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Cebu Flowerpecker Dicaeum quadricolor
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BirdLife Species Champion Philippines Department of Tourism
BirdLife Species Guardian Cebu Biodiversity Conservation Foundation
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This species has an extremely small population and very small, severely fragmented range owing to catastrophic deforestation which, although it has now slowed, is continuing. These factors qualify it as Critically Endangered.

Taxonomic source(s)
Sibley, C. G.; Monroe, B. L. 1990. Distribution and taxonomy of birds of the world. Yale University Press, New Haven, USA.

Size 11-12 cm. Rather stocky flowerpecker with rather short, stout bill. Male has conspicuous pattern, with blackish head, bright scarlet-red mantle and back, yellowish-green rump, blackish-blue wings and tail, and greyish-white underparts with paler ventral stripe. Female duller overall, with dark greyish back (lacking any red) and brownish-grey underparts. Similar spp. Plumage (especially red back of male) readily distinguishes it from sympatric flowerpeckers (e.g. Red-keeled Flowerpecker D. australe). Voice Song typical of genus, comprising a series of thin, high-pitched, sweet notes, and calls with a thin seep interspersed with harder ticking notes.

Distribution and population
Dicaeum quadricolor is endemic to the island of Cebu in the Philippines (Collar et al. 1999). In the late 1800s it was known from just two localities, where it was considered not uncommon. Early in the 20th century, it was feared to have become extinct because all the island's forest was thought to have been cleared. However, it was rediscovered in 1992 at Tabunan (80 ha, plus another 40 ha of surrounding fragments) where it was seen most recently in 2007 (L. M. J. Paguntalan in litt. 2007, 2008). Since 1992 it has been found at three further sites, Nug-As (700+ ha) (L. M. J. Paguntalan in litt. 2005, Paguntalan and Jakosalem 2008), Dalaguete (80+ ha) (L. M. J. Paguntalan in litt. 2005) and Mt Lantoy (30+ ha). In 2010, there were at least two sightings of this species by forest wardens in the Alcoy area, including a pair in the vicinity of human habitation (R. S. S. Ybañez in litt. 2010). Three other areas of forest exist, but the species has not yet been reported from them: Caurasan-Mt. Kapayas (100+ ha), Tuburan (300 ha including exotic plantations) and Malabuyoc (30 ha) (L. M. J. Paguntalan in litt. 2005). Population declines are now likely to be fairly slow because so little forest remains, and that which does is on areas difficult to cultivate or without water (L. M. J. Paguntalan in litt. 2005). The maximum number seen together at any of these four sites is just four birds, and the current population is estimated at c. 100 individuals, with 50-60 at Nug-As, 25-30 at Tabunan, and 10-15 at Dalaguete (L. M. J. Paguntalan in litt. 2005).

Population justification
In 2005 the population was estimated at 85-105 individuals. (L. M. J. Paguntalan in litt. 2005), roughly equivalent to 60-70 mature individuals.

Trend justification
Population declines are likely to be fairly slow now because so little forest remains, and that which does is on areas difficult to cultivate or without water (L. M. J. Paguntalan in litt. 2005).

Historically, it was considered to be strictly confined to forest. Recent observations clearly indicate an association with the tallest remaining forest patches up to c.500 m, most of which are on karst limestone. It evidently frequents secondary and selectively logged areas, but always next to a larger patch of native vegetation (L. M. J. Paguntalan in litt. 2005). It has been observed feeding on mistletoe-like plants (Loranthus sp.), small, ripe Ficus fruits (L. M. J. Paguntalan in litt. 2005) and a flowering native tree, Callopyhllum sp. (P. G. Jakosalem in litt. 2012). Breeding is suspected to take place between February and August (L. M. J. Paguntalan in litt. 2007, 2008).

In the 1890s, the small amount of forest remaining was rapidly being cleared. A century later, Cebu retained barely 0.03% (c. 15 km2) of its original cover, and even the most degraded secondary habitats were scarce. The few remaining tracts of forest are variously threatened by illegal settlement, road construction, shifting cultivation, illicit logging, charcoal making, firewood collection and habitat clearance for mining. Interspecific competition with D. australe may have accelerated the species's decline given the extreme shortage of available habitat. This species may have suffered from the impacts of Typhoon Haiyan which in many areas stripped trees bare of leaves and fruit (De Win 2013).

