Trip Report: Madagascar, August 2-31, 1995
19 Crown Road,
West Sussex, BN43 6GB;
The following report relates to a trip done by John Cooper, Richard
Fairbank, Nick Preston and Barry
Stidolph. Barry arrived in Madagascar two days before the rest of us and
left a day earlier. His earlier
arrival enabled him to start negotiations with tour firms. Another
British group (Jeff Blincow, Nigel
Goodgame and Mark Piper) were in Madagascar at the same time (we all went
out and back on the same
Aeroflot flights). We organised our trip on arrival with Aventour (who
never replied to faxes or letters
sent), getting just over 3 weeks of saloon car and driver plus 3 internal
flights for approx. UK £650 each
(rather expensive). The Aeroflot flight cost approx. UK £500 and we spent
another UK £250 each on food,
petrol, accommodation, guides and boat hire. The other group had a more
deluxe tour and made internal
arrangements in advance through Madagascar Airtours, paying approx. UK
£1500 more or less all in plus
the Aeroflot flights. They visited all the same sites and had a 4WD
vehicle, driver and courier. Their trip
was significantly more expensive than ours but they did see more birds
than we did, in particular they were
able to spend longer at Ambanizana, our options there being restricted by
reduced flight availability.
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).
We felt we were being ripped off for the car hire (4,000 French Francs a
week for an old Renault 20). The
driver, Terry, was part of the package, although it transpired that it was
Terry's car and Aventour were subcontractors.
We paid petrol and he paid for his food/accommodation
although we fed him fairly regularly
ourselves. We felt if we'd had time we could have done better by
arranging a 'private' charter with a taxi
driver. The car was fine for driver plus four of us and luggage which was
our main concern and we
managed to get everywhere apart from Mora Mora where our driver took us
two at a time. Terry was not
the most reliable person, his concept of time being quite different from
ours. Having said that he was a
good driver and we had no major hassles. We dismissed him early in
Toliara when it became obvious
there was no benefit in keeping him on (it would have been a smart move to
have done this when we first
arrived there and chartered taxis) and after a prolonged argument back at
Aventour got a reasonable
reduction on the bill (which fortunately we'd not paid in full up front).
Had we the time to use public
transport we could have done the trip for very much cheaper, although
seeing some of the overcrowded
buses it would have been with very little comfort!
We thought the guides were excellent and, although we probably paid over
the odds for them, good value.
They certainly got more from us than they did from the other group's
courier, and seemed keener because
of it. We paid Patrice at Perinet about £10 a day between us (which
included bonuses on respective days
for Short-legged GR, Rufous-headed GR and Red-breasted Coua). He told us
UK £8 was the rate for a full
day and the parks notice that said it was UK £3 was out of date! Fidi at
Ranomafana we paid UK £50 in
total for showing us just about everything in 4 days. Mosa & co. we paid
UK £4 each per day (morning
and evening) in the spiny forest at Ifaty. Charles at Ampijoroa we paid
UK £15 for 3 days and Augustine
(who was not a bird guide) we paid UK £4 per day for organizing our trip
to Ambanizana and showing us
the forest trails there. It was unfortunate that we only learned there
was a bird guide in Maroantsetra
(Patrice's brother) who might have been able to show us a few more things
there after we had left, although
the other group used him and were not greatly impressed (but did get shown
the Serpent Eagle). Patrice
had his own tapes and was very proficient in their use (none of our
customary fumbling trying to find the
right place). All guides found us before we could find them and all spoke
Hotels were variable but often quite basic, a double room, or two person
chalet averaging about UK £6 a
night. Food was equally cheap (and surprisingly good), getting a good
meal in most places for UK £2. We
had to camp at Ampijoroa and Ambanizana. At Ampijoroa there was a very
basic cafe a short drive from
the campsite but no worthwhile shops at all. We took our own food with us
to Ambanizana where a local
woman cooked for us, supplementing it with some of our own. We later
learned that there was a chalet at
Ambanizana that we could have got the use of through Hotel Coco Beach.
Main sites visited
- Ambanizana. A remote rainforest site on Masoala Peninsula in north-east
Madagascar. Can be very wet.
Logistically difficult but the only place where several species might be
encountered (e.g. Helmet Vanga).
Access is by boat from Maroantsetera (regular but not frequent flights
from Tana). The boat journey can
be arranged through Hotel Coco Beach. It takes 3-4 hours, although when
the full moon makes tides
stronger it can not go. The boat we had contained no safety equipment at
all and I found the journeys quite
worrying. We were told there was no accommodation at Ambanizana and
camped but later found out the
use of a hut could be arranged through Hotel Coco Beach in Maroantsetra.
Take food with you (and hope a
woman in the local village might cook it)! Only one, very steep (and
muddy) trail into forest. Take a bird
guide if you can and allow 4-5 days to find most birds.
- Ampijoroa. A dry forest site in north west Madagascar reached by road
from Ambanizana (10 hrs) or
Mahjunga (2-3 hrs). The road from Tana is very spectacular, over the
spine of the country, but dirt in
many places. There is no accommodation at Ampijoroa (although it may be
possible to stay in the
warden's house) and the only shop in the local village did not appear to
sell anything edible! Take food
and tents (there is a camping area near the Administration). There are
excellent trails in dry forest around
the northern end of the lake and on the plateau to the west of the
Administration. The small lake beside the
main road c20 kms to north should be visited for Mad. Jacana and other
wetland species. There is very
little overlap between the birds at Ampijoroa and in the eastern
rainforests so visit this area if you can. 2-3
days should be ample to see the specialities.
