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The Long-tailed Ground-Roller is quite rare, but our local guide, Fredi, and his crew, were able to find this one and carefully move it towards us, so we got amazing views. Photo by participant Linda Nuttall.
This was my ninth Field Guides Madagascar tour (eleventh overall), and was again a terrific trip with a very congenial fit group who were also very good at spotting. I have gradually fine-tuned this tour to eliminate as many Madagascar Air flights as possible, and we enjoyed close to an ideal itinerary this year. Very dry conditions at Ranomafana certainly depressed some small bird activity, but we had a very good range of species overall and great views of some very special mammals like sifakas, Indri, mouse-lemurs, bamboo-lemurs and woolly lemurs, not to forget non-venomous snakes, day-geckoes, skinks and chameleons as well.
We drove to Ambositre on the first day, stopping at a small marsh where Madagascar Snipe and a bonus Painted Snipe showed well and a Baillon's Crake made a fleeting appearance. Next day was across to Ranomafana, seeing Madagascar Flufftail at a marsh stop en route and getting to the lodge in time for a late lunch. This park is always a highlight but is also the most physically demanding part of the tour, with a couple of hikes that can take most of the morning and involve a bit of up and down, though nothing too strenuous. The rewards are great, with Pitta-like Ground-Roller showing amazingly well, and Velvet Asity seen a couple of times. Rufous-headed Ground-Roller was eventually heard and seen briefly by some, we saw the rare Pollen's Vanga, good looks at Crossley's Vanga and a lucky pick-up of both Madagascar Yellowbrow and Brown Emutail late one afternoon, the first couas in Red-fronted and Blue, and the introduction to the wonderful lemurs, with Golden Bamboo Lemur, Fat-tailed Dwarf Lemur and Milne-Edward's Sifaka.
After Ranomafana we headed south, stopping at the Ambalavao artisan silk making co-operative and the local paper-making enterprise before our new site for Ring-tailed Lemur. This proved to be great; the animals are in very fine condition and we encountered some 3 large groups for great looks. This site is looked after by the local villages, so the money goes back to the community not so some expatriate overlord as at Berenty. Arrival at the beautiful Jardin du Roy was at dusk and we had the next day to explore the attractive sandstone and grassland surroundings, seeing Benson's Rock-thrush, Madagascar Hoopoe and a brief encounter with Madagascar Partridge.
Suitably rested, we drove two hours south to the precious forest fragment at Zombitse in the sapphire mining area, where Giant Coua and Cuckoo-Roller showed beautifully, two White-browed Owls were surprised to see us, and the attractive Verreaux's Sifaka and Zombitse Sportive-Lemur showed well. The local guides came up with the rare Appert's Tetraka too, one of the most range restricted species on earth.
On then via Tulear to the coast at Ifaty, seeing some migrant shorebirds en route as well as the Madagascar form of Three-banded Plover and Kittlitz's Plover with a juvenile. Our time in Ifaty was focused on the legendary spiny forest, and we spent most of our birding time in the eponymous Parc Mosa. Our guides here were Mosa's son Fredi, and his nephews Dedi and Rofia, and they were fantastic at pulling every last bird out of the inhospitable-looking spiny forest, from megas like Long-tailed Ground-Roller, and Subdesert Mesite, to the tricky and secretive Thamnornis, and even a bonus Madagascar Sparrowhawk nest. The forest also produced Archbold’s Newtonia, Lafresnaye’s Vanga, and both Crested and Running Couas.
Nearby, we had good looks at Madagascar Plover with a juvenile, and a surprise Caspian Tern. The Bamboo Club itself was good for some dusk views of Madagascar Nightjar feeding or drinking over the pool. Our second afternoon was set aside for a targeted visit to the amazing arid dense thorny vegetation at La Table, where we were able to track down both Green-capped and the rare Verreaux’s Coua, and where Fredi did an amazing job of finding an astonishingly confiding male Red-shouldered Vanga. Both of these latter species have tiny worldwide ranges, and it was great to connect with them both.
Our boat trip out to Nosy Ve took place in thankfully calm conditions, with wonderful views of Crab-plover and the gorgeous Red-tailed Tropicbird, which was new for most folks, and Littoral Rock-thrush at Anakau also showed nicely, even with a female this year. We got back in good time for lunch then our flight to Tana was uneventful; having just two Mad Air flights on the tour is such a relief after the tribulations of previous years!
