Siargao kids birdwatching

Siargao Birding with My Nephew Miljune


My nephew Miljune came to hang out today; he really likes birds and lizards and stuff so we get along famously. Not long after he arrived we heard some noisy rustling of dried palm fronds behind the house. Not sure if it was a large bird or perhaps a sailfin lizard we rushed outside to check it out.

First thing we saw was the resident Black-faced Coucal.  Though this coucal was quite active in its afternoon feeding, getting a clear view and unobstructed photos proved a little difficult:

The Black-faced Coucal (Centropus melanops) on Siargao island.

While this was going on Miljune kept saying ‘banog!’ which means kite in the local language. Of course he was referring to the Brahminy Kite which has plumage similarly colored to that of the Black-faced Coucal, but being a raptor is taxonomically quite a different bird indeed. I explained all this while looking through my lens waiting for a better shot of our coucal.

He finally gave up and just said emphatically “Uncle Greg… eagle!”

And sure enough, circling just overhead was the raptor he’d been trying to tell me about for the past few minutes…

The Brahminy Kite (Haliastur indus) in flight
A scavenging bird of prey, the Brahminy Kite is known locally as ‘banog’ which is easy to remember as that means kite.


Birding with kids on Siargao island in the Philippines
“Uncle Greg…eagle!”


The Brahminy Kite (Haliastur indus) in flight.
The Brahminy Kite (Haliastur indus) in flight.

Meanwhile the Black-faced Coucal flew off, most likely due to our skyward pointing and loud excitement at seeing the Brahminy Kite flying so low and close just over our heads.

But hearing more rustling on the other side of the house, we quickly switched locations and arrived to see the coucal now perched and semi-obscured in a Gmalina arborea tree:

The Black-faced Coucal (Centropus melanops) on Siargao island.
This coucal has an impressively large tail!

Miljune and I took a break at a picnic table in the yard to have some chocolate cookies and were soon treated to the site of a juvenile Red-keeled Flowerpecker perched on a guava tree branch just a few feet away!

A juvenile Red-keeled flowerpecker (Dicaeum australe)


Next visit, I promised to take him out on the river in a canoe in search of those big monitor lizards we have here on Siargao. Some of them are nearly twice the size of my nephew!

Birding with kids on Siargao island in the Philippines



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