Cebu Brown-dove Phapitreron frontalis


Justification of Red List Category
This recently-split dove has not been recorded with certainty since 1892, and any remaining population must be tiny and is inferred to be declining owing to the effects of ongoing habitat loss and degradation. It has therefore been listed as Critically Endangered, but following a possible sighting in 2004 and several reports between 2007-2012 it cannot be categorised as Extinct or tagged as Possibly Extinct until further searches have been carried out.

Population justification
The species had not been observed with certainty since 1892, however it has since been reported on several occasions between 2007 and 2012, although full details have not yet been published (Jakosalem in litt. 2014). Cebu has <0.03% of its original forest cover. Any remaining population must be tiny, and the population is therefore placed in the band 1-49 mature individuals.

Trend justification
A continuing decline is inferred since the few remaining tracts of forest are still suffering from loss and degradation.

Distribution and population

The species is known only from the island of Cebu (Philippines), where it had been considered probably extinct (Dutson et al. 1993), having not been observed with certainty since 1892 (Rabor 1959). However it has since been reported on several occasions between 2007 and 2012, although full details have not yet been published (Jakosalem in litt. 2014) and there is the possibility reports may be that of Amethyst Brown-dove, Phapitreron amethystinus, which the species was formerly considered conspecific with (R. Hutchinsonin litt. 2016). In November 2004 two possible individuals were observed in Alcoy Forest (Paguntalan and Jakosalem 2008). There are also reports of the species from southern Cebu (A. Mallari in litt. 2014), including from a small area of secondary forest at Mt Kangbulagsing (Collar et al. 2001). Any remaining population must be extremely small.


The species is said to prefer hill and montane primary forest (Rabor 1959).


In the 1890s, the small amount of forest remaining on Cebu was rapidly being cleared. A century later, Cebu retained barely 0.03% (c. 15 km2) of its original cover, and even the most degraded secondary habitats were scarce. The few remaining tracts of forest are variously threatened by illegal settlement, road construction, shifting cultivation, illicit logging, charcoal making, firewood collection and habitat clearance for mining.

Conservation actions

Conservation and research actions underway
The Central Cebu National Park was declared a Strict Protection Zone in 1996. The felling of trees is prohibited in the reserve, but this confers little or no effective protection. Both Nug-as and Dalaguete are managed by organized local communities supported by the municipal government. Forest wardening schemes are in placed in Nug-as, Dalaguete and Argao forest patches. The local government of Carmen in the northern part of Cebu is directly involved in protecting existing patches of secondary forests.

Conservation and research actions proposed
Identify all remnant forest tracts on Cebu and urgently survey them for remaining populations. Continue to fund and implement management activities at Tabunan. Support the proposal to designate Mt Lantoy as a national park, and urgently propose all remaining forest tracts on Cebu, including Nug-As, for strict formal protection.


Text account compilers
Westrip, J., Symes, A., Ashpole, J, Taylor, J., Butchart, S., Ekstrom, J.

Jakosalem, G., Mallari, A., Hutchinson, R.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2020) Species factsheet: Phapitreron frontalis. Downloaded from on 29/10/2020. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2020) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from on 29/10/2020.