The South Philippine Dwarf Kingfisher is a very elusive bird, to-say the least.
The stunning bird is the smallest of all forest kingfishers in the Philippines and is easily distinguished by its striking plumage.
The first time this bird was described was over 130 years ago when the Steere Expedition visited the Philippines in 1890.
You can find this unique bird in the forests on the islands of Mindanao and Basilan.
Now, as mentioned, this bird is very elusive, there were no recorded sightings for over a hundred years, and this is due to its behavior.
It perches quietly, and darts around very-fast making it almost invisible.
Miguel David De Leon is a field biologist and director of the Robert S. Kennedy Bird Conservancy, luckily he managed to catch the bird on camera.
‘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.”
These photographs are the first and only-ever photos taken of the South Philippine dwarf kingfisher.
They took Miguel and his team 10 years of tracking and research, all in an attempt to capture the photos we are sharing with you today.
They have a very unique call which is described as ‘high-pitched, insect-like, and almost inaudible zeeep.’
As with many other endangered animals, habitat destruction, climate change and poaching are the greatest threats to its survival.
Miguel points out that there is alot more to conservation than we assume:
“There’s more to bird conservation than just birds. By protecting and preserving habitats, we keep the circles of life within an ecosystem intact. The innumerable variety of insects that birds feed on, the unattractive shrubs that insects feed on, the fungi and bacteria that render the soil suitable for plant growth, and so on, they’re all indivisibly linked together.”
“The biggest threat to the decline or loss of our endemic and indigenous species is habitat loss. Hunting and trapping for food or the illegal pet trade are contributory factors as well. Culturally, recreational shooting of birds using airguns or slingshots puts further pressure on bird populations,” says De Leon.