The Birds of Alabang Hills

Thirty-seven species of wild birds have been reported within the boundaries of Alabang Hills Village, Muntinlupa City, Philippines. Birds in captivity and domestic birds are of course not included. The birds of Alabang Hills are presented below in the standard taxonomic sequence used by ornithologists. Some of the pictures were taken in Alabang Hills while others were taken in the provinces around Manila. The pictures are mine except when otherwise specified. I welcome information from Alabang Hills residents and visitors on these birds or other birds that have been seen in the Village (email me at

I used information from the following references:
A Guide to the Birds of the Philippines, Robert Kennedy, et al, Oxford, 2000.
Wild Bird Club of the Philippines - Checklist of Birds of the Philippines, 2017

Purpl Heron
Purple Heron, Tagak
Ardea purpurea

About 91 cm long, wing span 148 cm. A fairly common resident in wetlands throughout the Philippines, from coastal marshes to rice fields. The call is a harsh croak.

The Purple Heron has been recorded once in the village in 2015.

Little Egret
Little Egret, Tagak
Egretta garzetta

About 61 cm long.  Common the whole year in all wetland areas throughout the country, from coastal marsh to rice fields. It is generally silent.

The little egret is occasionally seen flying over Alabang Hills or resting in trees, normally near water, but is not common in the Village.

Striated Heron, Bakaw, Bakaw Itim
Butorides striatus

About 45 cm long.
Common throughout the Philippines in fish ponds, streams, coastal flats and mangroves. Stays motionless during the day and feeds at night. The call is a single loud keeuuk in flight.

One bird was once captured in a garden in Doņa Annie Street and later released outside the Village. The bird was a daily visitor at dusk and fed on the koy fish in a garden pond. It is rare in the Village.

Little Heron

Black-crowned Night Heron, Lapay

Nycticorax nycticorax

Length about 56 cm, wingspan 112 cm. This migratory bird is seen near water in loose flocks in the Philippines. The call is a loud wok in flight.

A large flock of Black-crowned Night-Heron has been seen in the large vacant lot just outside the Don Jesus gate, and a few birds have been spotted flying over Alabang Hills. Photo by Alex Loinaz.
Black-crowned Night-heron

Western Osprey
Pandion haliaetus

About 56 cm long with a wingspan of 135 cm. An uncommon bird of prey associated with water, feeding exclusively on fish. A migrant recorded in the Philippines from August to May.  The call is a series of whistles cheep-cheep-cheep cheeeep.

An Osprey has been seen flying low over Alabang Hills, but it is a rare occurrence.

White-breasted Waterhen
White-breasted Waterhen, Salikuak
Amaurornis phoenicurus

About 28 cm long. Common resident throughout the Philippines in wet grasslands, marshes and mangroves. The call is a loud wok wok wok.

It can be spotted from time to time walking in vacant lots in Alabang Hills.

Whiskered Tern, Kanaway

Chlidonias  hybridus
Whiskered Tern Length about 24 cm, wingspan 66 cm. Common in the Philippines usually flying 5 to 10 meters over water, diving head first to catch prey. A migrant that can be seen from September to June. Call ki-ick.

A flock of Whiskered Terns was flying fast and high over parts of Alabang Hills during typhoon Santi in October 2009. Not common in the Village.

Spotted Dove
Spotted Dove,
Batobatong  de Kolyar

Streptopelia chinensis

About 30 cm long. Common in open country and agricultural areas, often walkiing on the ground. The call is a melodious ter-kuk-kerr.

It has been seen walking on lawns in Alabang Hills but is not common in the village.

Zebra Dove
Zebra Dove, Kurokurot,
Batobatong Katigbe

Geopelia striata

About 22 cm long. Common throughout the Philippines on roads and in gardens, trees and cultivated areas. The call is a pleasant often repeated kurrr coo coo.

It is commonly seen walking on roads and lawns in Alabang Hills, flying to nearby roofs, bushes and trees when flushed.

Rose-ringed Parakeet
Psittacula krameri
Rose-ringed Parakeet
About 40 cm long. This bird originates in the Indian Subcontinent. It is a popular pet throughout the world and has successfully adapted to living in disturbed habitats including parks and gardens in cities. It has established stable feral populations in places like the U.S., Japan, Europe, and the Philippines, for example in the American Cemetery. It has a loud squawking call.

A group of about 10 birds is resident in Alabang Hills. They are often seen flying over houses and gardens, or perching on wires and high trees.

Philippine Coucal
Philippine Coucal, Sabukot
Centropus viridis

About 42 cm long. A Philippine endemic common in grasslands and forests throughout the country, shy and difficult to see. The call is a loud chi-gook-gook, or a staccato boop-boop-boop...

It has been seen in bamboo and large trees in Alabang Hills, but is a rare occurrence.