Driving up to Ankarafantsika, we encountered a bonus Malagasy Harrier and our first Madagascar Pratincoles on the Betsiboka River. We were based at the park, and met up with our excellent local guide, arriving just before a heavy storm hit. A short night walk dodged the tempest and got us Golden-brown Mouse-Lemur, Fat-tailed Dwarf-Lemur and Oustalet's Chameleon, plus several of the scarce Rhinoceros Chameleons.
The following day, we had a mission to see all of the local special species. We began very well with a newly discovered nest of Schlegel's Asity, then after breakfast some first-rate spectacular views of duetting White-breasted Mesite, and eventually 2 separate splendid Van Dam's Vanga -- a rare species that is easily missed. Coquerel's and Red-capped couas showed well too, as did Madagascar Green Pigeon. Milne-Edward's Sportive-Lemur was a good find, peeking out of a crack in a hollow tree, then we managed two Madagascar Fish-Eagles soaring over the lake. The Madagascar Jacana was proving recalcitrant this year, but our guide knew of a site and we backtracked to a marsh where we found this rare species plus our first Humblot's Heron and a bonus of Harlequin Quail.
The Betsiboka estuary boat trip worked like a charm this year with a foray out at first light and back by 0930, with calm seas, the tide rising and just right for great looks at a couple of the rare and very distinctive "Malagasy" Sacred Ibis (split by the IOC and HBW/BirdLife checklists), plus a bonus of 7 Crab-plovers. Back then on an uneventful lunch time flight to Tana, with a night at the Tamboho before splitting up into two SUVs for the eastern leg of the tour.
As we drove east, we stopped for good views of Madagascar Pratincole once more. World famous Andasibe (also known as Perinet in the old days) was the focal destination, and our hotel for some 4 nights was the incomparable Feon N'y Ala (which translates to “song of the forest”, referring to the haunting vocalizations of the Indri) nestled in at the very edge of this wonderful native forest. True to its name our home base gave us daily hearings of their wonderful calls, one of the most evocative of all Madagascar sounds.
We had a full morning each at the Mantadia and Andasibe units of the National Park, and we experienced some truly special birds- Scaly Ground-Roller, Short-legged Ground-Roller, Nuthatch Vanga, Malagasy Spinetail, Madagascar Wood-Rail and Madagascar Long-eared and Madagascar Scops Owl. In addition to Indri, our other non-birds included some Common Brown Lemurs and an amazing Giant Leaf-tailed Gecko plus an assortment of chameleons.
We then packed up and headed east, with our next target being the legendary Aye-Aye, a bizarre creature that makes you wonder if it was George Lucas’s inspiration for Yoda. A half-day drive to the coast included a couple of rest stops, and during both of these we had the phenomenon of very vocal Madagascar Pratincoles flying around these small towns, right over our heads, and then landing on top of buildings. They were apparently nesting on some of the nearby roofs, and we got to see some of their excellent display flights.
We eventually made it to the coast, and got on our boat. Our boat ride took us through the Canal of Pangalanes, and to the resort, where we had a delightful lunch, followed by an interesting walk around the island with our resort guide. We also got a great rundown on how vanilla is produced on such a grand scale in Madagascar (it’s exceptionally labor intensive). Many of the tame lemurs came and had a look at us and we got climbed on by Black Lemurs and hybrid Red-fronted Brown x Black lemurs. They are amazingly well-mannered (totally unlike monkeys which I definitely would not have climbing on me!), have very soft paws, and weigh less than 4 kg (10 lbs), a nice encounter. We then headed out to see the Aye-Aye, seeing one as soon as we got into the forest whilst it was still quite light, and eventually had encounters with some four individuals at the viewing site. Watching these pre-historic looking mammals devour coconuts with the help of their long, thin middle fingers was a huge highlight for everyone.
This year we reverted to our usual Mauritius and Reunion extension. The afternoon departure from Tana on Air Mauritius was uneventful and we got to our hotel at Flic en Flac around 0930 pm, where they had kindly kept the buffet for us.
Our day around Mauritius was excellent despite some heavy showers which we dodged very nicely. We picked up the big three very quickly, with great views of Mauritius Parakeet, Pink Pigeon, and Mauritius Kestrel at our usual site. Trying for Mauritius Cuckooshrike proved hopeless, but we saw Mauritius Bulbul at 3 sites, a valuable addition of a sometimes tough species. The short boat trip to Ile aux Aigrettes sanctuary was really good this time, and we enjoyed great looks at Mauritius Fody, close Mauritius Olive White-eyes and a wonderful 105-year-old 200 kg adult male Aldabra Giant Tortoise, plus some of the rare Telfair's Skinks. A fine addition to the trip and well worth the effort.
