Philippine Hawk-cuckoo Hierococcyx pectoralis


Justification of Red List Category
This species has a very large range, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the range size criterion (Extent of Occurrence <20,000 km2 combined with a declining or fluctuating range size, habitat extent/quality, or population size and a small number of locations or severe fragmentation). Despite the fact that the population trend appears to be decreasing, the decline is not believed to be sufficiently rapid to approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population trend criterion (>30% decline over ten years or three generations). The population size has not been quantified, but it is not believed to approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population size criterion (<10,000 mature individuals with a continuing decline estimated to be >10% in ten years or three generations, or with a specified population structure). For these reasons the species is evaluated as Least Concern.

Population justification
The global population size has not been quantified, but the species is reported to be uncommon to rare throughout its range (del Hoyo et al. 1997).

Trend justification
The population is suspected to be in decline owing to ongoing habitat destruction and fragmentation, however declines are not thought to be rapid since the species appears to be highly tolerant of habitat degradation.

Distribution and population

Hierococcyx pectoralis is endemic to the Philippines, occurring on the islands of Banton, Basilan, Bohol, Cagayancillo, Catanduanes, Cebu, Jolo, Leyte, Luzon, Mindanao, Mindoro, Negros, Palawan, Panay, Sibuyan, Siquijor, Tablas, and Ticao (Erritzoe et al. 2012). It is considered uncommon to rare, but also that it may be overlooked (Erritzoe et al. 2012).


Found in primary and secondary forest, including mossy dipterocarp forest, from the lowlands up to 2,300 m and is often found near water (Erritzoe et al. 2012). Occurs also in remnant patches of secondary woodland, mahogany plantations, and remnant forest patches in metropolitan Manila (D. L. Yong in litt. 2013). Small numbers were caught during migration studies at night at the Dalton Pass, Luzon in the autumns of 1967-1969 (Erritzoe et al. 2012).


28 cm. Smallish hawk-cuckoo, similar in appearance to several other species with a bright yellow eye-ring. Head and upperparts are slate grey in the adult, with a grey chin, white lores, throat and neck-sides. The underparts are pale rufous becoming white from the lower belly down. Subadults are grey-barred rufous where the adults are grey; the head may be nearly black and the underparts have heavy brown streaking on the breast and upper belly. Similar spp. Large Hawk-cuckoo C. sparverioides is larger with heavy dark barring below. C. fugax, C. nisicolor and C. hyperythrus have a black or dark grey chin spot. All have different vocalisations. Voice. A shrill wheet-wheet-wheet-wheet-tu, 5-7 notes lasting about 1.5 seconds and repeated 9-10 times.


Text account compilers
Butchart, S., Ekstrom, J., Martin, R, Symes, A. & Taylor, J.

Yong, D.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2022) Species factsheet: Hierococcyx pectoralis. Downloaded from on 11/08/2022. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2022) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from on 11/08/2022.