Republic of Madagascar

Madagascar Pygmy-Kingfisher Corythornis madagascariensis ©Ken Behrens Website
Birding Madagascar

Some of the world’s most fascinating and endangered birds are endemic to Madagascar. Yet for its size – and taking into account its profusion of habitat types – Madagascar has relatively few bird species (only about 265). But it holds more endemic genera (37) than any other African country and its 120 endemic species include 5 endemic families, (2 have representatives in the Comoros) and 1 endemic subfamily. Another 25-odd species belong to interesting genera unique to the Western Indian Ocean islands.

To see the bulk of Madagascar’s birds, you’ll need to visit at least 1 site in each of the island’s 3 chief climatic/floristic zones: eastern rainforest, southern spiny bush and western tropical deciduous forest. Each of these holds its own complement of endemics. In addition, a select band of birds is dependent on the island’s dwindling wetlands, so be sure to include certain more accessible marshes, lakes and estuaries in your itinerary. Most birders also visit the transition forest of Zombitse National Park. During a stay of 2-3 weeks, and armed with an excellent field guide (Birds of Madagascar and the Indian Ocean Islands by Frank Hawkins, Roger Safford & Adrian Skerrett – Helm 2015); you should be able to tick off most of the sought-after lifers, as well as a remarkable array of mammals, reptiles, frogs, invertebrates and the fascinating flora.

When to go: Birders tend to visit in the Malagasy spring and early summer, that is from the very end of August to December. In the winter months (May – mid August), the rainforests can be very quiet and many sought-after endemics extremely furtive. Also, in winter some of the more spectacular endemics like asities, will be out of their impressive breeding regalia. Because lodges and hotels are fairly small at most of the birding venues, it is sensible to plan your trip fairly long in advance, to avoid disappointment. Below is a review of the Birding Hotspots.

Eastern Rainforest The now highly fragmented rainforest band known as the ‘Great Madagascar Sylva’, once covered almost all of humid eastern Madagascar. Some impressive rainforest blocks remain intact today and in these are situated several splendid National Parks which attract birders from around the globe. Malagasy rainforest birding is best in the Austral Spring and early summer (end August to late December). Always be sure to enter the rainforest just before daybreak, as then birding becomes really rewarding. And if it rains while you’re in there, don’t be deterred! As the local saying goes, it takes a lot of rain to have a good rainforest flourishing and rainforest-dependent wildlife tends to be just as active during rainy spells. This habitat is the island’s richest by far and holds four of the five ground rollers, three of the four asities and most of the vangas and Malagasy greenbuls.

Tropical Dry Deciduous Forest The hot western lowlands of Madagascar hold the last few stands of tropical dry deciduous forest. Here, woods are much lighter and birding is rewarding year round.

Transition Forest Straddling the RN7 national road between the Isalo sandstone mountains and the south-west coastal town Tulear is the transition forest of Zombitse, where western and southern forest types merge. The megatick in this very rewarding 21,500ha birding hotspot is the Appert’s Greenbul, which is almost entirely restricted to this protected area. You should also see a wide variety of other endemics, including Madagascar Sandgrouse, Madagascar Partridge, Giant and Coquerel’s Couas, Lesser Vasa Parrot, Madagascar Hoopoe, Common Newtonia, Common Jery, Long-billed Green & Souimanga Sunbirds and Sakalava Weaver. Zombitse makes for an ideal picnic stop and birding is excellent there all year.

Southern sub-arid thorn thicket (spiny bush) This bizarre habitat features an assemblage of bloated and thorny, drought-resistant trees and plants. It varies considerably in appearance across the region. All the southern sub-desert endemics are concentrated in a small area along the southwest coast, from Ifaty Beach to St Augustin Bay. Birding in the semi-arid south is good year round.

This page is sponsored by Birding Ecotours

Top Sites
  • Eastern Rainforest - Masoala National Park

    Satellite View
    Exceptional birding is to be had in this park, which protects the largest remaining Malagasy lowland rainforest. Aside from nearly all the broadly distributed rainforest endemics, specials like the Brown Mesite, Red-breasted Coua, Scaly Ground-roller and the Helmet and Bernier's Vangas, abound. 2 extremely rare species; the Madagascar Serpent Eagle and Madagascar Red Owl, find sanctuary here. (Seeing either of these is never guaranteed however, as they are exceedingly elusive). Masoala is usually offered as an optional extension to the standard birding tour.
  • Eastern Rainforest - Perinet Reserve & Mantadia National Park

