SAGIP SARIHAY #20
Words by Maria Francesca Ortega
Artwork by Cristine Magtanong
The Cebu Flowerpecker is a perching bird about 11 to 12 centimeters in size that was believed to have been extinct during the early 20th century, but was rediscovered in a small patch of degraded forest in Tabunan, Cebu in 1992 (Dutson et al., 1993; BirdLife International, 2021). The bird got its name “quadricolor” due to the four colors of plumage that the males exhibit around their bodies — blue, red, yellow, and white (Hirschfield et al., 2013). Its frugivorous nature — which means its diet consists mainly of fruits and flowers — makes it an important agent of seed dispersal (BirdLife International, 2021). Its current population size is estimated to be around 60–70 and is currently declining, leading it to be recognized as one of the rarest birds in the world (Dutson et al., 1993; Hirschfield et al., 2013; BirdLife International, 2021).
Cebu, Philippines (Dutson et al., 1993; GBIF, 2019)
Loss of habitat due to urban development and human settlement was one of the primary causes of this species’ near extinction. Specifically, deforestation, mining, logging, and road constructions were considered to be threats that obliterated the natural forest where the species lives. More so, as destructive human activities significantly reduced the species’ habitat, competition with the red-striped flowerpecker D. australe for habitat increased, which consequently may have also contributed to D. quadricolor’s decline in number (Hirschfield, 2013; BirdLife International 2021).
How can we help this endangered species?
Habitat rehabilitation through reforestation and forest protection activities are being implemented to address the endangerment of this species. Tight regulation and control of forest clearing and timber poaching activities may legally help to prevent further loss of habitat. Programs on conservation awareness, as well as further research on this species’ ecology, should also be conducted in order to ensure the conservation of this species and its habitat (Dutson et al., 1993; Hirschfield et al., 2013).
BirdLife International (2021). Species factsheet: Dicaeum quadricolor. Retrieved from http://datazone.birdlife.org/species/factsheet/cebu-flowerpecker-dicaeum-quadricolor/text on January 23, 2021.
Dicaeum quadricolor (Tweeddale, 1878) in GBIF Secretariat (2019). GBIF Backbone Taxonomy. Checklist dataset https://doi.org/10.15468/39omei accessed via GBIF.org on January 23, 2021.
Dutson, G.C.L., Magsalay, P.M., & Timmins, R.J. (1993). The rediscovery of the Cebu Flowerpecker Dicaeum quadricolor, with notes on other forest birds on Cebu, Philippines. Bird Conservation International 3(3), 235–243. doi:10.1017/S0959270900000927
Hirschfeld, E., Swash, A., & Still, R. (2013). The World’s Rarest Birds, p. 149. New Jersey: Princeton University Press.