Birding Factoids

283 species
in 56 families (3 families
are endemic to Madagascar)

100 endemics
28 near-endemics
28 endangered species (all endemic or near-endemic)
4 week trip expectation -
about 180 species including 
over 100 Malagasy endemics

Checklist of Madagascar BirdsTours and GuidesEco-LodgesSpeciality BirdsMap and General Country Information
Check out Wim van der Schot's Birds of Madagascar,
George William's Gallery of Madagascar birds
Luke Cole's Madagascar Birds
Peter Bono's Madagascar Bird Photos
and Guiliano Gerro and Silvio Sommazzi's Madagascar Birds
Madgascar Specialities
White-winged Ibis - ENDANGERED - Phnot copyright Ronald Orenstein
Photo copyright Ronald Orenstien
Sub-desert Mesite - Photo copyright Tropical Birding
Photo copyright Tropical Birding Tours
Madagascar Magpie-Robin - endemic - Photo copyright George Williams
Photo copyright George Williams
Madagascar Plover - ENDANGERED - Photo copyright Tropical Birding
Photo copyright Tropical Birding Tours
Giant Coua - endemic - Photo copyright George Williams
Photo copyright George Williams
Madagascar Paradise-flycatcher - Photo copyright George Williams
Photo copyright George Williams
Madagascar Sparrow-hawk - THREATENED - Photo copyright Stig Linander
Photo copyright Stig Linander
Long-tailed Ground-Roller - ENDANGERED - Photo copyright Don Roberson
Photo copyright Don Roberson
Dimorphic Egret - Photo copyright Liz Leydon
Photo copyright Liz Leydon
Benson's Rock-Thrush - endemic - Photo copyright Jeff Blincow
Photo copyright Jeff Blincow
Crested Drongo - Photo copyright Stig Linander
Photo copyright Stig Linander
Crested Coua - endemic - Photo copyright George Williams
Photo copyright George Williams
Chabert's Vanga - Photo copyright Martin Kramer
Photo copyright Martin Kramer
    ....Video Birding in Madagascar - Presented by Ronald Orenstein through
      the magic of Hi-8 videotape and a Video "Snappy" - on a tour of four of the island's top birding sites.
    ....Berenty Reserve - The Berenty Reserve was created half a century
      ago by the d'Haulme family as a private park; in the last twenty years it has been turned into a nature reserve cum hotel.
    ....Ranomafana National Park - information from George Williams. 
      Ranomafana National Park is located in the Fianarantsoa Province of southeastern Madagascar, it is about 2 hours drive from the city of Fianarantsoa and about 10 hours drive from Antananarivo, the capital of Madagascar. It became the fourth national park in Madagascar when it was inaugurated on May 31, 1991. See particularly the section on Birds of the park.
    ....Tsingy de Bemaraha Strict Nature Reserve - is made up of karstic
      landscapes and limestone uplands cut into impressive "tsingy" peaks and a "forest" of limestone needles, the spectacular canyon of the Manambolo River, rolling hills and high peaks. The undisturbed forests, lakes and mangrove swamps are the habitat for rare and endangered lemurs and birds.
    ....Forest of the Sifaka - Birding in North-western Madagascar - by 
      Mark L Piper. Daybreak in a new land is always exciting for the species hungry foreign birder, to wake a dawn in such a wonderfully bizarre location totally exhilarating. So it passed on August 4th, 1995 that Jeff Blincow, Nigel Goodgame and Mark Piper emerged from their tents amongst the western deciduous forest of Ampijoroa reserve, Northern Madagascar.
    ....Trip Report: Madagascar - 20th Oktober to 16th November 2003, by
      Michiel de Boer. A birdwatching tripreport for backpackers including recorded birdsounds. 
    ....Trip Report: Madagascar - “The Eighth Continent”,  27 Dec 2002 – 
      4 Jan 2003. Leader: Keith Barnes (a Tropical Birding Trip). This trip was designed as a nine-day surgical strike to Madagascar. The goals were twofold. (1) To get Malcolm, a family ticker, representative members of the Indian Ocean Islands five endemic families, and to see all of Madgascar’s Ground Rollers. We achieved both of these goals. At the same time we managed a list of 131 species, including 88 of the 120 Malagasy endemics. Although the island undoubtedly deserves more attention than can be given on a nine-day junket such as this, these sorts of returns were good considering the time constraints.
    ....Winter Birding in Madagascar, June 2001- by Stig Linander. The main
      reason for me travelling to Madagascar was the total solar eclipse on June 21st. The trip wasn't a birding trip, but six (out of 18) of our group were birders, so we actually did some birding. 
    ....Trip Report: Madagascar - November 5 - December 2, 2000. By 
      Garry George. Madgascar first came up as a real possibility three years ago in Mexico. I was relaxing after a day of Military Macaws and Lesser Ground-Cuckoos on the Mirador near San Blas talking with a fellow traveler named Jim Hully who had just come from seeing Tufted Jays in Durango. As birders always do, we traded maps and sites and began talking of trips we wanted to take. The conversation as it always does came to Madagascar. Jim had a friend who was organizing a private trip with the author of a new field guide as leader and in a few emails we had committed. In the case of critically endangered habitat such as the island of Madagascar my hope is that this report will inspire even one other person to spend eco-tourism dollars and show some enthusiasm for the wild life thereby encouraging the government and people of Madagascar to save their amazing natural heritage from imminent disaster.
    ....Biological Survey of Zombitse-Vohibasia National Park - During 1996,
      a nine member Anglo-Malagasy team of biologists conducted baseline bird surveys of Zombitse-Vohibasia forests that were soon to  become Madagascar's seventh national park. 
    ....Birdwatching in Madagascar with Réunion, Mauritius & Seychelles
      Oct - Nov 1994, by Stig Jensen et al. (NOTE: this is a downloadable report in WORD format from the Danish Ornithological Society´s website). In October-November 1994, the excursions committee of the Copenhagen department of the Danish Ornithological Society (DOF) carried out its first tour to Madagascar, Réunion and the Seychelles. The main purpose of the tour was to provide the participants with a good impression and knowledge of the fantastic - and threatened - natural areas remaining and the local culture as well as to see as many of the endemic birds and other animals as possible. The tour was organised in three parts: Part 1: 8 days in the Seychelles, part 2: 1 day in Réunion and 20 days in Madagascar, part 3: 7 days in northeastern Madagascar. Part 3 was offered only as an extension of the main tour (part 2). In additional Marianne Andersen and Erik Mølgaard visited the Mauritius Island before the main tour and Jesper Meedom, Ulrik Andersen and Erik Mølgaard made a 4 days extension to the area around Andape in the northern Madagascar. We have included their notes in this report.

