22 dias na onírica ilha de Madagascar, um lugar com muitos endemismos (espécies que só existem naquele local), lar de diversas espécies incríveis e cativantes. 181 espécies de aves vistas, 34 espécies de mamíferos (diversos lêmures), 68 espécies de répteis e anfíbios, com direito a diversos camaleões.

Trip Report – Madagascar Comprehensive I 2011

Mais uma bem sucedida viagem da Rockjumper para a incrível e cheia de endemismos ilha de Madagascar. No final da nossa aventura tínhamos conseguido uma coleção de avistamentos realmente memoráveis, incluindo algumas das mais estranhas e cobiçadas aves, mamíferos e membros da “herpeto” (répteis e anfíbios).

Alguns dos destaques incluem as cinco famílias de aves endêmicas: o incomparável Cuckoo Roller, os três mesites, os cinco incríveis ground rollers, 18 espécies das inesquecíveis vangas e 10 dos 11 warblers de Madagascar. Outra espécie de dar água-na-boca é a Crab-plover. Flufftail, a linda e misteriosa íbis de Madagascar, Madagascar Cuckoo-Hawk, a rara e ameçada Madagascar Fish Eagle, o esquivo Banded Kestrel, Madagascar Buttonquail, Madagascar Jacana, Madagascar Pratincole, oito espécies de  Coua, a arredia Madagascar Owl, o requintado Madagascar Pygmy Kingfisher, Madagascar Sandgrouse e as quatro espécies de Asities! Uma incrível recepção de mamíferos fabulosos: (34 espécies, das quais 26 eram lêmures) e os “herps” (68 espécies de répteis e anfíbios) também foram uma alegria nesse mundo maravilhoso de endemismos.

Nossa viagem começou na capital do país, Antananarivo. Com o sol brilhando sobre os campos verdes de arroz, que contrastavam com o vermelho dos fornos, atravessamos a feira de alimentos que fica junto ao Tsimbazaza Zoo, perto do lago Alarobia. Nesses dois primeiros pontos encontramos muitas especialidades, como o Malagasy Coucal, Malagasy Brush Warbler, Malagasy Turtle Dove, Malagasy Kestrel, Malagasy Black Swift e Mascarene Martin, Malagasy Swamp Warbler, o brilhante Malagasy Kingfisher, Common Jery, Madagascar White-eye, Madagascar Magpie-Robin, Souimanga Sunbird, Red Fody, Madagascar Mannikin, Madagascar Wagtail, Dimorphic Egret além da recepção de várias outras espécies comuns e abundantes e, o melhor de tudo: a rara Malagasy Pond Heron (em plena plumagem nupcial).

A manhã seguinte nos encontrou deixando o rebuliço e a agitação de Tana, e indo em direção ao nosso voo para a vibrante cidade de Mahajanga, na costa noroeste. Nosso voo passou pela ilha Nosy Be, chegamos em Mahajanga no meio da manhã e fomos direto tomar o desjejum. Reenergizados, pegamos a estrada para Ankarafantsika National Park/Ampijoroa Forest Station, um destino exótico no coração de um remanescente de uma floresta decídua (caduca), no sul de Mahajanga, onde passaríamos os próximos dois dias.

Passarinhar em volta do campo foi produtivo, como era de se esperar, e logo tínhamos avistado muitas espécies cobiçadas. Incluindo Grey-headed Lovebird, Lesser Vasa Parrot, Sickle-billed, Hook-billed, White-headed and Chabert’s Vangas, o barulhento Crested Drongo, o veloz Malagasy Paradise Flycatcher, Malagasy Bulbul, o espalhafatoso Broad-billed Roller e o imponente Madagascar Hoopoe, tudo isso antes da hora do almoço! Amistosas iguanas de Cuvier se esgueiravam entre nossos pés Mauritian Tomb Bats (morcegos) descansavam entre as árvores e tropas de famílias de Coquerel’s Sifaka (lêmures) forrageavam no topo das árvores – que belo início de viagem a caminho de algumas das reservas mais especiais de Madagascar!

As florestas decíduas de Ampijoroa acrescentaram muitas espécies de mamíferos, aves e “herps” bastante desejados. Como vasculhamos a floresta de alto a baixo, pouco a pouco encontramos todas as especialidades da área: Schlegel’s Asity, que se mostrou incrivelmente no aberto em duas ocasiões, o bizarro White-breasted Mesite e o incomum Van Dam’s Vanga roubaram o show, mas Rufous e Blue Vangas, Coquerel’s, Redcapped and Crested Couas, Madagascar Buttonquail, Madagascar Harrier-Hawk, a um adorável casal de Frances’s Sparrowhawk, Greater Vasa Parrot, Madagascar Green Pigeon, Torotoroka Scops Owl, Madagascar Cuckoo, Souimanga e Malagasy Green Sunbirds, Madagascar Cuckooshrike, Long-billed Berniera e o cabeçudo Cuckoo Roller também foram muito apreciados e admirados.

Um passeio de barco no lago Ravelobe provou-se extremamente produtivo e rendeu avistamentos muito de perto da Humblot’s Heron, Olive Bee-eater, White-throated Rail, Allen’s Gallinule, Madagascar Jacana e da rara e ameaçada Madagascar Fish Eagle. Para mergulhar de vez no conjunto completo de espécies dessa reserva maravilhosa, também fizemos saídas à noite, que acrescentaram vários mamíferos noturnos como Fat-tailed Dwarf Lemur, Grey Mouse Lemur e Milne-Edward’s Sportive Lemur, todos se mostraram muito bem. Outros lêmures encontrados durante nossa incrível estada foram Western Avahi, Common Brown Lemur e Mongoose Lemur (um avistamento raro). Também topamos com vários répteis interessantes, como Madagascar Tree e Madagascar Ground Boas, Madagascar Spotted, Giant Hog-nosed e Mahafaly Sand Snakes, Fish-scaled e Madagascar Day Geckos e o impressionante Oustalet’s Chameleon, apenas para falar de alguns avistamentos! Deixamos Ampijoroa extremamente satisfeitos e ansiosos pela expectativa dos outros dias incríveis que ainda estavam por vir.

Uma rápida visita a uma área aberta no extreme de Mahajanga nos proporcionou um bom número de African Pygmy Goose, diversos Kittlitz’s e Three-banded Plovers, Madagascar Lark, Madagascar Cisticola e bandos de Madagascar Mannikin. Um passeio de barco no famoso Delta de Betsiboka nos aguardava na manhã seguinte. Esse estuário é o único local conhecido de fácil acesso para ver a rara e ameaçada Bernier’s Teal e Malagasy Sacred Ibis. As duas se mostraram excepcionalmente bem para todos do barco.

Após essa passagem muito bem sucedida pelo noroeste, era hora de voltar para Tana e seguir em direção ao sul e depois ao leste, para as exuberantes e extensas florestas tropicais do Ranomafana National Park. Essa seria nossa primeira floresta tropical da viagem, e realmente não desapontou! O parque protege uma extensa área de floresta tropical de média altitude, e é o lar de muitas espécies endêmicas incríveis. Ranomafana era considerado o único local que guardava uma população de Golden Bamboo Lemur, descoberto no final dos anos 1980, e tivemos muita sorte de ver esse raro primata durante nossa estada no parque.

Uma gama de deliciosamente bizarras e cobiçadas espécies endêmicas de aves ocorre nas florestas de Ranomafana, e conseguimos avistamentos das mais especiais: Yellow-bellied Sunbird- Asity, Velvit Asity, os maravilhosos Pitta-like e Rufous-headed Ground Rollers, o misterioso Brown Mesite, Pollen’s e Tylas Vangas, Forest Rock Thrush, Red-fronted Coua, White-throated Oxylabes, Dark Newtonia, Wedge-tailed Jery, Cryptic Warbler, Spectacled Tetraka, Madagascar Starling, Forest Fody e Nelicourvi Weaver foram alguns dos diversos destaques ornitológicos durante nossa estada. Pelo lado dos mamíferos, adoramos ver os Milne Edward’s Sifaka, Red-bellied Lemur, Red-fronted Brown Lemur, Brown Mouse Lemur, Greater Bamboo Lemur (um dos primatas mais raros do mundos) e o eriçado Lowland Streaked Tenrec.