    Satellite View
    Usually, this readily accessible montane rainforest (3 hours drive east of Antananarivo) provides a perfect introduction to Madagascar birding. A 3-day stay here will allow you to explore Perinet, the nearby Mantadia National Park and also one of the local marshes. In Perinet (Analamazaotra/Andasibe) itself, you should tick off many generally distributed Malagasy endemics. Local specials include the Red-fronted Coua, Rand's Warbler, Coral-billed Nuthatch Vanga and Tylas. With luck, you'll see Madagascar Wood-rail, Madagascar Flufftail and Collared Nightjar.A second day in the area should be used for the 10,000 ha Mantadia National Park, a great example of primary montane rainforest. This new park is deservedly becoming one of Madagascar's most visited birding hotspots. Its denizens include all 4 the rainforest-dwelling ground-rollers, the 3 oxylabes, all 3 rainforest-dependent asitys, Forest Rock-thrush and Brown Emutail. The bizarre Helmet Vanga is now known to occur there too.NB Two marshes in the area - Torotorofotsy and Ampasipotsy - hold Meller's Duck, Madagascar Snipe, Madagascar Rail, Grey Emutail and Madagascar Swamp Warbler, among others. This is possibly the best place in which to seek the ultra rare Slender-billed Flufftail.
  • Eastern Rainforest - Ranomafana National Park

    Satellite View
    This very beautiful montane rainforest was declared a national park in the 1980s, primarily to protect various species of Lemur. It is arguably the island's single best rainforest birding locality. The ideal length of stay is 3 days, which will allow for time to take in some of the half-day or day walks in the park. Resident birds include the wary Brown Mesite, Henst's Goshawk and Madagascar Long-eared Owl. But heading the wish-lists of most birders are the 4 rainforest dwelling ground rollers. Of these, the pittalike, Rufous-headed and Short-legged are particularly frequently seen in Ranomafana. Other megaticks here include Velvet Asity, Common Sunbird Asity and all 3 oxylabes (Crossley's Babbler, White-throated Oxylabes and the rare, localised Yellow-browed Oxylabes); the Gray-crowned Greenbul, Forest Rock-thrush and Pollen's Vanga. Up on the high ridges, look for the Yellow-bellied Sunbird Asity, Brown Emutail and recently described Cryptic Warbler. At the nearby Vohiparara marsh, you might see the Madagascar Rail, Madagascar Flufftail, Grey Emutail and even the elusive Slender-billed Flufftail.
  • Spiny Bush - Ifaty Beach

    InformationSatellite View
    29km north of the town Tulear by deeply rutted road you will find Ifaty Beach, the most important birding locality of the dry south.Here the euphorbia-didieraceae bush is at its tallest, with bottle baobabs and octopus trees being prominent features. Highly localised megaticks include the sub-Desert Mesite and Long-tailed Ground-roller as well as LaFresnaye's Vanga and Archbold's Newtonia. Look also for the Running Coua and Sub-desert Brush-warbler. Ifaty is also an excellent place in which to seek the uncommon Banded Kestrel, as well as the White-browed Owl (before dawn); Madagascar Nightjar and Madagascar Buttonquail.
  • Spiny Bush - St Augustin Bay

    Satellite View
    30kms south of Tulear is St Augustin Bay, where the vegetation is considerably lower than that in Ifaty. It is referred to as coral ragg scrub. The impressive baobabs and octopus trees are replaced by much bushy euphorbia and some bloated moringa trees. This is the best place in which to look for far southern specials like Verreaux' Coua, Littoral Rock-thrush and the recently described Red-shouldered Vanga. When passing small roadside puddles, keep an eye open for the increasingly rare Madagascar Plover.
  • Tropical Dry Deciduous Forest - Ankarafantsika Reserve & Ampijoroa Forest Station

    WebsiteSatellite View
    The place included on all birders itineraries is Ampijoroa Forest Station, the tourist-accessible part of the Ankarafantsika Reserve. The local specials are mostly not hard to find: look for White-breasted Mesite, Coquerel's and Red-capped Couas and Van Dam's Vanga. Less easily seen is the Schlegel's Asity. Several vangas are quite common, including the Sicklebill, Rufous, Hook-billed, Blue and Chabert's Vangas. Raptors abound, including the very rare Madagascar Fish Eagle, Madagascar Gymnogene, Madagascar Buzzard, Madagascar Sparrowhawk and Frances's Sparrowhawk. More generally distributed species often encountered here include Madagascar Crested Ibis, White-throated Rail, Greater Vasa Parrot, Madagascar Green Pigeon and Madagascar Pygmy Kingfisher. At nearby wetlands, you might find Humblot's Heron, Madagascar White Ibis, Madagascar Jacana, Madagascar Pratincole and if you are very lucky, the rare Madagascar (Bernier's) Teal. (If you have a day to spare in the Mahajanga area, a boat excursion into the Bombetoka Bay may also deliver the wetland endemics).
Number of Species
  • Number of bird species: 306

    (As at April 2020)
  • Number of endemics: 103

    Is this the highest ratio of endemics to total number of species anywhere in the world?

