punay-bird-ptilinopusmerrilliPhoto: 1982 issue Philippine stamp for 30 centavos (sentimos), documented online here.

My childhood nickname refers to a fruit dove.  Which particular species, I wondered?  According to the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, this document identifies 4 different species as “Punay” on p. 66.  There are also other pigeons that go by the same name.  Which one was I named after?

It might be Treron formosae filipinus,  or the Whistling Green-Pigeon, once hunted as food fowl.  Here is a photo of the Japanese species, as I can’t find a local photo.  Here is another, clearer side view photo, from Mangoverde.com, publisher of the Mangoverde World Bird Guide.

punay-bird-treronformosaefPhoto:  Treron formosae (Japan).  Screen capture from this birdwatching site, with detailed descriptions.

Or it may be Ptilinopus marchei, the Flame-Breasted Fruit Dove / Marche’s Fruit Dove.

Photo: Ptilinopus marchei. Screen capture from British Oriental bird specialist Desmond Allen’s video originally posted here.

Or it may be Ptilinopus merrilli, the Cream-Bellied Fruit Dove or Merrill’s Fruit Dove.   Here’s another screen capture from Desmond Allen’s video.

Could it be, perhaps, Ptilinopus arcanus, the Negros Fruit-Dove?  (See illustration below.) My mother is from Negros.   There are no extant photos of this bird. The last documented sighting was a female specimen collected in 1953, unless you count this site‘s claim that “local contact Rene Vendiola sighted a Negros Fruit-Dove last year” (2002).  International birder Sander Lagerveld reported to Oriental Birding that “the male Negros Fruit-Dove reportedly looks like a miniature Yellow-breasted Fruit-Dove.”  (Clicking on Lagerveld’s name leads you to his 3-part Philippine bird tour report, complete with maps and local contact info!)  In the meantime, here is an attractive illustration of that female bird, from BirdLife.org:


There’s also Ptilinopus leclancheri, or the Black-Chinned Fruit-Dove. If you notice I’m posting another screen cap from Desmond Allen’s video – it’s because his videos are so very clear and show excellent frontal views in good light.  However the “black chin” is not very apparent until you look more closely. Please also check out this excellent photo, from the gallery of photographer Romy Ocon.  Here is another, by Mark Harper.  There is a 2008 issue stamp!  Look for it here.

How about the Treron pompadora, or Pompadour Green Pigeon / Philippine Green Pigeon? Here is a very clear photo by Romy Ocon, and another by J.P. Carino.  This, happily, has a population that is not as threatened or endangered as the others.

And lastly, there are the bleeding-heart birds.  The Luzon Bleeding Heart, Gallicolumba luzonica rubiventris, is called Punay.  This is such a beautiful bird, check out this fantastic photo by Ken Ilio.  The Mindoro Bleeding Heart, Gallicolumba platenei, is also called Punay.  Unfortunately I have not found a photo of the bird at this time.

It appears that Punay is the local name given to some smaller varieties of fruit dove, green pigeon or bleeding-heart pigeon.  Many of the birds listed here are threatened species.

As of this writing I want to look for the stamps featuring the Punay doves.

Birdwatch.ph (Wild Bird Club of the Philippines) is a wonderful site promoting local and provincial birdwatching activities.  It also offers a downloadable taxonomic list of scientific and common names, among other great references..

There are a good number of Philippine bird references in print, or that you can Google for, if you would like to know more.  I’ll list them in a later blog, together with a list of links to local birdwatching groups and information sites online.

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