Oriental Cuckoo
Cuculus optatus

About 30 cm long. An uncommon passage migrant in the Philippines that can be seen around October on its way south and around April on its way north. They are usually silent in the Philippines

One was seen in Doņa Annie in October 2014 perched on a dead tree resting from its long migration journey, but it is considered an accidental occurence in Alabang Hills.
Oreintal Cuckoo

Grey-rumped Swiftlet,  Langay-langayan
Colocallia esculenta

About 9.4 cm long. The most common and conspicuous swiftlet in the Philippines, flies low over forest, streams, clearings and roads.

Groups of Glossy Swiftlet are often seen flying low over vacant lots or high over gardens in Alabang Hills, sometimes mixed with swallows. 

Glossy swiftlet

White-throated Kingfisher,

Halcyon smyrnensis

About 26 cm long. Fairly common throughout the Philippines except Palawan. It perches 5 to 10 m above ground on branches or telephone wires in open country, often along streams or rivers. The call is a descending whistle lasting 1 second.

The White-throated Kingfisher is an occasional visitor in Alabang Hills, sometimes observed perched on a wire or a tree. Photo courtesy of (Wild Bird Club of the Philippines).

White-throated Kingfisher

Collared Kingfisher, Salaksak, Kasaykasay
Halcyon chloris
Length 24 cm. The most common and conspicuous of Philippine kingfishers, seen in coastal areas, mangroves, open country and towns, rarely in forests. The call is a loud harsh kak kak kak kak kak.

It is sometimes seen perched on trees or fences in gardens in Alabang Hills. Photo by Alex Loinaz.

Blue-tailed Bee-eater, Manunubing, Pirik-pirik
Merops philippinus

Blue-tailed Bee-eater
Length 29 cm. Fairly common resident of the Philippines in open country usually near water, but rarely seen in towns. The call is a clear cheer-it given in flight.

A pair of this bird has been seen perched on a wire in Alabang Hills, but it is a rare sight in the village. Photo taken in Alabang Hills by resident Graham Walter.

Coppersmith Barbet, Pok-pok, Tuk-tuk
Magalaima haemacephala
Coppersmith Barbet
About 15 cm long. A common Philippine resident, often seen perched conspicuously on the canopy of tall trees in forest and forest edge. The call is a series of loud single notes poke poke poke...

This bird is uncommon in Alabang Hills, and is more often heard than seen.

Philippine Pygmy Woodpecker, Patuktok, Karpintero-maliit
Dendrocopos maculatus

About 14 cm lo
ng. Endemic to the Philippines. Found in forests and clearings throughout the country feeding on insects and larvae, creeping on dead limps or flying in small flocks, often mixed with other birds. The call is a stuttering pilt-pilt-pil-pilt-pilt lasting 2.3 seconds.

This bird can occasionally be spotted in parks and gardens in Alabang Hills. Photo courtesy of
Pygmy Woodpecker

Pacific Swallow, Layang

Hirundo tahitica

About 12 cm long. Common throughout the Philippines, along the coast, and in open country, cultivated areas and towns. Often seen flying in small groups over fields or water. Nests in the eaves of houses and buildings. The call is a series of twsit-twsit-twsit.

Groups of Pacific Swallow can sometimes be flying low over vacant lots or high above the trees in Alabang Hills.

Pacific Swallow

Pied Triller, Ibon-pare
Lalage nigra

About 16.5 cm long. Common throughout the Philippines in trees in open country and gardens in towns. The call is an ascending che-che-che-che-che.

It is occasionally seen in trees in Alabang Hills but is uncommonPhoto by Alex Loinaz.
Pied triller

Yellow-vented Bulbul, Kulkul, Luklak, Malipago
Pycnonotus goiavier
Yellow-vented Bulbul
About 19 cm long. Common throughout the Philippines from urban gardens to open country and second growth. The call is a pleasant bubbling cho,  chop, cho-cho, cul-cul or pirop, repeated.

It is very common in Alabang Hills, perching on trees, alone or more often in pairs or small groups. Photo by Alex Loinaz.

Black-naped Oriole,

Oriolus chinensis

About 27 cm long. Common throughout the Philippines in open country, orchards and gardens, alone or in groups. The call is a loud and pleasant pee-yaaaaooww. It is often heard from far before being seen.

Small groups can occasionally be seen on high trees in Alabang Hills, often calling loudly together. Their call and bright yellow plumage are unmistakable.
Black-naped Oriole

Large-billed crow
Large-billed Crow, Uwak
Corvus macrorhynchos

About 47 cm long. Common throughout the Philippines in open country and near towns. The call is a loud, guttural weerrk, weerrk, weerrk.

This bird has been observed perched in trees in gardens in Alabang Hills but is rare in the Village. Photo courtesy of

Blue Rock Thrush, Tuwang-batang
Monticola solitarius
Blue Rock Thrush
About 20 cm long. Common throughout the country from September to May on rocky slopes and road cuts, and in open areas and parks. The call is a pleasant whistled pruu-eee pruu-eee pruu-eee pruu-eee.

This bird can occasionally be spotted in parks in Alabang Hills but is not common. Photo by Alex Loinaz.

