by Leilani Chavez on 28 November 2019
The rufous-headed hornbill, known locally as dulungan, is a critically endangered bird found only on the Philippine islands of Panay and Negros.
The species is threatened by poaching and habitat loss, but a grassroots conservation campaign over the past decade has sought to put the community in Panay front and center of efforts to save the bird.
The campaign has focused on schools; by raising awareness and understanding of the species among children, conservationists hope the message ripples out through the community.
Researchers have also emphasized the need to further studies into the dulungan, given how little is known about it, including its flight range and the fruit species it prefers to eat.
The school bell rings for recess and as the students prepare to leave their rooms, a screeching bird call blares through the rooms and hallways of Sebaste National High School, a public school in the province of Antique in the Visayas region of the Philippines.
It initially caught them off guard, says Joenas Tunguia, one of the teachers behind the unusual announcement. The sound, followed by a series of short spiels, forms part of a series of a school-based information campaign to raise awareness about the rufous-headed hornbill or Walden’s hornbill (Rhabdotorrhinus waldeni), known locally as dulungan.