Trip report: Madagascar, The Eighth Continent (Nov 2015) by Tropical Birding

Guided by Scott Watson. This was a set-departure tour that included the Western Endemics and Helmet Vanga extensions.

This year’s set departure tour in Madagascar was another great success, and with Tropical Birding’s satellite office in the country this tour ran smoothly, despite Air Madagascar’s best efforts to stop us! This set departure included both the Western Endemics and the Helmet Vanga extensions, and the birding was excellent throughout. We recorded 195 bird species including an impressive 100 endemics with more regional endemics and endemic subspecies. However, on an island as unique and diverse as Madagascar the birds only scratch the surface. We also found 41 mammals, and of these we had 32 Lemurs. We also saw 55 reptiles and 11 amphibians including an amazing 15 Chameleon species.

We covered lots of ground and many different habitats on this tour. Starting in the dry deciduous forests of the northwest, we then moved to the totally unique spiny forest of the southwest, the mountain rainforests of the east, and to the lowland rainforest of the northeast, plus the mangroves, littoral scrub, offshore islands, rocky escarpments, tidal shores, and every other micro habitat in between. This habitat diversity coincides with us seeing all 5 of the Ground-Rollers, all 3 Mesites, all of the Couas, all 4 Asities, the 20 possible Vangas, and the 10 possible Malagasy Warblers. We travelled by jet, by Cessna, on buses, 4x4s, Zebu cattle carts, 4 different motor boats, canoes, and lots of travel on foot too. This was definitely a trip to remember!

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