Sitio Inhandig is a Bukidnon village
sited at about 1500 metres above sea level sitting right at the
periphery of the Mount Kitanglad Natural Park's core protected area.
While the environs of the village is predominantly secondary scrub,
cogon grasslands and cultivation, very pristine lower montane forests
are to be found immediatley behind the village.
We made a number of short exploratory trips (a total of 5 in all)
into the forests in the immediate vicinity of the village during
our 3 day sojourn. In general, forest here is high stature lower
montane forests, with trees towering to about 30 over meters. Notably
too, are the immense varieties of ferns and ferns allies, including
various mosses and liverworts, known to locals as "Lumut"
growing on all the branches and trunks of the trees. Flora here
is distinctive of montane communities with various tree ferns, palms
and well as an immense diversity of epiphytic orchids.
Like the most montane bird communities, diversity in the mountains
are more impoverished when compared to the lowland. But what is
striking is that many montane species are endemic and have very
specific ecological needs, such that they are mostly confined to
highland habitats. Another distinctive feature of the montane avifauna
is the predominance of select species, especially passerines like
white-eyes, fantails as well as nuthatches. Congregations of these
small passerines often move together as a mixed flocks foraging
in the canopy, middle storey and under-storey levels, atypical of
most mountains. Elsewhere is South-east Asia, similar phenomena
can be noted in Luzon, Sumatra, Borneo, Java and the Malay Peninsular.
Mindanao falls very near the meeting
points of 3 zoological realms, the Oriental, Wallacean and Palearcitc
sub-regions, therefore species representative of all 3 zoological
realms are represented here, especially on Mount Kitanglad. On the
mountain itself, we find communities of pigeons (Fruit Doves and
Imperial Pigeons in Particular), parrots (Lorikeets and Racquet-tails),
fantails and white-eyes, elements of the Wallacea-Australian transitional
region. Simultaneously, babblers, woodpeckers and old-world flycatchers
are the elements of the oriental faunal region while lastly, the
Palearctic region also contributes in part to the resident avifauna
in the form of finches, warblers, and the like.
Summary of Species Recorded
A total of 43 species were recorded throughout our 3 days of stay
in Sitio Inhandig and Sitio Olagohon, as well as the journey between
the two. Almost all of the birds were seen with very few heard.
We have to admit that we were not exactly proficient with the bird
calls and thus spent much time trying to find the birds, without
the use of playback, a habit of many birdwatchers which can be very
disruptive to the bird's territoriality. The sequence here we chose
to use follows Kennedy et al. 2002. This is also the main reference
source to the Philippine birds nowadays.
No. Species - Latin Name
1. Philippine Eagle* - Pithecophaga jefferyi
1 chick, apparently now 5 month old seen at nest at the first eagle
view-point. Nest sits on a 30 metres tall tree but can be seen at
eye level from view-point. No parent bird seen anywhere around though.
2. Barred Rail - Gallirallus torquatus
1-2 heard calling from grassy scrub around Olangohon area.
3. White-breasted Waterhen - Amaurornis phoenicurus
1 calling the typical "uwak-uwak" notes, heard from scrubby
muddy areas around the Inhandig, within proximity of cultivation.
4. White-eared Brown-Dove - Phapitreron leucotis
2-3 heard daily, with 1 seen well, perched high above in canopy,
attracted to an imitation of its call. Apparently a familiar bird
to the locals as many are able to mimic its calls.
5. Yellow-breasted Fruit-Dove - Ptilinopus occipitalis
1-2 heard daily, around Sitio Inhandig in mossy forest, but always
far and never respond to imitations of its call.
6. Philippine Cuckoo-Dove - Macropygia phasianella
A pair was seen in flight over Sitio Inhandig. Notable is its rich
rufous plumage and long tail.
7. Mindanao Montane Racquet-tail* - Prioniturus waterstradtii
2 birds heard in flight during the ascent from Inhandig to Lalawan
ridge. Metallic shrieking calls, similar to other racquet-tails.
8. Philippine Hanging-Parrot - Loriculus philippensis
Particularly common in open scrubs around Olangohon as well as Sitio
Inhandig. Numbers of 7-12 were very noisy and seen to be attracted
to flowering Eugenia trees in the forest edges behind Inhandig.
