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Birds of Loboc River Resort

James Lambert

The following is based on the birds seen between 27 July – 2 Aug 2013. This is the height
of the hot wet season and so most birds found were residents. During the migrations
seasons, and winter, a number of other birds are to be expected. The resort grounds
have a number of ponds surrounded by both sparse and dense vegetation patches
forming a small wetlands which provides good habitat for birds. In the immediate
vicinity surrounding the resort are the river, which has good riverine habitat serviced
by a sealed road, and, along the main road, extensive paddy fields. Both these areas
provide habitat for birds. Most of the birding I did was in the early morning and late
afternoon towards dusk in the resort grounds, and along the access road outside the
resort gates.
The field guide I used was Kennedy et al. (2000). This is very good in a number
of ways, yet the strictly adhered to rules used by the authors to accept or reject
distributional data resulted in a number of cases where birds that occur in Bohol were
not listed as such.

Philippine Duck Anas luzonica: a Philippine endemic, listed as Vulnerable by IUCN; singles
and small groups of up to 3 birds were commonly seen flying over the resort to or from
roosting sites; note the all orange head.

Zebra Dove Geopelia striata: singles and pairs commonly seen within resort grounds; the
wings make a whirring sound when taking off; somewhat shy; also seen feeding in fallow
paddy fields.

White-eared Brown-dove Phapitreron leucotis brevirostris: a Philippine endemic; common
in resort grounds in singles or, usually, pairs; quite shy; keeps to trees; note the short tail,
white line under the eye and the light green sheen on the back of the neck.

Black-chinned Fruit-dove Ptilinopus leclancheri leclancheri: a Philippine endemic; a single
adult male was seen across the river towards dusk.

Spotted Dove Streptopelia chinensis tigrina: not common in the resort, but quite a few were
feeding in the paddy fields with Zebra Doves.

Red Collared Dove Streptopelia tranquebarica ? humilis: according to both Kennedy et al.
(2000) and del Hoyo et al (1997), the humilis subspecies is recorded from Luzon and
Mindoro, but not further south in the Philippines; however, a pair of these doves showed up
at the resort one morning. They landed in trees and then flew to the ground to forage, but flew
off before I could get close to them. It is always possible that they could have been escapes,
though appearing as a pair is against this.

Pink-necked Green Pigeon Treron vernans: these mostly green pigeons were common in
low numbers around the resort, always in treetops; the males have a pinkish neck with an
orange band below, while the females are pretty much all green; the pink feet are an easy way
to distinguish this from the Philippine (Pompadour) Pigeon which, in any case, I did not see
at the resort.

Uniform Swiftlet Aerodramus vanikorensis amelis: a Philippine endemic; the commonest
lowland swift, seen in the air above the resort every day; has slight notch in tail.

Pygmy Swiftlet Collocalia troglodytes: a Philippine endemic; less common; watch for the
well-defined white rump patch; smaller than the Uniform Swiftlet.

Philippine Coucal Centropus viridis viridis: a Philippine endemic; I heard two of these
calling to one another, one in the resort near Monkey Island, and the other far off towards the
river; the bird was extremely shy and took off as I approached the tree it was in, never to be
seen again.

White-breasted Waterhen Amaurornis phoenicurus phoenicurus: a skulking bird seen on
the edge of ponds close to vegetation; the bird I saw in the resort was not as confiding as
these birds sometimes become in other parts of their range, though I was able to watch a
dispute between this and a Striated Heron near Monkey Island one morning.

Common Moorhen Gallinula chloropus lozanoi: one bird seen in the paddy fields;
according to Kennedy et al. (2000), this is an endemic subspecies.

Barred Rail Gallirallus torquatus torquatus: a Philippine endemic; a pair of these inhabit the
dense vegetation around the resort wetlands; quite happy to be observed and photographed at
relatively close range; best seen at dawn and dusk; their loud call was often heard.

Little Egret Egretta garzetta garzetta: a few seen in the paddy fields.
Intermediate Egret Mesophoyx intermedia intermedia: seemed to be the commonest
egret in the paddy fields, with c.30-40 birds observed one afternoon; also seen flying
overhead at dawn and dusk.
Eastern Great Egret Ardea modesta modesta: a few of these were in the paddy fields, but
this bird was more commonly seen flying overhead especially at dawn and dusk.
Eastern Cattle Egret Bubulcus coromandus: a flock of about 12 birds were in the paddy
fields the day I visited them.