    Madagascar Partridge Margaroperdix madagarensis Meller's Duck Anas melleri Bernier's Teal Anas bernieri Madagascar Pochard Aythya innotata Madagascar Buttonquail Turnix nigricollis Madagascar Hoopoe Upupa marginata Short-legged Ground-Roller Brachypteracias leptosomus Scaly Ground-Roller Brachypteracias squamigera Pitta-like Ground-Roller Atelornis pittoides Rufous-headed Ground-Roller Atelornis crossleyi Long-tailed Ground-Roller Uratelornis chimaera Madagascar Pygmy-Kingfisher Ispidina madagascariensis Madagascar Cuckoo Cuculus rochii Giant Coua Coua gigas Coquerel`s Coua Coua coquereli Red-breasted Coua Coua serriana Red-fronted Coua Coua reynaudii Running Coua Coua cursor Red-capped Coua Coua ruficeps Crested Coua Coua cristata Verreaux`s Coua Coua verreauxi Blue Coua Coua caerulea Grey-headed Lovebird Agapornis canus Madagascar Red Owl Tyto soumagnei White-browed Hawk-Owl Ninox superciliaris Madagascar Owl Asio madagascariensis Collared Nightjar Caprimulgus enarratus Madagascar Blue-Pigeon Alectroenas madagascariensis Kioloides Rail Canirallus kioloides Madagascar Flufftail Sarothrura insularis Slender-billed Flufftail Sarothrura watersi Madagascar Rail Rallus madagascariensis Corn Crake Crex crex Sakalava Rail Amaurornis olivieri White-breasted Mesite Mesitornis variegata Brown Mesite Mesitornis unicolor Subdesert Mesite Monias benschi Madagascar Sandgrouse Pterocles personatus Madagascar Snipe Gallinago macrodactyla Madagascar Jacana Actophilornis albinucha Black-banded Plover Charadrius thoracicus Madagascar Pratincole Glareola ocularis Madagascar Baza Aviceda madagascariensis Madagascar Fish-Eagle Haliaeetus vociferoides Madagascar Serpent-Eagle Eutriorchis astur Madagascar Sparrowhawk Accipiter madagascariensis Henst`s Goshawk Accipiter henstii Madagascar Buzzard Buteo brachypterus Banded Kestrel Falco zoniventris Alaotra Grebe Tachybaptus rufolavatus Madagascar Grebe Tachybaptus pelzelnii Humblot's Heron Ardea humbloti White-winged Ibis Lophotibis cristata Velvet Asity Philepitta castanea Schlegel's Asity Philepitta schlegeli Sunbird Asity Neodrepanis coruscans Yellow-bellied Asity Neodrepanis hypoxantha Ward's Shrike-flycatcher Pseudobias wardi Red-tailed Vanga Calicalicus madagascariensis Rufous Vanga Schetba rufa Hook-billed Vanga Vanga curvirostris Lafresnaye's Vanga Xenopirostris xenopirostris Van Dam`s Vanga Xenopirostris damii Pollen's Vanga Xenopirostris polleni Sickle-billed Vanga Falculea palliata White-headed Vanga Artamella viridis Chabert's Vanga Leptopterus chabert Bernier's Vanga Oriolia bernieri Helmet Vanga Euryceros prevostii Tylas Vanga Tylas eduardi Nuthatch Vanga Hypositta corallirostris Forest Rock-Thrush Pseudocossyphus sharpei Benson's Rock-Thrush Pseudocossyphus bensoni Littoral Rock-Thrush Pseudocossyphus imerinus Madagascar Magpie-Robin Copsychus albospecularis Madagascar Starling Saroglossa aurata Long-billed Greenbul Phyllastrephus madagascariensis Spectacled Greenbul Phyllastrephus zosterops Appert's Greenbul Phyllastrephus apperti Dusky Greenbul Phyllastrephus tenebrosus Grey-crowned Greenbul Phyllastrephus cinereiceps Cryptic Warbler Cryptosylvicola randrianasoloi Brown Emu-tail Dromaeocercus brunneus Grey Emu-tail Dromaeocercus seebohmi Madagascar Brush-Warbler Nesillas typica Thamnornis Warbler Thamnornis chloropetoides Madagascar Swamp-Warbler Acrocephalus newtoni Rand's Warbler Randia pseudozosterops Dark Newtonia Newtonia amphichroa Common Newtonia Newtonia brunneicauda Archbold`s Newtonia Newtonia archboldi Red-tailed Newtonia Newtonia fanovanae Common Jery Neomixis tenella Green Jery Neomixis viridis Stripe-throated Jery Neomixis striatigula Wedge-tailed Jery Neomixis flavoviridis White-throated Oxylabes Oxylabes madagascariensis Yellow-browed Oxylabes Crossleyia xanthophrys Crossley's Babbler Mystacornis crossleyi Madagascar Lark Mirafra hova Madagascar Wagtail Motacilla flaviventris Nelicourvi Weaver Ploceus nelicourvi Sakalava Weaver Ploceus sakalava Madagascar Red Fody Foudia madagascariensis Forest Fody Foudia omissa Madagascar Munia Lemuresthes nana
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Useful Reading

