As a first post about this trip i will focus on owls and night birds, the Philippines have 20 or so endemic owls, nightjars and frogmouths, and they all have one thing in common : they are fun to look for and photograph. For a serious birdwatcher of the Oriental region, the Philippines are a compelling destination :  over 200 endemic birds (only Indonesia has more in Asia) including some spectacular species, none more charismatic however than the Philippine Eagle. "More than 15 years ago, we realized that new subspecies of Ninox hawk-owls existed in the Philippines," zoologist Pam Rasmussen of Michigan State University said in a statement. Two new owl species have been identified in the Philippines, and researchers say the birds' songs led them to the discovery. Courtesy of Oriental Bird Club: original painting by John Gale. Left: Cebu hawk owl, Ninox rumseyi (new species), Cebu island, 3 January 2012. Two new species of owls have been discovered in the Philippines. Typical call - Subic Bay, Luzon, Philippines. I usually set around ISO 8k, and get a speed somewhere between 1/60 and 1/200 depending on how far the bird is (at max aperture 5.6 that is). Two new species of owls have been discovered in the Philippines. At the top left is the Cebu Hawk-owl and at the bottom right is the Camiguin Hawk-owl. We're also on   and . Two new species of owls have been discovered in the Philippines, and an MSU researcher played a key role in confirming their existence. “But it wasn’t until last year that we obtained enough recordings that we could confirm that they were not just subspecies, but two new species of owls.” Announcing the finding of a single bird is rare enough. jurra8/Shutterstock Also one of the largest owl species, the Eurasian eagle owl is larger than the snowy owl, with a wingspan of 5 to 6 feet. Cebu Flowerpecker. It has blue-gray eyes and sings a long solo song at night that builds in intensity with a low growling tone. A camera flash has one major drawback : it will cause the eyes of the bird to reflect a red shine, something you can only rid off with a heavy-handed Photoshop post-processing. It is known locally as the kuwago or bukaw. Palawan Scops Owl Otus fuliginosus. At the top left is the Cebu Hawk-owl and at the bottom right is the Camiguin Hawk-owl. Birds of the Philippines The Philippine archipelago has an astounding record of 700 species, comprised of resident and migratory birds, of which more than 200 species are endemic. It is known locally as the kuwago or bukaw. Oriental Bird Club: original painting by John Gale, Image Gallery: Colorful Creatures of the Philippines. The researchers, who reported their findings in Forktail, the Journal of Asian Ornithology, also identified the Cebu hawk-owl after studying its structure and vocalizations. With so many night birds to look for we spent many evenings out on the field “owling”, including also some morning “backup” sessions when the previous evening drew a dip…. Worth mentioning also is a great sighting of another sought-after owl, the mother of all Scops-owls, Giant Scops-owl, of which a pair put on a great show the last night of our stay at the foothills of Mt Kintanglad in Mindanao, after several unsuccessful attempts at finding it. Typical Call - São Francisco de Paula, Brazil. Otus megalotis everetti (Tweeddale, 1879) - Samar, Biliran, Leyte, Mindanao and Basilan; Otus megalotis nigrorum (Rand, 1950) - Negros This assumes of course that you’re not on your own, and you have a nice enough person with you ready to do that (thanks Nicky)! A spotlight also won’t deliver the same light intensity as a flash, so you’ll need to bump up the ISO quite substantially in order to have enough speed for a decent picture. Japanese Sparrowhawk (Accipiter gularis) - Range: Winters in Philippines. The Philippine archipelago is one of the world's great reservoirs of biodiversity and endemism. Elegant Scops Owl or Ryūkyū (Otus elegans) - Found on the Batanes and Babuyan islands off northern Luzon, Philippines. Mantanani Scops Owl, Cowrie I., Palawan Philippine Nightjar at roost, PICOP, Mindanao Philippine Frogmouth, Kitanglad, Mindanao GIant Scops Owl, Kitanglad, Mindanao Negros Scops Owl, Negros Cebu Hawk Owl, Taburan, Cebu Cebu Hawk Owl, Taburan, Cebu Cebu Hawk Owl, Taburan, Cebu Mindoro Hawk Owl, Sablayan, Mindoro Out of the 17 endemic species of owls (according to IOC) we managed to see 12 (got “good” pictures of 7), missing out on those that inhabit islands we did not visit (Romblon, Camiguin and Sulu Hawk-owls) or live at an elevation that we did not reach (Mindanao and Mindoro Scops-owls). (Top left: Cebu Hawk owl. In fact, the researchers found that the Philippine hawk-owl (Ninox philippensis) consists of seven allopatric species, or those that emerge as a consequence of individuals being isolated geographically, or temporally. Scientific name: Dicaeum quadricolor. Two new species of owls have been discovered in the Philippines. Pairs of Camiguin hawk-owls, meanwhile, sing short barking duets that kick off with a growl. The first owl, the Camiguin Hawk-owl, is found only on the small island of Camiguin Sur, close to … But the most memorable owl sighting was a day-time one, just an hour away from busy Manila, in a small park where a pair of the super rare Philippine Eagle-owl was found roosting near its nest location. Two new species of owls have been discovered in the Philippines. Follow LiveScience on Twitter . At the top left is the Cebu Hawk-owl and at the bottom right is the Camiguin Hawk-owl. “More than 15 years ago, we realized that new subspecies of Ninox hawk-owls existed in the Philippines,” she said. Two new species of owls have been discovered in the Philippines. ... 133 species displayed. For that you’ll need to catch the owl in the spotlight and find a “clean” angle, but you don’t want to use the spotlight too much to locate it because it will spook it away, and once it’s in there you don’t want to keep it for more than a minute or so to avoid causing too much stress to the bird. The Philippine eagle-owl (Bubo philippensis) is a vulnerable species of owl belonging to the family Strigidae.It is endemic to the Philippines, where found in lowland forests on the islands of Catanduanes, Samar, Bohol, Mindanao, Luzon, Leyte and possibly Sibuyan. August 2008. We also saw both Palawan and Philippine Frogmouths (both endemics), as well as Philippine Nightjar (the only endemic nightjar). Subspecies and Distribution: Philippine Scops Owl (Otus megalotis megalotis) (Nominate Species, Walden, 1875) - Luzon, Marinduque and Catanduanes. "The owls don't learn their songs, which are genetically programmed in their DNA and are used to attract mates or defend their territory; so if they're very different, they must be new species," Rasmussen explained in a statement from MSU. It is one of sixteen owl species found in the Philippines. Two new species of owls have been discovered in the Philippines. The Philippines is the world's second largest archipelago country with more than 7,100 islands covering 297,179 km2 in the westernmost Pacific Ocean. "When we first heard the songs of both owls, we were amazed because they were so distinctly different that we realized they were new species.". Grey-headed Fish Eagle (Ichthyophaga ichthyaetus) - Breeds in the Philippines. Image: Christian Artuso. But if someone holds a spotlight from some distance from the camera, there won’t be any undesired reflection.