Reunion this year proved problematic due to riots over fuel prices and the cost of living; we got caught up in traffic so could not make a sortie up into the hills, but did manage an excellent sea-watch near St Denis which gave great looks at Barau's Petrels and Tropical Shearwater, plus what proved to be a pale morph Wedge-tailed Shearwater flying like a Pterodroma! Next day we were advised to leave at 0430 for the airport due to likely roadblocks, so our birding on this sector was very curtailed, though everyone took it in good part and was happy to make their rescheduled and now much earlier flights!
Nov 5 Group arrives Tana
Nov 6 Tana to Ambositre via Ambatofotsy and Antsirabe.
Nov 7 Ambositre to Ranomafana, roadside birding pm.
Nov 8 Ranomafana Bamboo lemur circuit and Bellevue, pm Vohiparara and mouse-lemurs.
Nov 9 Vohiparara Trail am and pm.
Nov 10 Ranomafana to Finanarantsoa, Ambalavaosilk making then then Ring-tailed lemur reserve and early evening at Jardin du Roy at Isalo.
Nov 11 Isalo area
Nov 12 Isalo to Zombitse then Tulear and Ifaty
Nov 13 Parc Mosa 0545-0930, and Mangily salines, spiny forest 1600-1800.
Nov 14 Ifaty to Tulear depart 1400, La Table 1545-1745.
Nov 15 Boat trip to Nosy Ve and Anakau, before pm flight to Tana
Nov 16 Leave for Ankarafantsika by road at 0730, overnight at the National Park.
Sun Nov 17 Ankarafantsika area and Lac Ravelobe then to Mahajunga.
Nov 18 Mahajunga and Betsiboka estuary early am leave 0730 and back by 0900. Flight to Tana mid-day.
Nov 19 Lac Alarobia and then Andasibe
Nov 20 Mantadia and Andasibe roadside pm
Nov 21 Indri Circuit and roadside pm
Nov 22 Mantadia and roadsides pm
Nov 23 To Pangalanes
Nov 24 Pangalanes then to Feon N'y Ala and Antananarivo
Sun Nov 25 Departure pm for Mauritius
Mon Nov 26 Mauritius Black River Gorges area and Ile aux Aigrettes pm
Tue Nov 27 Mauritius to Reunion, sea-watch off St Denis late pm
Wed Nov 28 Early departure to airport on Reunion, then assorted departures home.
Particular thanks to the brilliant Gerard, our long-time local fixer and birder, and to the various hard-working, skilled and entertaining local guides: Jean-Cris, Zo and Baku at Ranomafana, Randria and Andry at Zombitse, Fredi, Dedi and Rofia the 3 beagles at the spiny forest, Fredi at La Table, Ndrema at Ankarafantsika and the incomparable Nestor at Andasibe. For the extension there was also Jean-Claude on Mauritius and Fred (albeit briefly!) on Reunion. Special thanks to Sharon in the Field Guides office for good logistics on such a complex and difficult itinerary.
I enjoyed sharing all these wonderful sightings in Madagascar and the Mascarenes with you, and look forward to another chance to do the same in another part of the world. Safe travels, good birding, and the best for 2019 to you all!
Phil Gregory Kuranda Dec 2018
KEYS FOR THIS LIST
One of the following keys may be shown in brackets for individual species as appropriate: * = heard only, I = introduced, E = endemic, N = nesting, a = austral migrant, b = boreal migrant
A favorite bird of the trip was the White-breasted Mesite, and no wonder, since they performed so well for us. Guide Phil Gregory captured this wonderful video of a pair duetting at Ankarafantsika.
Anatidae (Ducks, Geese, and Waterfowl)
WHITE-FACED WHISTLING-DUCK (Dendrocygna viduata)
COMB DUCK (OLD WORLD) (Sarkidiornis melanotos melanotos)
AFRICAN PYGMY-GOOSE (Nettapus auritus)
HOTTENTOT TEAL (Spatula hottentota)
MELLER'S DUCK (Anas melleri) [E]
RED-BILLED DUCK (Anas erythrorhyncha)
Phasianidae (Pheasants, Grouse, and Allies)
HARLEQUIN QUAIL (Coturnix delegorguei)
MADAGASCAR PARTRIDGE (Margaroperdix madagarensis) [E]
GRAY FRANCOLIN (Francolinus pondicerianus) [I]
MADAGASCAR GREBE (Tachybaptus pelzelnii) [E]
Our trip to Aye-aye Island provided us with great looks at this bizarre mammal. Photo by participant Linda Nuttall.