Striated Heron Butorides striata carcinophilus: also known as the Little Heron, three of
these were regular at the moat surrounding Monkey Island.

Cinnamon Bittern Ixobrychus cinnamomeus: a single flushed from reed beds.

Nankeen Night Heron Nycticorax calcedonicus major: a single adult seen flying over river
on dusk; also a juvenile heron landed in a palm near Monkey Island one evening preparatory
for a night feeding session, which may have been this species or the Black-crowned Night
Heron, Nycticorax nycticorax, which also occurs on Bohol, but I could not get close enough
to get a proper ID; the Nankeen Night Heron is substantially larger.

Greater Painted-snipe Rostratula benghalensis benghalensis: a rare resident; I saw one pair
and then another male in the paddy fields.

Brahminy Kite Haliastur indus intermedius: a single adult was seen flying over the river at
dusk one evening.

Western Osprey Pandion haliaetus ? haliaetus: according to Kennedy et al. (2000) this bird
is not recorded for Bohol, and has only been recorded in the Philippines from 9 Aug to 20
May; however, I got very good views of one on my first morning (29 July), and a local birder
I spoke to also had seen an osprey on Bohol; the bird I saw was flying about 20m high over
the fish ponds looking for a morning meal; there are two subspecies recorded for the
Philippines, haliaetus and melvillensis (which is somewhat smaller and whiter), but sadly, I
did not get this level of identification.

Collared Kingfisher Todiramphus chloris collaris: a number of pairs reside in the resort
grounds; easily seen busily chasing prey and calling loudly at all times during the day; the
resident subspecies has a much darker head than other Collared Kingfisher races elsewhere.

Pied Triller Lalage nigra chilensis: a single bird was seen silently moving around the
treetops near the gate.

Zitting Cisticola Cisticola juncidis tinnabulans: a single bird was seen making courtship
flights in some grassland on the other side of the river; the courtship flight involves flying
upwards and dropping almost straight down again on loosely fluttered wings, singing all the

Large-billed Crow Corvus macrorhynchus philippinus: apparently not very common here as
I only saw a single bird fly past the resort one two occasions; the endemic Philippine
subspecies, philippinus, may become a full species in the future.

Striated Swallow Cecropis striolata striolata: a number of these were seen feeding over the
resort, and over the river, perching on exposed branches and overhead wires; told from the
similar Pacific Swallow by the pale red, sometimes whitish, rump patch, and the slow,
leisurely pace of their flight.

Pacific Swallow Hirundo tahitica javanica: a common resident, much faster flying than the
Striated Swallow, and having all dark upperparts.

White-breasted Woodswallow Artamus leucorynchus leucorynchus: these swallow-like
birds with white bellies and black heads were usually seen in the evening just on dusk, flying
high overhead and making calls that sound a bit like a child’s squeaky toy; some also landed
on dead tree branches and other exposed perches, and are recognisable from behind by their
white rump patch; the birds appear in pairs or small parties and feed by catching prey on the
wing; a number were also seen feeding in the paddy fields.

Oriental Magpie Robin Copsychus saularis mindanensis: although this bird is a common
resident in many places, even urban areas, throughout Asia, locally it is not so easy to see; I
observed one pair in dense vegetation on the other side of the river; the subspecies
mindanensis is endemic to the Philippines and is distinguished by having dark, deep blue
upperparts (instead of the usual black), making it a very beautiful bird.

Black-naped Oriole Oriolus chinensis yamamurae: this stunning beautiful yellow and black
bird was seen on treetops around the resort and river; the local subspecies yamamurae
(obviously named after a Japanese ornithologist) is endemic to the Philippines.

Eurasian Tree Sparrow Passer montanus malaccensis or saturatus: a common bird in
Loboc town, it appears in the resort in small numbers; this differs from the common
European House Sparrow (also common as an introduced species in other western countries)
in that both male and females are identical, and have a dark spot on their white cheek patch.