- Ifaty (Mora Mora). Area of dry spiny forest on coast c20 kms north of
Toliara. Habitat is rapidly
becoming degraded and is possibly the most threatened in Madagascar. The
only site for Long-tailed
Ground Roller and Sub-desert Mesite. Both species are very very hard to
find without a guide, although
Mosa has no problem. One day with Mosa would be sufficient, at least a
week might be needed without
him. There are several rather run down beach hotels in this area. The
road from Toliara is very bad (large
areas of sand) and almost impassable by car. The area of slat pans south
of Ifaty is a good site for
- La Mangrove. Area of coastal rag (scrub) 10-15 kms south of Toliara. A
good chalet-style hotel at La
Mangrove from where a boat to Noisy Ve (Red-tailed Tropicbird) and Anakao
(Littoral Rock Thrush) can
be arranged. Verreaux's Couas are easiest along the road 1-3 kms south of
- Perinet. A superb rain forest site (so can be very wet). About 120 kms
east of Antananarivo (Tana) and
readily reached by a good road (2-3 hrs by car) or by train. Chalet
accommodation available, though
sometimes quite full as all visitors to Madagascar are likely to visit
this site. Excellent for rainforest
species and lemurs. Patrice or his brother Maurice are easily the best
bird guides and have their own
tapes. Guides told us visitors were not allowed in the forest without a
guide, though this may have been a
ruse on their part. The trails are very good and easy to follow. In any
event we were very pleased to have
Patrice with us. Also visit nearby Maromiza (slightly higher altitude so
birds slightly different), Patrice
knows where it is. Ideally spend 3-4 days here.
- Ranomafana/Vohiparara. A superb rain forest site (again can be very wet)
with birds much as Perinet,
though several are easier to see here (e.g. Pitta-like Ground Roller &
Brown Mesite but no Nuthatch
Vanga). Only viably reached by car from Tana (8-9 hrs with the last part
of the road being poor).
Accommodation much as for Perinet. Fidi is the best guide. Again access
to the forest is apparently not
allowed without a guide though trails are even better laid out at
Ranomafana (with very regular distance
markers). Ideally spend 4-5 days here and visit the reservoir near the
road 10-15 kms to northwest of
- Zombitse. Rapidly shrinking forest on main road 2-3 hrs north of Toliara.
Only site for Appert's Greenbul
(actually a rather nice bird) and several other southern species not found
in coastal forest round Toliara.
All species should be seen in a day, though would need to stay to dark for
Flew Aeroflot Heathrow to Moscow.
Flew Aeroflot Moscow to Antananarivo with stops in Gulf and at
Mahe (where White-tailed
Tropicbirds above the terminal building got the trip off to a brilliant
start). Arrived Tana mid afternoon,
met by Barry Stidolph and went to Aventour to sort out travel
arrangements. Decided to include a visit to
Ambanizana for Helmet Vanga (at Barry's insistence), flight availability
allowed either 2 or 6 days there (4
would have been ideal), opted for former. Hired car and driver (Renault
20 and Terry). Drove to Perinet
as getting dark. Stayed at Hotel Fion Nyala.
All day at Perinet, guided by Patrice. 41 species seen.
Highlights were brilliant views of Short-
legged Ground Roller, 6 Vangas, first Cuckoo Roller and only Red-fronted
Coua, Mad. Little Grebe and
Dark Newtonias of trip. Night at Hotel de la Gare (Nyala was better, but
Morning at Maromiza, afternoon at marshes 16km east of Moramanga
(only hearing Mad. Rail)
and evening at Perinet in rain, all guided by Patrice. 45 species seen.
Highlights were brilliant views of
Rufous-headed Ground Roller, male Velvet Asity, Brown Emutail and Forest
Rock Thrush (all at
Maromiza). Frustratingly nearly trod on calling flufftail without seeing
it. Night at Hotel de la Gare.
Brief stop at marshes near Maromiza (failing to even hear the
rail), returned to Tana. Flew to
Maroantsetra arriving early afternoon. The very unimpressive terminal
building (not even a road leading to
it) setting the standard for the town. Taxi into town. Found
(non-birding) guide Augustine who arranged
boat to take us to Ambanizana following morning. Bought food for visit.
Stayed at inappropriately named
Hotel Coco Beach (the recommended Hotel Tropical being closed)! 16
species seen. Highlights Striped
Tenrec by chalets at Coco Beach. 2 Meller's Ducks were seen flying over
by Barry and John.
Boat left soon after dawn arriving at Ambanizana after 3 hours.
Early start was essential as wind
picks up during day making boat journey across bay more risky. All day on
main trail at Ambanizana
seeing very little. Camped in compound. Local woman cooked our food for
us. 15 species seen.
Highlights a brilliant Mad. Pigmy Kingfisher (one of the very best
Kingfishers I've seen) and a superbly
disapproving Mad. Scops Owl spotlighted in compound.
Rained heavily all day, most of day on main trail at Ambanizana,
rest in clearing by compound.
36 species seen. Camped in compound. Highlights 3 Helmet and 3 Rufous
Vangas in a mixed bird flock.
