/ 07:24 AM January 15, 2019
SURPRISE VISITORS Three black-faced spoonbills fly over Bangkung Malapad islet in Sasmuan town, Pampanga province, on Sunday, a once-in-a-century sighting that has become a cause for celebration among local bird watchers. —PHOTO COURTESY OF DON GEOFF TABARANZA/WILD BIRD PHOTOGRAPHERS OF THE PHILIPPINES
Three globally endangered black-faced spoonbills (Platalea minor) were seen flying over Bangkung Malapad islet in Sasmuan town, Pampanga province, on Jan. 12, more than 100 years after its last recorded sighting in Manila Bay.
The bird species is a rare migrant in the Philippines, which is within its confirmed wintering range along with coastal areas in China (including Hong Kong and Macau), Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Vietnam, Cambodia and Thailand.
“Philippine sightings of the black-faced spoonbill in the past decade have relied on citizen science,” said Arne Jensen, an associate expert of Wetlands International and records committee chair of the Wild Bird Club of the Philippines (WBCP).
These are limited from one to three reports from Puerto Princesa City in Palawan province; Candaba in Pampanga; Bicol River Estuary; Olango Island in Cebu province; and Batan Island in Batanes province, according to the WBCP and the International Black-faced Spoonbill Working Group of the East Asian-Australasian Flyway Partnership.