Bird That's Eluded Scientists & Birders For Years

Surprisingly a bird indigenous to the Philippines has eluded scientists and birders. Today's blog is to let you know that search is over proving the species is not extinct. The South Philippine Dwarf Kingfisher (Ceyx mindanensis) was first described 130 years ago during the Joseph Beal Steere Expedition to the Philippines in 1890.

Joseph Beal Steere Expedition

Steere went on a scientific expedition in 1887 to the Philippines where he made an extensive collection of birds, shells, and other natural objects.

Steere uncovered a number of new birds, including Steere's liocichla, Liochicla steerii, the wattled broadbill, Eurylaimus steerii, the black-hooded coucal, Centropus steerii, the azure-breasted pitta, the Pitta steerii and of course the South Philippine Dwarf Kingfisher (Ceyx mindanensis).


This kingfisher is the tiniest of its species in the Philippines and is characterized by its striking plumage of metallic lilac, orange, and bright blue feathers. It has a striking call, described as a “high-pitched, insect-like, and almost inaudible zeeep."

It's indigenous to the virgin and second-growth forests on the islands of Mindanao and Basilan.

It has eluded scientists and birders for over a hundred years because of its behavior. It is hard to spot as it perches quietly and darts invisibly from perch to perch.

Who found it?

Thanks has to go to Miguel David De Leon, a Filipino field biologists and director of the Robert S. Kennedy Bird Conservancy who recently was able to photograph this fledgling, that is sadly threatened with extinction.

"The Robert S. Kennedy Bird Conservancy is a group of eight field workers and bird photographers that documents birds and habitats, contributing data previously unknown to science, with the ultimate goal of conserving species and ecosystems," says De Leon in an interview with Esquire Philippines.

"We focus on poorly known birds and document their biology and ecology or how they interact with other organisms in their habitat," he adds.

Hats off to De Leon and his team and here's hoping that this special kingfisher is able to beat extinction by populating its area of the world.

Bird That's Eluded Scientists & Birders For Years


Primary Source: Esquire Philippines