get familiar with it, you will see much more…

  • How much time do you have?

    The HURRY IS THE WORST ENEMY of the bird watcher. Two days always better than one…

  • Where are you based?

    We will find the BEST ITINERARY nearby

  • How many you are?

    We will adapt LOGISTICS accordingly

 

Need more?

Please, visit

www.palawanbirds.com

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