Video courtesy Manuel R. Reyes
The blue-headed racquet-tail parrot (Prioniturus platenae), known locally as the "kilit," is bird native to the Philippines, and is only found in the province of Palawan. The population is estimated to number 2,500 to 9,999, according to Bird Life International, and it is listed as "vulnerable" by the International Union for Conservation of Nature. The blue-headed racquet-tail can still be seen in the island of Busuanga; however, habitat loss, poaching and killing have continued with an increase in human population and tourism.
Efforts are being taken to save the blue-headed racquet-tail. University of the Philippines Los Baños graduate student Nikki Realubit conducted a preliminary kilit survey at Kingfisher Park located in Busuanga Island. She recommended a conservation management plan, which includes partnerships with the municipality of Coron, Philippine government agencies, universities, K-12 schools, tourism businesses and local communities. There has been a proposal to designate the kilit the municipal bird.
"The island of Busuanga is a miracle of biological diversity," said Manuel R. Reyes, Ph.D, Professor of Biological Engineering at North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University. Reyes grew up in the Philippines, and is working to help conserve the blue-headed racquet-tail. "It still has its unique biological diversity capital but we can lose it soon because tourism is accelerating. We are promoting that the communities in the island partner and together agree in optimizing tourism profit without sacrificing the biological diversity of the island. I believe this is doable because the biological diversity must be conserved for tourism to flourish and be sustained. But how to do it is the challenge. Hence, promoting the Kilit will be the first step. If the kilit becomes a flagship species and the community in the island rally for the kilit, then the entire island’s biological diversity can be conserved because the kilit flies around the island."
The blue-headed racquet tail is known as the "kilit" in its native home of the Philippines.