Early morning around clearing at Ambanizana, boat back to
Maroantsetra where stayed around
Coco Beach Hotel as little else to do. Ideally would have liked longer at
Ambanizana but flight
availability did not allow it. 31 species seen. Highlight a pair of
Nelcourvi Weaver's nest building.
Morning at Maroantsetra, mid day flight to Tana. Stayed in Hotel
Rose. 12 species seen.
Left Tana at 03:00 hrs driving north to Ampijoroa, arriving at
13:00 hrs. Visited marshes 17-
20kms to north returning to Lake for dusk, guided by Charles. Camped at
Ampijoroa forest station. 35
species seen. Highlights 5 Mad. Jacanas, the pair of Mad. Fish Eagles and
30 African Pigmy Geese.
All day at Ampijoroa, morning on grid trails of plateau, mid day
at lake shore and afternoon on
trail B to north of lake. Guided, morning and late afternoon by Charles.
Camped at Ampijoroa forest
station. 51 species seen. Highlights 2 groups of White-breasted Mesites,
5 Mad. Crested Ibis, a pair of
Mad. Sandgrouse, a pair of White-throated Rails and 9 Sickle-billed
All day at Ampijoroa, mostly on trail B. Guided, morning and late
afternoon by Charles.
Camped at Ampijoroa forest station. 36 species seen. Highlights 3
White-breasted Mesites, 2 Mad.
Crested Ibis and 2 non-adult male Schlegel's Asities.
Early morning on trail B, guided by Charles. Left Ampijoroa at
09:30 hrs to drive back to Tana,
arriving at 18:15 hrs. 30 species seen. Highlights an excellent pair of
Schlegel's Asities, 10 African Pigmy
Left Tana at 11:00 hrs (start supposedly delayed due to driver
buying a replacement tyre). Drove
south, eventually arriving at Ranomafana at 19:45 hrs. Stayed in new, but
very basic, hotel. 13 species
seen. Highlight Marsh Owl and Barn Owl from car.
Rained all day. Vohiparara marsh in morning, brief excursion into
forest, rest of day at hotel. 23
species seen. Highlight Grey Emutail.
Rained all day. Most of day in forest at Ranomafana guided by
Fidi. 20 species seen. Highlights
male Crossley's Babbler and a pair of Yellow-browed Oxylabes.
Very little rain! All day in forest at Ranomafana guided by Fidi.
22 species seen. Highlights a
brilliant Pitta-like Ground Roller, a pair of Mad. Wood Rails and Mad.
Very little rain! All day in forest at Ranomafana guided by Fidi.
34 species seen. Highlights
brilliant Mad. Flufftail and a Rufous-headed Ground Roller and a pair of
Morning at Vohiparara, guided by Fidi and afternoon in forest at
Ranomafana, early evening at
picknick site for mouse lemurs. 43 species seen. Highlights three
Pitta-like Ground Rollers, a pair of
Crossley's Babblers and 2 Eastern Mouse Lemurs.
Left Ranomafana at 07:00 hrs, spent 3 hours around small reservoir
northwest of Vohiparara and
then drove south to Ranohira, arriving at 18:45 hrs. Night at hotel in
Ranohira. 29 species seen.
Highlights a pair of Reunion Harriers and 4 Mad. Partridges.
Early morning at 'oasis' then drove south to Zombitse for late
morning. Drove south to Sakaraha
for provisions returning to Zombitse for late afternoon. Left after dark
and drove to Toliara where stayed
in unmemorable hotel. (The prospect of staying in Sakaraha and returning
to Zombitse the following
morning did not appeal). 37 species seen. Highlights male Benson's Rock
Thrush, 3 brilliant Cuckoo
Rollers, 5+ Appert's Greenbul's and 2 White-browed and 1 Mad. Scops Owls.
Drove to Mora Mora, two at a time (road too sandy to make it fully
loaded), all arriving by late
morning. Guides Mosa and Masindraka were absent. Wandered around
immediate vicinity of Mora Mora,
going into spiny forest at mid afternoon with next best guide. Stayed at
Mora Mora hotel. 26 species seen.
Highlights a pair of Banded Kestrels and two male Sub-desert Mesites
'treed' by our guide.
Morning in spiny forest with guide, mid day visit to salt pans to
south of Mora Mora, returned into
spiny forest in afternoon with guide and Mosa who had fortunately
returned. Stayed at Mora Mora hotel.
37 species seen. Highlights Long-tailed Ground Roller and a pair of
Early morning in spiny forest with Mosa and Masindraka, then
returned to Toliara two at a time
where stocked up with some provisions (including numerous tins of jam
bought thinking they were fruit).
Not able to change return flight to Tana. Drove to La Mangrove hotel.
Afternoon walking the dusty road
south of La Mangrove. 30 species seem. Highlights a pair of Long-tailed
Ground Rollers and a pair of
Wind too strong to visit Nosy Ve, all morning walking towards St.
Augustine and back.
Afternoon around La Mangrove. 25 species seen. Highlights 2 Verreaux's
Couas and 3 Humblot's Herons.
Wind too strong to visit Nosy Ve. Dismissed driver as not worth
driving back to Tana early (as
would take 2 days). All day around La Mangrove (on mud flats, walking the
road and generally loafing
around). 24 species seen. Highlights nice views of Grey-headed
Boat trip to Nosy Ve were spend a couple of hours, returning via
Anakao where an hour was spent
in scrub immediately behind the beach. 20 species seen. Highlights 20+
Red-tailed Tropicbirds, six males
and a female Littoral Rock Thrushes and a Mad. Scops Owl.
