Research Department

LOVE MONTH: Will you heal a bleeding-heart?

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By Kitty Amante

Nothing hurts more than a broken heart, unless we lose our life-giving forests, home of the unique Bleeding-heart pigeons of the Philippines.

Meet the Bleeding-heart

A bleeding-heart is a pigeon that has a distinct red or orange marking on its breast making it look like it’s bleeding. They are found nowhere else in the planet except the Philippines.

Unlike other birds that soar heights, you will find this meek creature spending most of its life on the ground, under the canopy of lowland forests. This terrestrial bird is plump, low-flying and generally shy.

Despite its colorful plumage, this pigeon is difficult to find as it is easily driven away by even the slightest noise. Discreetly, it feeds on fallen seeds, grains or berries, insects and small invertebrates like worms.

All of five bleeding-heart species are endemic to the Philippines namely the: Luzon bleeding-heart, Mindoro bleeding-heart, Negros bleeding-heart, Sulu bleeding-heart and Mindanao bleeding-heart.

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The Mindoro Bleeding-heart is estimated to number around 400 individuals left.

The bleeding-heart, like other forest species, plays an important role in keeping the ecosystem in balance. They are helpful in the forest growth through seed dispersals, and as such, we should not let them go extinct.

What makes this bird “bleed”?

The bleeding-heart’s wounded appearance however does not stray far from its true plight in the wild being identified from Vulnerable to Critically Endangered, which means the possibility of extinction in the next five years, unless we do something about it!

Long ago, this elusive bird seemed to be all throughout the forest floors of Mindoro but only around 400 remain today. This is mainly caused by the loss of habitat due to deforestation.

With only a patch of primary forests left in the Philippines, what remains of the bleeding-heart pigeons are facing greater threats than ever before. Often, these poor creatures are trapped accidentally in snares used to capture other target animals for personal consumption (by indigenous peoples or forest-dependent communities) or pet trade.

The Mindoro Bleeding-Heart is a focus of the conservation organization and BirdLife International partner Haribon Foundation. For the past 15 years, the group has been working with communities in the island to conserve this endemic and Critically Endangered species.

What can you do?

This Love Month, Haribon invites you to show our periled feathered friends some love as you would your favorite pet.

For a donation of only P435, you’ll get our newest line of “Can you heal my bleeding-heart?” tees featuring the Luzon bleeding-heart and the Mindoro bleeding-heart.

Your help will support Haribon’s conservation efforts for our unique Bleeding-hearts and biodiversity.

Get a pair for you and your special someone today at http://www.Teetalk.PH!

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