Golden-bellied Gerygone, Pipit-bakaw
Gerygone sulphurea
Golden-bellied Flyeater
About 10 cm long. Common throughout the Philippines in open country, mangroves and residential areas, usually  found in the crowns of trees. The call is a melodious song of alternating slurred notes: whizzz whizzz wazzz whizzz woooz whizzz.

This bird can often be heard and sometimes seen in the morning in the trees of Alabang Hills gardens. Photo by Alex Loinaz.

Grey-streaked Flycatcher
Muscicapa griseisticta

About 13 cm long. Common migrant seen from September to June on top of trees in forests and open areas, flying out to catch insects on the fly. It is mostly silent.

This bird has been spotted in Alabang Hills, but it is a rare occurrence.
Grey-streaked Flycatcher

Philippine Pied Fantail,
Maria Kapra

Rhipidura javanica

About 19 cm long. A common Philippine endemic in plantations, parks and gardens. Constantly hopping from branch to branch and fanning its tail. The call is a series of metallic notes repeated often

This bird is often seen in Alabang Hills gardens, telephone wires and trees. It has been seen attacking other birds and even dogs when nesting.
Pied Fantail

White-breasted Woodswallow, Gitgit, Gikgik, Pagatpat
Artamus leucorynchus

About 19 cm long. Common throughout the Philippines in open country, forest edge and coastal areas. A graceful flyer, it usually perches in small groups on telephone wires and dead branches. The call is a harsh git-git or kik-kik given in flight.

It is sometimes seen perched on wires and feeding on insects in small groups in Alabang Hills, but is not common.
White-breasted Wood-Swallow

Long-tailed Shrike
Long-tailed Shrike, Tarat San
Pedro, Mamumugot

Lanius schach

About 24 cm lo
ng. Common and conspicuous resident of the Philippines in open country and scrub. The call is a loud ki-toap, but it can also imitate other birds.

This beautiful bird has been observed in Alabang Hills but is not common.

Brown Shrike, Tarat, Pakis-kis
Lanius cristatus

About 19 cm long. Common throughout the country from forest edge to the center of Manila. A migrant that is usually seen from September to May, perched on bushes, fences and telephone wires. The call is a loud harsh chatter: cher cher cher.

Can sometimes be spotted in trees and bushes in Alabang Hills. It is an aggressive bird that has been seen attacking other birds.
Brown Shrike

Asian Glossy Starling
Asian Glossy Starling,

Aplonis panayensis

About 25 cm lo
ng. Common in noisy flocks in the whole country from forests to city centers. The picture represents adults. Immature birds are brown with streaked breasts. The call is a loud series of metallic sounds.

This bird has been seen in Alabang Hills but is uncommon in the village.

Crested Myna
Crested Myna, Martines
Acridotheres cristatellus

About 25 cm lo
ng. Common in Luzon in open country and agricultural land, singly or in groups. Many have been observed lately in Metro Manila. Can imitate other species and sounds.

This bird has been spotted in Alabang Hills perched on poles and wires, but is unusual in the village.

Olive-backed Sunbird, Pipit-parang, Tamsi
Nectarinia jugularis
Olive-backed Sunbird
About 11 cm long. Very common throughout the Philippines in open country, plantations, mangroves and gardens. It is very active and seen usually in pairs feeding around flowering trees and bushes. The male is shown on the left photo and the female on the right. The call is a loud che-wheeet

This small bird is often seen fluttering around flowering trees and bushes in gardens in Alabang Hills. Photo of female by Alex Loinaz
Olive-backed Sunbird

Red-keeled Flowerpecker,  Pipit-puso
Dicaeum australe

About 10 cm long. Endemic to the Philippines, where it is common in the canopy of forests and in open country. The call is a continuous zit zit zit.

It has been seen in Alabang Hills but it is rare. Photo courtesy of
Red-keeled Flowerpecker

Lowland White-eye
Lowland White-eye,
Matang Dulong

Zosterops meyeni

About 10 cm long. Endemic to Luzon and nearby islands. Common in second growth forest, shrubs and gardens, in noisy flocks. The call varies from swit to swit-tzee.

Groups of Lowland White-eye have been observed in Alabang Hills but it is not a common occurrence.

Eurasian Tree Sparrow
Eurasian Tree Sparrow,

Passer montanus

About 13 cm long. Ubiquitous bird that can be found everywhere in association with humans. Probably introduced to the Philippines in early times. The call is a musical and liquid chirp.

It can be seen in every garden of Alabang Hills every day and needs no introduction.

Chestnut Munia, Maya
Lonchura malacca

About 11 cm long. Common in rice fields, grassland and open country throughout the Philippines, usually traveling in tight flocks. The call consists of tinkling notes.

Groups of Chestnut Munias can be seen from time to time in gardens in Alabang Hills.
Chestnut Munia'
Christian Perez
14 Dona Annie, Alabang Hills,
Muntinlupa City, Philippines
Last updated on 29 August 2017