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Location Philippines, Region IVa
Central coordinates 117o 1.00' East  7o 57.00' North
IBA criteria A1, A2
Area 10,000 ha
Altitude 0 - 567m
Year of IBA assessment 2001

Haribon Foundation

Site description Balabac (34,200 ha) is the largest of the group of islands to the south of Palawan. The natural vegetation there is lowland forest, but there are reports that little forest cover now remains on the island.

Key Biodiversity Many of the threatened and restricted-range species of the Palawan Endemic Bird Area have been recorded on Balabac in the past, including the threatened Grey Imperial-pigeon, Philippine Cockatoo, Blue-headed Racquet-tail and Palawan Hornbill. It is unclear whether there is enough natural habitat remaining on the island to support significant populations of any of these birds.

Non-bird biodiversity: This IBA is the only known locality for the greater mouse-deer Tragulus napu. Several mammals endemic to Palawan faunal region are known to occur in the area, including Palawan shrew Crocidura palawanensis, Palawan tree shrew Tupaia palawanensis and Palawan flying fox Acerodon leucotis. Threatened marine animals also occur off this IBA, including hawksbill turtle Eretmochelys imbricata and esturine crocodile Crocodylus porosus. Most of the herpetofauna recorded on the island are confined to Palawan faunal region and the neighbouring Indo-Malayan region, including brown-striped tree frog Polypedates macrotis, rough-skinned tree frog Philautus longicrus and South-East Asian wood frog Rana sanguinea.

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
Grey Imperial-pigeon Ducula pickeringii resident  2001  present  A1  Vulnerable 
Blue-headed Racquet-tail Prioniturus platenae resident  2001  present  A1  Vulnerable 
Palawan Hornbill Anthracoceros marchei resident  2001  present  A1  Vulnerable 
Philippine Cockatoo Cacatua haematuropygia resident  2001  present  A1  Critically Endangered 


IUCN habitat Habitat detail Extent (% of site)
Artificial - terrestrial   -
Forest   -

Protection status Proclaimed as a Marine Reserve / Tourist Zone in 1978 by Proc. No. 1801, but not officially protected under the NIPAS.

References Alcala and Brown (1998); Castañeda (1993).

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Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2016) Important Bird and Biodiversity Area factsheet: Balabac Island. Downloaded from on 28/10/2016

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