Os répteis também estão muito bem representados nessas floresta, com o Oshaughnessy’s, Band-bellied, Nose-horned, Blue-legged e Tusked Chameleons o verde e brilhante Four-spotted Day Gecko, e estes são apenas algumas das várias espécies fantásticas que acrescentamos à nossa lista de avistamentos que crescia dia a dia. Nosso excelente guia local também nos possibilitou ver uma diversidade de diferentes espécies de anfíbios, inclusive o Mantella baroni, talvez o mais impressionante nas cores e desenhos.

Nos despedimos da riqueza de Ranomafana e seguimos viagem para o oeste, em direção à região montanhosa e arenosa do Isalo National Park. Nosso hotel era maravilhoso, cheio de mordomias, uma culinária divina combinada a visões incríveis do coração das montanhas de Isalo Mountains. A especialidade endêmica da área, Forest (Benson’s) Rock Thrush, foi rapidamente localizado assim que chegamos e aproveitamos o final da tarde passeando nos arredores do hotel, admirando a flora e as diversas Four-banded Iguanas que se esgueiravam entre as rochas ao redor do lodge.

Após essa breve parada em Isalo, deixamos o conforto do lodge para pegar a estrada novamente, rumo ao Sul, na direção de Tulear, na costa de Madagascar. Passamos por diversas cidades e paramos na produtiva floresta decíduas da reserva de Zombitse. Aastamos algum tempo no meio da manhã, nos maravilhando com as trilhas da floresta, em busca do extremamente raro Appert’s Tetraka (descrito apenas na década de 1970), e também aproveitando os fabulosos e prolongados avistamentos da White-browed Hawk-Owl, Cuckoo Roller, Verreaux’s Sifaka e do Standing’s Day Gecko. Após um picnic no almoço e ótimos avistamentos de luneta do Banded Kestrel seguimos para Tulear. A tarde foi nos arredores do arboreto, com sua coleção fabulosa de plantas endêmicas. Também avistamos alguns ótimos endemismos como Madagascar Buttonquail, Red (Green)-capped Coua, Madagascar Magpie-Robin, Common Jery e Malagasy Paradise Flycatcher. Double-banded Iguanids e Lesser Plated Lizards caminhavam pelo chão e ficamos muito animados em ver um Furcifer antimena, um impressionante camaleão de floresta espinhosa.

O passo seguinte da viagem era uma aventura de barco até a tropical ilha de Nosy Ve. A ilha fica perto da costa de Tuelar e é lar de diversos casais de graciosos Red-tailed Tropicbird. Essas aves elegantes e fortes podiam ser admiradas enquanto pairavam, sem esforço algum, a apenas alguns metros de nossas cabeças, sua linda cauda vermelha, o bico carmim brilhante, as patas negras com membranas. Na ilha também vimos a cobiçada Crab-plover, além do Little, Greater Crested e Lesser Crested Terns (trinta-réis).

Nossa manhã terminou com um rápido snorkelling perto da ilha e um breve passeio de barco até o local do nosso almoço em Anakao, do outro lado da ilha. Nos deliciamos com um almoço de frutos-do-mar e conseguimos localizar uma espécie endêmica bastante especial, o Littoral Rock Thrush, que se mostrou bem, e sem demandar muito esforço. Chegamos a Tulear no meio da tarde, voltamos ao nosso confortável hotel para um revitalizante banho e partimos rumo a La Table, um morro a leste de Tutelar, onde buscaríamos outros dos endemismos bem raros: Red-shouldered Vanga e Verreaux’s Coua. As duas não decepcionaram e foram facilmente encontradas em seu habitat seco, entre arbustos e restos de coral. Antes de nos dirigirmos para o norte, para Ifaty, nos aventuramos bem cedo em uma pequena planície a leste da cidade, onde um maravilhoso bando de Madagascar Sandgrouse vem beber água bem na sua frente. Um excelente começo de dia, e nos deixou muito animados para a parte seguinte da viagem! A floresta espinhosa em volta de Ifaty, onde vive uma grande variedade de aves incríveis, de distribuição bastante restrita, seria nosso objetivo seguinte. Esse habitat único de baobás gigantes, a maioria com mais de 100 anos de idade – junto com muitas espécies de didierea, pachypodium e Euphorbia são o lar das únicas populações conhecidas de duas das mais especializadas e desejadas espécies de aves: Long-tailed Ground Roller e Subdesert Mesite. Durante nossa passagem por lá, tivemos o privilégio de avistamentos altamente satisfatórios das duas espécies, além de ótimos encontros com as outras especialidades da área: Archbold’s Newtonia, Lafresnaye’s e Red-tailed Vangas, Madagascar Nightjar, o estranho Thamnornis, Stripethroated Jery, o brilhante Red Fody e Running Coua no ninho! Os campos e brejos em volta renderam mais algumas especialidades, entre as quais destaco a rara Madagascar Plover e a Baillon’s Crake.

Após encontrar nossos alvos, voltamos a Tutelar e pegamos um voo para Fort Dauphin, na costa sudoeste da ilha. Saímos do aeroporto e pegamos a Estrada para Berenty, passando por vilas, fazendas (arroz, kasava, manga, lichia e sisal), além de trechos de floresta espinhosa. Finalmente chegamos à famosa Berenty Lemur Reserve e nos instalamos nas nossas confortáveis acomodações. Um passeio noturno pela floresta espinhosa rendeu vários avistamentos interessantes: White footed Sportive Lemurs e Grey-brown Mouse Lemurs eram abundantes e também vimos Warty Chameleon e uma quantidade incrível de Flatid Leaf Bugs.

A manhã seguinte estava ensolarada e morna, com Ring-tailed Lemurs andando em volta dos nossos pés e Verreaux’s Sifaka’s dançando pela areia vermelha. Um passeio pela floresta ribeirinha rendeu avistamentos do escasso Madagascar Cuckoo-Hawk, Frances’s Sparrowhawk, as confiadas Giant e Crested Couas, White-browed Hawk-Owl e Lesser Hog-nosed Snake como destaques. Os lêmures eram onipresentes e proporcionaram encontros de perto e excelentes oportunidades para fotos. Um passeio noturno na área ribeirinha valeu a pena, pois vimos répteis como Plain e Painted Big-headed Geckos.

Os fragmentos de floresta espinhosa ainda rendem boas espécies endêmicas como Running Coua, Madagascar Buttonquail, Madagascar Nightjar, Malagasy Green e Souimanga Sunbirds, Grey-headed Lovebird, Lesser Vasa Parrot, Torotoroka Scops Owl as well as Whitefooted Sportive Lemur, Grey-brown Mouse Lemur, Ring-tailed Lemur, Verreaux’s Sifaka e cômicas Three-eyed Lizards.

Após aproveitar esse tempo em Berenty pegamos a estrada de volta a Fort Dauphin para o voo de volta a Tana, no platô central. Nosso voo atrasou e só pousamos em Tana depois da meia-noite. Pegamos nossa bagagem e fomos direto para o hotel, para uma boa noite de sono antes de partir para o leste, em direção a Anjozorobe na manhã seguinte. A luxuriante floresta tropical e áreas pantanosas primárias chamavam por nós, e ocupamos dois dias inteiros explorando essa interessante área. Tivemos sucesso com a Madagascar Rail, Madagascar Snipe, o misterioso Grey Emutail e Meller’s Duck todos se mostraram bem. A floresta ao redor do nosso adorável lodge acrescentou espécies notáveis como Crossley’s Babbler, que se revelou pelo canto penetrante e foi visto valsando pela floresta. Um casal de Common Sunbird-Asity realmente se exibiu na nossa frente, e também conseguimos ver o tímido Madagascar Yellowbrow. Outros avistamentos incríveis foram Grey-crowned Tetraka, Madagascar Wood Rail, Madagascar Starling e um adorável macho de Madagascar Flufftail que fez uma aparição rápida, mas se mostrou muito bem.

Um dos mais incríveis e inesquecíveis avistamentos em Anjozorobe foi a tropa dos impressionantes Indri, que representam a forma melânica, bastante incomum. Foi incrível ver como nossos guias locais conseguiram encontrar uma trilha na floresta e localizar essas criaturas que pareciam difíceis de ver como fantasmas. Finalmente todos conseguimos bons avistamentos desses lêmures enquanto eles se balançavam no alto das árvores e depois ficaram muito tempo se pendurando em galhos com musgos e fazendo cafuné uns nos outros.