    ....Madagascar Tour 1-14th November 1998 - Although this was not a 

      birding trip in the strict sense – we looked at every aspect of the Natural History of each habitat, we were able to see and definitely identify 82 of the regions endemic birds. Add to this the 15 lemurs and the huge variety of trees & plants and it all adds up to an exciting destination to tour. 
    ....Trip Report: Madagascar, September, 1994 - by Susan Myers. This
      trip was not exclusively a birding trip, we wanted to see as many mammal and bird species as possible as well as get a feeling for the country and its people. Consequently, our bird list was not as high as it could have been, on the other hand we saw a total of 28 species of mammal and lots of other brilliant things. 
    ....Trip Report: Madagascar, August 2-31, 1995 - by Richard Fairbank.
      Birding in Madagascar is brilliant. The reserves are good with good systems of trails and excellent and very knowledgeable English-speaking bird guides. The accommodation basic (camping the only real option in some places) and the roads bad, although we got everywhere we wanted in a saloon car (fairly cosy for 4 + driver).
    ....Trip Report: Madagascar, September 17 - October 12, 1995 - by 
      Trevor Quested. The trip was extremely successful with us seeing all possible birds in the areas we went. This included all 5 ground-rollers, all the mesites, every asity, all couas and vangas except for the ones occurring on the extreme north east where we didn't go. Madagascar is a very interesting island with 256 species of bird, 201 are resident, 105 are endemic, and 25 are endemic to the Malagasy region. 
    ....Trip Report: Madagascar & Mauritius, October 18 - November 22, 
      1998. A Bird and Mammal Tour by David Siems and Steve Anyon-Smith. 
    ....Trip Report: Madagascar - November 18  to December 16, 1998 by
      Michael Mills. The reason for embarking on this trip to Madagascar (Mad) was to observe its unique fauna, and most especially the birds. Although there have only been about 250 species of bird recorded, there are 106 endemic species and 25 near-endemics. Furthermore, the ground rollers, mesites and cuckoo-rollers are all endemic families and the couas, vangas and asities are endemic subfamilies. Mammal highlights are the lemurs, while reptilian oddities include the spectacular leaf-tailed geckos and a mind-boggling array of  chameleons. Simply, there is something for everyone.
    ....Trip Report: Madagascar, November 5 - December 2, 2000, by 
      Garry George. Our trip was planned to maximize sighting of endemic species.Most of our time was spent in the forests of national parks or in small patches of forest that hoped to be designated national parks. 
    ....Birding Tour Report 2001 - Lyn Mair's report of the World
      Birdwatch/Rainbow Tours Madagascar Birding Tour in September, 2001. 15 to 30 September 2001. In spite of being relatively early in the birding season, we had the most impressive list of 154 species of which 107 were endemic species and 2 heard only (Madagascar flufftail, Red-shouldered vanga).  Combined with an amazing variety of lemurs this is one of the best trips I have ever led. 
    ....Trip Report: Madagascar "The eighth continent" - 28 September – 
      16 October 2003. A Tropical Birding Trip Report. This was a sensational Madagascar trip recording 180 bird species (115 endemics and near-endemics) in 18 days of birding. All the participants saw every species of Ground-roller including mind-blowing views of Short-legged, Pitta-like, Rufous-headed and Long-tailed Ground Rollers (three of which we got on video!!). The Scaly was elusive but after some effort everybody got satisfactory views. We also had absorbing looks at each of the world’s three Mesite species and saw all 13 species of Vanga that were possible on this itinerary. 
    ....Madagascar Trip Reports - you can find Madagascar trip reports on
      John Girdley's BirdTours website by following the Africa/Madagascar link from the main page.
    Factoids taken from Where to Watch Birds in Africa - by Nigel Wheatley.

