Mindoro Hornbill Penelopides mindorensis


Justification of Red List Category
This hornbill is estimated to have a very small population, which is undergoing a continuing decline, primarily as a result of the loss, fragmentation, and degradation of lowland forest, compounded by hunting pressure. It therefore qualifies as Endangered.

Population justification
The population is estimated to number 250-999 mature individuals, based on analysis of data in BirdLife International (2001). This equates to 375-1,499 individuals in total, rounded here to 350-1,500 individuals.

Trend justification
Although still considered fairly common in the 1970s, this species has declined rapidly since. There are post-1990 observations from just five localities, with a maximum count of 20 birds at Siburan in 1994. Rapid declines are inferred to be continuing, owing to the pressures facing remnant forests.

Distribution and population

Penelopides mindorensis is endemic to the island of Mindoro in the Philippines, where it was formerly widespread and abundant (Collar et al. 1999). Still considered fairly common in the 1970s, it has declined rapidly since. There are records from 17 localities (J. C. Gonzalez in litt. 2012), with a maximum count of 20 birds at Siburan in 1994. However, 183 observations were recorded from 5 sampling sites in Mt Siburan during fieldwork in 2005 (B. Tabaranza in litt. 2007). Recent photographic records come from Sablayan (D. Roberson 2005, I. Sarenas 2009) and from Calintaan (J.C. Gonzalez 2010). It is assumed that it only persists in very small numbers. It was reported to occur historically on Ylin Island, but an extensive search revealed no hornbills on adjacent Ylin and Ambulong islands (Gonzalez 2007). The rate of decline may now be reduced, as the rate of habitat destruction has slowed. 


It inhabits primary forest, forest edge, secondary growth and occasionally isolated woodlots and single fruiting trees in cultivated areas, in lowlands, rarely up to 1,000 m. Although it is capable of using tiny forest patches and edge habitats, it is probably reliant on nearby larger tracts of closed-canopy forest for nest-sites. The diet includes fruits, mainly figs and possibly some insects (Poonswad et al. 2013). Food plants include trees of the genus Ficus, Artocarpus (Moraceae), Canarium (Burseraceae), Syzygium (Myrtaceae) and Dysoxylum (Meliaceae) (Poonswad et al. 2013). They are both sedentary and territorial, seen in pairs or small flocks of up to 20 individuals (Poonswad et al. 2013). Females have been found in breeding condition in May, and it is possible that dipterocarp trees are used for nesting (Poonswad et al. 2013).


By 1988, extensive deforestation on Mindoro had reduced forest cover to an estimated 120 km2. Remaining lowland forest is highly fragmented. In 1991, it was estimated that it would be totally cleared within 10-20 years, although rates of loss may have slowed. Encroaching slash-and-burn cultivation and selective logging threaten forest fragments that still support the species, including Siburan. Illegal timber and firewood collection are also destroying forest (B. Tabaranza in litt. 2007). At Puerto Galera, dynamite blasting is forcing it upslope. In 1993, many hornbill nest-trees were destroyed by a flood, the effects of which were exacerbated by deforestation. It is easily hunted for food. Up to five hornbills could reportedly be shot per week at three localities in 1994.

Conservation actions

Conservation Actions Underway
CITES Appendix II. The forest at Siburan is effectively part of the Sablayan penal colony, and it is included in the F. B. Harrison Game Reserve. Haribon Foundation has been working in the Municipality of Sablayan, Occidental Mindoro with local partners since 2002 (B. Tabaranza in litt. 2007). Research has been conducted in the area for this species and site-conservation actions were implemented in Mt Siburan IBA (B. Tabaranza in litt. 2007). A Forest Management Plan was produced by the local stakeholders for the Sablayan forests including Mt. Siburan and is now being implemented. IBA monitoring is implemented within Mt Siburan IBA. The species also occurs in Mt Iglit-Baco National Park, where only tiny forest tracts remain. Funding has been provided for faunal inventories and environmental education initiatives at Puerto Galera. A conservation education programme has also been started at Malpalon.

Conservation Actions Proposed
Identify and survey remaining lowland forest tracts on Mindoro, including localities with local reports, to clarify its current distribution and population status. Establish formal, managed, protected areas to conserve remnant forest at Malpalon, Puerto Galera and Manamlay Lake. Devise and implement a management plan for the forest at Siburan that reconciles biodiversity with its role as a prison.  Establish captive-breeding programmes for future population supplementation/reintroduction.


45 cm. Small, forest-dwelling hornbill. Male has creamy-white head, neck and underparts. Black ear-coverts and throat. Black upperparts, glossed green. Buff to red-brown base of tail with black distal third. Dark grey bill and low casque with paler tip. Flesh-grey bare orbital and gular skin. Female similar though casque smaller and blue bare facial skin. Voice Onomatopoeic, a weak erratic series of trumpeting calls tar-ic-tic. Sometimes single notes and occasionally longer series.


Text account compilers
Datta, A., Clark, J., Patil, I.

Davidson, P., Gonzalez, J., Patil, I., Tabaranza, B. & Taylor, J.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2023) Species factsheet: Penelopides mindorensis. Downloaded from http://datazone.birdlife.org/species/factsheet/mindoro-hornbill-penelopides-mindorensis on 07/06/2023. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2023) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from http://datazone.birdlife.org on 07/06/2023.