All day around La Mangrove (on mud flats, walking the road and
generally loafing around). A dud
day that would have been better spent returning to Tana (to give longer at
Perinet) but not possible due to
flight non-availability. 27 species seen. Highlights Mad. Magpie Robins.
Morning around La Mangrove, truck to Toliara airport where walked
to airport pools. late
afternoon flight back to Tana arriving as getting dark. Met by Aventour
and taken into town for big
argument about final payment. Night at Hotel Oriental. 29 species seen.
Highlights nice views of Mad.
Green Pigeon and Marsh Sandpiper.
Day trip to Perinet, arriving about 08:00 hrs. All day guided by
Patrice. Left for Tana late
afternoon with brief stop at marshes near Moramanga. 48 species seen.
Highlights Red-breasted Coua,
brilliant views of Mad. Sparrowhawk and 2 female Velvet Asities.
Early taxi to Ivato airport. Stop at Mahe on return to Moscow (5+
Arrived Moscow (few Hooded Crows), arriving Heathrow with luggage!
The quality of the birds seen in Madagascar was almost unprecedented, we
all commented that we'd never
been anywhere before where such a high proportion of the species seen were
absolute stunners. The
following are RJF's top eleven birds of the trip:
1. Pitta-like Ground Roller
2. Rufous-headed Ground Roller
3. Madagascar Flufftail
4. Long-tailed Ground Roller
5. Short-legged Ground Roller
6. Cuckoo Roller
7= Madagascar Pigmy Kingfisher
7= Madagascar Scops Owl (the 'mad' one at Ambanizana)
9= Red-tailed Tropicbird
9= White-breasted Mesite
9= Velvet Asity
Helmet Vanga, Red-breasted Coua, Brown Emutail, two Mesites, two excellent
rails, Madagascar Crested
Ibis and Schlegel's Asity all failed to make the top 10 though most
probably would have on any other trip!
Madagascar Species List
Species numbers refer to those used in Langrand's Birds of Madagascar and
all dates relate to August 1995.
Unless stated otherwise, all occurrences were recorded by Richard
- 11 Madagascar Little Grebe: One on lake, opposite Fyon Nyala, at Perinet
on 3rd, but not subsequent
visits. Bird had all black bill with small yellow tip (not as illustrated
- 14 Red-tailed Tropicbird: at least 20 incl. some downy young on Nosy Ve.
- 18 Long-tailed Cormorant: 4 seen at Maroantsetra and 1 on lake at
- 19 Darter: 1 seen on lake at Ampijoroa (RJF missed it).
- 24 Night Heron: 8 at Maroantsetra and 3 in Tana.
- 25 Squacco Heron: small numbers seen at Ampijoroa and around Tana.
Note: Madagascar Squacco
Heron not present at this time of year.
- 27 Cattle Egret: fairly common in paddies etc.
- 28 Striated Heron: recorded in small numbers from most places.
- 29 Black Heron: recorded in small numbers, most seen in NE. Max. 14 at
- 30 Dimorphic Egret: 10 seen at Ambanizana, 20 in SW, few around Tana.
on car journeys.
- 31 Great White Egret: widespread.
- 32 Purple Heron: 1 at Perinet, 9 at Ampijoroa, 2 at Vohiparara and 2 at
- 33 Grey Heron: 1 at marsh north of Ampijoroa, up to 3 daily on mud flats
- 35 Humblot's Heron: 1 flew past Mora Mora and up to 3 on tidal mud flats
at La Mangrove.
- 37 Hammerkop: 4 seen from car on high plateau.
- 41 Glossy Ibis: 31 flew north over Ampijoroa on 13th.
- 42 Madagascar Crested Ibis: heard distantly at Perinet and Ranomafana.
6 or 7 at Ampijoroa - 2 pairs
walking along plateau grid trails and a single on the trail B (to north of
lake) on 11th and a pair trail
B on 12th.
- 43 African Spoonbill: 1 flew over Tana airport on 29th August.
- 46 Fulvous Whistling Duck: 15 distantly in flight over Maroantsetra on
9th were presumed to be this
- 47 White-faced Whistling Duck: 50 on marshes north of Ampijoroa and up
to 15 on lake at Ampijoroa.
- 48 Knob-billed Goose: 1 flew over Ampijoroa (not seen by RJF).
- 49 African Pigmy Goose: 10 on lake by main road south of Ampijoroa on
10th and 13th and 20 at
marshes north of Ampijoroa on 10th.
- 51 Meller's Duck: 2 flew over Maroantsetra on 5th (not seen by RJF).
- 52 Red-billed Teal: 1 at marshes north of Ampijoroa and 1 at Vohiparara.
- 53 Hottentot Teal: 2 at marshes north of Ampijoroa on 10th.
- 56 Madagascar Cuckoo-Falcon: a very wet individual by the wooden bridge
at Ranomafana on 16-17th.
- 57 Bat Hawk: 1 flew over the compound at Ambanizana on 7th.
- 58 Black Kite: fairly common on high plateau. Over 20 attracted to
grass fires on 13th.
- 59 Madagascar Fish-Eagle: A pair with a downy young at nest site next to
lake at Ampijoroa. One or
other of adults was seen flying over area most days.