O passeio noturno foi produtivo e rendeu ótimos avistamentos de Rainforest Scops Owl, Greater Dwarf Lemur e Brown Mouse Lemur, Short-horned, Nose-horned, Band-bellied e Domergue’s Leaf Chameleons além de Calumma globifer, um camaleão forte, grande, muito bonito e de distribuição bastante restrita, localizado apenas no leste da floresta.

Anjozorobe se mostrou ser um bom negócio para avistamentos especiais, mas era hora de seguir para nosso destino final: Perinet e Mantadia National Parks. Essas reservas no leste do país protegem uma dimensão considerável de floresta tropical e são lar de algumas das espécies mais famosas de Madagascar. Como a maioria das florestas tropicas, Perinet e Mantadia exigem um trabalho pesado, perseverança e paciência. Mas se você agir assim, terá muitas recompensas. Mantadia National Park oferece mais mata primária do que Perinet, e fica ao norte desse parque. Seria nossa foco nos dois dias seguintes. Percorremos uma área grande, e fomos recompensados com excelentes avistamentos que incluem um casal maravilhoso de Short-legged Ground-Roller, o espalhafatoso Pitta-like Ground Roller, Blue Coua, Rand’s Warbler e finalmente um casal embasbacante de Scaly Ground Roller. Um pequeno lago no limite da floresta rendeu Madagascar Grebe, Madagascar Blue Pigeon, Ward’s Flycatcher, Greater Vasa Parrot, Madagascar Spinetail e vários Meller’s Duck.

Ficamos um dia inteiro na Perinet Special Reserve e os destaques aqui incluem o espetacular Collared Nightjar, a tímida Nuthatch Vanga, o incrível Madagascar Pygmy Kingfisher e a linda Madagascar Ibis no fim da tarde – inacreditáveis! Os mamíferos também são outro atrativo especial dessas florestas, e aproveitamos ótimos avistamentos de alguns dos lêmures mais desejados. Indris com seu ronco ensurdecedor nos encantaram, e o raro Sifaka roubou nossos corações, enquanto Eastern Grey Bamboo, Common Brown Lemur e Eastern Avahi também proveram shows incríveis.

O passeio noturno na área rendeu algumas ótimas espécies, e estávamos extasiados por encontrar Madagascar Owl, Furry-eared Dwarf e Goodman’s Mouse Lemurs, Madagascar Tree Boa, Sikora Leaf-tailed Gecko, Short-horned e Nose-horned Chameleons, além do grande, verde e brilhante Parson’s Chameleon.

Mas já era tempo de voltar para Antananarivo após três semanas emocionantes no “oitavo continente”. Agradeço a todos por fazerem dessa mais uma muito bem sucedida e extremamente divertida viagem da Rockjumper para Madagascar. Espero revê-los em breve!

 

Lista de avistamentos da viagem – apenas em inglês

Note: Names and taxonomical order of the bird species list follows that of IOC (International Ornithological congress), Gill, F. and M. Wright. 2011; Birds of the World: Recommended English Names. Princeton NJ: Princeton University Press (version 3.0). Names in square brackets represent names given by IOC and omitted by Clements whereas names in round brackets represent names given by Clements and omitted by IOC. Names without square or round brackets represent the name given by both IOC and Clements. A notes section can be found where notably distinctive subspecies or races are concerned and where splitting or lumping is involved. Insect names were derived from various sources.

Key to abbreviations
E
: an endemic species
NE: a near-endemic species (i.e. occurring in the Malagasy region only)
BE: a breeding endemic species
I: an introduced species
e: an endemic subspecies
ne: a near-endemic subspecies
be: a breeding endemic subspecies

CONSERVATION STATUS
C: critical En: endangered V: vulnerable NT: near-threatened

 

Guineafowl Numididae

Helmeted Guineafowl (I) Numida meleagris
A single bird was sighted alongside the main road east of Isalo with further sightings at Berenty. NOTE: This African species was probably introduced to Madagascar by early colonists.

 

Ducks, Geese & Swans Anatidae

White-faced Whistling Duck Dendrocygna viduata
Large numbers were recorded at freshwater wetlands throughout the island.

Knob-billed (Comb) Duck Sarkidiornis melanotos
Several individuals were seen at Lake Alarobia. NOTE: IOC splits Knob-billed Duck Sarkidiornis melanotos into two species: Knob-billed Duck Sarkidiornis melanotos and Comb Duck Sarkidiornis sylvicola, whereas Clements only recognizes one species, Comb Duck Sarkidiornis melanotos.

African Pygmy Goose Nettapus auritus
Good scope views were obtained of at least 20 birds at a lake near Mahajanga.

Meller’s Duck (E) (En) Anas melleri
A total of four birds were seen at Anjozorobe with a further two being found in Mantadia NP.

Bernier’s Teal (E)(En) Anas bernieri
The greatest prize of our adventurous trip into the Betsiboka Delta! We wasted no time in finding a pair of these rare and extremely localized birds perched up in the mangroves.

Red-billed Teal (Duck) Anas erythrorhyncha
Probably the commonest duck and widespread in freshwater wetlands across the island.

Hottentot Teal Anas hottentota
A few birds were seen at a wetland south of Ifaty.

 

Grebes Podicipedidae

Little Grebe Tachybaptus ruficollis
A few birds were seen on a pan near Mahajanga with large numbers being found on the wetlands south of Ifaty. NOTE: IOC splits Little Grebe Tachybaptus ruficollis into two species: Little Grebe Tachybaptus ruficollis and Tricolored Grebe Tachybaptus tricolor, whereas Clements only recognizes one species, Little Grebe Tachybaptus ruficollis.

Madagascar Grebe (E) (V) Tachybaptus pelzelnii
A total of two adults and three chicks were encountered at a small pond in Mantadia NP. NOTE: Globally threatened and declining due to habitat loss, introduction of exotic fish, and competition (and possibly hybridization) with Little Grebe.

 

Tropicbirds Phaethontidae

Red-tailed Tropicbird Phaethon rubricauda
We enjoyed intimate encounters with these most elegant birds on the island of Nosy Ve.

 

Ibises & Spoonbills Threskiornithidae

[Malagasy] Sacred Ibis (NE) Threskiornis bernieri
Another prize of our speedboat adventure up the Betsiboka Delta, we were lucky to encounter a single sub-adult bird that flew past our boat and then perched up in the mangroves for an extended period. NOTE: A globally threatened species restricted to largely inaccessible wetlands in western Madagascar and Aldabra Island. IOC splits African Sacred Ibis Threskiornis aethiopicus into two species: African Sacred Ibis Threskiornis aethiopicus & Malagasy Sacred Ibis Threskiornis bernieri, whereas Clements only recognizes one species, Sacred Ibis Threskiornis aethiopicus.

Glossy Ibis Plegadis falcinellus
Good numbers were found at Lac Ravelobe and in the rice paddies around Amboromalandy near Ampijoroa.

Madagascar Ibis (E) (NT) Lophotibis cristata
After an extensive search in the Perinet area we finally located this scarce endemic and managed to obtain excellent views as it sat for ages in a tall tree at the forest edge.

 

Bitterns & Herons Ardeidae

Little Bittern Ixobrychus minutes
A singleton flew up from a patch of reeds while birding a wetland south of Ifaty offering brief views before it landed in dense vegetation after a few meters.

Black-crowned Night Heron Nycticorax nycticorax
Several birds were seen at Lake Alarobia and in the Berenty area.

Striated Heron Butorides striatus
Small numbers were seen at most freshwater and marine wetlands throughout.

Squacco Heron Ardeola ralloides
Widespread and common in a variety of wetland habitats across the island, from rice paddies to tidal mudflats.

 

Malagasy Pond Heron (BE) (V) Ardeola idea
A few adults in immaculate breeding plumage were seen at Lake Alarobia in Tana and at a small wetland near Mahajanga. NOTE: A regional endemic breeder that is considered vulnerable and declining due to competition with Common Squacco Heron.

[Western] Cattle Egret Bubulcus ibis
Common throughout and recorded daily in open and semi-open habitats. NOTE: Clements lumps this species with Western Cattle Egret B. ibis as Cattle Egret B. ibis.

Grey Heron Ardea cinerea
A handful of birds were encountered in the Ifaty and Tulear areas.

Humblot’s Heron (E) (V) Ardea humbloti
Wonderful views were had of this massive, endemic heron at Lake Ravelobe. NOTE: A globally threatened species, essentially restricted to Madagascar but with a few vagrant records elsewhere.

Purple Heron Ardea purpurea
A few individuals were seen at Lake Ravelobe and surrounding wetlands with another sighting en route to Mantadia NP.