  • A Field Guide to the Birds of Madagascar

    | By S Yamagishi, T Masuda & H Rakotomanana | Kaiyusha Publishers Co | 1997 | Paperback | 158 pages, colour illustrations | Text Japanese | ISBN: 9784905930815 Buy this book from
  • Birds of Madagascar - A Photographic Guide

    | By Pete Morris, Frank Hawkins & Mark Andrews | Pica Press | 2000 | Hardback | 316 pages, 450 colour photos, maps | ISBN: 9781873403457 Buy this book from
  • Birds of Madagascar and the Indian Ocean Islands

    | By Frank Hawkins, Roger Safford, Adrian Skerrett, John Gale & Brian Small | Christopher Helm | 2015 | Hardback | 336 Pages | 124 Colour plates with colour illustrations; ~350 colour distribution maps | ISBN: 9781472924094 Buy this book from
  • Birds of the Indian Ocean Islands

    | (Madagascar, Mauritius, Réunion, Rodrigues, Seychelles and the Comoros) | By Ian Sinclair, Olivier Langrand, Norman Arlott, Hilary Burn, Peter Hayman & Ian Lewington | New Holland Publishers | 2013 | Paperback | 264 pages, 71 plates with 1160 colour illustrations; colour distribution maps | ISBN: 9781431700851 Buy this book from
  • Birds of the Indian Ocean Islands - Oiseaux des îles de l'Océan Indien

    | By Olivier Langrand, Ian Sinclair, Norman Arlott, Hilary Burn, Peter Hayman, Ian Lewington | Delachaux et Niestle | 2014 | Paperback | 264 pages, 105 plates with colour illustrations; colour distribution maps | Text in French | ISBN: 9782603020234 Buy this book from
  • The Endemic Birds of Madagascar

    | By Guy Eldridge | WildSounds | 2008 | All Region DVD | 4 Discs, Runtime 5 hours | A Four DVD Set Featuring 130 Malagasy Endemic Species | ISBN: 9781898665199 Buy this book from
  • Wildlife of Madagascar

    | By Ken Behrens & Keith Barnes | WILDGuides | 2016 | Paperback | 345 pages, 900+ colour photos, colour distribution maps | ISBN: 9780691161716 Buy this book from
  • African Bird Club

    Madagascar's uniqueness is legendary and this is well reflected in its birds. Of the 280 species known from the island, an incredible 100 plus are entirely endemic to Madagascar and a further 20 or so are shared only with neighbouring South West Indian Ocean islands. Of greatest interest to itinerant birders are five endemic families, the mesites, asities, cuckoo-roller, vangas and the incomparable ground rollers, which make Madagascar an essential destination for anyone attempting to see all of the world's bird families
  • Peregrine Fund

    Aid in Madagascar’s conservation of biodiversity, tropical forests, and wetland ecosystems by creating protected areas.

Abbreviations Key

  • IBAs

    WebpageSatellite View
    The birds show a very high degree of endemism with several bird families endemic to Madagascar and the neighbouring Comoros Islands. Over 100 species out of a total of over 200 breeding species are endemic to Madagascar. There are few terrestrial migrants as Madagascar seems to be off the usual Palearctic / African flyway
  • Madagascar Lowland Forests

    WebsiteSatellite View
    Madagascar, the fourth largest island in the world, has been isolated for 150 to 180 million years from other land masses. This prolonged isolation is the major factor that led to extremely high levels of endemism of plant and animal species. Endemism within the island is approximately 80 to 90 percent for all groups, and endemic families and genera are commonplace. It is estimated that 85 percent of the island`s 12,000 species of flowering plants are found nowhere else in the world. This unique biodiversity has led to the recognition of Madagascar
  • NP Amber Mountain

    InformationSatellite View
    It is one of the most biologically diverse places in all of Madagascar with seventy-five species of birds, twenty-five species of mammals, and fifty-nine species of reptiles are known to inhabit the park
  • NP Andasibe-Mantadia

    InformationSatellite View
    Andasibe-Mantadia National Park is a 155 square kilometre protected area, located about 150 km east of Antananarivo, consisting principally of primary growth forest in Alaotra-Mangoro Region in eastern Madagascar. To address the disappearing habitat threat, reserves have been created in the vicinity of Andasibe-Mantadia that balance resource extraction with environmental protection, and attempt to create economic and environmentally preferable alternatives to replacing native forests with eucalyptus and pine.
  • NP Andohahela

