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Madagascar's Endemic Birds

Tour Code: MDG07

A 16-day birdwatching holiday to the rainforests and deserts of Madagascar in search of the island's unique birdlife, lemurs and other spectacular wildlife.

16 days from £5295(inc flights) Land Only Price: £4395 SRS: £595


Madagascar’s unique wildlife is well documented. Most famous are its lemurs, but the island is also home to an impressive avifauna: four endemic families of birds (the mesites, ground-rollers, asities and the Bernieridae ‘warblers’), plus two additional families (the vangas and cuckoo-rollers) that occur only on Madagascar and the nearby Comoro Islands. On this tour we go in search of the island’s spectacular and unique birdlife, visiting the south-western coastline, Ifaty and the ‘spiny desert’, beaches, the island of Nosy Ve, Isalo National Park and Zombitse-Vohibasia National Park. No visit to Madagascar would be complete without enjoying its most famous mammals, the lemurs, and we will stop to admire the troops of Ring-tailed Lemurs of Anja Reserve, before passing into the lush rainforests of Ranomafana National Park, where we will spend three nights. We conclude our holiday with three days exploring the dry western forests of Ankarafantsika National Park, another unique habitat that is sure to yield more unique and exciting species such as Madagascar Fish Eagle and White-breasted Mesite. Finally, we return to Mahajanga for our short flight back to Tana and our onward journey home, or an extension to Andasibe-Mantadia National Park.

  • Madagascar is home to 36 endemic bird genera & about 120 endemic species
  • Enjoy Ifaty’s huge Bottle Baobabs & bizarre ‘Octopus Trees’
  • Look for Sub-desert Mesite, Sickle-billed Vanga & Long-tailed Ground-roller
  • Thamnornis Warbler, Archbold’s Newtonia & perhaps Banded Kestrel, Reniala Reserve
  • Greater Frigatebirds, Crab Plovers, Red-tailed Tropicbirds & endemic Madagascar Plover, Nosy Ve
  • Madagascar Cuckoo-Roller & Appert’s Tetraka, Zombitse-Vohibasia National Park
  • Pitta-like Ground-roller, Yellow-bellied Sunbird-asity, Ranomafana National Park
  • Look for Milne-Edward’s Sifaka & the rare Golden Bamboo Lemur, Ranomafana National Park
  • Schlegel’s Asity, Mongoose Lemur & Coquerel’s Sifaka, Ankarafantsika National Park
  • Led by expert naturalist guides

     

Food

All included in the price.

Accommodation

Simple, but comfortable hotels and eco-lodges. All rooms have private facilities.

Giant Coua (Stephen Woodham)

Giant Coua (Stephen Woodham)

Outline Itinerary Download

Day 1 Fly Tana (Antananarivo).

Day 2 Toliara.

Day 3/4 Ifaty.

Day 5 Anakao.

Day 6/7 Isalo National Park.

Day 8/10 Ranomafana National Park.

Day 11 Antsirabe.

Day 12/14 Ankarafantsika.

Day 15 Fly Tana and on toLondon.

Day 16 Arrive London.

The island of Madagascar is blessed with some of the world’s most unique and exciting wildlife. Over 80% of all life here is endemic, the legacy of 90 million years of isolation. Its birdlife is particularly special. Those few pioneer species that made it to the island in the distant past have, over many generations, evolved and diversified into the wonderful spectacle of Malagasy birdlife that we see today; each family and species has been moulded over the millennia by natural selection to fit its own unique niche and habitat. Today, Madagascar is home to four endemic families of birds (the mesites, ground-rollers, asities and the Bernieridae ‘warblers’), plus two additional families (the vangas and cuckoo-rollers) that occur only on Madagascar and the nearby Comoro Islands. In all, this ancient fragment of Gondwanaland can boast 36 endemic bird genera and around 120 endemic species!

We begin our holiday with a flight to Antananarivo (known as ‘Tana’), Madagascar’s capital city, before continuing to Toliara (Tulear) on the island’s southwestern coastline. We then head north to Ifaty, a small coastal village backed by Madagascar’s most unique habitat, the spiny desert. Here, huge Bottle Baobabs and bizarre ‘Octopus Trees’ create a fascinating habitat, home to some of the island’s most sought-after birds: in particular, the Subdesert Mesite and the beautiful Long-tailed Ground-roller. A dawn walk through the nearby Reniala Reserve should yield both of these species, along with Sickle-billed Vanga, Thamnornis (Subdesert Tetraka), Archbold’s Newtonia and perhaps Banded Kestrel.