Columbidae (Pigeons and Doves)
ROCK PIGEON (Columba livia) [I]
PINK PIGEON (Nesoenas mayeri) [E]
MADAGASCAR TURTLE-DOVE (Streptopelia picturata) [I]
SPOTTED DOVE (Streptopelia chinensis) [I]
NAMAQUA DOVE (Oena capensis aliena)
ZEBRA DOVE (Geopelia striata) [I]
MADAGASCAR GREEN-PIGEON (Treron australis) [E]
MADAGASCAR BLUE-PIGEON (Alectroenas madagascariensis) [E]
WHITE-BREASTED MESITE (Mesitornis variegatus) [E]
SUBDESERT MESITE (Monias benschi) [E]
The Echo Parakeet, found on the Mauritius extension, is making a comeback thanks to conservation efforts. We saw these lovely birds at a feeding site. Photo by participant Marshall Dahl.
CRESTED COUA (CRESTED) (Coua cristata cristata) [E]
CRESTED COUA (CHESTNUT-VENTED) (Coua cristata pyropyga) [E]
VERREAUX'S COUA (Coua verreauxi) [E]
BLUE COUA (Coua caerulea) [E]
RED-CAPPED COUA (Coua ruficeps) [E]
RED-CAPPED COUA (GREEN-CAPPED) (Coua ruficeps olivaceiceps) [E]
RED-FRONTED COUA (Coua reynaudii) [E]
COQUEREL'S COUA (Coua coquereli) [E]
RUNNING COUA (Coua cursor) [E]
GIANT COUA (Coua gigas) [E]
RED-BREASTED COUA (Coua serriana) [E]
MADAGASCAR COUCAL (Centropus toulou) [E]
MADAGASCAR CUCKOO (Cuculus rochii) [E]
Caprimulgidae (Nightjars and Allies)
COLLARED NIGHTJAR (Gactornis enarratus) [E]
MADAGASCAR NIGHTJAR (Caprimulgus madagascariensis) [E]
Rallidae (Rails, Gallinules, and Coots)
BAILLON'S CRAKE (Zapornia pusilla)
MALAGASY SPINETAIL (Zoonavena grandidieri) [E]
MASCARENE SWIFTLET (Aerodramus francicus)
ALPINE SWIFT (Apus melba willsi)
MADAGASCAR SWIFT (Apus balstoni) [E]
AFRICAN PALM-SWIFT (MADAGASCAR) (Cypsiurus parvus gracilis)
MADAGASCAR WOOD-RAIL (Canirallus kioloides kioloides)
MADAGASCAR FLUFFTAIL (Sarothrura insularis) [E]
Our driver, Gerard, poses with local guides Fredi, Dedi and Rofia in the spiny forest at Parc Mosa. Photo by guide Phil Gregory.
Rallidae (Rails, Gallinules, and Coots)
MADAGASCAR RAIL (Rallus madagascariensis) [E]
WHITE-THROATED RAIL (Dryolimnas cuvieri cuvieri)
EURASIAN MOORHEN (Gallinula chloropus pyrrhorrhoa)
Recurvirostridae (Stilts and Avocets)
BLACK-WINGED STILT (Himantopus himantopus)
Charadriidae (Plovers and Lapwings)
BLACK-BELLIED PLOVER (Pluvialis squatarola)
GREATER SAND-PLOVER (Charadrius leschenaultii)
KITTLITZ'S PLOVER (Charadrius pecuarius)
COMMON RINGED PLOVER (Charadrius hiaticula)
MADAGASCAR PLOVER (Charadrius thoracicus) [E]
THREE-BANDED PLOVER (MADAGASCAR) (Charadrius tricollaris bifrontatus)
This Sickle-billed Vanga perched on a spiny plant for participant Marshall Dahl.
WHITE-FRONTED PLOVER (Charadrius marginatus tenellus)
GREATER PAINTED-SNIPE (Rostratula benghalensis)
MADAGASCAR JACANA (Actophilornis albinucha) [E]
Scolopacidae (Sandpipers and Allies)
WHIMBREL (EUROPEAN) (Numenius phaeopus phaeopus)
RUDDY TURNSTONE (Arenaria interpres)
CURLEW SANDPIPER (Calidris ferruginea)
SANDERLING (Calidris alba)
MADAGASCAR SNIPE (Gallinago macrodactyla) [E]
TEREK SANDPIPER (Xenus cinereus)
COMMON SANDPIPER (Actitis hypoleucos)
We had a good encounter with 6 Madagascar Hoopoes at Jardin du Roy. Participant Linda Nuttall got this lovely portrait of one of them on the hotel grounds.