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Tours and Guides

>>>>> A Birding Pal is not a paid guide, but someone who likes to help out of town visitors. You can become a Birding Pal today! Help someone to enjoy your local birding spots and find a pal to help you when you travel. Click here for Madagascar Birding Pals, or join to be a Birding Pal!
Hook-billed Vanga - endemic - Photo copyright George Williams
Photo copyright George Williams
Madagascar Coucal - Photo copyright Stig Linander
Photo copyright Stig Linander
    **..Madagascar Tours with Tropical Birding. Our trips are generally 
      for keen birders, both experienced and inexperienced. It is not necessary to be an expert or a super-lister to enjoy yourself. Our tours are designed for enthusiastic travellers who enjoy spending most, if not all, of their holiday time birding. Our goal is to get birders to the world's most amazing places, seeing the world's most amazing birds, in as much comfort as possible. Our trips range from shorter day-trips out of Cape Town to intensive three-week birding safaris throughout the continent and we offer both set departure and custom-made tours.
    **..Madagascar Tour with Birdseekers - This is an exciting tour, from
      October 3 - 26, 2003, in which we have planned to take in all the different habitats in order to provide comprehensive coverage of this special island, from huge escarpments, grasslands, dry deciduous woodland, the spiny Didierea forest of the semi-desert and the lush, rich rainforest. This is truly one of our most fascinating tours to date.
    **..Peter Ginn Birding Safaris - Madagascar Tours. Explore the 
      wonders of the Madagascar wildlife & nature while visiting some of Madagascar's prime birding and wildlife localities. We will be visiting the emerald green forests of Perinet, the Spiny Forests of the SW, the dry deciduous forests of Ampijoroa and the lush green forests of Ranomafana.
    **..Madagascarwith Victor Emanuel Nature Tours (VENT). "Unique" is 
      the adjective most often used to describe Madagascar. This huge island first began to split away from the African continent during the age of dinosaurs and has followed an independent evolutionary course ever since, allowing an amazing variety of different life forms to evolve from a few colonizing ancestors. From the bizarre to the sublime, this is island evolution gone wild, and there is no other place like it. Five entire families of birds are endemic to the Madagascar region–the Mesites, Ground-Rollers,  Cuckoo-Rollers, Asities, and Vangas, and we should see representatives of all of them. 
      • October 8 - October 25, 2003 (18.0 days - Limit 14 ) with leaders Adam Riley
      VENT offers nearly 140 tours to over 100 land-based destinations each year and is the largest tour company in the world specializing in birding and natural history.

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Endemics and Specialities

in Madagascar

Short-legged Ground-Roller - ENDANGERED - Photo copyright Anke Poggel
Photo copyright Anke Poggel

Malagasy Scops-Owl - Photo copyright Guiliano Gerro and Silvio Sommazzi

Photo copyright Guiliano Gerra and Silvio Sommazzi
Information on endemics and specialities is derived from Sibley & Monroe checklists and bird distribution lists in Thayer's Birder's Diary - Version 2.05, supplemented by material found in Where to Watch Birds in Africa - by Nigel Wheatley. African speciality birds, while not endemic, are those that can only be found in three or less countries of Africa. Information on endangered birds is derived from the IUCN Red List, Birdlife International.  The endemic, endangered and speciality birds may be uncommon, extremely rare vagrants, may be extirpated in the country now or may only be present in migration. However, documented sightings of each species noted below have been made in Madagascar. 
Madagascar Kestrel - Photo copyright Anke Poggel
Photo copyright Anke Poggel