Next, we journey south for an hour by boat to the small Vezo fishing community of Anakao where we will spend a night overlooking a beautiful sandy beach. Littoral Rock-thrushes live in the spiny desert just inland, while offshore lies the small island of Nosy Ve, home to Madagascar’s only colony of Red-tailed Tropicbirds which we will enjoy on a morning’s visit to the island, along with Crab-plovers and the endemic Madagascan Plover.

Moving on, we head inland and begin our journey back towards the capital along the N7 road, the best strip of tarmac in the country! En route to Isalo National Park, we will visit the dry forests of Zombitse- Vohibasia National Park where we will be looking in particular for the unassuming Appert’s Tetraka, a bird whose entire world range is restricted to two small patches of dry forest in south-western Madagascar. We will also be on the look-out for Cuckoo-roller, Giant Coua and Greater Vasa Parrot, plus lemurs such as Zombitse Sportive Lemur and Verreaux’s Sifaka, chameleons and other interesting wildlife.

At Isalo National Park itself we will explore the dramatic landscape around this huge sandstone massif in search of Madagascan Lark, Grey-headed Lovebird and Malagasy Paradise Flycatcher. We will then continue north, stopping to admire the troops of Ring-tailed Lemurs of Anja Reserve, before passing out of the rainshadow and into the lush rainforests of Ranomafana National Park. There we will spend three nights — plenty of time to explore the network of trails that cut through this remnant of the wet forests that once clothed Madagascar’s entire eastern coastline. Here, towering trees, dripping in myriad mosses, lichens and other epiphytes, are home to such attractive species as Pitta-like Ground-roller, Yellow-bellied Sunbird-asity and Blue Vanga, whilst Brown Mesite and Crossley’s Vanga skulk in the undergrowth. No visit to Ranomafana is complete without time spent in the company of the lemurs, reptiles and other wildlife that share the forests with the birds. These may include Milne-Edwards' Sifaka and the rare Golden Bamboo Lemur, while on night-time spotlighting walks we may find one of the wonderfully camouflaged ‘Uroplatus’ geckos.

We conclude our holiday with three days exploring the dry western forests of Ankarafantsika National Park, another unique habitat that is sure to yield more unique and exciting species, with Madagascan Fish Eagle, White-breasted Mesite and Schlegel’s Asity amongst the possibilities, plus Mongoose Lemur and the attractive Coquerel’s Sifaka.

Finally, we return to Mahajanga for our short flight back to Tana and our onward journey home. For those wishing to extend their holiday we suggest that you either fly north to the pristine rainforests of Masoala National Park, home of the spectacular Helmet Vanga, or drive east to experience the eerie cries of the Indri and to look for Scaly Ground-roller and Nuthatch Vanga at Andasibe-Mantadia National Park.

Madagascar Magpie Robin (Stephen Woodham)Frances's Sparrowhawk (Stephen Woodham)Crested Coua (Stephen Woodham)Comet Moth (Paul Stanbury)Chabert's Vanga (Tony Williams)Broad-billed Roller (Jonas Christiansen)Bottle Baobab (Paul Stanbury)Appert's Tetraka (Tony Williams)Verreaux's Sifaka (Paul Stanbury)Sub-desert Mesite (Paul Stanbury)Spiny-backed Chameleon (Kerrie Porteous)Ring-tailed Lemur & baby (Cathy Harlow)Red-bellied Lemur (Kerrie Porteous)Ranomafana National Park (Kerrie Porteous)Parson's Chameleon (Cathy Harlow)Paradise Flycatcher (Stephen Woodham)Madagascar Pygmy Kingfisher (Andy Harding)Madagascar Paradise Flycatcher (Cathy Harlow)Madagascar Paradise Flycatcher (Cathy Harlow)Madagascar Hoopoe (Stephen Woodham)Madagascar Hoopoe (Jonas Christiansen)Long-tailed Ground Roller (Tony Williams)Ifaty (Kerrie Porteous)Hubbard's Sportive Lemur (Kerrie Porteous)Giant Coua (Stephen Woodham)

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Tue 2nd October 2018 - Wed 17th October 2018

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£5295

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Flights: Flights are included in the tour costMore info

Regional Departures: More info

Land only cost: £4395 More info

Room sharing options: More info

Visiting: Madagascar

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Kerrie Porteous
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01962 733051

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Birds

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