- [60 Madagascar Serpent Eagle: 1 seen at display tree at Ambanizana
shortly after we'd left (J. Blincow &
- 61 Madagascar Harrier-Hawk: 3 seen in high plateau, singles twice over
Ampijoroa, 2 at Zombitse and 1-
2 daily in spiny forest at Ifaty.
- 62 Reunion Harrier: a pair seen very well over grassland behind small
reservoir northwest of Vohiparara.
The best harrier?
- 63 Henst's Goshawk: 2 sightings at Ranomafana, where heard daily and 1
seen distantly over woods
behind small reservoir north of Vohiparara.
- [64 Madagascar Sparrowhawk: One by road at entrance to Ranomafana, two
seen very well at Perinet on
suggests there were misidentifications (of the following species).]
- 65 Frances's Sparrowhawk: One at Perinet and 1 at Ranomafana (more might
have been expected).
- 66 Madagascar Buzzard: widespread but only 15 seen.
- 67 Madagascar Kestrel: widespread and common (86 seen), both dark and
light birds generally together
but few mixed pairs.
- 68 Banded Kestrel: a pair seen very well, in flight and perched on tops
of baobabs at entrance to spiny
forest at Ifaty.
- 72 Madagascar Partridge: Two pairs seen at small reservoir northwest of
Vohiparara, one pair walking
away, the other in flight only.
- 76 White-breasted Mesite: 8 seen at Ampijoroa, 3 together at end of
plateau grid trails and two on the
trail B (to north of lake) on 11th and three on trail B on 12th. The
first group got highly agitated in
response to tape playback.
- 77 Brown Mesite: 2 seen well at Ranomafana on 18th.
- 78 Sub-desert Mesite: 2 males in spiny forest at Ifaty on 22nd and a
male and female on 24th. On both
occasions found and 'treed' by guide. They then gave excellent views
placing far too much faith in
their cryptic camouflage.
- 79 Madagascar Buttonquail: 8 seen on forest floor at Ampijoroa, 1 at
small reservoir north of Vohiparara,
1 at Zombitse, 2 at Ifaty and 1-2 most days near La Mangrove.
- 80 Madagascar Rail: heard at marshes near Moramanga, similar calls
believed to be this species heard at
small reservoir north of Vohiparara.
- 81 White-throated Rail: A pair by the lake at Ampijoroa at dusk on 11th.
- 82 Madagascar Wood Rail: A pair in forest at Ranomafana on 17th, heard
there on 16th and at Perinet on
- 85 Madagascar Flufftail: Brilliant views by the stream at Ranomafana on
18th, heard most days at
Ranomafana and Perinet, where one seen briefly (not by RJF). Sticking
ones head in the bushes
seems the best way of seeing this species.
- 87 Moorhen: 1 on reservoir at Perinet on two dates, 1 south of
- 91 Madagascar Jacana: 5 at marshes north of Ampijoroa on 10th.
- 93 Black-winged Stilt: 8 at marshes north of Ampijoroa on 10th, 4 beside
lake at Ampijoroa, 10 on
Toliara airport pool on 29th.
- 98 Grey Plover: seen most days on mud flats at La Mangrove, max. 22 on
- 100 Madagascar Plover: 2 on salt pans south of Mora Mora on 23rd.
- 101 Kittlitz's Plover: 11 beside lake at Ampijoroa, 6 on salt pans south
of Mora Mora, 7 at Toliara airport
- 102 Three-banded Plover: 5 beside lake at Ampijoroa, 2 at Ifaty and 1 at
Tolaria airport pool.
- 104 White-fronted Sand Plover: 1 at river mouth near Maroantsetra on
6th, 6 on beach and at salt pans
south of Mora Mora, 1 on Nosy Ve and 2 north of Anakao.
- 107 Whimbrel: seen daily on coast at Mora Mora and La Mangrove, max. 75
on mud flats 26th and 28th.
- 109 Marsh Sandpiper: 1 on Toliara airport pool.
- 110 Greenshank: heard at marshes north of Ampijoroa, 1 beside lake at
Ampijoroa, seen most days on
coast at Mora Mora and La Mangrove, max. 40 on mud flats on 25th.
- 114 Common Sandpiper: seen at most suitable sites but in small numbers
(11 in total).
- 116 Madagascar Snipe: 1 flushed twice from paddyfields at Vohiparara on
- 119 Curlew Sandpiper: 2 on salt pans south of Mora Mora on 23rd, 3 on
Toliara airport pool.
- 123 Kelp Gull: an immature flew S along the coast at La Mangrove on
- 125 Whiskered Tern: 10 over marshes north of Ampijoroa on 10th.
- 129 Caspian Tern: 1 on mud flats off La Mangrove on 25-26th.
- 135 Crested Tern: 1 from boat returning from Ambanizana on 8th, seen
daily off La Mangrove, max. 20 at
Nosy Ve on 27th.
- 136 Lesser Crested Tern: 6 at Nosy Ve on 27th.
- 140 Madagascar Sandgrouse: a pair on rough ground at southern end of
lake at Ampijoroa on 11th.
- 141 Feral Rock Dove: seen in most urban areas, including the village at
- 142 Madagascar Turtle Dove: widespread but not particularly common (24
seen), most frequent at
Ranomafana where seen daily, max. 4 on 12th.
- 143 Namaqua Dove: common in dryer western side of island and 1 or 2 at
Maroantsetra. Most seen from
car, max. 66 on 10th and 50 on 13th.
