The official website of the Wild Bird Club of the Philippines
The official website of the Wild Bird Club of the Philippines

Back to Home

The WBCP Preliminary Philippine Checklist of Wild Birds

The knowledge about Philippine birds is rapidly expanding as the result of more research work and bird watching data being published. In 2003 leading bird checklists of the world were updated and this contributed to revisions in names, taxonomy, distribution and occurrence of Philippine birds. Also The Asia Red Data Book on threatened birds launched by BirdLife International contributed new data and knowledge on the 128 Philippine bird species which now are considered threatened or near-threatened with extinction.

It is unlikely that the current Philippine checklist by Dickinson et al. from 1990 or the Kennedy field guide (FG) will be updated in the near future and the WBCP decided to update the Philippine Checklist of Birds with a preliminary list. In 2004 the first preliminary list was released by the WBCP.

The intent is to have a Philippine list more closely in accord with what is accepted and used by the rest of the world. The 2009 updated preliminary list maintains the taxonomic sequence and common names used in the FG by Kennedy et al. 2000, but taxonomic treatment follows the great work of Edward Dickinson (co-author of the first Philippine annotated checklist from 1991) as editor of the Howard and Moore 3rd edition of the Complete Checklist of the Bird of the World 2003 (H&M3). We have chosen to continue to use this checklist as the basis for the WBCP list for the sake of continuity and stability, although we recognize other reputable world lists now include many more recent taxonomic revisions. We understand that a 4th revision of the H&M list will probably appear in some form in 2010, and anticipate updating the WBCP list in line with the taxonomic revisions that it accepts.

Following taxonomic rearrangements accepted in H&M3, the WBCP has changed the names of several species. However, the detailed reader of the Club's newest checklist will take note that we have maintained three species accepted by Kennedy et al. 2000, but not found in the H&M3: Grand Rhabdornis, Palawan Blue Flycatcher and Striped Flowerpecker. On the other hand, in the case of the treatment of Tarictic Hornbill, we have preferred not to follow the FG and H&M3, but the Oriental Bird Club, Birdlife International and IUCN (based on Kemp 1998 and Sibley and Monroe updated 2003) that have accepted the splitting of this species into four separate species. For clarity we have also included some of the most widely-used alternative names (synonyms) in bracket.

The result of the preliminary update is that the WBCP recognizes 607 Philippine bird species, including 181 endemics, 71 globally threatened (Critically: 14, Endangered: 15, and Vulnerable: 46) and 7 introduced species.

Major changes in taxonomic treatment, changes in English and Latin names, and new species added to the list includes (number of changes are included in brackets): taxon-species level changes (12), changes in Latin names (58), changes in subspecies treatment (33), species added to the list (36) and species deleted from the list (1).

WBCP recommends that you use this treatment and names, and report them as such:
From: Reddish Cuckoo-Dove Macropygia phasianella
To: Philippine Cuckoo-Dove Macropygia tenuirostris (following H&M3)

From: Hodgson's Hawk-Cuckoo Cuculus fugax
To: Philippine Hawk-Cuckoo Cuculus pectoralis (following H&M3)

From: Gould's Bronze-Cuckoo Chrysococcyx russatus
To: Little Bronze-Cuckoo Chrysococcyx minutillus (following H&M3)

From: Tarictic Hornbill, subspecies P. panini affinis, samarensis and basilanica
To: Mindanao Tarictic Penelopides affinis

From: Tarictic Hornbill, subspecies P. panini panini and ticaensis
To: Visayan Tarictic Penelopides panini

From: Tarictic Hornbill, subspecies P. panini manillae and subnigra
To: Luzon Tarictic Hornbill Penelopides manillae

From: Tarictic Hornbill, subspecies P. panini mindorensis.
To: Mindoro Tarictic Hornbill Penelopides mindorensis

From: Red-rumped Swallow Hirundo daurica
To: Striated Swallow Cecropis striolata (following H&M3)

From: Singing Bushlark Mirafra javanica
To: Australasian Bushlark (Horsfield's Bushlark) Mirafra javanica (following H&M3)

From: Small Minivet Pericrocotus cinnamomeus
To: Fiery Minivet Pericrocotus igneus (following H&M3)
From: Spangled Drongo Dicrurus hottentottus
To: Hair-crested Drongo Dicrurus hottentottus (following H&M3 although this is a preliminary rearrangement)
From: Scaly Ground-Thrush Zoothera dauma
To: White's Thrush Zoothera aurea (following H&M3)

There are a total of 36 documented species new to the Philippines or new species as a result of taxonomic changes added to the WBCP checklist. These species are not included in the field guide of Kennedy et al. 2000:

1. Dalmatian Pelican Pelecanus crispus
Accidental. One record Imelda, Leyte 2009

2. Christmas Island Frigatebird Fregata andrewsi.
Locally rare migrant. First record Bancoran Island, Sulu Sea 1995. Since then about 161 observations along the Calayan Ridge (mainly Bancauan Reef) of Sulu Sea

3. Oriental White Stork Ciconia boyciana
Accidental. One record Maconacon, Isabela 1997

4. Eurasian Spoonbill Platalea leucorodia
Accidental. One record Candaba, Pampanga 2007

5. Ruddy Shelduck Tadorna ferruginea
Accidental. One record Magat Dam, Isabela 2001

6. American Wigeon Anas americana
Accidental. One record Candaba, Pampanga 2008

7. Cinereous Vulture Aegypius monachus.
Accidental. One record Batan Island, Bataanes 2002

8. Eurasian Hobby Falco subbuteo
Probably rare migrant. Three documented records Tanay, Rizal 2004 and Bancauan Island, Tawi-tawi 2004

9. Calayan Rail Gallirallus calayanensis
Resident. Locally uncommon - endemic. New species to the world. Calayan Island, Cagayan 2004

10. Northern Lapwing Vanellus vanellus
Accidental. One record of two birds Candaba, Pampanga 2001

11. Long-billed Dowitcher Limnodromus scolopaceus
Accidental. One record Candaba, Pampanga 2008

12. Latham's Snipe Gallinago hardwickii
Probably rare – uncommon migrant. Documented once (two birds) Candaba, Pampanga 1994

13. Spoon-billed Sandpiper Eurynorhynchus pygmeus
Accidental. One record of two birds Divilican, Isabela 1996

14. White Tern Gygis alba
Accidental. One record Sulu Sea 2004

15. Rock Dove Columba livia
Introduced - locally common in urban areas

16. Jacobin Cuckoo Clamator jacobinus
Accidental. One record Dalupiri Island, Cagayan 2004

17. Rose-ringed Parakeet Psittacula krameri
Introduced – locally rare in Metro Manila

18. Northern Hawk-Cuckoo Cuculus hyperythrus
Accidental or rare migrant. One collected specimen Catanduanes before 1937 but skin lost during World War II

19. White-throated Needletail Hirundapus caudacatus
Accidental or perhaps regular migrant. One record Subic, Zambales 2009

20. Mindanao Tarictic Hornbill Penelopides affinis
Uncommon - endemic. Split from Tarictic Hornbill

21. Visayan Tarictic Hornbill Penelopides panini
Rare – endemic. Split from Tarictic Hornbill

22. Mindoro Tarictic Hornbill Penelopides mindorensis
Rare-endemic. Split from Tarictic Hornbill

23. Black-winged Cuckoo-shrike Coracina melaschistos
Accidental. One record Balanga, Bataan 2004

24. Black Drongo Dicrurus macrocercus
Accidental or scarce migrant. First record Candaba, Pampanga 2002. Since then records Trece Matirez, Cavite 2008 and San Juan, Batangas 2008

25. Sulfur-billed Nuthatch Sitta oenochlamys
Common-endemic. Split from Velvet-fronted Nuthatch

26. Bluethroat Luscinia svecica
Accidental. One record Bislig, Surigao del Sur 2003

27. Orange-flanked Bush Robin Luscinia cyanura
Accidental. One record Calayan Island, Cagayan 2004

28. Common Stonechat Saxicola torquatus
Accidental. One record Morong, Bataan 2007 and one record Quezon City 2007

29. Willow Warbler Phylloscopus trochilus
Accidental or scarce migrant. One record Mariveles Watershed, Bataan 2006

30. Black-browed Reed-Warbler Acrocephalus bistrigiceps
Accidental. One record Candaba, Pampanga 2008 and one record same locality 2009

31. Asian Stubtail Urosphena squameiceps
Accidental. One record Aklan, Panay 1999.

32. Purple-backed Starling Sturnus sturninus
Accidental. One record Tubbataha Reefs, Palawan 1991 and one record Alegria, Cebu 2008

33. Rosy Starling Sturnus roseus
Accidental. One record Tubbataha Reefs, Palawan 2009.

34. European Starling Sturnus vulgaris
Accidental. One record Puerto Princesa, Palawan 2007

35. Handsome Sunbird Aethopyga bella
Common-endemic. Split from Lovely Sunbird

36. Pin-tailed Parrotfinch Erythrura prasina
Resident – Rare. One record Mt. Mantalingahan, Palawan 2007