White-breasted woodswallows (Artamus leucorynchus)
The white-breasted woodswallows are a pleasure to watch as they are agile aerial acrobats. Their diet mostly consists of insects caught in flight so they are quite active and easily observable in mid-air. A brushy tongue also helps the white-breasted woodswallow consume its second favorite meal: flower nectar.
Driving around Siargao you’ll see these woodswallows in large numbers resting on and flying around roadside electric wires. In particular, the rice fields between Dapa and the airport at Sayak are a favorite feeding ground of these birds. They can also be found in the mangrove areas and nipa swamps.
Locally called ‘gitgit’ after it’s in-flight call these are some of the most common and easily spotted birds on Siargao.
The scientific name Artamus leucorynchus refernces both the whitebreasted woodswallow’s skillful flying ability and it’s conspicuous white bill.