Siloy – Cebu’s Endangered Black Shama



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“SILOY,” that is what this Philippine Cebu Endemic is locally called. I have thought that photographing this bird would be a walk in the park, but it was quite difficult for us. Our local guide Pedro Villarta, who is one of the wardens of Nug-as forest in Alcoy, said that the bird is territorial and responds to calls which he perfectly mimicks. He said that it always posed for quite some time allowing for good photographs to be taken, but this time it was elusive. We visited four separate known territories, and yet this endangered bird just flew by or back and forth without giving us clean view and precious moments. Luckily on the fifth site it suddenly perched in front of me. Though it just stayed there for a couple of seconds, I managed to get some shots and got this docu click.

The BLACK SHAMA is considered to be “endangered” as listed by IUCN. It is one of the three Philippine endemic birds found in Cebu Island, the two being Cebu Hawk Owl and Cebu Flowerpecker. We were actually gunning for the later, considered to be “critically endangered,” but we know that’s almost impossible since until now no photograph nor docu shot has seen the light of day of this bird considered extinct since 1906 but rediscovered in 1992. The Black Shama filled-in the void as it comes second in our list.

I was attending with the Manila Youth Bureau an off-site seminar of the SK of Manila in Badian when I sneaked out on the last day to meet up with Cebu-based bird photographers and WBPP fellows Gerald Abao Yuvallos, Ceasar Azanza and Lanze Leo Berro Amparado. Godfrey Jakosalem linked us up with Pedro whom we picked up as we enter the forest. Thanks fellas for the ride and the company. It was great birding with you.

BLACK SHAMA, Philippine and Cebu Endemic, at Nug-as Forest, Alcoy, Cebu, August 2012… 1/50, f/4, iso1600, Spot Metering, Aperture Priority Mode EV-2/3… Canon EOS 7D + EF 300mm f/2.8L IS II USM + 1.4X Teleconverter + Benro GH-2 Gimbal Head and Tripod… Photography Technique: Natural History, no major changes made in the photograph. Enlarged by 170%.

Alain Pascua

Alain Pascua

Alain Pascua is one of the founding-administrators of the "Wild Birds of the Philippine" Page, the only multi-photographer gallery of Philippine birds in Facebook. He also co-founded the Philippine BIrd Photography Workshops and Tours, a professional outfit, in 2011, and the Wild Bird Photographers of the Philippines (WBPP) in 2012. Alain Pascua’s photos of wild birds have graced numerous publications, the latest are featured in the newly published book Owls of the World A Photographic Guide by Heimo Mikkola. He won second place in the 1st Bird as Art International Bird Photography Competition organized by Art Morris in the Captive Birds Category.

Alain Pascua

Alain Pascua

Alain Pascua is one of the founding-administrators of the "Wild Birds of the Philippine" Page, the only multi-photographer gallery of Philippine birds in Facebook. He also co-founded the Philippine BIrd Photography Workshops and Tours, a professional outfit, in 2011, and the Wild Bird Photographers of the Philippines (WBPP) in 2012. Alain Pascua’s photos of wild birds have graced numerous publications, the latest are featured in the newly published book Owls of the World A Photographic Guide by Heimo Mikkola. He won second place in the 1st Bird as Art International Bird Photography Competition organized by Art Morris in the Captive Birds Category.

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