Sangat Wildlife: Tropical Geko

Bird Watching

If you're a bird watcher, don't forget to pack your binoculars! As a nationally-recognized and protected wildlife reserve, Sangat Island has become the home and safe-haven to many species of fantastically-colored tropical birds – many of which are endemic to the greater Palawan region.

A number of these feathered species are frequently spotted in and around Sangat Resort. Quite possibly the most recognizable of our feathered island family – the Palawan Hornbill from which our resort logo is based – are often seen and heard from various resort accommodations! Additional feathered varieties, less intrigued by resort occupants, are also found throughout the island's interior environments.

Artistic renderings of many of the bird species endemic to Sangat Island can be previewed by clicking the various thumbnail images shown at the left.

The Birds of Sangat Island

The Birds of Sangat Island, authored by ornithologists Paul and Janet Martin during their stay at Sangat Island Dive Resort, provides information sure to enlighten, entertain, and enhance your enjoyment of the varied bird species found throughout Sangat's protected boundaries.

Paul and Janet point out the following facts in the introduction to our guidebook:

Tropical island archipelagos, including the Philippine Islands, have long been famous for their varied, beautiful, and entirely unique birds. These volcanic islands were subsequently colonized by birds from the mainland who were either blown off course or lost their way. Gradually, over millions of years, these mainland vagrants have evolved to become unique island species, many of which have restricted distributions and specialized habits to live on remote islands.

The avifauna of tropical islands have many unique attributes that set them apart from mainland birds. There are fewer species of birds occurring at any given location on islands compared with the mainland at similar latitude. This pattern results from the difficulties of mainland birds colonizing these islands, and the higher susceptibility of the small populations of island birds to extinction.

Despite the fewer species on any given island, the endemicity of bird species that occur on islands and nowhere else on earth, is exceptionally high. A trip around Sangat Island will illustrate this well.

Many species you will see – the Palawan Hornbill, Yellow-throated Leafbird, White-vented Shama, Blue Paradise-Flycatcher, Palawan Blue Flycatcher, Palawan Flowerpecker, Blue-headed Raquet-tail – occur on the islands of Palawan and nowhere else on the globe. This endemicity, particularly on tropical islands like the Philippines, has led to island species being extremely prone to extinction.

Since 1600, 90% of the world’s bird species that have gone extinct were restricted to oceanic islands. This puts island reserves like Sangat in the forefront of efforts to preserve species for future generations.