Wednesday, 2 May 2012

Cebu flowerpecker

Dicaeum quadricolor

Photo by Tomasz Cofta (Y101FM)

Common name:
Cebu flowerpecker (en); pica-flores-de-Cebu (pt); dicée quadricolore (fr); picaflores de Cebú (es); vierfarben-mistelfresser (de)


Taxonomy:
Order Passeriformes
Family Dicaeidae


Range:
This species is endemic to the island of Cebu in the Philippines.


Size:
These birds are 11-12 cm long.


Habitat:
They are mostly found on the tallest remaining patches of native rainforest, being strongly associated to karst limestone soils. They may use areas of disturbed or selectively logged forest, but only when these occur next to a larger patch of native vegetation.


Diet:
Cebu flowerpeckers are frugivorous. They forage in the forest canopy, where they mostly eat the berries and fruits of Ficus and mistletoe-like plants such as Loranthus.


Breeding:
These birds are suspected to breed in February-August, but nothing else is known about their reproductive biology.


Conservation:
IUCN status - CR (Critically Endangered)
This species has an extremely small and fragmented breeding range and the global population is estimated at just 85-105 individuals. The Cebu flowerpecker was feared to have become extinct during the 20th century, because all the island's forest were thought to have been cleared. However, it was rediscovered in 1992. The population is now believed to be stable, or declining very slowly, as the remaining patches of forests are located in areas where they are not likely to be cleared. Still, the risk of habitat destruction due to illegal settlement, road construction, shifting cultivation, illicit logging, charcoal making, firewood collection and habitat clearance for mining; the interspecific competition with red-striped flowerpecker Dicaeum australe; and the inevitable risk of stochastic events that may eliminate such a small population make this one of the most endangered bird species in the World.

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