Black-bibbed cicadabird (Coracina mindanensis)

GenusCoracina (1)
SizeLength: 22 cm (2)

Classified as Vulnerable (VU) on the IUCN Red List (1).

Perching silently in the forest canopy, the shy and elusive black-bibbed cicadabird is rarely observed in the wild. While the plumage of both sexes is mainly ashy grey, the male possesses a distinctive black region extending from the face down to the lower breast, as well as black primaries and tail feathers (2).

The black-bibbed cicadabird is endemic to the Philippines, where five subspecies are recognised, each inhabiting separate islands. Coracina mindanensis lecroyae is found on Luzon; Coracina mindanensis elusa on Mindoro; Coracina mindanensis ripleyi on Samar, Biliran, Leyte and Bohol; Coracina mindanensis mindanensis on Mindanao and Basilan; and Coracina mindanensis everetti on Jolo, Lapac, Tawitawi and Bongao (2).

The black-bibbed cicadabird principally occurs in lowland areas of moist, tropical forest, usually at altitudes well below 1,000 metres (2).

Due to its elusiveness and a lack of study, little is currently known about the biology of the black-bibbed cicadabird. It appears to be solitary and arboreal, either perching high in the forest canopy or middle storey of the forest, or in secondary growth (2).

As a Philippine endemic, the black-bibbed cicadabird will have undoubtedly been affected by the historical and ongoing large-scale clearance of forest that has occurred on all islands within the group (2) (3). In lowland forest areas, human activities such as logging, encroachment of agriculture, urban development, and conversion to oil palm or wood pulp plantations are claiming much of this species’ habitat. With so little known about the black-bibbed cicadabird’s distribution and population, it is unclear how many fall within protected areas (2). However, even if the number should prove to be significant, the enforcement of protection in these areas is currently lacking (4).

At present, there are no measures in place to conserve the black-bibbed cicadabird. The priority for this species is to gather more detailed information about its distribution and population status within remaining lowland forest. In addition, ongoing campaigns for the specific protection of the black-bibbed cicadabird, and for expanded, more efficient protection of the Philippine forests in general, will help to ensure this species’ survival (2).

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  1. IUCN Red List (November, 2011)