    InformationSatellite View
    The park covers 760 km2 (293 sq mi) of the Anosy mountain range, the southernmost spur of the Malagasy Highlands and contains the last humid rainforests in the southern part of Madagascar. The variety of habitats within Andohahela is mirrored in the richness of species that are found there, and the park is the richest place in Madagascar for lemur. Fifteen species have been recorded, including two of Madagascar's most emblematic species, the ring-tailed lemur and Verreaux's sifaka. Some rare species of geckos, turtles and snakes are among the 67 species of reptiles found in the park, 130 species of birds and fifty species of amphibians.
  • NP Andringitra

    InformationSatellite View
    The park is one of the most biologically diverse places in Madagascar, with many endemic species. The eastern flank of the massif is covered with humid forest, and humid grassland and scrub in the higher areas. On the western flank there is relatively dry forest. There are over one thousand species of plants, one hundred species of birds, and fifty-five species of frogs are known to inhabit the park.
  • NP Ankarafantsika

    InformationSatellite View
    The park occupies about 135,000 hectares and consists of patches of thick dry tropical forest interspersed with less dense areas. There are also savannah, scrub and sandy eroded rock areas and some land is farmed by the indigenous Sakalava people. There are a number of lakes and the park is criss-crossed by tracks and paths. There are lodging facilities and guides are available to help visitors appreciate the wildlife and scenery. One hundred and twenty nine species of birds have been recorded in the park, more than half of them endemic to Madagascar. They include the Van Dam's vanga (Xenopirostris damii), the rufous vanga (Schetba rufa), the elusive banded kestrel (Falco zoniventris) and the more easily observed Madagascar fish eagle (Haliaeetus vociferoides) which can often be seen at Ravelobe Lake.[2] The endangered Madagascar heron (Ardea humbloti) can be seen at Lake Ravelobe.
  • NP Baie de Baly

    InformationSatellite View
    The Baie de Baly National Park is the only known natural habitat of the critically endangered Angonoka tortoise or ploughshare tortoise (Astrochelys yniphora). There are also thirteen species of mammals, (six primates), 37 reptile species, eight amphibian species and 122 species of birds. There is also the Perrierbambus madagascariensis, an endemic bamboo. The poisonous tree, Erythrophleum couminga (locally named komanga) is also endemic to this region and can be found in and outside the park. It is a very hard wood but cannot be used for cooking as its fumes contain a poison.
  • NP Isalo

    InformationSatellite View
    A total of 340 faunal species are known to inhabit the area, including 82 species of birds, 33 species of reptiles, 15 species of frogs and 14 species of mammals. The many species of bird found here include Benson's rock thrush (Monticola sharpei bensoni), the knob-billed duck (Sarkidiornis melanotos) and the Madagascar ibis (Lophotibis cristata).
  • NP Kirindy Mitea

    InformationSatellite View
    In this park are found eleven species of mammals of which ten are endemic. Among them are the Madame Berthe's mouse lemur (Microcebus berthae), the smallest primate in the world, which is only known from this park. Also the fossa (Cryptoprocta ferox), Madagascar's largest predator, and the lemurs only predator (apart from people). Other mammals endemic to the Menabe region include the giant jumping rat (Hypogeomys antimena) and the narrow-striped mongoose (Mungotictis decemlineata). There are also forty-seven species of birds (thirty-three endemic) and twenty-three species of reptiles
  • NP Marojejy

    InformationSatellite View
    It covers 55,500 ha (214 sq mi) and is centered on the Marojejy Massif, a mountain chain that rises to an elevation of 2,132 m (6,995 ft). Access to the area around the massif was restricted to research scientists when the site was set aside as a strict nature reserve. The wealth of species of well-known groups of animals demonstrates the depth of the biodiversity found at Marojejy National Park. For example, 75 of the 118 species of birds (64%) found in or around Marojejy are forest-dwelling birds, a total that surpasses any other mountain site in Madagascar. All of these forest-dependent bird species are endemic to Madagascar and utilize the forest for some portion of their life-cycle. One of these birds is the Madagascar serpent-eagle (Eutriorchis astur).
  • NP Masoala

    InformationSatellite View
    The Masoala peninsula is exceptionally diverse due to its huge size, and variety of habitats. Altogether, the park protects tropical rainforest, coastal forest, flooded forest, marsh, and mangrove. Three marine parks protect coral reefs and a dazzling array of marine life.
  • NP Midongy du sud

    InformationSatellite View
    The 192,000 hectares (470,000 acres) park has the second largest rainforest on the island and is rich in endemic animals and plants, especially medicial plants.
  • NP Ranomafana

    InformationSatellite View
    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…
  • NP Sahamalaza

    InformationSatellite View
    Sahamalaza National Park is in the northwestern part of Madagascar in Sofia region, with 26035 hectares.
  • NP Tsimanampetsotsa