Great Egret Ardea alba
Small numbers were recorded at wetlands throughout the country.

Black Heron Egretta ardesiaca
Commonly encountered throughout the island with especially good numbers in the Lake Alarobia and Lake Ravelobe areas.

Dimorphic (Western Reef) Egret (NE) Egretta dimorpha
A widespread and common species throughout Madagascar with all three colour morphs being encountered. NOTE: IOC splits Western Reef Heron Egretta gularis into two species: Western Reef Heron Egretta gularis and Dimorphic Egret Egretta dimorpha, whereas Clements only recognizes one species, Western Reef-Heron Egretta gularis.

 

Hamerkop Scopidae

Hamerkop Scopus umbretta
Small numbers of these unique, stork-like birds were encountered in roadside rice paddies between Fort Dauphin and Berenty and between Tana and Anjozorobe.

 

Anhingas Anhingidae

African Darter Anhinga rufa
An uncommon species in Madagascar, which was only recorded on Lake Ravelobe, Ampijoroa.

 

Kites, Hawks & Eagles Accipitridae

Madagascar Cuckoo-Hawk Aviceda madagascariensis
This extremely scarce and endemic forest raptor was scoped at length at its nest at Berenty.

Yellow-billed (Black) Kite Milvus aegyptius
This is a common and conspicuous raptor of open habitats, particularly in the west. NOTE: IOC splits the above species into two separate species; Black Kite M. migrans and Yellow-billed Kite M. aegyptius whereas Clements only recognizes one species, Black Kite M. migrans.

Madagascar Fish Eagle (E) (C) Haliaeetus vociferoides
Brilliant, close views of a pair of these critically endangered, endemic eagles was had at the edge of Lake Ravelobe, Ampijoroa. NOTE: This is one of the world’s rarest raptors, with a total global population of no more than 120 birds.

Madagascar Harrier-Hawk (E) Polyboroides radiates
Individuals were seen at three separate sites: Ampijoroa, Zombitse and Anjozorobe.

Frances’s Sparrowhawk (Goshawk) (NE) Accipiter francesii
A fabulous pair was first seen at extremely close range at Ampijoroa with further sightings at Zombitse, Berenty and Perinet.

Madagascar Buzzard (E) Buteo brachypterus
Common and widespread, with small numbers recorded from almost all wooded sites.

 

Falcons Falconidae

Malagasy (Madagascar) Kestrel (NE) Falco newtoni
A very common endemic occurring in open and semi-open habitats throughout the island. This raptor was seen on nearly every day of the trip.

Banded Kestrel (E) Falco zoniventris
Excellent views were had of this scarce, endemic raptor at Zombitse.

Peregrine Falcon Falco peregrines
This species was seen hunting in the late afternoon around the town of Fort Dauphin.

 

Mesites Mesitornithidae

White-breasted Mesite (E) (V) Mesitornis variegate
Ampijoroa produced several great sightings of these  onderful endemic beauties. Their distinctive, piercing duet was heard on several occasions in the forest.

Brown Mesite (E) (V) Mesitornis unicolor
Unbeatable, close views were enjoyed of this scarce, localized and richly-coloured endemics at Ranomafana NP.

Subdesert Mesite (E) (V) Monias benschi
An early morning start enabled us to locate this elusive species in the Spiny Desert at Ifaty. We all enjoyed exceptional scope views of a striking male.

 

Flufftails Sarothruridae

Madagascar Flufftail (E) Sarothrura insularis
A species which is always particularly difficult to see. Its characteristic call was heard on many occasions and we finally managed to coax a gorgeous male into view at Anjozorobe.

 

Rails, Crakes & Coots Rallidae

Madagascar Wood Rail (E) Canirallus kioloides
This can be a devilishly hard bird to see! We had a reasonable sighting of this rallid at Anjozorobe.

Madagascar Rail (E) Rallus madagascariensis
We had fantastic views of this shy species at Anjozorobe.

White-throated Rail (NE) Dryolimnas cuvieri
This large, striking rail was first seen during our boat trip on Lake Ravelobe. We later had several sightings in the Perinet/Mantadia area. NOTE: Some authorities consider the nominate Madagascar race of this bird as distinctive from the near-flightless Aldabra Island race, making this another endemic rallid to Madagascar.

Baillon’s Crake Porzana pusilla
Two birds were seen in the afternoon at a wetland south of Ifaty.

Allen’s Gallinule Porphyrio alleni
Phenomenal views were had of this species during our afternoon boat trip around Lake Ravelobe.

Common Moorhen Gallinula chloropus
Small numbers were encountered at several wetland sites with particularly large numbers at Lake Alarobia.

Red-knobbed Coot Fulica cristata
Several birds were seen at a wetland south of Ifaty.

 

Buttonquails Turnicidae

Madagascar Buttonquail (E) Turnix nigricollis
This can often be a tricky bird to find and see well but we were especially lucky this trip as we kept finding this species at several different sites. Our first sighting was of a beautiful female at Ampijoroa.

 

Crab-plover Dromadidae

Crab-plover Dromas ardeola
Outstanding scope views were had of two adults and a juvenile at the island of Nosy Ve. A very sought after bird indeed and Madagascar remains one of the best places to see this unique species.

 

Stilts, Avocets Recurvirostridae

Black-winged Stilt Himantopus himantopus
Fair numbers were seen in the Betsiboka Delta with further sightings on the south western coastline.

 

Plovers Charadriidae

Grey (Black-bellied) Plover Pluvialis squatarola
Several birds were seen on the mudflats near Ifaty.

Common Ringed Plover Charadrius hiaticula
We found several on mudflats throughout the Ifaty area.

Madagascar Plover (E)(NT) Charadrius thoracicus
This scarce, localized and boldly-patterned endemic wader was seen well near Ifaty.

Kittlitz’s Plover Charadrius pecuarius
Seen near Mahajanga and in the south around Ifaty where large numbers were observed.

Three-banded Plover Charadrius tricollaris
This striking wader was seen near Mahajanga and at various small pans in the Ifaty area.

White-fronted Plover Charadrius marginatus
This delicately beautiful wader was seen just south of Ifaty and on Nosy Ve Island.

Lesser Sand Plover Charadrius mongolus
A single bird was found at fairly close range on the mudflats near Ifaty.

 

Jacanas Jacanidae

Madagascar Jacana (E) Actophilornis albinucha
Excellent views were had of three birds on Lake Ravelobe.

 

Snipes & Sandpipers Scolopacidae

Madagascar Snipe (E)(NT) Gallinago macrodactyla
This species is becoming rare and extremely local on the island due to habitat destruction. We had flight views of a single bird at a large marsh at Anjozorobe.

Whimbrel Numenius phaeopus
This species was fairly common on tidal flats in the Betsiboka Delta and around Tulear and Ifaty.

Marsh Sandpiper Tringa stagnatilis
A scarce visitor to Madagascar, we saw two birds on the mudflats south of Ifaty.

Common Greenshank Tringa nebularia
This common wader was regularly seen at the wetlands in the Tulear and Ifaty area.

Terek Sandpiper Tringa cinerea
A few birds were encountered in the Betsiboka Delta and on the mudflats south of Ifaty.

Common Sandpiper Tringa hypoleucos
Small numbers were seen in freshwater and brackish wetland habitats throughout our tour.

Ruddy Turnstone Arenaria interpres
Seen south of Ifaty and on the island of Nosy Ve where they showed well at close range.

Sanderling Calidris alba
A few birds were found on mudflats south of Ifaty.

Curlew Sandpiper Calidris ferruginea
The commonest Calidrid, seen on the tidal flats in the Betsiboka Delta and in the Ifaty and Tulear areas.

 

Pratincoles Glareolidae

Madagascar Pratincole (BE) Glareola ocularis
We were fortunate to find a single bird on a fairly large, boulder-strewn river en route from Anjozorobe to Perinet. Good scope views were obtained!

 

Gulls & Terns Laridae

Greater (Great) Crested Tern Sterna bergii
A common and widespread species that was recorded in the Betsiboka Delta, around Nosy Ve and off Fort Dauphin.

Lesser Crested Tern Sterna bengalensis
Good scope views were had of a single bird on a sandspit off the Island of Nosy Ve.

Little/Saunder’s Tern Sternula albifrons/saundersi
A single bird was seen in flight hunting off Nosy Ve Island. Unfortunately Little and Saunder’s Terns are impossible to distinguish from each other in the field unless in breeding plumage.