COMMON GREENSHANK (Tringa nebularia)
MADAGASCAR BUTTONQUAIL (Turnix nigricollis) [E]
CRAB-PLOVER (Dromas ardeola)
Glareolidae (Pratincoles and Coursers)
MADAGASCAR PRATINCOLE (Glareola ocularis) [E]
Laridae (Gulls, Terns, and Skimmers)
BRIDLED TERN (Onychoprion anaethetus)
SAUNDERS'S TERN (Sternula saundersi)
CASPIAN TERN (Hydroprogne caspia)
COMMON TERN (Sterna hirundo)
GREAT CRESTED TERN (Thalasseus bergii)
LESSER CRESTED TERN (Thalasseus bengalensis)
The Pink Pigeon is another species making a comeback on Mauritius. We were able to see them quite well at Bel Ombre and at Petrin. Photo by participant Linda Nuttall.
WHITE-TAILED TROPICBIRD (INDIAN OCEAN) (Phaethon lepturus lepturus)
RED-TAILED TROPICBIRD (Phaethon rubricauda rubricauda)
Procellariidae (Shearwaters and Petrels)
BARAU'S PETREL (Pterodroma baraui) [E]
WEDGE-TAILED SHEARWATER (Ardenna pacifica)
TROPICAL SHEARWATER (MASCARENE) (Puffinus bailloni bailloni)
HAMERKOP (Scopus umbretta umbretta)
Ardeidae (Herons, Egrets, and Bitterns)
GRAY HERON (MALAGASY) (Ardea cinerea firasa)
HUMBLOT'S HERON (Ardea humbloti) [E]
PURPLE HERON (PURPLE) (Ardea purpurea madagascariensis)
GREAT EGRET (AFRICAN) (Ardea alba melanorhynchos)
Participant Marshall Dahl got this wonderful shot of the group deeply engrossed in searching for the next rare bird.
LITTLE EGRET (DIMORPHIC) (Egretta garzetta dimorpha)
BLACK HERON (Egretta ardesiaca)
CATTLE EGRET (WESTERN) (Bubulcus ibis ibis)
SQUACCO HERON (Ardeola ralloides)
MADAGASCAR POND-HERON (Ardeola idae) [E]
STRIATED HERON (OLD WORLD) (Butorides striata rutenbergi)
BLACK-CROWNED NIGHT-HERON (Nycticorax nycticorax)
Threskiornithidae (Ibises and Spoonbills)
GLOSSY IBIS (Plegadis falcinellus)
SACRED IBIS (MALAGASY) (Threskiornis aethiopicus bernieri) [E]
Accipitridae (Hawks, Eagles, and Kites)
MADAGASCAR HARRIER-HAWK (Polyboroides radiatus) [E]
REUNION HARRIER (MALAGASY) (Circus maillardi macrosceles) [E]
FRANCES'S SPARROWHAWK (Accipiter francesiae) [E]
MADAGASCAR SPARROWHAWK (Accipiter madagascariensis) [E]
HENST'S GOSHAWK (Accipiter henstii) [E*]
BLACK KITE (YELLOW-BILLED) (Milvus migrans parasitus)
MADAGASCAR FISH-EAGLE (Haliaeetus vociferoides) [E]
MADAGASCAR BUZZARD (Buteo brachypterus) [E]
This beautiful Collared Nightjar was nesting in a small fern at Andasibe. Photo by participant Linda Nuttall.
BARN OWL (Tyto alba)
MALAGASY SCOPS-OWL (Otus rutilus) [E]
WHITE-BROWED OWL (Athene superciliaris) [E]
MADAGASCAR OWL (Asio madagascariensis) [E]
CUCKOO-ROLLER (Leptosomus discolor)
MADAGASCAR HOOPOE (Upupa marginata) [E]
MALAGASY KINGFISHER (Corythornis vintsioides) [E]
MADAGASCAR PYGMY-KINGFISHER (Corythornis madagascariensis) [E]
MADAGASCAR BEE-EATER (Merops superciliosus)
BROAD-BILLED ROLLER (MADAGASCAR) (Eurystomus glaucurus glaucurus)
This female Madagascar Sparrowhawk was seen near her nest at Parc Mosa. Photo by guide Phil Gregory.