    InformationSatellite View
    The lake is part of a Ramsar site with a total area of 456,000 hectares (1,130,000 acres), although the surface of the lake is much smaller. The park takes its name from the brackish, soda-saturated lake. Due to the high salinity, there are no fish, but more than one hundred bird species are found within the park (of which thirty-five are endemic to Madagascar, including the Madagascan plover), including waders, ducks and flamingos.
  • NP Zahamena Strict Reserve

    InformationSatellite View
    This Strict Nature Reserve was inscribed as a World Heritage Site in 2007 as part of the Rainforests of the Atsinanana. The park is habitat for 112 bird species, 46 reptile species, 62 species of amphibians and 48 species of mammals, including 13 species of lemurs.
  • NP Zombitse-Vohibasia

    InformationSatellite View
    Ninety species of birds are known from the park, including thirty-eight endemic species. The park meets the Birdlife International criteria as an Important Bird Area. One species Appert's tetraka (also known as Appert's greenbul (Xanthomixis apperti) is classified with a conservation status of vulnerable on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.
  • NR Ambatovaky

    InformationSatellite View
    Ambatovaky Reserve is a tropical rainforest and wildlife reserve in the north-east of Madagascar (65,000 hectares (160,000 acres)). It is designated by Bird Life International as an Important Bird Area for the large number of endemic species of birds.
  • NR Analamazaotra

    InformationSatellite View
    Analamazaotra Special Reserve is a wildlife reserve toward the northeast portion of the island, and is nearly centered between the coast.
  • NR Berenty Reserve

    WebsiteSatellite View
    The Berenty Reserve was created half a century ago by the d'Heaulme family as a private park; in the last twenty years it has been turned into a nature reserve cum hotel. It is the easiest way to see Lemur catta and Propithecus verreauxi in the wild. Bordering the Mandrare river it is a small patch (100 hectares) of gallery and riverine forest in the middle of what used to be spiny forest and is now mostly sisal fields. The reserve is home to 5 species of lemur, a flying fox (a large fruit bat) and 96 bird species.
  • NR Betampona Strict Reserve

    InformationSatellite View
    It is located 40 km northwest of Toamasina and was established in 1927. The area of the reserve is 29.2 km².
  • NR Lokobe Strict Reserve

    InformationSatellite View
    It is known for its black lemurs and the beautiful Nosy Be panther chameleon.
  • NR Tsaratanana Strict Reserve

    InformationSatellite View
    The reserve provides a significant amount of water to the area, and many rivers exist in the area, such as Bemarivo river, Sambirano river and the Ramena or Mahavavy River.
  • NR Tsingy de Bemaraha Strict Nature Reserve

    InformationSatellite View
    Tsingy de Bemaraha Strict Nature Reserve is a nature reserve located near the western coast of Madagascar in Melaky Region at 18°40′S 44°45′E. The area was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1990 due to the unique geography, preserved mangrove forests, and wild bird and lemur populations.
Guides & Tour Operators
  • Apex Expeditions

    Tour Operator
    Madagascar’s legendary uniqueness is reflected in its mammals, with every one of its 150 native terrestrial species being found nowhere else on the planet! Best known as the home of the lemurs, with an amazing 100 species divided over five endemic families, the island also boasts a host of colorful chameleons, fascinating flora and bizarre insectivores. Madagascar’s endemic birds are equally world renowned, with no fewer than 140 species and 5 complete families entirely restricted to this appropriately named “laboratory of evolution.”
  • Birding Ecotours

    Tour Operator
    Birding Madagascar, our world’s fourth-largest island is, quite simply, unique. Five bird families and five mammal families (including the lemurs) are endemic to this massive island, and half the world’s chameleons, weird and wonderful endemic plant families, and tons of other wildlife can be found here. An astonishing 120 bird species are endemic...
  • Birds and Birding Madagascar

    Tour Operator
    We are a Malagasy tour company, based in Antananarivo with over 20 years experience as a Destination Management Company – DMC. With our expert birding team, you will be able to choose amongst our highly selected tours or have your tour customized as per your desire.
  • Remote Rivers

    Tour Operator
    Although greatly changed by man since 1771, Madagascar remains a truly wonderful country with unique wildlife, bizarre plants, superb climate, and the nicest people you will find anywhere. Even the cities and towns are fascinating, thanks to some inspired architecture and the Malagasy love for flowers, music, and warm colors…
  • Rockjumper Birding Tours

    Tour Operator
    We at Rockjumper are rightly considered the “Malagasy experts”, having run more tours to the island than all other birding companies combined! We offer a wide array of tours to the island, ranging from 12 days for our budget Essential tour, to our 22 day Comprehensive tour.
Trip Reports
  • 2014 [09 September] - Bruce Wedderburn

    ...On arrival at the various national parks, we were introduced to local guides who were well trained and very knowledgeable about the local birds, mammals, chameleons etc. Some of the birding was quite hard work, particularly working the slopes of the tropical rain forests. Did a lot of sweating and bundu bashing trying to get the Brown Mesite at Ranomafana National Park, which we could hear but never managed to see...
  • 2014 [12 December] - Phil Gregory - Madagascar, Mauritius & Reunion