9. Philippine Hawk-Cuckoo - Hieroccocyx pectoralis
1-2 heard calling on ascend to Lalawan ridge.
10. Brush Cuckoo - Cacomantis variolosus
Certainly the commonest species of cuckoo here, known to the local
Lumad Tribespeople as "Pitopit". Heard at all hours of
the day, sometimes calling late into the evening and also calling
way before daybreak. 2-3 heard daily.
11. Philippine Coucal - Centropus viridis
2 heard daily, calling well hidden in tall grassy scrubs.
1 flushed from tall grass during ascent to Lalawan ridge.
12. Grass Owl - Tyto longimembris
Very quite and we noted one bird flying in the evening perhaps returning
to its roost at the forest edge, behind cultivation in Sitio Inhandig.
A diurnal hunter.
13. Great-eared Nightjar - Eurostopodus macrotis
1-2 seen sallying over the forest canopy in the evening at last
light. No calls heard.
14. Glossy Swiftlet - Collocalia esculenta
Small numbers 10-12 seen daily.
15. Pygmy Swiftlet - Collocalia troglodytes
Small number 4-5 seen daily, but seems less common than previous
16. Blue-capped Wood-Kingfisher* - Actenoides hombroni
1 pair of this spectacular kingfisher was heard and seen at dawn
in the thick mossy forests behind Sitio Inhandig. Perches silently
in mid canopy and therefore easy to overlook, but has a typical
monotonous repeated call very typical of Actenoides Kingfisher.
17. Mindanao Tarictic Hornbill - Penelopides panini
3 were seen foraging quietly in forest trees just opposite the Eagle
viewpoint. Also 1 was seen in tall mossy forests behind Sitio Inhandig.
18. Philippine Pygmy-woodpecker - Dendrocopos maculatus
Small numbers of this woodpecker is seen daily, with up to 3-4 birds.
Seen to make use of isolated patches of secondary scrubs as well
as trees for foraging. Also seen to participate in bird waves with
other passerines like white-eyes and fantails.
19. McGregor's Cuckoo-shrike* - Coracina mcgregori
Supposed to be common at the elevation of Sitio Inhandig, but only
1 seen. One bird was observed perching very high up in the canopy
hunting for prey along mossy tree branches, though no call was heard.
Also one was seen perched on bare trees around Inhandig itself.
20. Pied Triller - Lalage nigra
2 birds were seen in isolated trees completely surrounded by scrub
and cultivation enroute to eagle viewpoint.
21. Yellow-vented Bulbul - Pycnonoctus goiaver
Common, a lowland open country bird, but must have benefited from
clearance of forest and now living in high altitude cleared areas,
22. Philippine Bulbul - Hypsipetes philippinus
Very noisy and gives a wide repertoire of notes. Seem to favour
both open secondary forests as well as pristine montane forest.
Many seen daily, up to 10-12 birds. Sometimes seen to participate
in mixed feeding flocks.
23. Elegant Tit - Parus elegans
Small numbers were seen to participate in mixed feeding flocks,
but not as abundant as other members like white-eyes. Up to minimum
of 5 birds seen daily. Recorded in forest enroute to Inhandig, as
well as some open secondary growth.
24. Sulphur-billed Nuthatch - Sitta ochrolemys
One of the dominant members of the mixed feeding flocks seen. Always
very noisy and thus easily seen as they creep among the branches
picking up insects and larva. At least 15 birds seen daily.
25. Stripe-breasted Rhabdornis - Rhabdornis inornatus
3 birds were seen perching on a bare tree enroute from Sitio Inhandig
to Damitan in open secondary forests. Distinct coloration, with
dark grey head and chesnut mantle.
26. Brown Tit-Babbler - Macronous striaticeps
2 seen in a mixed feeding flock in mossy forest behind Sitio Inhandig,
feeding in company of whistler and tailorbirds. Generally a lowland
27. White-browed Shortwing - Brachypteryx montana
Common in Mount Kitanglad and heard at almost all forested spots,
uttering, its blaring musical notes, but always concealed by foliage
on the forest floor.
