Country/Territory Philippines
Area 9,800 km2
Altitude 0 - 2000m
Priority critical
Habitat loss severe
Knowledge incomplete

General characteristics

The whole island of Mindoro, which lies to the south-west of Luzon in the Philippines (EBA 151), is included within this EBA. The island has a broad, rugged, central spine of mountains, rising to c.2,500 m at Mt Halcon in the north and at Mt Baco in the south.

Mindoro would once have been entirely forested, including tropical lowland evergreen rain forest on plains and lower slopes of hills to c.400 m (occasionally higher), giving way to open forest at c.650-1,000 m and above, with mossy forest in the cloud-belt, usually over 1,200 m (Collins et al. 1991, Dickinson et al. 1991). Stands of Mindoro pine Pinus merkusii occur at 600 m or less in the north of the island.

Restricted-range species

All the EBA's restricted-range species are forest birds and a few have been recorded from secondary forest. Their altitudinal requirements vary but the birds can be split into predominantly montane species (Ducula mindorensis, Otus mindorensis, Lanius validirostris and Rhyacornis bicolor) and lowland ones (the remaining six).

The Mindoro race of Philippine Hawk-owl Ninox philippensis mindorensis, recently rediscovered, is very divergent from other races in both call and plumage (Brooks et al. 1995a). It appears that this form and the races on Tablas, Sibuyan, Cebu and Camiguin Sur (spilonata) and the Sulus (reyi) together comprise a species (N. reyi), which is probably threatened (N. J. Collar verbally 1997).

Species IUCN Category
Mindoro Bleeding-heart (Gallicolumba platenae) CR
Mindoro Imperial-pigeon (Ducula mindorensis) EN
Black-hooded Coucal (Centropus steerii) CR
Mindoro Scops-owl (Otus mindorensis) NT
Mindoro Hornbill (Penelopides mindorensis) EN
Green-backed Whistler (Pachycephala albiventris) LC
Mountain Shrike (Lanius validirostris) LC
Cordillera Ground-warbler (Robsonius rabori) VU
Sierra Madre Ground-warbler (Robsonius thompsoni) LC
Bicol Ground-warbler (Robsonius sorsogonensis) NT
(Robsonius rabori) NR
Ashy Thrush (Geokichla cinerea) VU
Luzon Water-redstart (Phoenicurus bicolor) NT
Scarlet-collared Flowerpecker (Dicaeum retrocinctum) VU

Important Bird Areas (IBAs)
IBA Code Site Name Country
PH037 Mount Calavite Philippines
PH038 Puerto Galera Philippines
PH039 Mount Halcon Philippines
PH040 Lake Naujan Philippines
PH041 Iglit - Baco Mountains Philippines
PH042 Mount Siburan Philippines
PH043 Malpalon Philippines
PH044 Mount Hitding Philippines
PH045 Mount Hinunduang Philippines

Threat and conservation

This EBA has been almost totally deforested. According to satellite data from 1988, only 8.5% of land on Mindoro is forested (less than 120 km2) and only about a quarter of this is closed-canopy (Dickinson et al. 1991). Pine forest occupies an area of c.60 km2.

Although a ban on logging for commercial purposes was introduced in the mid-1970s in Philippine provinces having less than 40% forest cover, logging for domestic use continues in many areas, e.g. along the lower borders (at altitude 750-950 m) of remaining forest on Mt Halcon (Dutson et al. 1992, L. A. Ruedas in litt. 1993). Encroaching slash-and-burn cultivation (known as 'kaingin') poses an additional serious threat to the few remaining lowland forest fragments, and the mining of marble in the north of the island contributes to forest destruction (Diesmos and Pedregosa 1995).

Not surprisingly all but one of the restricted-range species which occur on Mindoro are classified as threatened or Near Threatened, including all the endemics. Two lowland species, Gallicolumba platenae and Centropus steerii (both classified as Critical), are under immediate threat of extinction through continuing forest clearance and fragmentation. Dicaeum retrocinctum is present at higher population densities over a wider altitudinal range, but its status is also considered Critical since it tolerates degraded forest only poorly, and deforestation is likely to reach all altitudes in the near future. It has been speculated that new records of this species from Negros and Panay (EBA 152) may reflect recent faunal changes-the result, at least in part, of the massive destruction of Philippine forests (Curio et al. 1996).

Several other widespread threatened forest birds occur (or have been recorded) on Mindoro: Philippine Hawk-eagle Spizaetus philippensis (Vulnerable), Spotted Imperial-pigeon Ducula carola (Vulnerable), Philippine Cockatoo Cacatua haematuropygia (Critical), Blue-naped Parrot Tanygnathus lucionensis (Endangered) and Black-bibbed Cicadabird Coracina mindanensis (Vulnerable).

The Mts Iglit-Baco area has been proposed as a national park (754 km2), primarily to protect an endemic threatened bovid, the tamaraw Bubalus mindorensis. The area is largely fire-maintained grassland but includes unsurveyed areas of montane forest and small fragments of lowland forest (G.  Dutson in litt. 1993), which could be important for birds. Other potential protected areas include the Mt Halcon range, which is critically important for the survival of the EBA's endemic montane species, and lowland forest fragments in west-central Mindoro (e.g. near Sablayan and Malpalon). Before other areas can be proposed for protection, there is a need for further field surveys to ascertain whether surviving forest remnants in the south and west of the island still support viable populations of endemic birds (Dutson et al. 1992, see Brooks et al. 1995a).

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2023) Endemic Bird Areas factsheet: Mindoro. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 28/01/2023.