    This was my fifth run-through for Field Guides of this comprehensive tour of Madagascar, which Field Guides has been running since 1986, this year in a reconfigured smaller group context that worked very nicely. We again had a great tour of this fascinating country, albeit with lots of traveling on slow roads and the worse than usual vagaries of Air Madagascar, which made significant late changes to 5 out of 6 flights, costing us an afternoon at Ifaty and our morning boat trip from Mahajunga as a result...
  • 2015 [06 June] - David McLachlan-Karr - Antananarivo and Ankarafantsika NP

    PDF Report
    A conference in the Madagascar capital, Antananarivo (Tana), gave opportunity for some brief weekendbirding in the capital district and then a short weekend break to Ankarafantsika National Park, near thevillage of Ampijoroa, some 450 kms north-west of Tana. As it was off-season for birding (the optimumtime for breeding birds is September – December), I was persuaded to try drier country of the west,rather than risk wet weather in the much closer and more popular Andasibe (Périnet) Special Reserve.
  • 2015 [12 December] - Phil Gregory

    Dec 11 saw us drive north to Antsiranana/Diego Suarez, on quite good roads but still basically taking all day, we got to the very nice Nature Lodge at Joffreville near Amber Mt by late pm. Next day Dec 12 the rain curse struck again, but not before we had great looks at Amber Mt Rock Thrush by the camping ground, where a pair had a nest with 3 big juveniles in a cleft in a tree right by the car park. There is just no way this is Forest Rock Thrush, I don’t care what the genetics supposedly say, it is just so different.
  • 2015 [12 December] - Stephen Blaber

    ... In the event, these factors were not significant and we were very successful, seeing 120 new species, only missing out on about 5 species which occur chiefly in areas we did not visit. We saw all the Ground Rollers, Asities, Mesites and Vangas, as well as most of the other endemics...
  • 2016 [10 October] - Adam Walleyn

    PDF Report
    ...The reeds and scrub surrounding the lake produced excellent views of the rather similar Malagasy Brush Warbler and Malagasy Swamp Warblers, really nice side by side comparisons! We then taped out an extremely cooperative White-throated Rail that we enjoyed at leisure. We also added our first of Malagasy Kingfisher, Malagasy Coucal, Common Jery, Malagasy White-eye and Souimanga Sunbird...
  • 2016 [11 November] - Adam Walleyn

    Report PDF
    Our group gathered in Antananarivo, the capital city of Madagascar. We headed out for our first birdingexcursion to Lac Alarobia, a small wetland and RAMSAR site located within the heart of this denselypopulated city. We were greeted by large numbers of Red-billed Teal and White-faced Whistling Duck;while the heronry on the island in the middle of the lake was teeming with Dimorphic Egrets and SquaccoHerons...
  • 2016 [11 November] - Phil Gregory - Madagascar, Mauritius & Reunion

    ...The following day, we had a mission to see all of the special species. We began very well with a newly discovered nest of Schlegel's Asity, soon followed by White-breasted Mesite and eventually (after breakfast) a splendid Van Dam's Vanga -- a rare species that is easily missed. Coquerel's and Red-capped couas showed well. Western Woolly Lemur was a good find, as was Mongoose Lemur, whilst a nesting pair of Banded Kestrels was a major surprise and my first sighting in the park....
  • 2016 [12 December] - Bram Vogels

    PDF Report
    ...Olive bee‐eater, Madagascan lark, Sakalava weaver, Madagscan magpie‐robin, Subdesert brushwarbler, Madagscan cuckoo, Malagasy turtle dove, Crested drongo, Souimanga sunbird and Malagasycoucal, besides Pied crow, Namaqua dove, Common myna, Yellow‐billed kite. But we also had niceviews of Verreaux’s coua, Red‐shoulderd vanga and Lafresnaye’s vanga. In the distance a Runningcoua was crossing the road several times, but this was not a perfect view....
  • 2016 [12 December] - Michael Mills

    PDF Report
    ...The most enjoyed birds of the trip were Rufous-headed Vanga and Crossley’s Vanga in tie ninth, Pitta-like Ground Roller and Giant Coua in tie seventh, Short-legged Ground Roller in sixth, Scaly Ground Roller in fifth, White-breasted Mesite in fourth, Long-tailed Ground Roller in third, and Velvet Asity in second, and the peerless Helmet Vanga took our top honours! We also recorded 25 lemur species and lots of other great critters....
  • 2016 [12 December] - Rob Gordijn & Helen Rijkes

