Visayan Hornbill Penelopides panini


Justification of Red List Category
This species has a very small, severely fragmented population which is undergoing a very rapid continuing decline as a result of lowland deforestation and hunting. For these reasons it is listed as Endangered.

Population justification
The population is thought to number at least 1,800 individuals, roughly equivalent to 1,200 mature individuals. This estimate is derived from analyses of records and surveys by BirdLife International (2001). This estimate is now considerably out of date; if predicted rates of decline have precipitated the population may now fall below 1,000 individuals.

Trend justification
This species has apparently been extirpated from a number of islands and its decline is suspected to have continued very rapidly. No new information has been provided concerning the population size or rate of decline, but given that a proportion of remaining habitat is protected and the species is presumably now very rare, declines in the future are unlikely to be as rapid as in the recent past.

Distribution and population

Penelopides panini is endemic to the Philippines, where it is known from Panay, including the offshore islands of Sicogon and Pan de Azucar, Guimaras, Negros, Masbate and Ticao (Collar et al. 1999). In the 19th century, it was widespread and common on Panay, Guimaras, Negros and Masbate. However, based on abundance comparisons with A. waldeni, fewer than 900 pairs may remain. On Panay, it is still fairly common within the proposed Central Panay Mountains National Park but rare elsewhere (Alabado et al. 2009). On Negros, it has become increasingly rare, with recent records from Ban-ban forest in Ayungon (Paguntalan et al. 2002), Mt Talinis-Balinsasayao (A. Pascua in litt. 2009), the North Negros Forest Reserve (Hamann 2002) and at Simpang forest, Sipalay Negros Occidental in 2005. Single records since 1990 from Masbate and Pan de Azucar indicate that tiny populations may remain on these islands. The race ticaensis is extinct on Ticao: it was abundant in the early 1900s but recent surveys have found no evidence of its persistence, and little suitable habitat (Curio 1994, del Hoyo et al. 2001). The species is likely to have been extirpated from Sicogon and Guimaras.


It inhabits primary, evergreen, dipterocarp forest up to 1,100 m, perhaps pushed upslope by deforestation to 1,500 m, sometimes wandering to secondary forest or isolated fruiting trees. It nests in tall trees, frequently in fragments of just a few hectares. Nest-holes were found aggregated in remnant habitat patches, at an average height of 11m, with mean nearest-neighbour distance of about 190 m (Klop et al. 2000). Nest-density was estimated at three nest per km2 on Mt Balabag. Fruit makes up the bulk of the diet but 14% of the prey items brought to observed nests comprises animal matter (Klop et al. 1999).


Deforestation and hunting are the major threats. Tiny fragments of forest remain on Masbate, Guimaras, Ticao, Pan de Azucar and Sicogon. In 1988, it was estimated that just 4% forest cover remained on Negros (although this is thought to have been an underestimate [Brooks et al. 1992]) and 8% on Panay, and shifting kaingin cultivation continues. Hunting and trapping of adults and young is widespread and can account for 3-6 birds in a trip of 2-5 days on Negros. Individual birds may be sold for as little as US$1.

Conservation actions

Conservation Actions Underway
CITES Appendix II. It has been recently recorded in Mt Canlaon Natural Park (Negros) and the North Negros Forest Reserve. Coral Cay Conservation and Negros Forest & Ecological Foundation jointly created the Negros Rainforest Conservation Project focusing on this area (Turner et al. 2002). On Panay, the population is concentrated in the proposed Central Panay Mountains National Park. This site and Mt Talinis (Negros) have been the focus of the Mt Talinis-Twin Lakes Federation of Peoples Organization. Conservation and socio-economic programmes at Mts Talinis and Canlaon have tackled local hunting pressure, but it has not ceased entirely. Captive-breeding has proved successful, with 15 hornbills so far bred at Mari-it Wildlife Conservation Park on Panay Island (Lastizmoza 2010) and 12 bred in NFEFI-BCC on Negros Island (Justo 2011). Rehabilitated hornbills continue to be released by PanayCon (formely PESCP) at CPMP, with the latest pair released in 2008 (both fitted with radio transmitters to study foraging movements). Since 2005, a total of 22 hornbills have been released and monitored by PhilinCon (formerly PhilConserve). Artificial nest boxes put up in CPMP have been equally successful (Curio 2009). Poaching has been kept minimal within CMNP due to an effective community-based nest wardenining programme implemented by PhilinCon and CAPE (M. Lovina in litt. 2010).

Conservation Actions Proposed
Survey remaining lowland forest tracts on Negros and Panay to identify further key sites with a view to establishing further protected areas. Gazette the proposed Central Panay Mountains National Park. Promote the effective protection of the North Negros Forest Reserve and designation of Canaway and Hapon-haponon areas as protected areas in Southern Negros. Support on-going efforts to reintroduce the species on Panay through captive breeding and rehabilitation and expand to Negros. Ascertain rates of forest loss since 1988 and calculate the area of forest remaining.


45 cm (recorded measurements for sub-species ticaensis reach 62 cm (Kennedy et al. 2000)). Small, forest-dwelling hornbill. Males are on average larger than femals. Male has creamy-white head, neck and upper breast. Rufous lower breast and vent. Black ear-coverts and throat. Black upperparts, glossed green. Buff tail, tipped broadly black. Reddish bill and casque, whitish bare orbital and gular skin. Female similar to male though head and entire underparts black, blue bare facial skin, bill duller. Similar spp. Visayan Wrinkled Hornbill Aceros waldeni is larger with a red bill, pale, central tail-band and male has a dark rufous head. Voice Similar to Mindoro Tarictic P. mindorensis though perhaps higher-pitched wek wek-wek-wek and sometimes utters a nasal and high-pitched tres'-tres'-tres' (hunters in Southern Negros recognised the species by its nasal kree'-kree'-kree'). It also gives quick and agitated nasal aunk-aunk-aunk especially while in flight. Hints Most easily located by voice.


Text account compilers
Benstead, P., Bird, J., Davidson, P., Lowen, J., Peet, N., Pilgrim, J., Taylor, J., Khwaja, N., Allinson, T

Day, G., Gonzalez, J., Bucol, A., Brooks, T.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2020) Species factsheet: Penelopides panini. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 18/09/2020. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2020) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 18/09/2020.