19th March - 10th April 2022
Leader: Mike Nelson
Max group size: 7
Our standard Philippines tours give and amazing taste of the endemicity that the archipelago has to offer, but there are many more that are off the regular circuit, or on less accessible islands, that leave birders yearning to return. Our Remote Philippines tour takes in an exciting selection of rare, enigmatic, or difficult to reach endemics which are not possible on our other Philippines tours. Travel in these areas requires careful planning, with frequent changes in flight and ferry schedules, and a final day-to-day itinerary will only be available closer to the tour, but following exciting destinations will all be included on the tour.
We visit two areas of the main island of Luzon, the first at the southern end of the Sierra Madre gives a chance of the enigmatic Whiskered Pitta, plus rarely seen endemics like Bicol Ground Warbler, Cream-bellied Fruit Dove, Black-crowned Babbler, Grand Rhabdornis and Northern Rufous Hornbill. It is also a chance to catch up on tricky species that might have been missed on previous visits like Flame-breasted Fruit Dove, Luzon Hawk Eagle, Lemon-throated Leaf Warbler, Yellowish White-eye or Luzon Scops Owl. At the opposite end of the Sierra Madre we will see the Critically Endangered Isabela Oriole, with a good chance of White-lored Oriole, Luzon Striped Babbler and Golden-crowned Babbler.
The lowlands of Mindoro hold most of the islands endemics and we will concentrate on one of the largest remaining forest patches looking for Scarlet-collared Flowerpecker, Mindoro Hornbill, Mindoro Bulbul, Mindoro Racquet-tail, and of course the Critically Endangered Black-hooded Coucal by tracking its booking calls in the forest, plus nocturnal forays for Mindoro Boobook. There’s also the chance of more widespread, yet difficult, Philippine endemics like Spotted Imperial Pigeon, Pink-bellied Imperial Pigeon and Black-bibbed Cicadabird.
We will cover all corners of this island in the west Visayas which holds many excellent endemics. Arguably the star is the spectacular Flame-templed Babbler but there’s plenty more to see including Negros Striped Babbler, White-winged Cuckooshrike, Visayan Hornbill, Visayan Shama, Visayan Fantail, Visayan Brown Dove, Visayan Tailorbird, Visayan Balicassiao, Maroon-naped and Magnificent Sunbirds, Black-belted Flowerpecker, and delightful Negros Scops Owl. We will also try some some of the much harder endemics with Visayan Rhabdornis the rather nondescript White-throated Jungle Flycatcher and altogether more colourful Yellow-faced Flameback and Southern Indigo-banded Kingfisher on our radar. Siquijor A short hop across from Negros the small island of Siquijor holds its own endemic bulbul together with a bunch of endemic subspecies.
The well protected forests of Bohol can be explored on an excellent trail and road network and we will be looking for Visayan Wattled Broadbill with mixed feeding flocks, Yellow-breasted Tailorbird, Black-crowned Babbler, Samar Hornbill, and the recently split Bohol Sunbird and Visayan Blue Fantail. There will be plenty more to keep us entertained and this is an excellent place to see the likes of Rufous-tailed Jungle Flycatcher, Streaked Ground Babbler, Rufous-lored Kingfisher, Short-billed and Amethyst Brown Dove, Black-bibbed Cicadabird and Steere’s Pitta. At night we will try to find Philippine Frogmouth and Everett’s Scops Owl. Cebu Although Cebu has lost almost all of its forest cover, the remaining pockets still hold on to Cebu Boobook, Black Shama and Cebu Bulbul, with bonus species like White-vented Whistler, Mangrove Blue Flycatcher and Magnificent Sunbird.
The small volcanic island of Camiguin Sur, just off the north coast of Mindanao, is a surprising hotbed of endemism. Here we hope to find the island endemic Camiguin Hanging Parrot but also make sure to see ‘Camiguin’ Yellowish Bulbul and distinctive taxa of Black-naped Monarch and Yellowish White-eye. Dimorphic Kingfisher is not uncommon on the island and at night we will look for the recently described Camiguin Boobook.
Although much of Mindanao is covered on our main tours, the southern mountain are an exception. It is here, on the forest-clad slopes of a beautiful crater lake, that we will look for the very rare Mindanao Lorikeet, Mindanao Plumed-warbler, T’boli Sunbird and ‘Matutum’ Bush Warbler.
Few birders have ventured to the charming island of Tablas yet it holds a nice set of endemics; Tablas Bulbul, Tablas Fantail and the spectacular lyre-tailed Tablas Drongo which is sadly Critically Endangered. There will be other more widespread endemic present, the pick of which is the recently split Dimorphic Kingfisher. Noctural outings will find the endemic Romblon Boobook, and Mantanani Scops Owl.