Tuesday 18 June
Mindanao bleeding-heart (Gallicolumba crinigera)
Mindanao bleeding-heart fact file
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Mindanao bleeding-heart description
This peculiarly coloured pigeon is one of 11 bleeding-heart species, so called because of the large blood-red patch on their breast (3). The ‘bleeding-heart’ varies slightly in shape and colour among species; the Mindanao having a patch that is larger and more uniformly dark red than other bleeding-hearts’, that contrasts with its white breast and throat (2). Its upperparts are a dark chestnut, with an iridescent greeny-bronze head and neck, and creamy-buff underparts (4). The male and female are similar except for the colour of the iris; the male’s is blue whilst the female’s is purplish. Juveniles differ by being predominantly reddish brown (2). Similar to other pigeons, the Mindanao bleeding-heart has a repeated cooing call (4).Top
Mindanao bleeding-heart biology
The scientific name of the Mindanao bleeding-heart hints at the behaviour of this bird. Galli means chicken and columba means pigeon, and this is a pigeon spends much of its time on the ground searching for food, like a chicken (6), moving through the forest floor, looking out for seeds, fallen berries, worms and other insects (2), and only perching in a tree when roosting and breeding (5).
The Mindanao bleeding-heart is a very shy bird, and its tendency to conceal itself may be why it is rarely encountered. When threatened, it prefers to run rapidly away, rather than fly (5).
There is not much information regarding the breeding behaviour of this bleeding-heart, but it is thought to take place during the rainy season, between March and June (4). In the wild, single eggs have been found in stick and bamboo nests in May (2).Top
Mindanao bleeding-heart range
Found only in the Philippines, three subspecies of the Mindanao bleeding-heart are distributed over six islands. Gallicolumba crinigera leytensis occurs on the islands of Samar, Leyte, Bohol, Gallicolumba crinigera criniger is found on Dinagat and Mindanao, and Gallicolumba crinigera bartletti is restricted to Basilan (5).Top
Mindanao bleeding-heart habitatTop
Mindanao bleeding-heart status
Classified as Vulnerable (VU) on the IUCN Red List 2007 (1).Top
Mindanao bleeding-heart threats
The Mindanao bleeding-heart is rapidly declining in numbers due to extensive destruction of the lowland forest it inhabits (1). For example, in 1988, approximately only 29 percent of Mindanao’s forest remained, and aerial surveys of Basilan in 1992 showed that only two percent of the island’s natural forest remained (7). This shocking loss is the result of logging and mining, particularly chromite surface-mining (5). All terrestrial birds in the Philippines are also threatened by trapping, for food and trade (1).Top
Mindanao bleeding-heart conservation
This forest pigeon occurs in several protected areas, including Rajah Sikatuna National Park on Bohol, but the actual protection provided varies between parks, and in some, destruction of the forest continues (8). Laws to restrict hunting of the Mindanao bleeding-heart also exist throughout its range, but are rarely enforced (5). Increased enforcement of hunting laws, protected areas, and the creation of new reserves, is required to halt the decline of this endangered bird (1).
There is currently a European breeding programme in place for this species, which aims to provide a self-sustaining captive population and develop important care and breeding techniques that can be used on wild populations in the Philippines (6). The programme, coordinated by Bristol Zoo Gardens, has successfully bred the Mindanao bleeding-heart every year since 1998, and it is hoped that once their wild habitat is securely protected, the birds may be returned to the wild (6) (9)Top
Find out more
For further information on the Mindanao bleeding-heart see:
- BirdLife International. (2001) Threatened Birds of Asia: the BirdLife International Red Data Book. BirdLife International, Cambridge, UK.
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- Primary forest
- Forest that has remained undisturbed for a long time and has reached a mature condition.
- Secondary forest
- Regenerating forest that has not yet reached the mature state of primary forest.
- A population usually restricted to a geographical area that differs from other populations of the same species, but not to the extent of being classified as a separate species.
- IUCN Red List (May, 2008)
- del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A. and Sargatal, J. (1997) Handbook of the Birds of the World. Vol. 4: Sandgrouse to Cuckoos. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona.
- Haribon Foundation (April, 2007)
- Birdlife International (April, 2007)
- BirdLife International. (2001) Threatened birds of Asia: the BirdLife International Red Data Book. BirdLife International, Cambridge, UK.
- Bristol Zoo Gardens (April, 2007)
- World Wildlife Fund (April, 2007)
- Birdlife International (April, 2007)
- British and Irish Association of Zoos and Aquariums (April, 2007)
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