SHORT-LEGGED GROUND-ROLLER (Brachypteracias leptosomus) [E]
SCALY GROUND-ROLLER (Brachypteracias squamiger) [E]
PITTA-LIKE GROUND-ROLLER (Atelornis pittoides) [E]
RUFOUS-HEADED GROUND-ROLLER (Atelornis crossleyi) [E]
LONG-TAILED GROUND-ROLLER (Uratelornis chimaera) [E]
Falconidae (Falcons and Caracaras)
MADAGASCAR KESTREL (Falco newtoni) [E]
MAURITIUS KESTREL (Falco punctatus) [E]
ELEONORA'S FALCON (Falco eleonorae)
SOOTY FALCON (Falco concolor)
Black-and-white Ruffed Lemurs showed nicely for us at Mantadia. This individual was photographed at the Palmarium Resort by participant Linda Nuttall.
Psittaculidae (Old World Parrots)
GREATER VASA PARROT (Coracopsis vasa) [E]
LESSER VASA PARROT (Coracopsis nigra) [E]
ROSE-RINGED PARAKEET (Psittacula krameri) [I]
ECHO PARAKEET (Psittacula eques)
GRAY-HEADED LOVEBIRD (Agapornis canus) [E]
VELVET ASITY (Philepitta castanea) [E]
SCHLEGEL'S ASITY (Philepitta schlegeli) [E]
COMMON SUNBIRD-ASITY (Neodrepanis coruscans) [E]
Vangidae (Vangas, Helmetshrikes, and Allies)
CHABERT VANGA (CHABERT) (Leptopterus chabert chabert)
CHABERT VANGA (WHITE-TAILED) (Leptopterus chabert schistocercus)
ARCHBOLD'S NEWTONIA (Newtonia archboldi) [E]
COMMON NEWTONIA (Newtonia brunneicauda) [E]
DARK NEWTONIA (Newtonia amphichroa) [E]
TYLAS VANGA (Tylas eduardi) [E]
RED-TAILED VANGA (Calicalicus madagascariensis) [E]
RED-SHOULDERED VANGA (Calicalicus rufocarpalis) [E]
NUTHATCH-VANGA (Hypositta corallirostris) [E]
We saw this lovely male Mauritius Fody on our boat trip to Ile aux Aigrettes sanctuary, where there is an introduced colony of these rare birds. Photo by participant Linda Nuttall.
CROSSLEY'S VANGA (Mystacornis crossleyi) [E]
BLUE VANGA (Cyanolanius madagascarinus) [E]
HOOK-BILLED VANGA (Vanga curvirostris) [E]
WARD'S FLYCATCHER (Pseudobias wardi) [E]
RUFOUS VANGA (Schetba rufa) [E]
SICKLE-BILLED VANGA (Falculea palliata) [E]
WHITE-HEADED VANGA (Artamella viridis) [E]
POLLEN'S VANGA (Xenopirostris polleni) [E]
LAFRESNAYE'S VANGA (Xenopirostris xenopirostris) [E]
VAN DAM'S VANGA (Xenopirostris damii) [E]
Guide Phil Gregory got this video of a male Cuckoo Roller calling at Zombitse. This was another favorite bird of the trip for many!
ASHY CUCKOOSHRIKE (Coracina cinerea) [E]
CRESTED DRONGO (Dicrurus forficatus) [E]
Monarchidae (Monarch Flycatchers)
MADAGASCAR PARADISE-FLYCATCHER (Terpsiphone mutata) [E]
Corvidae (Crows, Jays, and Magpies)
HOUSE CROW (Corvus splendens) [I]
PIED CROW (Corvus albus)
MADAGASCAR LARK (Eremopterix hova) [E]
MASCARENE MARTIN (Phedina borbonica borbonica)
PLAIN MARTIN (MADAGASCAR) (Riparia paludicola cowani)
MASCARENE MARTIN (Phedina borbonica madagascariensis)
BARN SWALLOW (Hirundo rustica)
This female Sub-desert Mesite was found in the spiny forest at Parc Mosa by our local guides; it sat very still, and did not move at all once it was found. Photo by guide Phil Gregory, who would like to see one do something other than blink!
RED-WHISKERED BULBUL (Pycnonotus jocosus) [I]
MADAGASCAR BULBUL (Hypsipetes madagascariensis) [E]
MAURITIUS BULBUL (Hypsipetes olivaceus) [E]
Acrocephalidae (Reed Warblers and Allies)
MADAGASCAR BRUSH-WARBLER (Nesillas typica) [E]
SUBDESERT BRUSH-WARBLER (Nesillas lantzii) [E]
MADAGASCAR SWAMP WARBLER (Acrocephalus newtoni) [E]
Locustellidae (Grassbirds and Allies)
BROWN EMUTAIL (Bradypterus brunneus) [E]
Bernieridae (Malagasy Warblers)
WHITE-THROATED OXYLABES (Oxylabes madagascariensis) [E]
LONG-BILLED BERNIERIA (Bernieria madagascariensis) [E]
CRYPTIC WARBLER (Cryptosylvicola randrianasoloi) [E]
The Malagasy Kingfisher (also known as the Madagascar Kingfisher) was widespread on the tour. Photo by participant Marshall Dahl.
