Category: Blog


Published: January 31, 2011

Camiguin Hanging-Parrot: a new species from a small Philippine Island

John Bates, Associate Curator and Section Head, Life Sciences, Integrative Research Center


One thing that makes museum collections so valuable is that they bring together specimens from throughout the distributions of species. When comparative series of specimens are available, it becomes possible to see if differences between populations are greater than what is found within the populations being studied. The Field Museum's Bird Division has outstanding collections of Philippine birds made by D. S. Rabor and is colleagues in  the 1960s. Because Rabor collected series of specimens of Hanging-Parrots from throughout the Philippines, we were able to make statistical and comparative assessments of the distinctiveness of specimens of Hanging-Parrots from Camiguin Island, a small oceanic island off the coast of Mindanao in the southern Philippines that led us to describe these birds as a new species, Camiguin Hanging-Parrot (Loriculus camiguinsis). This new Hanging-Parrot along with two new species of mammals (Apomys camiguinsis and Bullimus gamay) one of which was described by Curator of Mammals, Larry Heaney, and his colleagues in the same Fieldiana issue. 

These new species are endemic to the Island of Camiguin and threatened due to habitat destruction on the island. They highlight the need to conserve the island's remaining forests, and they highlight the value of specimen-based research for conservation.

Tello, J. G., J. F. Degner, J. M. Bates, and D. E. Willard.  2006. A new species of Hanging-Parrot (Loriculus) from Camiguin Island, Philippines, pp. 58-72.  In Heaney, L. R., ed., The Mammals and Birds of Camiguin Island, Philippines, a Distinctive Center of Biodiversity.  Fieldiana Zoology, n.s., 106:1-72.