After the seemingly unceasing rainy days of recent weeks that saw several provinces in Eastern Visayas being declared under a state of calamity, the clouds broke up early last week and things seemed to get sunny once again eliciting one giant collective sigh of relief from everybody.

I was extra blessed this passing week with my spotting of two sunbirds – one, a favorite of mine, the Siwit, the local name for the Olive-backed Sunbird (Cinnyris jugularis) also called Yellow-breasted Sunbird; Yellow-bellied Sunbird;  and, secondly, a not-so-common bird called Naked-faced Spiderhunter – a lifer (first time to view at its natural habitat) for me! – at Lake Danao in Ormoc City, Leyte.

The sunbirds and spiderhunters are a family, Nectariniidae, of very small Passerine birds (perching birds/ songbirds).

I missed seeing the Siwit at our veranda during the incessant rains I began to wonder whether she’d moved on and found a better refuge.

Then just a couple of days ago, I heard her familar call!

She was back!

At Lake Danao in Ormoc City, Leyte last Friday, February 11, 2011, I was again in luck. Gee, the lake goddess surely loves me!

About 2 months ago it was there where I was able to spot several lifers and seldom seen ones, among them a Samar Tarictic Hornbill (Penelopides samarensis) and an Oriental Magpie Robin (Copsychus saularis). (See previous post:

This time I was more than fortunate to have spotted what I initially thought was another ordinary sunbird. It was immediately identified by birder friends as a Naked-faced Spiderhunter – not yet classified as an endangered species, but certainly a rare, hard-to-find one.

A quick search in the internet mentions sightings and photographs of it only in Mindanao and at La Mesa Dam Eco Park in Quezon City. There’s no mention of sightings nor a photo taken of it in Leyte!

In a web post, Filipino bird authority  Romy Ocon says the Naked-faced Spiderhunter – a Philippine endemic – is the largest Philippine sunbird.

Spiderhunters have longer, down-curved bills and brush-tipped tubular tongues. They feed on both nectar and a range of small arthropods – spiders and other insects. They have been cited as pollinators of some species of plants – those with long tubular flowers.

Source: Wikipedia >>>

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