WEDGE-TAILED JERY (Hartertula flavoviridis) [E]
THAMNORNIS (Thamnornis chloropetoides) [E]
YELLOW-BROWED OXYLABES (Crossleyia xanthophrys) [E]
SPECTACLED TETRAKA (Xanthomixis zosterops) [E]
APPERT'S TETRAKA (Xanthomixis apperti) [E]
GRAY-CROWNED TETRAKA (Xanthomixis cinereiceps) [E]
RAND'S WARBLER (Randia pseudozosterops) [E]
Cisticolidae (Cisticolas and Allies)
COMMON JERY (Neomixis tenella) [E]
GREEN JERY (Neomixis viridis) [E]
STRIPE-THROATED JERY (Neomixis striatigula pallidior) [E]
Panther Chameleon was one of eight chameleon species we saw on the tour. Photo by participant Linda Nuttall.
STRIPE-THROATED JERY (Neomixis striatigula striatigula) [E]
MADAGASCAR CISTICOLA (Cisticola cherina) [E]
Zosteropidae (White-eyes, Yuhinas, and Allies)
MAURITIUS WHITE-EYE (Zosterops chloronothos) [E]
MAURITIUS GRAY WHITE-EYE (Zosterops mauritianus) [E]
MADAGASCAR WHITE-EYE (Zosterops maderaspatanus) [E]
Muscicapidae (Old World Flycatchers)
MADAGASCAR MAGPIE-ROBIN (BLACK-BELLIED) (Copsychus albospecularis albospecularis)
MADAGASCAR MAGPIE-ROBIN (WHITE-BELLIED) (Copsychus albospecularis inexspectatus)
MADAGASCAR MAGPIE-ROBIN (WHITE-WINGED) (Copsychus albospecularis pica)
FOREST ROCK-THRUSH (Monticola sharpei) [E]
FOREST ROCK-THRUSH (BENSON'S) (Monticola sharpei bensoni) [E]
This demure female Mauritius Kestrel was one of a pair we saw near a nest-box at Bel Ombre. This is another species that has benefitted from conservation efforts. Photo by participant Marshall Dahl.
LITTORAL ROCK-THRUSH (Monticola imerina) [E]
AFRICAN STONECHAT (MADAGASCAR) (Saxicola torquatus sibilla) [E]
COMMON MYNA (Acridotheres tristis) [I]
MADAGASCAR STARLING (Hartlaubius auratus) [E]
Nectariniidae (Sunbirds and Spiderhunters)
SOUIMANGA SUNBIRD (Cinnyris sovimanga) [E]
MADAGASCAR SUNBIRD (Cinnyris notatus) [E]
Motacillidae (Wagtails and Pipits)
MADAGASCAR WAGTAIL (Motacilla flaviventris) [E]
Fringillidae (Finches, Euphonias, and Allies)
YELLOW-FRONTED CANARY (Crithagra mozambica) [I]
Passeridae (Old World Sparrows)
HOUSE SPARROW (Passer domesticus) [I]
Ploceidae (Weavers and Allies)
VILLAGE WEAVER (SPOT-BACKED) (Ploceus cucullatus spilonotus)
Here, our group poses at the Palmarium Beach Hotel. Participant Linda Nuttal took the photo, so she is not included.
NELICOURVI WEAVER (Ploceus nelicourvi) [E]
SAKALAVA WEAVER (Ploceus sakalava) [E]
RED FODY (Foudia madagascariensis) [E]
FOREST FODY (Foudia omissa) [E]
MAURITIUS FODY (Foudia rubra) [E]
Estrildidae (Waxbills and Allies)
COMMON WAXBILL (Estrilda astrild) [I]
MADAGASCAR MUNIA (Lonchura nana) [E]
SCALY-BREASTED MUNIA (Lonchura punctulata) [I]
BROWN MOUSE LEMUR (Microcebus rufus)
GOLDEN-BROWN MOUSE LEMUR (Microcebus ravelobensis)
We had a great look at this Red-bellied Lemur that Mark found at Mantadia. Photo by participant Linda Nuttall.
