Endangered and elusive bird: Kalaw emerges in Sierra Madre range

Kalaw – or the Philippine hornbill – is classified globally as a threatened-vulnerable species. In the country, however, the bird is “endangered” according to the DENR’s National List of Threatened Philippine Fauna.  It is alarming indeed as nine out of the 11 species of hornbill in the Philippines are facing critical numbers.  

The Philippine Hornbill or Kalaw (All photos by Edwin Martinez)

Photographer Edwin Martinez (facebook.com/edwinmartinezphotography / IG: @EdwinMartinez) “captured” this elusive bird during an expedition at the Sierra Madre mountain range in the Infanta, Quezon side.  Martinez shared photos of the Kalaw in its natural habitat, showing the bird’s bright dark red beak, brown gray feathers, and majestic stance.

“Ever since I started going to the Sierra Madre Cordilleran belt in Infanta, Quezon, we have always been searching this species. The Kalaw or Rufous Hornbill is the largest hornbill in the Philippines and is endemic in Luzon,” Martinez wrote in his Facebook page.

He stressed that the bird is “threatened-vulnerable already in terms of classification.”  

The photos he took were taken from a long distance and provides a “closer view even though (they) had to go down a muddy cliff.”

According to the Wild Bird Club of the Philippines in an article, “forest conversion to agricultural and logging practices remain the biggest threat to hornbills, which thrive on primary or well-developed secondary forests. Hunting, trapping and nest poaching for food, the illegal pet trade and sport are also responsible for the decline in Philippine hornbills.”

May these photos shared by Martinez become a motivating reason for all of us to consider the plight of the Philippine hornbill before they become not only elusive, but gone forever in our forests.