The Philippine Cockatoo

Cacatua haematuropygia

A photo of two Philippine Cockatoos perched on a branch by Benedict de Laender from Arkive.org.

This beautiful parrot is the only all-white large landbird of the Philippines. Also known as the Red-vented Cockatoo, its only non-white parts are its cheeks tinged with yellow and under its tail where a unique reddish orange blends into a deep yellow12. It was once found everywhere in the Philippines but since 1950 its population has gone down dramatically due to the pet trade. Its unique red and yellow colors under its tail are seen as an exotic trait by pet collectors around the world. Today, what is left of them are small populations on the Philippine islands of Palawan (where it is referred to as Agay), Samar, Tawi-Tawi in the Sulu archipelago, and the Polillo islands east of Luzon13.

The Philippine Cockatoo can only be found on the Philippine islands of Palawan, Tawi-Tawi, Samar, and the Polillo islands east of Luzon.

It is a noisy bird, whose sound is deafening when several birds are calling at the same time. They are often seen in groups and along with feeding on seeds, fruits, nuts and berries, are known to raid corn crops in nearby farmland2.

Listen to its loud call here!:
http://avocet.zoology.msu.edu/recordings/8844.

The Philippine Cockatoo is a critically endangered species4

Because of the illegal pet trade they are only found regularly on the island of Palawan or on the islands of the Sulu Archipelago1. On Palawan, the Polillo islands, and Samar, trapping is serious with the price of each parrot set up to $300 US dollars in 2006. With such a high profit, poachers take chicks from as many nests as they can in addition to snaring older parrots4. This, coupled with illegal tree cutting, has greatly dwindled the numbers of this beautiful parrot down to an estimate of under 1,200 total in the entire country5.

Despite successful conservation efforts on Palawan where the population increased from 20 to 200 between 1998 and 2008, declines have continued in all other islands that the Philippine Cockatoo calls home4.

How you can help

The following organizations contribute not only to the conservation of this particular species, but to the diverse range of birds found in the Philippines.

The Wild Bird Club of the Philippines

Established in 2003, The Wild Bird Club of the Philippines is the pioneer bird watching club in the nation dedicated to promoting bird watching as a hobby and as a responsible way of enjoying the Philippines' most coveted natural habitats. The volunteer-led club contributes to the conservation of Philippine endangered birds by promoting bird watching as a healthy and recreational practice, encouraging responsible behavior from local communities and tourists alike, as well as environmentally-responsible policies from local governments and officials.

The Haribon Foundation

Started in 1972, Haribon, named after the Philippine Eagle's name in Filipino for "Bird King", gave birth to the Philippine environmental movement. Eventually coupling itself with international conservation organizations such as BirdLife International and the World Wildlife Fund, Haribon has contributed greatly not only to help establish conservation reserves and parks for Philippine birds and other species domestically, but to publications that put the Philippines on the map internationally in regards to its unique but endangered bird populations.

The Philippine Eagle Foundation

Since 1987 the Philippine Eagle Foundation has been focused on saving the Philippine Eagle and consequently saving hundreds of other species that live within its forest realms in the southern Philippine island of Mindanao. With the help of donors and grants, the foundation conducts research, rehabilitation, and captive breeding programs.

Help endangered birds worldwide

BirdLife International is the world's largest partnership of conservation organizations. 117 organizations make up this partnership in over 100 countries across the globe, including the Philippine's own Haribon Foundation. Together, they create bird mascots and flagships to help push for the conservation of endangered birds, consequently conserving the forests they reside and the other wildlife in these areas. By doing so they conserve biodiversity in these areas to improve the quality of people's lives and integrating bird conservation into sustaining people's livelihoods. A symbiotic relationship is then created between people and the environment, as opposed to the "one uses the other" practice that is currently established the world over.

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*This site is not affiliated with the "Angry Birds" game, Rovio, or Jaakko Iisalo, and is for educational purposes only. Learn more about the illustrator here. If you find any errors please let me know!

SOURCES

1. Robert S. Kennedy's "A Guide to the Birds of the Philippines" is regarded as the leading guidebook on Philippine birds.

2. Arkive.org description on the Philippine Cockatoo (Cacatua haematuropygia).

3. From a description of the Philippine Cockatoo on the Palawan Council for Sustainable Development website.

4. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species: Cacatua haematuropygia (Philippine Cockatoo).

5. Birdlife species population data on the Philippine Cockatoo.