FAT-TAILED DWARF LEMUR (Cheirogaleus medius)
COMMON BROWN LEMUR (Eulemur fulvus)
MONGOOSE LEMUR (Eulemur mongoz)
RED-BELLIED LEMUR (Eulemur rubriventer)
RING-TAILED LEMUR (Lemur catta)
GOLDEN BAMBOO LEMUR (Hapalemur aureus)
BLACK-AND-WHITE RUFFED LEMUR (Varecia variegata)
MILNE-EDWARDS' SPORTIVE LEMUR (Lepilemur edwardsi)
HUBBARD'S SPORTIVE LEMUR (Lepilemur hubbardorum)
WESTERN WOOLLY LEMUR (Avahi occidentalis)
VERREAUX'S SIFAKA (Propithecus verreauxi)
COQUEREL'S SIFAKA (Propithecus coquereli)
DIADEMED SIFAKA (Propithecus diadema)
MILNE-EDWARDS' SIFAKA (Propithecus edwardsi)
INDRI (Indri indri)
RED FOREST RAT (Nesomys rufus)
LINED DAY GECKO (Phelsuma lineata)
STANDING'S DAY GECKO (Phelsuma standingi)
Madagascar Pygmy-Kingfisher was seen twice on the tour. This tiny bird was sitting on a vine at Andasibe where guide Phil Gregory shot this video.
MAURITIUS DAY GECKO (Phelsuma cepediana)
MALAGASY GIANT CHAMELEON (Furcifer oustaleti)
MADAGASCAR GIANT CHAMELEON (Furcifer verrucosus)
HORNED LEAF CHAMELEON (Brookesia superciliaris)
SHORT-HORNED CHAMELEON (Calumma brevicorne)
SHORT-NOSED CHAMELEON (Calumma nasuta)
PANTHER CHAMELEON (Calumma pardalis)
BLUE-LEGGED CHAMELEON (Calumma crypticum)
PARSON'S GIANT CHAMELEON (Calumma parsonii)
SATANIC LEAF-TAIL GECKO (Uroplatus phantasticus)
GIANT LEAF-TAIL GECKO (Uroplatus fimbriatus)
AFRICAN HOUSE GECKO (Hemidactylus mercatorius)
MADAGASCAR TREE BOA (Sanzinia madagascariensis)
MALAGASY GIANT HOGNOSE SNAKE (Leioheterodon madagascariensis)
COLLARED IGUANA (Oplurus cuvieri)
GRANDIDIER'S MADAGASCAR SWIFT (LIZARD) (Oplurus grandidieri)
MADAGASCAR ZONOSAUR (Zonosaurus madagascariensis)
BROAD-TAILED ZONOSAUR (Zonosaurus laticaudatus)
THREE-EYED LIZARD (Chalarodon madagascariensis)
NILE CROCODILE (Crocodylus niloticus)
Birds of the trip were a diverse assortment, with Red-tailed Tropicbird, Cuckoo-roller, White-breasted Mesite, Collared Nightjar, Malagasy Kingfisher and one of the ground-rollers all featuring well.
As would be expected in such a unique location, there were many other creatures of interest encountered that aren't listed above. Here is a list of some of the ones we could pin down. Butterflies account for most of these, as there are reasonable references available to aid in their identification. I'd love to know the identity of the very large bright blue dragonfly with the green head that was patrolling up and down the creek at Feon N'y Ala.
Giraffe-necked Weevil (Trachelophorus giraffa)- We had our first at Ranomafana, and then saw a couple of more at Mantadia.
Flatid Leaf Insect (Phromnea rosea)- We ran into the nymphs of these in two or three places along the way. They are truly bizarre creatures.
We had Giant Pill Millipedes in several places.
Identified butterflies were as follows:
Madagascar Commodore (Precis andremiaja)
Madagascar Swordtail (Graphium evombar)
Citrus Swallowtail (Papilio demodocus)
Banded Blue Swallowtail (Papilio oribazus)
Madagascar Giant Swallowtail (Pharmacophagus antenor)
Green Lady (Graphium cyrnus)
Madagascar Orange Tip (Colotis evanthe)
Madagascar Dotted Border (Mylothris phileris)
Yellow Pansy (Junonia hierta (paris))
African Monarch (Danaus chrysippis)
Acraea turna (this one at Ifaty)
Clouded Mother of Pearl (Protogoniomorphi anacardii duprei)
Madagascar Brown Pansy (Junonia gaudotii)
Brilliant Blue (Junonia rhadama)
Many skippers (Hesperiidae)
Assorted Satyrs, of several species.
Totals for the tour: 204 bird taxa and 18 mammal taxa