28. Mountain Leaf-Warbler - Phylloscopus trivirgatus
2-3 seen, not in feeding flocks. Were seen hunting for insects like
a flycatcher at about 5-6 metres above the ground. Makes soft twittering
29. Tawny Grassbird - Megalurus timoriensis
This is the dominant species of grassbird present here in the highland
and small numbers, on average of 4-5 birds were heard and glimpsed
daily. Tend to be secretive and always well concealed from view.
30. Red-headed Tailorbird - Orthotomus heterolaemus
Fairly common, with birds heard and seen daily. The Mindanao race
is sometimes lumped with Mountain Tailorbird, but has a distinctive
orange colored heard. 2 birds including juveniles seen.
31. Long-tailed Bush-Warbler - Bradypterus caudatus
High pitched notes originating from this species heard, but never
seen. This is a very secretive warbler and always keeps itself hidden
under dense foliage.
32. Mountain Verditer Flycatcher - Eumyias panayensis
Common in forests and open scrubs around Sitio Inhandig and sometimes
seen to participate in mixed feeding flocks with white-eyes and
ibons. It is often seen perched alone calling from isolated bare
33. Little Pied Flycatcher - Ficedula westermanni
1 male was seen in a mixed feeding flock with mountain white-eyes
in the high canopy, in mossy forests behind Inhandig.
34. Black-and-Cinnamon Fantail - Rhipidura nigrocinnamonea
A faitful participant of bird waves, but never occuring in abundance,
with normally about 2-3 birds present. Birds are observed to stay
high up in the canopy, occasionally coming lower to the middle-storeys.
Distinctive plumage with black and cinnamon contrasting colors and
white eyebrow. 5-7 seen daily in mossy forest behind Sitio Inhandig.
35. Yellow-bellied Whistler - Pachycephala philippensis
Common but hard to see, though it sometimes come low to the understorey.
One bird was seen associating with tailorbirds and babblers in the
undergrowth in mossy forests behind Sitio Inhandig. Also seen in
mixed feeding flocks.
36. Grey-hooded Sunbird* - Aethopyga primigenius
A nondescript small sunbirds, often seen alone, but sometimes participating
in mixed feeding flocks. 2-3 seen daily in forest behind Sitio Inhandig.
Also 1 seen in scrubs near the eagle viewpoint.
37. Apo Sunbird* - Aethopyga boltoni
1 female seen. Grayish throat and striking orange patch on its belly
noticed, and also senn associating with white-eyes and cinnamon
ibon, in tall forest up Lalawan ridge.
38. Olive-capped Flowerpecker - Dicaeum nigrilore
Easily the commonest flowerpecker here. Many were seen to be attracted
to the flowering Eugenis trees behind Sitio Inhandig, with at least
7-8 birds present at a moment. Also one was carrying nesting materials
to construct as ball shaped nest of 20 cm situated 20 metres above
the ground in disturbed montane forests behind Sitio Inhandig.
39. Fire-breasted Flowerpecker - Dicaeum ignipectus
1 male seen perched on a bare tree overlooking the eagle viewpoint
40. Mountain White-eye - Zosterops montanus
One of the most abundant birds around with many flocks of 20-30
birds seen daily, foraging either as monospecific flocks or mixed
feeding flocks, from open scrub interspersed with trees as well
as closed forest.
41. Black-masked White-eye - Lophozosterops goodfellowi
Not as common as though, with only 2 sightings, both of 1 to 2 birds
seen in mixed feeding flocks. Bords were distinct from its smaller
congener as told from size as well as more drab plumage consisting
of a whitish throat and olive green body.
42. Cinnamon Ibon - Hypocrytadius cinnanomeus
A regular participant of feeding flocks, keeping to the canopy.
Unlike other white-eyes which are actively hopping and flying about,
this bulkier aberrant white-eye tends to be more sluggish. Up to
5 and 3 seen on 2 separate dates.
43. Chesnut Munia - Lonchura malacca
2 seen feeding among Cogon grass, but later flushed and flew away,
in open areas near Lalawan creek.
A fairly good variety of birds were observed, but a few key species
like Bukidnon Woodcock, Apo Myna and Flame-crowned Flowerpecker
were notably missed due to our very limited time frame spent in
Inhandig. The forests here generally have a low bird density, perhaps
due to extensive fragmentation and habitat degradation. There are
a number of trails which allowed access to prime habitat in the
form of primary forests, but there are much rooms for improvements
for the trail infrastructure to be developed and other facilities