Common Tern Sterna hirundo
An extremely widespread species! Several birds were seen around Nosy Ve.

Whiskered Tern Chlidonias hybrid
A few birds were encountered at a brackish wetland south of Ifaty.

 

Sandgrouse Pteroclididae

Madagascar Sandgrouse (E) Pterocles personatus
A flock of nine of these wonderful birds was seen extremely well at a small pan in the Tulear area. We also saw a single bird flying over the camp at Berenty in the morning.

 

Pigeons & Doves Columbidae

Common (Rock) Pigeon (I) Columba livia
Widespread in urban areas.

Malagasy (Madagascar) Turtle Dove (NEe) Columba picturata
This common endemic was seen on most days of the trip.

Namaqua Dove Oena capensis
Widespread and common in drier areas.

Madagascar Green Pigeon (NE) Treron australis
This woodland species was seen in small numbers at Ampijoroa and Berenty.

Madagascar Blue Pigeon (E) Alectroenas madagascariensis
This beautiful pigeon is fairly common in eastern rainforest where we had especially good views in Mantadia National Park. We also saw a few distant birds at Anjozorobe and at Perinet.

 

Parrots Psittacidae

Grey-headed Lovebird (E) Agapornis canus
This tiny parrot was first found in the campsite at Ampijoroa and later seen again in fair numbers throughout the south of the island.

[Greater] Vasa Parrot (NE) Coracopsis vasa
A much scarcer bird than Lesser Vasa Parrot! We first encountered this species in the camp at Ampijoroa and later had a few birds in Mantadia NP and near Perinet.

Lesser Vasa (Black) Parrot (NE) Coracopsis nigra
A widespread and common bird and exceedingly vocal, this species was regularly recorded in good numbers throughout our trip.

 

Cuckoos Cuculidae

Malagasy (Madagascar) Coucal (NEe) Centropus toulou
Common, widespread and recorded in small numbers virtually daily during our tour.

Crested Coua (E) Coua cristata
This species was first recorded at Ampijoroa and we continued to enjoy views throughout the drier regions of the country.

Verreaux’s Coua (E) (NT) Coua verreauxi
A secretive and exceedingly localized species that was seen in the dry, coral rag scrub near La Table.

Blue Coua (E) Coua caerulea
Fairly common in the eastern forests. Strangely turaco-like and one of the world’s great “Blue Birds”!

Red-capped Coua (E) Coua ruficeps
We enjoyed great views of several confiding birds at Ampijoroa as well as at Ifaty and near Tulear. The birds seen at Ampijoroa refer to the red-capped race while the birds seen in the south of the island refer to the green-capped race (olivaceiceps) that is sometimes split as a separate species, Green-capped Coua. NOTE: The southern, greenish-capped subspecies (olivaceiceps) of Red-capped Coua is considered to be a full species in Sinclair I. and Langrande O. Birds of the Indian Ocean Islands however most other authorities consider this form to be a subspecies of Red-capped Coua.

Red-fronted Coua (E) Coua reynaudii
This forest-dwelling endemic was first seen at Ranomafana with further views later on at Anjozorobe.

Coquerel’s Coua (E) Coua coquereli
Commonly heard and seen fairly regularly too at Ampijoroa. This species was also heard at Zombitse.

Running Coua (E) Coua cursor
This species was found on a nest in the spiny forest at Ifaty and later on we located a single bird in the spiny forest at Berenty.

Giant Coua (E) Coua gigas
Common at Berenty where we had numerous sightings of these amazingly relaxed birds. This species was also heard at Zombitse Forest.

Red-breasted Coua (E) Coua serriana
This is an extremely tough bird to see outside the Masoala Peninsula. We heard it in the distance on a few occasions in the Perinet/Mantadia area.

Madagascar Cuckoo (BE) Cuculus rochii
Very common and one of the dominant sounds in wooded and semi-wooded habitats throughout but difficult to see. We did however have some good sightings during the trip with an especially memorable sighting of a bird perched up in great afternoon light, calling in the spiny forest at Berenty.

 

Barn Owls Tytonidae

[Western] Barn Owl Tyto alba
A single bird was seen at dusk at Berenty. NOTE: IOC splits Western Barn Owl Tyto alba into three species: Western Barn Owl Tyto alba, Eastern Barn Owl Tyto delicatula and Andaman Masked Owl Tyto deroepstorffi, whereas Clements only recognizes one species, Barn Owl Tyto alba.

 

Owls Strigidae

Torotoroka Scops Owl (E) Otus madagascariensis
This recently split species of Scops Owl (pronounced “Toorootoorook”, an onomatopoeic name) was seen extremely well at Ampijoroa and at Berenty.

Rainforest (Malagasy) Scops Owl (NE) Otus rutilus
We had superb views of a bird on a night walk at Anjozorobe with further views the following day of a bird on the nest.

White-browed [Hawk-] Owl (E) Ninox superciliaris
Crippling views were had of this beauty at Zombitse and Berenty Reserves.

Madagascar (Long-eared) Owl (E) Asio madagascariensis
We were amazingly lucky to find to fairly large, fluffy white immature birds one evening near Perinet.

 

Nightjars Caprimulgidae

Madagascar Nightjar (NE) Caprimulgus madagascariensis
This common nightjar was seen on several occasions in the south of the island. Our first sighting was in the spiny forest at Ifaty.

Collared Nightjar (E) Caprimulgus enarratus
We enjoyed two fabulous encounters with this beautifully-patterned nightjar in the Perinet area: one on a nest in a treefern and another with two chicks on the ground in the orchid garden. No one would ever see this gorgeous endemic were it not for the local guides!

 

Swifts Apodidae

Madagascar (Malagasy) Spinetail (NE) Zoonavena grandidieri
A handful were seen hunting above the rainforest at Mantadia NP.

African Palm Swift Cypsiurus parvus gracilis
Common in suitable palm habitat throughout the island.

Malagasy Black (Madagascar) Swift (NE) Apus balstoni
We had several sightings of these large swifts throughout the trip.

Little Swift Apus affinis
A single bird was seen at Tana Airport on our way to boarding the flight to Mahajanga.

 

Cuckoo-Roller Leptosomidae

Cuckoo Roller (NE) Leptosomus discolor
This spectacular and bizarre endemic was seen at several forest sites, the first being Ampijoroa, where excellent flight and perched views were obtained. What a great endemic! NOTE: some authorities such as Sinclair I. and Langrande O., consider the Comoros form of this bird to be a separate species from that occurring in Madagascar.

 

Rollers Coraciidae

Broad-billed Roller Eurystomus glaucurus
A widespread, common and gaudy breeding migrant from the African mainland, which we first observed at close proximity at Ampijoroa and later at most forest sites throughout the island.

 

Ground-Rollers Brachypteraciidae

Short-legged Ground Roller (E) (V) Brachypteracias leptosomus
Often the most difficult of the ground-rollers to find, we were treated to absolutely sensational views of a pair in Mantadia NP.

Scaly Ground Roller (E) (V) Brachypteracias squamigera
Another elusive and retiring species. We had great views of a pair in Mantadia NP. This species was formerly considered to be restricted to the forests of the Masoala Peninsula until it was discovered in Mantadia NP a few years ago!

Pitta-like Ground Roller (E) Atelornis pittoides
We were treated to excellent views of this colourful and highly sought-after endemic at Ranomafana NP and in Mantadia NP.

Rufous-headed Ground Roller (E) (NT) Atelornis crossleyi
We put in a lot of work to find this elusive endemic at Ranomafana and were finally rewarded with outstanding views after only brief views earlier in the morning.

Long-tailed Ground Roller (E) (V) Uratelornis chimaera
A pair and a sub-adult bird were seen extremely well in the spiny forest at Ifaty. This is undoubtedly one of the star birds of the spiny forest!

 

Kingfishers Alcedinidae

Madagascar Pygmy Kingfisher (E) Ispidina madagascariensis
After much effort we were finally treated to amazing views of this brilliantly-coloured species near Perinet Special Reserve.

Malagasy Kingfisher (NE) Alcedo vintsioides
Fairly common at freshwater and marine wetlands throughout.

 

Bee-eaters Meropidae
Olive (Madagascar) Bee-eater Merops superciliosus
This common but extremely striking bee-eater was seen on most days of the trip.

 

Hoopoes Upupidae

Madagascar Hoopoe (E) Upupa marginalis
We first found this charismatic species at Ampijoroa and thereafter had regular sightings throughout the south of the island.

