A young blue-headed racquet-tail bird (kilit-kilit) was turned over recently by Supt. Raul Levita of the Iwahig Corrections Facility (ICF) to the Palawan Wildlife Rescue and Rehabilitation Center (PWRRC).
Levita turned over the bird on July 8 after recovering it from a person deprived of liberty (PDL) who was reportedly holding it in captivity.
“The bird is so beautiful, young and fragile, and when I saw it in the hands of one PDL, without hesitation, I told him it is against the law and this bird should be rehabilitated, and hopefully, could be set free,” Levita said.
In a post Saturday by Indira Lacerna-Widmann of the Katala Foundation, Inc. (KFI), Levita said he thought the bird was a blue-naped parrot, which is also common in the premises of the ICF.
Upon confirmation with the KFI and the PWRCC, he learned it was a blue-headed racquet-tail hatchling, an endemic parrot species that is not found anywhere else but in Palawan.
The IPPF’s lowland forests are a haven for wildlife like the blue-headed racquet-tail, and if persistently protected and conserved, would benefit the city and the whole of Palawan.
Commonly known as kilit-kilit, the bird species is listed as “vulnerable” under the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). Its distinct feature is its long racquets, hence, the name racquet-tail.
The adult male has all blue head and obvious wash on underparts and blue-underwing coverts. While adult female lacks blue underparts and less distinct blue suffusion on the head. They forage on varied food plants to include banana plantations and other cultivated plants. Like other parrots, it feeds and roosts in groups, Widmann’s post said.
Levita said the PDL who was keeping the bird saw it when he was gathering dried woods in the lowlands near a swamp.
“The bird was quite limping, he caught it and tried feeding the bird for at least two days,” he said.
“When I learned about this and saw the picture of the bird, I didn’t hesitate to confiscate the bird so it can be properly treated and when possible, once stabilized, could be released back to the wild. That’s why I ended up turning it over to the PWRCC which was very accommodating to receive the bird. My hope is that the bird survives and can be free again one day,” Levita added.