Conservation and Research Actions Underway
Nug-as Forest is managed and protected by three People's Organisations with Community-based Forest Management Agreements with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources. From 1999 until 2004, the Cebu Biodiversity Conservation Foundation conducted habitat rehabilitation activities using native species and forest protection activities in Tabunan, controlling timber poaching and forest clearing and encouraging regeneration of secondary growth areas. The initiative also maintained the remaining mature secondary forest cover and increased the native vegetation cover through regeneration of secondary growth habitats (L. M. J. Paguntalan in litt. 2007, 2008). Reforestation in areas near and adjacent to Tabunan Forest is on-going (R. S. S. Ybañez in litt. 2010). Habitat rehabilitation activities are now largely concentrated in the southern part of Cebu where the larger forests of Alcoy lie in close proximity to four other remaining forest patches. The establishment of corridors has been initiated to link up Nug-as forest to Dalaguete and in the Malabuyoc-Alegria area (L. M. J. Paguntalan in litt. 2007, 2008). Forest cover has been increased by the planting of at least 10 ha each year and protection of secondary growth areas, and at least six municipalities have conducted habitat rehabilitation activities.

Local forest wardens regularly conduct forest patrols in both Nug-as and Dalaguete forest patches, and are supported by the Municipal Government under the Forest and Wildlife Protection Program (L. M. J. Paguntalan in litt. 2007, 2008). Malabuyoc, which may hold this species, is within the borders of a cement company reserve (L. M. J. Paguntalan in litt. 2005). Mt. Lantoy was declared as a Watershed Forest Reserve (Presidential Proclamation no. 414 dated 29 June, 1994) and was considered as part of the initial component of National Integrated Protected Area System Act (NIPAS Act). A Protected Area Management Board was created and manages the protected area. In December 2006, a new Executive Order was issued by President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo reducing the watershed reserve area coverage from 7,265 ha to 3,000 ha (L. M. J. Paguntalan in litt. 2007, 2008). The Central Cebu National Park, together with four other Watershed Forest Reserves, was consolidated to form the Central Cebu Protected Landscape (CCPL) under Republic Act 9486 or Central Cebu Protected Landscape Act of 2007. A Protected Area Management Board handles the management of the consolidated protected area (L. M. J. Paguntalan in litt. 2007, 2008). Field research into the species's ecology is on-going (L. M. J. Paguntalan in litt. 2007, 2008). A project document on Saving the Cebu Flowerpecker was being finalised in late 2010 ready for submission to stakeholders (R. S. S. Ybañez in litt. 2010).

Conservation and Research Actions Proposed
Identify all remnant forest tracts on Cebu and urgently survey them for remaining populations. Research the species's ecology, particularly interactions with D. australe. Continue to fund and implement management activities at Tabunan. Support the proposal to designate Mt Lantoy as a national park, and urgently propose all remaining forest tracts on Cebu, including Nug-As, for strict formal protection.

Collar, N. J.; Mallari, N. A. D.; Tabaranza, B. R. J. 1999. Threatened birds of the Philippines: the Haribon Foundation/BirdLife International Red Data Book. Bookmark, Makati City.

De Win, S. 2013. Typhoon Haiyan left parts of the Philippines behind as a wintery landscape typically found in temperate climates only. Available at: (Accessed: 21/5/15).

IUCN. 2015. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2015-4. Available at: (Accessed: 19 November 2015).

Paguntalan, L. M. J.; Jakosalem, P. G. 2008. Significant records of birds in forests on Cebu island, central Philippines. Forktail: 48-56.

Further web sources of information
Detailed species accounts from the Threatened birds of Asia: the BirdLife International Red Data Book (BirdLife International 2001).

Explore HBW Alive for further information on this species

Search for photos and videos, and hear sounds of this species from the Internet Bird Collection

Species Guardian Action Update

Text account compilers
Benstead, P., Bird, J., Lowen, J., Pilgrim, J., Symes, A., Taylor, J., Allinson, T & Wright, L

Paguntalan, L., Ybañez, R., Jakosalem, P.G.C. & Allen, D.

IUCN Red List evaluators
Symes, A.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2016) Species factsheet: Dicaeum quadricolor. Downloaded from on 23/10/2016. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2016) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from on 23/10/2016.

This information is based upon, and updates, the information published in BirdLife International (2000) Threatened birds of the world. Barcelona and Cambridge, UK: Lynx Edicions and BirdLife International, BirdLife International (2004) Threatened birds of the world 2004 CD-ROM and BirdLife International (2008) Threatened birds of the world 2008 CD-ROM. These sources provide the information for species accounts for the birds on the IUCN Red List.

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To contribute to discussions on the evaluation of the IUCN Red List status of Globally Threatened Birds, please visit BirdLife's Globally Threatened Bird Forums.

Additional resources for this species

ARKive species - Cebu flowerpecker (Dicaeum quadricolor) 0

Key facts
Current IUCN Red List category Critically Endangered
Family Dicaeidae (Flowerpeckers)
Species name author (Tweeddale, 1877)
Population size 60-70 mature individuals
Population trend Decreasing
Distribution size (breeding/resident) 8 km2
Country endemic? Yes
Links to further information
- Additional Information on this species