 

Broadbills Eurylaimidae

Velvet Asity (E) Philepitta castanea
Good views were had of a stunning male in the deep forest understory on our first morning in Ranomafana NP.

Schlegel’s Asity (E) (NT) Philepitta schlegeli
Another extremely attractive and highly localized forest endemic that was seen exceptionally well at Ampijaroa. Two separate pairs were encountered and our last sighting was particularly close and memorable!

 [Common] Sunbird-Asity (E) Neodrepanis coruscans
Our first sighting was of a female that was seen briefly in Ranomafana NP. Thereafter we encountered a further two females and a brilliant male at Anjozorobe.

Yellow-bellied [Sunbird-]Asity (E) (En) Neodrepanis hypoxanthus
A sub-adult male and female of this elusive, high-altitude endemic were seen remarkably well in Ranomafana NP.

 

Vangas Vangidae

Red-tailed Vanga (E) Calicalicus madagascariensis
Excellent views were had of a pair in the spiny forest at Ifaty. We also encountered this species at Perinet.

Red-shouldered Vanga (E) (V) Calicalicus rufocarpalis
We were thrilled to find this “coral rag” scrub endemic very soon after entering its habitat near La Table. This is one of Madagascar’s most localized endemics and was only discovered very recently.

Hook-billed Vanga (E) Vanga curvirostris
Several sightings were had of this large, pied vanga at Ampijoroa Forest Station.

Lafresnaye’s Vanga (E) Xenopirostris xenopirostris
A male showed well but rather briefly in the spiny forest at Ifaty.

Van Dam’s Vanga (E) (En) Xenopirostris damii
We had saturation views of this extremely localized and uncommon species at Ampijaroa after a concerted search.

Pollen’s Vanga (E) (NT) Xenopirostris pollen
A scarce and local denizen of higher-altitude eastern rainforests, we saw a pair that preferred to stick to the canopy of the forest.

Sickle-billed Vanga (E) Falculea palliate
One of Madagascar’s great birds and wonderfully common in the dry west and south of the country. Particularly common and conspicuous at Ampijoroa, where we saw our first individuals.

White-headed Vanga (E) Artamella viridis
Seen at several of the forest sites with our first views at Ampijoroa.

Chabert’s Vanga (E) Leptopterus chabert
The commonest vanga, occurring in habitats ranging from pristine rainforest to degraded scrub. First seen at Ampijoroa, where observed daily.

Blue Vanga (NE) Cyanolanius madagascarensis
We encountered small numbers at various scattered localities with our first sighting at Ampijoroa. Another one of the world’s great “Blue Birds”! NOTE: Sinclair I. and Langrande O., consider the Comoros race of this species to be distinct, resulting in the Madagascar Blue Vanga being another Madagascar endemic. This stance is not widely accepted.

Rufous Vanga (E) Schetba rufa
This robust and striking bird was enjoyed in the forest at Ampijoroa and was also heard on one occasion at Ranomafana.

Tylas Vanga (E) Tylas eduardi
A fairly common member of mixed species flocks in the eastern rainforest. We observed them at Ranomafana and in the Mantadia/Perinet area. NOTE: Recent DNA evidence suggests that this “vanga” is more closely related to the cuckoo-shrikes.

Nuthatch Vanga Hypositta corallirostris
This scarce and often rather elusive vanga proved difficult this trip and we eventually located a single immature bird feeding diagnostically but rather unobtrusively on a nearby tree near Perinet Special Reserve.

Dark Newtonia (E) Newtonia amphichroa
A rather dull and non-descript endemic that was heard and seen on a few occasions in Ranomafana NP and at Anjozorobe.

Common Newtonia (E) Newtonia brunneicauda
Common and widespread in wooded and semi-wooded habitat throughout our tour.

Archbold’s Newtonia (E) Newtonia archboldi
This species is best noted for its distinctive call and was seen well and on a few occasions in the spiny forest at Ifaty.

Ward’s Flycatcher (E) Pseudobias wardi
This rather scarce rainforest endemic was seen adjacent to an open forested pond in Mantadia NP and near Perinet Special Reserve.

Crossley’s Vanga (Babbler) (E) Mystacornis crossleyi
This exceptionally attractive ground-dwelling vanga almost took our breath away when a rather confiding male was located and showed extremely well at Anjozorobe. We also heard this species in Ranomafana NP.

 

Cuckooshrikes Campephagedae

Madagascar (Ashy) Cuckooshrike (NE) Coracina cinerea
This species was regularly encountered in wooded habitat throughout the trip.

 

Drongos Dicruridae

Crested Drongo (NE) Dicrurus forficatus
A common, noisy and highly conspicuous species of wooded habitat throughout the country.

 

Monarchs Monarchidae

Malagasy Paradise Flycatcher (NE) Terpsiphone mutate
A flashy and extremely attractive species that is widespread in a variety of wooded and semi-wooded habitats. We enjoyed sightings on most days of the trip with both rufous and white morphs being noted.

 

Crows & Jays Corvidae

Pied Crow Corvus albus
Common and widespread in open habitats throughout the island.

 

Larks Alaudidae

Madagascar Lark (E) Mirafra hova
Extremely common in all dry country and open habitats.

 

Bulbuls Pycnonotidae

Malagasy (Madagascar) Bulbul (NE) Hypsipetes madagascariensis
Common and ubiquitous, with daily sightings in a variety of wooded and semi-wooded habitats.

 

Swallows & Martins Hirundinidae

Mascarene Martin (NE) Phedina borbonica
Madagascar’s commonest hirundine and a regional breeding endemic. Recorded at almost all sites, on most days of the tour.

Brown-throated (Plain) Martin Riparia paludicola
A single bird was seen by some of the group at a lunchtime stop en route from Tana to Ranomafana. NOTE: IOC splits Brown-throated Martin Riparia paludicola into two species: Brown-throated Martin Riparia paludicola and Grey-throated Martin Riparia chinensis, whereas Clements only recognizes one species, Brown-throated Martin Riparia paludicola.

Barn Swallow Hirundo rustica
A few of these migrants (extremely scarce in Madagascar however!) were noted during the drive from Isalo to Tulear.

 

Reed Warblers & Allies Acrocephalidae

Malagasy (Madagascar) Brush Warbler (NE) Nesillas typical
Very common in dense cover of any kind in the east, where several were recorded daily. Our first views however were of a single bird that showed rather well at Lake Alarobia on our first afternoon.

Subdesert Brush Warbler (E) Nesillas lantzii
We saw this dry-country endemic in the euphorbia scrub at our lunch stop at Anakao opposite Nosy Ve Island and later heard many in the spiny forest at Ifaty. NOTE: Formerly considered conspecific with Madagascar Brush Warbler but vocally distinct and sympatric with that

species.

Madagascar Swamp Warbler (E) Acrocephalus newtoni
A common species of wetland habitat throughout the country, ranging from highland marshes in the east to mangroves in the west. We saw this species on several days of the trip with our first sighting at Lake Alarobia.

 

Grassbirds & Allies Megaluridae

Grey Emutail (E) Dromaeocercus seebohmi
Two of these highly secretive birds were seen at a large marsh at Anjozorobe.

Brown Emutail (E) Dromaeocercus brunneus
Unfortunately, this “avian rodent” refused to show itself this time and was only heard on a few occasions in Ranomafana NP and at Anjozorobe!

 

Malagasy Warblers Bernieridae

White-throated Oxylabes (E) Oxylabes madagascariensis
This rather shy and secretive endemic of the eastern rainforest understorey was first seen at Ranomafana and later seen much better at Anjozorobe.

Long-billed Berniera (Greenbul) (E) Phyllastrephus madagascariensis
This widespread endemic was first encountered at Ampijoroa in the west with further regular sightings in the eastern rainforest.

Cryptic Warbler (E) Cryptosylvicola randrianasoloi
This fairly recently described species was seen well at Ranomafana NP when we stopped for a final look for Madagascar Pratincole at the river on our way to Isalo.

Wedge-tailed Jery (E) (NT) Hartertula flavoviridis
An uncommon and elusive endemic of eastern forests. A pair was seen at Ranomafana NP and another group was heard during our time at Mantadia NP.

Thamnornis (E) Thamnornis chloropetoides
This subtly attractive and extremely local spiny forest endemic was eventually seen tremendously after an initial run-around in the spiny forest at Ifaty. What a crazy call!

