The Sulu Bleeding-heart is only known from two specimens collected from Tawitawi, Philippines, in 1891.
The only evidence that this species is still extant is from unconfirmed local reports in 1995. Visits to Tawitawi in June 2009 failed to produce any records of this species. Bleeding-hearts are so-called because of a vivid red or orange patch of plumage on the breast of the bird that resembles a puncture wound. This species is part of the Columbidae family of birds, which diverged from all other bird families 32.7 million years ago during the Paleogene period. Within this family, the genus Gallicolumba diverged within this family 28.7 million years ago. Very little is known about this island endemic species due to its very rare nature. Unfortunately, the remaining primary forest on Tawitawi was being cleared rapidly leaving highly degraded and recently logged forest, which is likely to be the major cause of decline for this species. There are no protected areas in the archipelago. A proposal exists to provide conservation funding for this area, although neither the outcome nor the benefits to the species is known. There is a public awareness campaign focussing on the conservation of terrestrial biodiversity on Tawitawi.
- Order: Columbiformes
- Family: Columbidae
- Population: <50
- Trend: decreasing
- Size: 25cm
This species is endemic to the Philippines, specifically to the Sulu archipelago.
Habitat and Ecology
Little is known about this species but inferences can be made from its close relatives, which can survive in secondary forest but preferentially inhabits primary.