The Jungle Babbler - Tropical Birding's newsletter

July 2016

Welcome to the latest edition of our newsletter! In this issue we feature a tour to the Philippines, which we are offering again next year, along with the usual tour status updates, new tours, new trip reports, and upcoming events.

The Philippines: Endangered Endemics

While we regularly offer it as a custom tour, for 2017 we have a confirmed departure with space available. The Philippines is an Asian archipelago and endemic hotspot - over 240 species are found only there. What this means for the first time visitor is lots of life birds!

The tour takes has three phases: the main tour covers the larger islands of Luzon and Mindanao, and then there are two extensions, one to the western island of Palawan, and another to some of the smaller islands in the center of the archipelago (the Visayas). Multiple sites will be covered on the main tour to pick up not only more widespread Philippine endemics like Philippine Falconet, Philippine Woodpecker, Philippine Trogon and Blue-breasted Pitta, but also island specialties of Luzon and Mindanao. On Luzon some targets include Luzon Hornbill, Scale-feathered Malkoha, White-lored Oriole and White-fronted Tit, while on Mindanao we hope to see Blue-capped Wood-Kingfisher, Southern Silvery Kingfisher, Azure-breasted Pitta (the bird in the photo above), Writhed and Mindanao Hornbills, and Celestial Monarch, among many others. No trip to the Philippines would be complete without a search for one of the world’s greatest raptors, the enormous Great Philippine Eagle, which vies with only Harpy Eagle of South America and Steller’s Sea-Eagle of Japan for the title of "world’s largest".

Palawan is quite different from the rest of the Philippines, and has largely avoided the devastating habitat loss of some of the other islands. Palawan’s uniqueness is reflected in its bird list – 17 species are confined to the island, including some real stunners, like Blue Paradise-Flycatcher, Palawan Tit, Palawan Peacock-Pheasant, Palawan Blue Flycatcher, and Palawan Hornbill.

The Visayan islands of Negros, Cebu and Bohol are also on offer. These islands have received some recent conservation attention, as they have suffered the most dramatic loss of bird habitat in the archipelago. This means some of the targets on this leg of the tour are also some of the rarest birds on the planet, like Cebu Flowerpecker and Black Shama. Other rare species "on the table" will include Flame-templed Babbler, Samar Hornbill, Northern Silvery-Kingfisher, and the striking Visayan Wattled Broadbill.

Another standout feature of the Philippines is the phenomenal nightbirding, with a high diversity of endemic species to be searched for, including Philippine and Palawan Frogmouths; Philippine, Luzon, Mindanao, Everett’s, and Giant Scops-Owls; Luzon, Mindanao, and Chocolate Boobooks; Eastern Grass Owl, and Philippine Eagle-Owl!

This tour targets a slew of endemic species, many of which are rare, very local, and highly threatened by continuing habitat destruction in the country, and many that can rightly claim to be some of the best looking in all of Asia and even the world.

          Philippine Frogmouth                                    Philippine Eagle

Next tour dates:
Main tour (Luzon & Mindanao): 27 Feb – 15 March 2017
Palawan Pre-tour Extension: 24 – 27 Feb 2017
Visayas Post-tour Extension: 15 – 20 March 2017
Tour Leader: Charley Hesse
Click here for more info on this tour

We are offering a limited-time 10% discount on the following tours

South Africa: Fairest Cape to Kruger 9-25 September 2016
Northwest Ecuador: In Search of Choco Endemics 26 Sept-9 Oct 2016
Eastern Ecuador: High Andes to Vast Amazon 29 Oct-12 Nov 2016

All of these tours are confirmed and still have space available at time of writing. 

Birding tours:
South Africa: Fairest Cape to Kruger 9-25 September 2016
Northwest Ecuador: In Search of Choco Endemics 26 Sept-9 Oct 2016
Ecuador: The Andes Introtour 23-30 October 2016
Eastern Ecuador: High Andes to Vast Amazon 29 Oct-12 Nov 2016
Northwest Argentina (including Iguazu extension) 1-12 Dec 2016
Ecuador: The Andes Introtour 10-17 December 2016
Southern Ecuador: Highland Rarities and Tumbesian Endemics 7-23 January 2017
Ecuador: The Andes Introtour 22-29 January 2017
Costa Rica: The Introtour 13-23 February 2017
The Philippines: Endangered Endemics 27 February - 15 March 2017
Kazakhstan: Birding the Silk Road 5-17 June 2017
Mongolia: The Great Asian Wilderness 26 June - 3 July 2017
Lowland Jungles of Borneo: Broadbills and Bristleheads 1-11 July 2017

Photo tours:
India Photo Journey 3-19 February 2017
Costa Rica Photo Journey 18 February - 1 March 2017
Colorado Photo Journey 15-22 April 2017

Birding tours:
Southern Ecuador: Highland Rarities and Tumbesian Endemics 7-23 January 2017
Northern Colombia: The Santa Marta Mountains & The Caribbean 11-19 February 2017
Ecuador: The Andes Introtour 18-25 February 2017
Oaxaca: Legendary Birds and Temples 15-26 March 2017
Ecuador: The Andes Introtour 18-25 June 2017

Photo tours:
Ecuador Photo Journey 29 Nov-8 Dec 2016
Ecuador Photo Journey 14-23 January 2017
Costa Rica Photo Journey 18 Feb-1 Mar 2017

Ecuador Photo Journey 15-24 July 2017

The Warbler Tour: 3 States, 38 Warblers 11-22 May 2017
This tour goes after every single eastern North American warbler, while visiting the migration Meccas of Magee Marsh and Tawas Point, but also taking in scenic locales for breeding southern warblers, like Shawnee State Forest in Ohio and Red River Gorge in Kentucky. Simply put: 3 states and 38 possible warbler species!
Israel: Migration Hotspot at the Crossroads of Asia, Africa and Europe - 14-25 March 2018
Israel offers some of the easiest and most awe-inspiring migration birding anywhere on the planet. On this tour we visit at the peak of spring migration, as well as search for local specialties as we bird our way through familiar, historic, and Biblical locales.

These are just some of the tours we offer; for the complete tour schedule, please see our website at Also don't forget that we run dozens of customized private tours every year to these and many other destinations; a custom tour can be an attractive option for groups that enjoy traveling together, for those who want to get off the beaten track, or for people whose work schedules make joining a set-departure tour difficult.

South Texas: Birding the Border 4-12 March 2017
Peru: Manu and Machu Picchu  26 August - 12 September 2017

For more trip reports, click here.
Borneo: June-July 2016 (custom tour)
Iceland: Land of Fire and Ice: June 2016 (set departure tour)
Scotland and Ireland, June 2016 (set departure tour)
Kenya: The Coolest Trip in Africa, May 2016 (set departure tour)

Catch up with the Tropical Birding guides and staff at the following events.

British Birdfair, Rutland, UK 19-21 August 2016. Come meet the Desiree D'Sylva and Sam Woods on our usual stand, at the largest bird festival in the World.
Cape May Fall Bird Festival 21-23 October 2016. Iain Campbell and Sam Woods will be attending this year's festival, giving photo procession workshops, and leading photography walks.
Nature Visons Photo Expo 18-20 November 2016. Iain and Cristina will be heading down to this weekend event in Manassas, Virginia.
Capturing Nature Tours LLC
Tropical Birding Tours
(800) 348-5941