Madagascar Plover - THREATENED - Photo copyright Jeff Blincow
Photo copyright Jeff Blincow

Endemics in Madagascar
(endangered species are printed in bold italic)
___ Alaotra Grebe
___ Appert's Greenbul
___ Archbold's Newtonia
___ Banded Kestrel
___ Benson's Rock-Thrush
___ Bernier's Teal
___ Bernier's Vanga
___ Blue Coua
___ Brown Emu-tail
___ Brown Mesite
___ Chabert's Vanga
___ Collared Nightjar
___ Common Jery
___ Common Newtonia
___ Coquerel's Coua
___ Coral-billed Nuthatch
___ Crested Coua
___ Crossley's Babbler
___ Cryptic Warbler
___ Dark Newtonia
___ Dusky Greenbul
___ Forest Fody
___ Forest Rock-Thrush
___ Giant Coua
___ Green Jery
___ Grey Emu-tail
___ Grey-crowned Greenbul
___ Helmetbird
___ Henst's Goshawk
___ Hook-billed Vanga
___ Kioloides Rail
___ Lafresnaye's Vanga
___ Littoral Rock-Thrush
___ Long-billed Greenbul
___ Long-tailed Ground-Roller
___ Madagascar Baza
___ Madagascar Blue-Pigeon
___ Madagascar Buttonquail
___ Madagascar Buzzard
___ Madagascar Fish-Eagle
___ Madagascar Flufftail
___ Madagascar Grebe
___ Madagascar Jacana
___ Madagascar Lark
___ Madagascar Magpie-Robin
___ Madagascar Marsh-Harrier
___ Madagascar Munia
___ Madagascar Owl
___ Madagascar Partridge
___ Madagascar Plover
___ Madagascar Pochard
___ Madagascar 
___ Pygmy-Kingfisher
___ Madagascar Rail
___ Madagascar Red Owl
___ Madagascar Sandgrouse
___ Madagascar Serpent-Eagle
___ Madagascar Snipe
___ Madagascar Sparrow-Hawk
___ Madagascar Starling
___ Madagascar Swamp-Warbler
___ Madagascar Wagtail
___ Malagasy Brush-Warbler
___ Nelicourvi Weaver
___ Pitta-like Ground-Roller
___ Pollen's Vanga
___ Rand's Warbler
___ Red-breasted Coua
___ Red-capped Coua
___ Red-fronted Coua
___ Red-tailed Newtonia
___ Red-tailed Vanga
___ Rufous Vanga
___ Rufous-headed 
___ Ground-Roller
___ Running Coua
___ Sakalava Rail
___ Sakalava Weaver
___ Scaly Ground-Roller
___ Schlegel's Asity
___ Short-legged Ground-Roller
___ Sickle-billed Vanga
___ Slender-billed Flufftail
___ Snail-eating Coua
___ Spectacled Greenbul
___ Stripe-throated Jery
___ Sub-desert Mesite
___ Sunbird Asity
___ Thamnornis Warbler
___ Tylas Vanga
___ Van Dam's Vanga
___ Velvet Asity
___ Verreaux's Coua
___ Ward's Shrike-Flycatcher
___ Wedge-tailed Jery
___ White-breasted Mesite
___ White-browed Boobook
___ White-headed Vanga
___ White-throated Oxylabes
___ White-winged Ibis
___ Yellow-bellied Asity
___ Yellow-browed Oxylabes

Other Near Endemic Birds in Madagascar
(shared only with Comoros, Aldabra, Seychelles, Reunion, and/or Mauritius)
(adapted from Where to Watch Birds in Africa - by Nigel Wheatley.)
(endangered species are printed in bold italic)

___ Ashy Cuckoo-shrike
___ Black Parrot
___ Blue Vanga
___ Crested Drongo
___ Cuckoo-Roller
___ Frances' Goshawk
___ Grey-headed Lovebird
___ Humblot's Heron
___ Long-billed Green Sunbird
___ Mascarene Martin
___ Madagascar Bulbul
___ Madagascar Cisticola
___ Madagascar Coucal
___ Madagascar Green-Pigeon
___ Madagascar Kestrel
___ Madagascar Nightjar
___ Madagascar
___ Paradise-Flycatcher 
___ Madagascar Swift
___ Madagascar Turtle-Dove
___ Malagasy Kingfisher
___ Malagasy Scops-Owl
___ Malagasy Spinetail
___ Malagasy White-eye
___ Meller's Duck
___ Reunion Marsh-Harrier
___ Souimanga Sunbird
___ Vasa Parrot
___ White-throated Rail

Other Endangered Birds in Madagascar

Breeding Birds

Non-Breeding Birds

None None

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