- 144 Madagascar Green Pigeon: 9 at Ambanizana, 55 at Ampijoroa incl. 50
at fruiting tree on 12th, seen
daily Mora Mora and La Mangrove, max. 10 on 23rd. An excellent green
- 145 Madagascar Blue Pigeon: 7 at Perinet, small numbers most days at
Ranomafana with 30 on 19th.
- 146 Greater Vasa Parrot: 2 at Perinet, 2 at Ambanizana and 1 over the
- 147 Lesser Vasa Parrot: seen at most sites, apart from La Mangrove.
Max. 15 at Ambanizana on 7th, 10
at Ranomafana on 15th and 10 at Ifaty on 22nd.
- 148 Grey-headed Lovebird: 40 seen on drive to/from Ampijoroa, common in
south west, seen daily with
max. 23 at Mora Mora on 23rd. Charming birds.
- [150. Madagascar Lesser Cuckoo: seen at Ampijoroa (J. Blincow et al.)].
- 152 Giant Coua: 2 in forest at Zombitse (1 walked across trail and 1
flushed at dusk).
- 153 Coquerel's Coua: 2 on plateau grid trails at Ampijoroa on 11th and 2
on trail B, by lake, on 13th. A
Coua seen very briefly at Zombitse was this species or Giant.
- 154 Red-breasted Coua: 1 at Perinet on 30th with another calling nearby.
- 155 Red-fronted Coua: 1 at Perinet on 3rd.
- 156 Running Coua: 2 in spiny forest at Ifaty, 1 'running' on 22nd and 1
flying up to roost on 23rd.
- 157 Red-capped Coua: 3 on plateau grid trails at Ampijoroa on 11th,
singles in spiny forest at Ifaty on 22-
23rd and 2 south of La Mangrove on 28th.
- 158 Crested Coua: 1 at Ambanizana, 14 at Ampijoroa, incl. 12 on 11th, 1
at Zombitse, 4 at Ifaty and 1 at
- 159 Verreaux's Coua: 2 south of La Mangrove on 25th, 5 on 28th and heard
there on 29th.
- 160 Blue Coua: 5 at Perinet, 3 at Ambanizana and 7 at Ranomafana.
- 161 Madagascar Coucal: 3 at Perinet, 4 at Ambanizana, 2 at Maroantsetra,
8 at Ampijoroa, 1 at
Vohiparara, 1 at 'oasis' and 4 at Mora Mora.
- 162. Madagascar Red Owl: heard along main forest trail at Ambanizana a
couple of nights after we left (J.
Blincow & N. Goodgame)].
- 163 Barn Owl: 1 north of Vohiparara after dark on 14th.
- 164 Malagasy Scops Owl: heard at Perinet, a grumpy rufous individual
spotlighted in compound at
Ambanizana on 6th (and heard on 7th), an 'intermediate' spotlighted at
Ampijoroa on 11th (and
another heard on 12th), a grey individual spotlighted in Zombitse on 21st
and an 'intermediate'
individual spotlighted at La Mangrove on 27th (and heard on 26th). Calls
of birds at Perinet and
Ambanizana were noticeably different from those in west of country.
- 165 White-browed Owl: two spotlighted in Zombitse on 21st.
- [166 Madagascar Long-eared Owl: one seen at Perinet (J. Blincow et
- 167 African Marsh Owl: 1 south of Ambositra at dusk on 14th.
- 168 Madagascar Nightjar: 27 at Ampijoroa, incl. 15 at dusk on 11th, 4
roosting in spiny forest at Ifaty, 1
at La Mangrove where heard most evenings.
- 171 Malagasy Spinetail: 6 at Perinet, 10 at Ambanizana and 2 at Ifaty.
- 172 African Palm Swift: 2 over marshes near Moramanga, seen daily at
Ampijoroa, incl. 24 on 10th, 1 at
Vohiparara, 105 between 'oasis' and Zombitse.
- 173 Alpine Swift: 2 at Vohiparara, 3 near Ihosy on 20th.
- 174 African Black Swift: 6 at Ranomafana, 20 near Ihosy and 2 near
- 175 Malagasy Malachite Kingfisher: 1 or 2 daily at Perinet, 4 at
Ambanizana, 1 at Maroantsetra, 7 at
marshes north of Ampijoroa, 2 by lake at Ampijoroa and 1 at Vohiparara.
- 176 Madagascar Pigmy Kingfisher: 2 on main trail at Ambanizana (only 1
seen by RJF) and 1 in forest at
Ranomafana. One of the best kingfishers.
- 177 Madagascar Bee-eater: common in north, scarce in southwest. Max. 12
at Maroantsetra and 20
between Ampijoroa and Tana. Also 2 at Ranomafana, 2 at Zombitse and 2 at
Toliara airport pool.
- 179 Short-legged Ground-Roller: one found by Patrice at Perinet on 3rd
was watched for 45 minutes. It
had not moved an hour later! Brilliant.
- [180 Scaly Ground-Roller: one seen at Ambanizana a couple of days after
we left (J. Blincow & N.
- 181 Pitta-like Ground Roller: four at Ranomafana. All gave brilliant
views, particularly the first which
was watched for half an hour - the bird of the trip.
- 182 Rufous-headed Ground-Roller: one seen at Maromiza (and another
heard) and one at Ranomafana.