Spectacled Tetraka (E) Phyllastrephus zosterops
Restricted to eastern forests, where it was commonly seen.

Appert’s Tetraka (E) (V) Phyllastrephus apperti
We enjoyed superb encounters with this attractive and confiding species in Zombitse NP. A globally threatened bird that is restricted to two forests in south west Madagascar.

Grey-crowned Tetraka (E) (NT) Phyllastrephus cinereiceps
A low-density, uncommon bird of eastern rainforest that was seen well in a mixed tetraka flock at Anjozorobe. This species was also seen briefly on two occasions in Ranomafana NP.

Madagascar Yellow-brow (Yellow-browed Oxylabes) (E) (NT) Crossleyia xanthophrys
A scarce, localized and devilishly skulking rainforest endemic! Some of the group managed to obtain good but brief views of a single bird at Anjozorobe. NOTE: Apart from its ground-loving habits, this species has little in common with the White-throated Oxylabes and is better

retained in its own genus, with its own English name.

Rand’s Warbler (E) Randia pseudozosterops
This species was scoped on its calling perch high up in the canopy at Mantadia NP.

 

Cisticolas & Allies Cisticolidae

Common Jery (E) Neomixis tenella
This ubiquitous endemic was recorded on most days of the tour.

Green Jery (E) Neomixis viridis
After hearing this species at Ranomafana we finally obtained good views of a single bird at Anjozorobe and saw a few more at Mantadia NP.

Stripe-throated Jery (E) Neomixis striatigula
This species’s scratchy call is a common background noise in the spiny forest and the rainforests. We had regular sightings at Ranomafana and Ifaty.

Madagascar Cisticola (NE) Cisticola cherinus
Commonly seen in open habitats throughout the island.

 

White-eyes Zosteropidae

Madagascar White-eye (NE) Zosterops maderaspatana
Good numbers were encountered in the east but occurring throughout the island.

 

Starlings Sturnidae

Common Myna (I) Acridotheres tristis tristis
A common but introduced species that was unfortunately seen nearly every day of the trip.

Madagascar Starling (E) Hartlaubius aurata
A single bird was seen in the open at the main entrance to Ranomafana NP with further sightings at Anjozorobe and Mantadia NP.

 

Chats, Old World Flycatchers Muscicapidae

Madagascar Magpie-Robin (E) Copsychus albospecularis
This species was seen throughout the tour almost daily and is a rather bold and confiding endemic.

[Madagascar] Stonechat Saxicola axillaries
Common in open habitats in the highlands, where several were seen daily. This species was particularly common at Anjozorobe. NOTE: IOC splits African Stonechat Saxicola torquatus into five species: European Stonechat Saxicola rubicola, Siberian Stonechat Saxicola maurus, African Stonechat Saxicola torquatus, Stejneger’s Stonechat Saxicola stejnegeri & Madagascar Stonechat Saxicola sibilla, whereas Clements only recognizes one species, African Stonechat Saxicola torquatus.

Littoral Rock Thrush (E) Monticola imerinus
An attractive male was seen in dry euphorbia scrub behind Anakao.

Forest Rock Thrush (E) Monticola sharpie
We enjoyed good views of a female on a nest at Ranomafana NP. A lovely male was later found while hiking up Vohiparara Ridge in Ranomafana NP and further views were had of several birds around our accommodation in the Isalo area. Note that if this species is one day split up into different species we saw Forest Rock Thrush Monticola sharpei at Ranomafana and Benson’s Rock-Thrush Monticola bensoni at Isalo. NOTE: Clements splits Forest Rock Thrush Monticola sharpei into three species: Forest Rock Thrush Monticola sharpei, Amber Mountain Rock-Thrush Monticola erythronota & Benson’s Rock-Thrush Monticola bensoni, whereas IOC only recognizes one species, Forest Rock Thrush Monticola sharpei.

 

Sunbirds Nectariniidae

Souimanga Sunbird (NE) Nectarinia souimanga
By far the more common of Madagascar’s sunbird species, occurring in a variety of wooded and semiwooded habitats. This species was seen on every single day of the tour.

Malagasy Green (Madagascar) Sunbird (NE) Nectarinia notate
A very handsome and widespread but uncommon species. Individuals were encountered at scattered sites, namely: Ampijoroa, Ranomafana and Berenty.

 

Weavers Ploceidae

Nelicourvi Weaver (E) Ploceus nelicourvi
A striking bird of the eastern rainforest areas, where small numbers were seen daily.

Sakalava Weaver (E) Ploceus sakalava
This species was commonly seen in the dry south of Madagascar.

(Madagascar) Red Fody (E) Foudia madagascariensis
Common, ubiquitous and good numbers recorded almost daily with several bright red males seen at Ifaty.

Forest Fody (E) Foudia omissa
A scarce and usually tough endemic to find, we had wonderful views of several stunning males in full breeding plumage in Ranomafana NP.

 

Waxbills & Allies Estrildidae

Madagascar Mannikin (Munia) (E) Lonchura nana
Several flocks were encountered at scattered localities throughout the tour.

 

Wagtails Motacillidae

Madagascar Wagtail (E) Motacilla flaviventris
Common in the east and central plateau, where small numbers were seen regularly.

 

Names and taxonomical order of the mammal species list follows that of Garbutt, N. (1999) Mammals of Madagascar with recent changes as adopted by Mittermeier et al (2006) Lemurs of Madagascar.

 

Rorquals Balaenopteridae

Humpback Whale Megaptera novaeangliae
Two of these huge mammals were seen off the coast at Fort Dauphin during our late afternoon vigil there.

Old World Fruit Bats Pteropodidae

Madagascar Flying Fox Pteropus rufus
We enjoyed watching these fascinating creatures at their day roost in the gallery woodland at Berenty.

Tomb Bats Emballonuridae

Mauritian Tomb Bat Taphozous mauritianus
Close-up views were had at a day roost at Ampijoroa.

Trident Bats Hipposideridae

Major’s Bentwing
This species was found at its roost in a small cave in Ranomafana NP.

Tenrecs and Otter Shrews Tenrecidae
Lowland Streaked Tenrec Hemicentetes semispinosus
We were treated to amazingly close views of this bizarre and attractive species one afternoon in Ranomafana NP.

Old World Rats and Mice Muridae

Eastern Red Forest Rat Nesomys rufus
This ground-dwelling species was seen in Ranomafana and Mantadia National Parks.

Black Rat Rattus rattus
One was seen at Lake Alarobia.

Mongooses Herpestidae

Ring-tailed Mongoose Viverricula elegans
This usually difficult species was seen extremely well in Ranomafana NP.

Mouse and Dwarf Lemurs Cheirogaleidae

Grey Mouse Lemur Microcebus murinus
Several of these tiny lemurs were seen on our night walks at Ampijoroa.

Brown Mouse Lemur Microcebus rufus
We enjoyed wonderful views of this species in the early evening at Ranomafana as well as several individuals on night walks at Anjozorobe.

Grey-brown Mouse Lemur Microcebus griseorufus
This species was encountered on our spiny forest night walk at Berenty and we also saw a few at their day-time roosts.

Goodman’s Mouse Lemur Microcebus lehilahytsara
Two were seen on a night walk in the Perinet area.

Greater Dwarf Lemur Cheirogaleus major
Good views were had of a singleton on the night walk at Anjozorobe.

Furry-eared Dwarf Lemur Cheirogaleus crossleyi
We found two of these cute lemurs on a night walk in the Perinet area.

Fat-tailed Dwarf Lemur Cheirogaleus medius
Several were encountered on our second night walk at Ampijoroa. This species only becomes active in the warmer, wetter summer months as it hibernates in winter.

Sportive Lemurs Megaladapidae

Milne-Edwards’s Sportive Lemur Lepilemur edwardsi
We enjoyed individuals on the day roost and on night walks at Ampijaroa.

White-footed Sportive Lemur Lepilemur leucopus
This dry-country species was seen on many day roosts as well as on night walks at Berenty and their noisy calls were heard in the evening around the accommodation there.

Petter’s Sportive Lemur
This localized and recently described species was seen on a day roost on consecutive days in the spiny forest at Ifaty.

“True” Lemurs Lemuridae

Eastern Grey Bamboo Lemur Hapalemur griseus griseus
These endearing lemurs were seen on several occasions in the eastern rainforest at Perinet and Mantadia National Parks.

Golden Bamboo-Lemur Hapalemur aureus
A small group of these extremely localized lemurs were seen very well in Ranomafana NP.

