‘Rescued eagle species can’t be found abroad’

Posted on August 30, 2011

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THE wounded eagle that was rescued in Lapu-Lapu City last week belongs to a species that can be found only in the Philippines.

The bird, identified as a Philippine serpent eagle (scientific name Spilornis holospilus) can be found across the Philippines except Palawan island, where a similar species, the crested serpent eagle, is found, said Lisa Paguntalan, field operations director of the Philippine Biodiversity Conservation Programme.

Philippine serpent eagle rescued by Emeterio Bonghanoy of Lapu-Lapu City. (CDN PHOTO/ JAY LABRA)

Fowlers may have snared the bird in a thick forest and brought it to Mactan Island through illegal trade.

“Most of the species that are illegally traded are brought to Cebu through Mactan,” Paguntalan told Cebu Daily News.

Paguntalan said Philippine serpent eagles are usually roost in tall trees in forest edges.

“It usually soars high above forest and forest edges giving its distinctive whistling call,” she said.

The bird has a shrill, prolonged call and can usually be heard in the morning.

The birds can perch for a long time at high points to prey on lizards and snakes.

It can drop vertically to feed on small birds and mammals. It takes its prey to the ground.

Paguntalan said the eagle is medium-size and pointed out its generally brown plumage with yellow spots and a crest.

Emeterio Bonghanoy, the scuba-diving instructor who rescued the bird, said he found it bruised near his house in barangay Maribago last Friday afternoon.

A talon on the bird’s left foot was missing. Bonghanoy said he believes it was struck down with a slingshot.

The bird was turned over to the custody of the Department of Environment and Natural Reousrces in Central Visayas (DENR-7) where it is kept in a cage.

Bonghanoy turned over the eagle to SPO2 Rodito Viovicente of the Lapu-Lapu City Police, who contacted the DENR-7.

Paguntalan said the bird is not yet listed as endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature, a global network that provides solutions to environment challenges and supports scientific research. /Candeze R. Mongaya, Reporter


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