Both were seen very well, the former for about 20 minutes.
- 183 Long-tailed Ground Roller: one at Ifaty on 23rd and a pair in the
same general area there on 24th.
- 184 Cuckoo-Roller: 2 at Perinet, a pair at Ambanizana, 3 at Ampijoroa
(RJF saw only 1), 2 at
Ranomafana, a pair and a male at Vohiparara, a pair at the 'oasis' and a
male at Zombitse.
- 185 Hoopoe: 2 at Ampijoroa, 2 at Zombitse and 4 at Mora Mora.
- 186 Velvet Asity: a stunning male at Maromiza, 2 non-breeding males at
Ranomafana and 2 females at
- 187 Schlegel's Asity: 4 on trail B beside lake at Ampijoroa: an immature
male, a female and a brilliant
- 188 Sunbird-Asity: 2 males and a female at Perinet, a non-breeding male
at Ranomafana and a female and
non-breeding male at Vohiparara. One of the few species that
- [189 Yellow-bellied Sunbird Asity: one seen by Ranomafana lookout a
couple of days after we left (J.
Blincow et al.)]
- 190 Madagascar Bush Lark: common at roadside on high plateau with max.
of 30 on 10th and 13th, 20 at
Zombitse. 1 to 3 most days in southwest with 12 on 29th.
- 191 Brown-throated Sand Martin: 4-6 at marsh near Moramanga, 6 at
Vohiparara, 20 at Ranomafana, 10
- 193 Mascarene Martin: 2 at Ivato airport, Tana (on 4 dates), 1-2 at La
Mangrove and 5 at Toliara airport
- 195 Madagascar Wagtail: common at Perinet (max. 8 on 4th) and Ranomafana
(max. 10 on 19th), 3 at
Ambanizana, 1 on high plateau north of Tana, 6 near reservoir northwest of
- 196 Ashy Cuckoo-Shrike: 8 at Perinet, 3 at Ambanizana, 5 at Ampijoroa, 8
at Ranomafana and 3 at
Zombitse. Rather nice for a Cuckoo Shrike.
- 197 Long-billed Greenbul: commonest greenbul; 11 at Perinet, 4 at
Ambanizana, 16 at Ampijoroa, 10 at
Ranomafana and 3 at Zombitse.
- 198 Spectacled Greenbul: 9 at Perinet and 6 at Ranomafana.
- 199 Appert's Greenbul: 5 on forest floor at Zombitse. Rather smart.
- 200 Dusky Greenbul: one probable seen by RJF at Perinet on 3rd, one seen
by Patrice at Perinet (in same
general area) on 30th. J. Blincow et al. also saw one in same general
area at Perinet.
- 201 Grey-crowned Greenbul: 4 at Ranomafana and 1 at Perinet.
- 202 Madagascar (Black) Bulbul: most widespread species encountered and
seen virtually every day.
Max. 15 at Ambanizana on 7th and 15 at La Mangrove on 28th.
- 203 Madagascar Magpie Robin: 36 seen. Present at most sites in small
numbers, max. 4 at Ampijoroa on
11th and 6 at Ifaty on 23rd.
- 204 Stonechat: fairly common on high plateau, max. 15 on 20th.
- 205 Forest Rock Thrush: A male at Maromiza and a male near Vohiparara.
Both were in song.
- 206 Littoral Rock Thrush: six males and a female in scrub immediately
inland of Anakao.
- 207 Benson's Rock Thrush: A male seen in a narrow gorge at the 'oasis'.
One or two others were heard in
the distance here.
- 208 Madagascar Swamp Warbler: at least 3 at marshes near Moramanga, 1 at
Toliara airport pool. 1 at
reservoir northwest of Vohiparara (JFC only).
- 209 Madagascar Brush Warbler: 4 at Perinet, 10 at Ranomafana/Vohiparara,
3 at Ifaty and 12 at La
- 210 Thamnornis Warbler: 2 in spiny forest at Ifaty.
- 211 Madagascar Cisticola: 1 at Moramanga, 1 at marshes north of
Ampijoroa, 3 at Vohiparara, 1 at
reservoir northwest of Vohiparara, 1 at Zombitse and 12 at La Mangrove.
- 212 Brown Emutail: 1 in forest at Moramiza.
- 213 Grey Emutail: 1 or 2 seen at Vohiparara marsh and others heard.
- 214 Rand's Warbler: 4 at Ranomafana and 3 at Perinet.
- 215 Dark Newtonia: 2 at Perinet and a probable at Ranomafana.
- 216 Common Newtonia: 9 at Perinet, 8 at Ampijoroa, 14 at Ranomafana, 8
at Zombitse and 25 at Ifaty.
- 217 Archbold's Newtonia: 2 at Ifaty.
- - 'New' Warbler: 1 at Vohiparara on 19th.
- 219 Common Jery: 30 at Perinet, 1 at Ambanizana, 10 at Ampijoroa, 12 at
Ranomafana, 20 at Zombitse
and 4-20 daily at Ifaty and La Mangrove. 3 on Nosy Ve.
- 220 Green Jery: 5 at Ranomafana and 4 at Perinet.
- 221 Stripe-throated Jery: 3 at Ifaty, possibly overlooked elsewhere.
- 223 Ward's Flycatcher: 13 at Perinet, 1 at Ranomafana viewpoint and 1 at
- 224 Madagascar Paradise Flycatcher: 17 at Perinet, 3 at Ambanizana, 18
at Ampijoroa, 5 at Ranomafana
and 3 at Zombitse. Both red and white males seen.