    PDF Report
    ...A three-week independent trip to Madagascar, a popular birding destination because of the many endemic species,including 5 endemic families making the island unique. We made the standard 3-week roundtrip with a similaritinerary as most tour groups (but in a somewhat different order): Isalo, Zombitse, Ilfaty, Tulear/Anakao, Ranomafana,Andasibe, Ankafaransika and the Betsiboka delta. Additionally, we visited Anjazorobe forest, which offers similar birding as Ranomafana/Andasibe. At Andasibe we spend an extra day at Iaroka forest, a nearby reserve where since recently Helmeted and Berniers Vanga can be found (making a visit to Masoala no longer necessary)....
  • 2017 [10 October] - Gareth Robbins

    PDF Report
    ...Finally, we arrived at our quaint lodge located just outside the Perinet Special Reserve. Whilst lavishing in lunch, we listened to the distant calls of the Indri and also saw Crested Drongo and Malagasy Bulbuls. We then met the famous Luc, who was to be our local guide for the nextfew days...
  • 2017 [11 November] - Guillaume Péron

    PDF Report
    ... Tsingy Wood-rail, Schlegel’s Asity (common), Sickle-billed Vanga, White-browed Owl (not seen or heard by me but did not go near the forest at night)...
  • 2017 [11 November] - Jeff Skevington

    PDF Report
    ...Ankarafantsika. Highlights: Humblot’s Heron, White-breasted Mesite, Madagascar Buttonquail, Gray-headed Lovebird, Redcapped Coua, Coquerel’s Coua, Madagascar Hoopoe, Van Dam’s Vanga, Sickle-billed Vanga, Rufous Vanga, Golden-brown Mouse Lemur...
  • 2017 [11 November] - Peter Friedmann

    ...We then move on into a fairly muddy area where Joseph detects Madagascar wood rails. Again, these are initially shy but after a while they relax permitting reasonable but brief views. We then get lots of Paradise flycatchers, crested drongos, followed by a difficult souimanga sunbird, nelicourvi weaver and red-tailed vanga. The last interesting bird is a Madagascar cuckoo shrike...
  • 2017 [11 November] - Phil Gregory & Doug Gochfeld

    ...we scored our only Madagascar Snipes of the tour along with a swirling mass of Plain (Brown-throated) Martins, and then on day two at the Reserve Villageoise D’Ankazomivady, where the highlight among introductions to several Madagascar endemic species was a scarce Baillon’s Crake!
  • 2017 [12 December] - Graham Talbot

    PDF Report
    Often called the eighth continent, Madagascar is high on every birders list of places to go forits unique avifauna, mammals and reptiles. We had been trying to get a trip together for anumber of years but it was not until this year that everybody managed to get time off workduring the best time to go i.e. November. The original party of four became three a couple ofmonths before we set off when Mike had to pull out.
  • 2018 [10 October] - János Oláh - Northern Madagascar & Comoro Islands.

    PDF Report
    This was our fourth tour to explore some of the more remote areas of Northern Madagascar and the Comoro Islands. We were pioneers in the area back in 2008 but even nowadays very few birders visit the Comoros, and even fewer birding companies offer such a comprehensive tour.
  • 2018 [11 November] - Phil Gregory - Madagascar with Mauritius & Reunion

    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.
  • 2019 [10 October] - Birding Ecotours - Jason Boyce

    PDF Report
    The wonderful world that is Madagascar, the Eighth Continent! It’s easy to see why the world’s fourth-largest island has been given this name. There is a strong African influence in both Madagascar’s fauna and flora, but certainly there also is enough unique wildlife to justify a nickname such as this.
  • 2022 [10 October] - Dominic Rollinson

    PDF Report
    Madagascar, the world’s fourth largest island, is home to a unique assortment of birds and other wildlife. For almost three weeks in October 2022, we explored this unique location, from the tropical rainforests of Masoala Peninsula in the northeast to the dry spiny forest of the southwest. Despite its proximity to Africa, Madagascar’s flora and fauna is vastly different, with many exciting endemic species and families, making it a must for any world birder.
  • 2022 [11 November] - Carlos Sanchez

    PDF Annotated Species List
    The favorite birds of the trip included Malagasy Kingfisher, Malagasy Paradise-Flycatcher, Pitta-like Ground-Roller, and Brown Emutail. When it came to mammals, it was no contest – Ring-tailed Lemur was the favorite by far.
Places to Stay
  • Chez Maggie Hotel - Morondava

    The Chez Maggie Hotel is a wonderful hide-away located directly on the beach facing the setting sun
Other Links
  • Birding in Madagascar

    Madagascar's uniqueness is legendary and this is well reflected in its birds. Of the 280 species known from the island, an incredible 100 plus are entirely endemic to Madagascar and a further 20 or so are shared only with neighbouring South West Indian Ocean islands
Photographers & Artists
  • AustralAvianImages

    Photographs of Birds, Mammals and Nature from Australia, New Zealand, Madagascar and Thailand by Simon Bennett. To find a species of interest enter its name in Search e.g. black duck or just duck; or you can browse the Species Group galleries.

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