Greater Bamboo-Lemur Hapalemur simus
We were exceptionally lucky to find a group of these localized and rare lemurs in Ranomafana NP. This is one of the world’s rarest primates and the total known world population is only around 100 individuals!

Ring-tailed Lemur Lemur catta
The quintessential Malagasy mammal! We enjoyed prolonged encounters with numerous groups of these delightful animals at Berenty.

Mongoose Lemur Eulemur mongoz
Great views were had of these rare, localized and crepuscular lemurs on consecutive days at Ampijoroa.

Red-bellied Lemur Eulemur rubriventer
A troop of these wonderful lemurs were found at Ranomafana NP.

Common Brown Lemur Eulemur fulvus fulvus
These playful lemurs were seen at Ampijoroa, Anjozorobe and Mantadia NP.

Red-fronted Brown Lemur Eulemur fulvus rufus
Several troops were encountered at Ranomafana NP with large numbers being seen later on at Berenty (where they have been introduced).

Black-and-white Ruffed Lemur Varecia variegate variegate
Unfortunately this rare, primary forest lemur was only heard at Ranomafana and Mantadia National Parks.

Avahis, Sifakas and Indri Indriidae

Eastern Avahi (Woolly Lemur) Avahi laniger
Two of these nocturnal lemurs were seen on the day roost in Perinet Special Reserve.

Western Avahi (Woolly Lemur) Avahi occidentalis
This species was found on day roosts on two consecutive days at Ampijoroa.

Diademed Sifaka Propithecus diadema diadema
We had a very memorable sighting of a troop of four of these magnificent creatures in Perinet Special Reserve. Widely considered to be Madagascar’s most beautiful primate, this is also the largest of the lemurs, with a number of specimens heavier than the largest Indri on record (Mittermeier et al 1994).

Milne-Edward’s Sifaka Propithecus diadema edwardsi
We were fortunate to encounter several troops at Ranomafana NP. This handsome and striking lemur is extremely localized and is only readily seen at Ranomafana where it is scarce.

Verreaux’s Sifaka Propithecus verreauxi verreauxi
This magnificent primate, with its soulful expressions and comical, bipedal locomotion, is undoubtedly one of the mammalian highlights of Madagascar. It is common in Berenty, where seen daily.

Coquerel’s Sifaka Propithecus verreauxi coquereli
Common at Ampijoroa, where recorded daily, even within the confines of the camp.

Indri Indri indri
We had extremely memorable experiences with this incredible lemur! Our first was at Anjozorobe (which represents the very rarely seen Black Indri) and our second at Perinet Special Reserve. The territorial calls of this lemur is one of the world’s great wildlife sounds and it is often considered the largest extant lemur species (but see Diademed Sifaka, above),

 

Names and taxonomical order of the reptiles and amphibians list follows A Field Guide to the Amphibians and Reptiles of Madagascar by F. Glaw and M. Vences.

 

Amphibians

Madagascar Leaf-litter Frog Aglyptodactylus madagascariensis

Madagascar Tree Frog Boophis madagascariensis

Boophis albilabris

Boophis goudoti

Dark-sided Leaf Frog Mantidactylus opiparus

Mournful Leaf Frog Mantidactylus lugubris

Mantidactylus melanopleura

Mantidactylus aerumnalis

Mantidactylus majori

Anodonthyla mora mora

Guibemantis pulcher

Gephyromantis tschenki

Plethodontohyla inguinalis

Mantella baroni

Mascarene Grass Frog Ptychadena mascareniensis

Scaphiophryne marmorata

 

Reptiles

Land Tortoises Testudinidae

Spider Tortoise Pyxis arachnoides

 

Crocodiles Crocodylidae

Nile Crocodile Crocodylus niloticus

 

Chameleons Chamaeleonidae

Domergue’s Leaf Chameleon Brookesia thieli

Short-horned Chameleon Calumma brevicornis

Nose-horned Chameleon Calumma nasuta

Band-bellied Chameleon Calumma gastrotaenia

Parson’s Chameleon Calumma parsonii

Oshaughnessy’s Chameleon Calumma oshaughnessyi

Blue-legged Chameleon Calumma crypticum

Calumma globifer

Tusked Chameleon Furcifer balteatus

Oustalet’s Chameleon Furcifer oustaleti

Warty Chameleon Furcifer verrucosus

Side-striped Chameleon Furcifer lateralis

Furcifer antimena

 

Iguanas Iguanidae

Three-eyed Lizard Chalarodon madagascariensis

Cuvier’s Iguanid Oplurus cuvieri

Double-banded Iguanid Oplurus cyclurus

Four-striped Iguanid Oplurus quadrimaculatus

 

Geckos Gekkonidae

Plain Big-headed Gecko Paroedura bastardi

Painted Big-headed Gecko Paroedura pictus

Sikora Leaf-tailed Gecko Uroplatus sikorae

Uroplatus sameti

Sakalava Gecko Homopholis sakalava

Mercator Tropical House Gecko Hemidactylus mercatorius

Southern Bark Gecko Lygodactylus tuberosus

Lygodactylus sp.

Madagascar Day Gecko Phelsuma madagascariensis

Brown Day Gecko Phelsuma mutabalis

Lineated Day Gecko Phelsuma lineata

Four-spotted Day Gecko Phelsuma quadriocellata

Standing’s Day Gecko Phelsuma standingi

Geckolepus typica

Fish-scaled Gecko Geckolepus maculata

Blaseodactylus antongilensis

Blaseodactylus sakalava

 

Plated Lizards Gerrhosauridae

Zonosaurus laticaudatus

Zonosaurus ornatus

Madagascar Plated Lizard Zonosaurus madagascariensis

Lesser Plated Lizard Tracheloptychus madagascariensis

Gravenhorst’s Skink Mabuya gravenhorstii

Trachylepis boetgeri

 

Boas boidae

Madagascar Tree Boa Sanzinia madagascariensis

Madagascar Ground Boa Acrantophis madagascariensis

 

Typical Snakes Colubridae

Madagascar Spotted Snake Madagascarophis colubrinus

Giant Hog-nosed Snake Leioheterodon madagascariensis

Lesser Hog-nosed Snake Leioheterodon modestus

Black-and-White Striped Snake Liopholidophis lateralis

Liopholidophis dolicocercus

Mahafaly Sand Snake Mimophis mahfalensis

Ithycyphus oursi

Typhlops arenarius

As if this staggering diversity of life forms was not enough, we also encountered a bewildering variety of invertebrates that ranged from the bizarre Giraffe-necked Weevil Trachelophorus giraffa to the immense super-homes of Golden Orb-web Spiders Nephila madagascariensis. Other notable “creepy-crawlies” included Giant Red Millipedes Sphaerotherium sp., Green Pill Millipedes, Flatid Leaf Bugs, brightly-coloured Shield Bugs, over-sized Madagascar Hissing Cockroach, and of course, numerous spectacular moths and butterflies.

 

Aviso da Virtude: uma viagem como a descrita neste trip report não é para iniciantes. E não é só uma questão de investimento: mais de US$ 8 mil / pessoa, quarto compartilhado, sem o voo internacional, grupo de 8 pessoas. É preciso ter vivência para poder curtir a viagem e não atrapalhar o grupo. Veja a descrição do passeio dia a dia. É puxado. Você acorda de madrugada todos os dias, durante mais de 20 dias, não pode se atrasar (o amanhecer é o melhor horário, e os birders estrangeiros são mais do que pontuais). Uma viagem como essa ainda é focada em observação mais do que fotografia, mas uma agência como a Rockjumper já tem viagens configuradas para fotógrafos (menos pessoas, um líder que também entende muito de fotografia, mas mais caras).

Qual a relação entre a Virtude a Rockjumper Worldwide Birding Adventures? Em resumo: de um lado tietagem da Claudia Komesu, que admirou a estrutura do site montada por Dave Kaplan a ponto de escrever um post, do outro, generosidade do diretor administrativo da Rockjumper, Adam Riley, que respondeu o e-mail de contato da Claudia e não só autorizou o uso de qualquer trip report como pediu ao responsável pelo banco de imagens para fornecer as fotos que a Claudia pedisse. Claudia se sente muito agradecida, e vai divulgar a Rockjumper sempre que puder.

Se você já é um birder rodado, se interessou pela Rockjumper, e vir a fazer uma viagem com eles, por favor conte que conheceu-os pela Virtude. E depois faça um post!