- 225 White-throated Oxylabes: 1 at Perinet and 3 at Ranomafana.
- 226 Yellow-browed Oxylabes: a pair on forest floor at Ranomafana.
- 227 Crossley's Babbler: a single and a pair on forest floor at
- 228 Souimanga Sunbird: common with 1-10 seen on most days. Those in SW
('apolis') had almost white
- 229 Long-billed Green Sunbird: 11 at Perinet, 2 at Ambanizana, 1 at
Ampijoroa, 4 at Ranomafana and 1
- 230 Madagascar White-eye: 60 at Perinet/Maromiza, 20 at Ambanizana, 4 at
Ampijoroa and 18 at
- 232 Red-tailed Vanga: 12 at Perinet, 1 at Maromiza, 1 at Ambanizana, 9
at Ranomafana, 2 at Zombitse
and 3 at Ifaty. The best Vanga?
- 233 Rufous Vanga: one male and two females on main trail at Ambanizana
and an adult and immature
male at Ampijoroa.
- 234 Hook-billed Vanga: a female at Perinet and a male at Maromiza.
- 235 Lafresnaye's Vanga: single males at Ifaty on 23rd and 24th were
perhaps the same.
- 236 Van Dam's Vanga: two pairs on plateau at Ampijoroa.
- 237 Pollen's Vanga: a female at Ranomafana on 16th and a male on 19th.
- 238 Sickle-billed Vanga: flocks of 7, 2 and c20 at Ampijoroa and 2 at
- 239 White-headed Vanga: 1 near compound at Ambanizana, 4 at Ampijoroa, 2
at Ranomafana and 3 at
- 240 Chabert's Vanga: seen at every site, max. 10 at Ambanizana on 6th, 6
at Ranomafana on 18th and 5 at
Perinet on 3rd. Those in SW 'schistocereus') have white bases to tail.
- 241 Blue Vanga: 12 at Perinet, 2 at Ampijoroa and 2 at Ranomafana.
- [242 Bernier's Vanga: one seen at Ambanizana a couple of days after we
left (M. Piper)]
- 243 Helmet Vanga: 3 on main trail at Ambanizana. In mixed flock with
- 197, 232, 233, 240, 244 & 245.
- 244 Nuthatch Vanga: 6 at Perinet and 2 at Ambanizana.
- 245 Tylas Vanga: 3 at Perinet, 1 at Ambanizana and 8 at Ranomafana.
- 246 Crested Drongo: common, seen most days. 12 at Perinet, 10 at
Ambanizana, 26 at Ampijoroa, 12 at
Ranomafana, 4 at Zombitse, 20 at Ifaty and 5 at La Mangrove.
- 247 Pied Crow: common on high plateau, e.g. 50 on 20th, only 3 in SW.
- 248 Madagascar Starling: 4 at Vohiparara (but not seen well) and 3 at
- 249 Common Myna: 100+ at Maroantsetra, few on high plateau (30 on 14th
and 20 on 20th), 2 at Mora
Mora and 1 at Toliara airport pool.
- 251 Nelicourvi Weaver: 3 at Perinet, a pair at nest near compound at
Ambanizana and 10 at Ranomafana.
Possibly the best weaver I've seen.
- 252 Sakalava Weaver: 40 at Ampijoroa and 10-75 daily at Mora Mora and La
- 253 Madagascar Red Fody: 5 at Perinet, 1500 at Ambanizana on 8th (but
only 43 on 6-7th), 20 at
Maroantsetra, 10 on high plateau and 10 at Vohiparara.
- 254 Forest Fody: single males at forest edge at Maromiza and in forest
at Perinet. Also a male at forest
edge at Vohiparara was considered to be this species.
- 255 Madagascar Mannikin: 14 at Perinet, 10 at Ambanizana, 3 at
Ampijoroa, 3 at Ranomafana and 6 at
- Indri: one seen and several heard at Perinet.
- Brown Lemur: 6 at Perinet, 5 at Zombitse (Red-fronted variant).
- Wooly Lemur: 3 at Perinet.
- Grey Bamboo Lemur: 3 at Perinet, 1 at Maromiza, 3 at Ranomafana.
- Greater Bamboo Lemur (Broad-faced Gentle Lemur): 3 at Ranomafana.
- Red-bellied Lemur: a pair on several occasions in forest at Ranomafana.
- Diademed Sifaka: 3 at Ranomafana.
- Mongoose Lemur: 2 on trail B at Ampijoroa.
- Eastern Mouse Lemur: 2 at Ranomafana. Brilliant.
- Broad-tailed Dwarf Lemur: 1 grey phase on plateau at Ampijoroa, 2 rufous
phase on trail B.
- Ring-tailed Lemur: 3 tame ones at Mora Mora.
- Coquerel's Sifaka: 4-6 daily around campsite at Ampijoroa, incl. mother
- Striped Tenrec: 1 at Coca Beach Hotel, Maroantsetra.
- Ring-tailed Mongoose: 3 at picknick areas at Ranomafana.
- Striped Civet: 1 at Ranomafana.
- Forest Rat: 2 at Ranomafana.
- Chameleon sp.: several species seen, most bizarre when crossing a road.
19 Crown Road
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September 4, 1995; updated March 8, 2000