Philippine Bulbul Ixos philippinus saturatior: a Philippine endemic; a lovely chocolaty-
brown bird with loud calls and active nature, commonly seen trees in the resort grounds.

Yellow-vented Bulbul Pycnonotus goiavier samarensis: this is a common bird of parks and
urban gardens throughout much of Asia; a small number were in the resort grounds; the local
subspecies samarensis is endemic to the southern Philippines.

Philippine Pied Fantail Rhipidura nigritorquis: a Philippine endemic; this early morning
songster can be heard loudly singing very early in the mornings, generally before anyone is
up; during the day it is less vocal but can be seen in low trees around the huts and restaurant
chasing insect prey; this bird has recently been split as a new species, separate from the
Malaysian Pied Fantail found in the rest of South-east Asia.

Asian Glossy Starling Aplonis panayensis panayensis: this is the commonest bird in the
resort, with large flocks in the treetops beside the huts from sun-up to sun-down; they are
very vocal birds, and some of their calls sound very much like the calls of lorikeets or
parakeets; they occasionally tussle for perching space with the White-breasted
Woodswallows; the adults are a glorious glossy black with brilliant red eyes, while the
juveniles are browner and have white underparts with heavy streaking.

Red-keeled Flowerpecker Dicaeum australe: a Philippine endemic; this is perhaps the
second commonest bird in the resort grounds; a tiny little bird with a loud tick-tick-tick call;
they are common high up in the trees but also occur in low bushes, especially on the small
island beside the organic garden; adults have a red stripe running down their breast towards
their vent (the so-called keel), while juveniles lack this red stripe; one juvenile I saw had very
extensive orange gape lines along the sides of the bill; the subspecies australe has been split
off as a separate monotypic species now, with the northern Philippine subspecies
haematostictum now a separate species called the Black-belted Flowerpecker.

Handsome Sunbird Aethopyga bella ? bonita: a Philippine endemic; a recent split from the
Lovely Sunbird, Aethopyga shelleyi; according to Kennedy et al. (2000), this does not occur
on Bohol, but they are clearly here in the resort (and have been recorded at nearby Rajah
Sikatuna National Park as well); I am guessing that the local subspecies is bonita as this is
recorded from Negros and Cebu, and has the most red on the chest, which concurs with the
adult I saw; the females are differentiated from other sunbirds from the short bill and small
size; I saw a pair at the gate one afternoon and a single female across the river on another

Olive-backed Sunbird Cyrtostomus jugularis jugularis: the commonest sunbird in the resort
grounds; adults have a lovely yellow breast with dark purple throat patch; easily told from
other sunbirds by the white tips to the tail.

Purple-throated Sunbird Leptocoma sperata trochilus: one pair of these were seen in the
pool near the resort gate; the male has an iridescent purple throat and bright red underparts;
the females have a long bill and a rufous patch on the wing.

Chestnut Munia Lonchura atricapilla jagori: a few of these stunning birds were seen
feeding in grasses in the resort grounds; they are also common in paddy fields; they have a
lovely tinkling call.

White-bellied Munia Lonchura leucogastra manueli: usually seen in singles or pairs, I saw
one of these in roadside grasses across the river late one afternoon.
Outside the resort

When travelling about the island, keep an eye out for White-throated Kingfishers (Halcyon
smyrnensis gularis) and Long-tailed Shrike (Lanius schach nasutus) which occur on wires
above paddy fields.
As for Rock Doves (Columba livia), there was little indication of feral birds; most of the
birds I saw were domesticated doves kept by pigeon-fanciers.
The same goes for Red Junglefowl (Gallus gallus), many of the cocks seen roaming about
the landscape are a very close match for the naturally occurring bird, but are in most cases
birds kept solely for cock-fighting. One rooster that came into the resort looked for all the
world like an undomesticated bird, but I saw it a little later being fed in a neighbouring yard.
You will see men walking about holding their roosters in one arm and lovingly stroking them
with the other, a practice that has made many a local wife lament the comparable lack of
affection shown to them by their husbands.
The Baclayon Church has a large number of Glossy Swiftlets (Collocalia esculenta
marginata) roosting and nesting in the ceiling of the first room you enter.
Rajah Sikatuna National Park is the best place to visit for forest species, including many rare
Philippine endemics (see separate trip report).