Madagascar is one of the major zoogeographic regions of Earth. Ninety percent of its forest species and all of its native land mammals are unique, among them the many species of lemurs, a primate group now largely confined to Madagascar. More than half of the 250-plus bird species are endemic, including five families of birds found only here and on the nearby Comoros: the mesites, the monotypic Cuckoo-Roller, the ground-rollers, the asities, and the recently separated Malagasy Warblers (Bernieridae). Additionally, the couas comprise a distinctive endemic subfamily. It is also sadly a place where habitat destruction and over-population greatly threaten biodiversity, so it's an important destination on any birder's must-visit list.
Our tour visits all of the major habitats of the island, from spiny forest near Toliara to dry deciduous forest near Mahajanga in the northwest and lush rainforest at Perinet, Mantadia, and Ranomafana. This broad coverage of the best locales gives us an excellent chance to find all the endemic bird families as well as potentially more than 110 species of Madagascar's endemic birds--the few others being either nearly extinct, virtually unknown, highly localized, or inaccessible to groups.
To walk the misty forest of Perinet to the dawn chorus of Indris crying, couas calling, and vangas scolding is truly to feel one is returning to a living remnant of the Eocene era--Earth as it might have appeared fifty million years ago. This tour also makes a special visit to see the legendary Aye-aye at a site where the species can now be seen easily, and watching one of these bizarre creatures using its needle-like extended fingers to extract coconut flesh is quite something. We also now visit a village-run park where Ring-tailed lemurs are easy to find and in fine condition; it's a wonderful experience to see them foraging in the wild here.
We will visit the Indian Ocean islands of Mauritius and Reunion in search of a variety of exciting endemic and specialty birds. These include some of the rarest species on earth, the subjects of intense conservation projects over the past 30 years. On Mauritius these are Mauritius Kestrel, Echo (Mauritius) Parakeet, Pink Pigeon, Mauritius Fody, and Mauritius (Olive) White-eye. Reunion, too, holds special subset of endemics: Reunion Harrier, Reunion Stonechat, Reunion Bulbul, two endemic white-eyes, and a chance for the rare Reunion Cuckooshrike, as well as Barau's Petrel close inshore.
Select the KEY INFO tab or click here for our itinerary plus space requests, status, fees, limits, and guides for any departure.
"Wonderful and unforgettable. Phil Gregory is a superb, patient, unflappable guide, with tremendous knowledge of Madagascar and a great sense of humor. Best features of the tour were the lemurs and the beautiful, exotic birds...couas, vangas, ground-rollers, cuckoo-rollers, mesites, asities. Your office service was superb." E.C., MADAGASCAR 2019