Mount Busa-Kiamba

Country/territory: Philippines

IBA criteria met: A1, A2 (2001)
For more information about IBA criteria, please click here

Area: 50,000 ha

Haribon Foundation

Site description (2001 baseline)
This IBA comprises the coastal range of mountains in South Cotabato Province that includes Mt Busa, Mt Parker and Mt Three Kings. Several of the peaks reach over 1,000 m and Mt Busa over 2,000 m. Lake Sebu lies on the flank of the mountains and the nearby village of Sitio Siete is now a popular site with birdwatchers. These mountains have one of the two major forest blocks remaining in South Cotabato Province, with forests extending from north-west of Lake Sebu to south-west of General Santos City. Closed canopy broadleaf forests are found from 895 m to the highest peaks, and there are extensive areas of second growth forest. There is some lowland rainforest on the lower slopes of the mountains, but much larger areas of montane and mossy forest. There are also areas of secondary grassland, rivers and streams and caves, which provide additional habitats for wildlife. Some forest has been converted into permanent agricultural plots in areas where small settlements have been established, and kaingin is also practised. Lake Sebu is a small (350 ha) freshwater lake and associated marshes on flank of the rugged mountains. The shoreline of the lake is very indented, and there are two small islands, Tugayo and Rom's. The lake is surrounded by grassland. The areas surrounding the lake have been designated as ancestral lands and reservation areas for cultural minorities, including the Tasaday tribe. The lake is used for fishing, duck raising and the harvesting of freshwater shrimps and snails.

Key biodiversity
Sitio Siete near Lake Sebu is a popular site for birdwatchers, with trails up into the mossy forests above the village, and there are many recent records there of the threatened and restricted-range species of the Mindanao and Eastern Visayas Endemic Bird Area. There have also been collecting expeditions to several of the mountains in the EBA during the 1990s. The relatively extensive areas of lowland forest which remain on the lower mountains slopes appear to support important populations of several threatened species, including Spotted Imperial-pigeon, Lesser Eagle-owl and Little Slaty Flycatcher, and many montane species occur at higher altitudes, including the threatened Blue-capped Kingfisher. The recent records of Philippine Eagle there suggest that this IBA is an important part of the network of sites required to conserve this critically threatened species.

Non-bird biodiversity: The lake has a diverse fish fauna, and supports large populations of the freshwater snails Vivipara angularis and Ampullaria luzonica which are heavily harvested.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2023) Important Bird Area factsheet: Mount Busa-Kiamba. Downloaded from on 03/12/2023.