HomeThe Palawan Scientistvol. 13 no. 2 (2021)

Bird surveys in Turtle Islands Wildlife Sanctuary, Philippines

Lisa J. Paguntalan | Javica Faye D. Canag | Dante Oporto | Philip Godfrey Jakosalem | Michael Dela Cruz | Georgina Fernandez



Bird observations were conducted in all six islands within the Turtle Islands Wildlife Sanctuary, Tawi Tawi, Philippines in May 2017, March 2018 and August 2019. Purposive sampling technique using digital cameras, binoculars and spotting scopes were used to document the bird species and to assess their population. A total of 44 species were observed including the IUCN Vulnerable Grey Imperial Pigeon Ducula pickeringii (Cassin, 1854), the near-threatened Mantanani Scops Owl Otus mantananensis (Sharpe, 1892) and the Philippine Megapode Megapodius cumingii (Dillwyn, 1853). Baguan Island recorded the highest number of species (38) followed by Taganak Island with 25 species, Boan Island with 21 species, Great Bakkungan and Lihiman Islands has 18 species each, while the island with the least number of species observed was Langaan (14). Among the islands, only Baguan retained mature beach forest. Locals in Boan Island were observed keeping native birds as pets. The presence of these restricted-range bird species as well as the updated baseline data, provide significant contribution in defining priority islands for avian conservation. Additional surveys are recommended in the area particularly in the relatively undisturbed Baguan Island during migratory season.