Tag Archives: Oriolus steerii

Oriolus steerii ssp. assimilis Tweeddale

Cebu Oriole (Oriolus steerii ssp. assimilis)

The Philippine Oriole, as its name implies, is endemic to the Philippine Islands, with five subspecies being usually recognized. The subspecies from the island of Cebu, almost right in the middle of the Philippine archipelago, was described in 1878, originally as a distinct species.

The Philippines are well known to be among the most severely deforested places in the tropics with some islands having been almost completely ripped from their native vegetation, this is also the case with Cebu, where only very, very small remnants of the former forest remain, leading to the near or even complete extinction of many of its native ornithofauna. 

The Cebu Oriole was last seen in 1906 and was usually considered extinct, however, there appears to have been a sighting in the early 2000s, which has never been confirmed.

***

The most recent field studies undertaken in the years from 2001 to 2004 actually manage to rediscover 20 of the species respectively subspecies of birds that were thought to have been extirpated from Cebu, many of them endemic to the island, four of the endemic subspecies, however, were not rediscovered and are now clearly extinct. 

Among these four subspecies was the Cebu Oriole. [1]

*********************

References:

[1] Lisa Marie J. Paguntalan; Philip Godfrey Jakosalem: Significant records of birds in forests on Cebu Island, central Philippines. Forktail 24: 48-56. 2008

*********************

Depiction from: ‘Arthur, Marquis of Tweeddale: Contributions to the ornithology of the Philippines. – No. II. on the collection made by Mr. A. H. Everett in the island of Zebu. Proceedings of the Zoological Society of London 1877: 755-769’

(public domain)

*********************

edited: 25.05.2019