Triplist 1 _2008_ - MADAGASCAR _

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Triplist 1 _2008_ - MADAGASCAR _ Powered By Docstoc

                               November 11, 2008 to December 9, 2008
                                                  Guided by
                                     Daniel Lane and Megan Crewe

Madagascar is one of those places that seem so far away and so removed from the rest of the world. I
guess this is rather true, but we visited this isolated place (and some nearby bits of land: the
Mascarene Islands), and saw many of the plants and animals that make it so unique. The Mascarenes
already have lost most of their unique birds (the Dodo, of course, being the most famous example), but
still have a smattering of their original endemics. Madagascar itself has lost some of its most amazing
inhabitants (Elephantbirds, ground-sloth Lemurs, etc.), but happily, still retains many of its unique
fauna: five families of birds (Mesites, Cuckoo-rollers, Ground-rollers, Asities, and Vangas), and of
course the unique mammals in the families of Lemurs and Tenrecs. We saw most of the birds (missing
only three vangas and one ground-roller!), and members of both endemic mammal groups. In addition,
I must thank Jim for his insight and interest in the unique plants of the island.

In our three plus week trip, we were able to visit some of the most disparate habitats on the island,
ranging from humid tropical forest to tall deciduous forest to the truly unique "subdesert" spiny forest
of the southwest. Though it is clear that Madagascar has suffered from axe and (zebu-drawn) plow,
there are yet some startlingly beautiful areas that retain the flora and fauna of this island lost in time.

We began our tour with a brief visit to the island of Reunion, where we narrowly avoided not enjoying
any activities due to a truckers' strike, and managed to get to the montane forest to see endemic
landbirds and then the northeast coast to see several of the nesting tubenoses. From here, we flew to
Madagascar and started birding in earnest in the northwest, namely visiting the attractive, if somewhat
isolated, forest reserve of Ankarafansika. Here, we enjoyed our first members of most of the endemic
bird families (including a striking male Schlegel's Asity, a White-breasted Mesite at very close quarters,
and a handful of vangas), as well as our first lemurs, chameleons, and other uniquely Malagasy sights.
Around Majunga we birded the some wetlands, where various shorebirds, herons, waterfowl,
Madagascar Jacana, and even the uncommon Allen's Gallinule were present.

We returned to the capital of Antananarivo ("Tana") and drove south to the humid cloud forests of the
central eastern slope where the impressive Ranomafana National Park resides. Our several days here
made it clear just how rich these forests are with three asities, many vangas, several couas, warblers,
and more. We witnessed a gathering of swifts in which we spotted a Madagascar Pratincole as it
performed its own aerial foraging maneuvers. We also were able to see many of the endearing lemurs,
including the three bamboo lemurs, of which the Golden is the real prize (and one of the organisms
whose existence led to the establishment of the park!).

Onward to the south we went, passing through the grassy southern plateau, where our sharp-eyed
guide Gerard spotted two Reunion Harriers. Our one night at the Isalo Massif was a relaxing one in a
very posh hotel. From there, we continued on to the hot, spiny forest of the southwest in the Ifaty
area, which has many specialties not found elsewhere. In one lucky morning, we saw nearly everything,
and had a good smattering of botanizing and herping as well. The following morning, spent in the Coral
Rag near Tulear, we had wonderful views of the recently described Red-shouldered Vanga before we
flew onward to the southeastern corner of the island and drove in to the private reserve of Berenty.

Berenty is impressive for the abundant (perhaps over-abundant?) and ever-approachable lemurs and
other wildlife. The racoon-like Ringtail Lemurs are an endless source of entertainment, as are the
slightly more reclusive Verreaux's Sifakas (the Berenty troop is famous for its ballet-like bounding on
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                           showed us several mouse-lemurs, scops-owls, and nightjars. We returned to
Fort Dauphin and spent one morning searching (alas, in vain, as well as in rain) for Red-tailed Newtonia
in nearby Andohahela NP. Nevertheless, fine views of chameleons, Forest Fody, and lovely forest still
made the trip worthwhile.
Rag near Tulear, we had wonderful views of the recently described Red-shouldered Vanga before we
flew onward to the southeastern corner of the island and drove in to the private reserve of Berenty.

Berenty is impressive for the abundant (perhaps over-abundant?) and ever-approachable lemurs and
other wildlife. The racoon-like Ringtail Lemurs are an endless source of entertainment, as are the
slightly more reclusive Verreaux's Sifakas (the Berenty troop is famous for its ballet-like bounding on
the ground). A night walk showed us several mouse-lemurs, scops-owls, and nightjars. We returned to
Fort Dauphin and spent one morning searching (alas, in vain, as well as in rain) for Red-tailed Newtonia
in nearby Andohahela NP. Nevertheless, fine views of chameleons, Forest Fody, and lovely forest still
made the trip worthwhile.

Our last stop on this strange and wonderful island was to the Perinet area east of Tana. Here we were
witness to the daily concerts of Indri, a haunting sound I suspect none of us are likely to forget! We
also saw several other lemurs, including stunning close-up views of the striking Ruffed Lemur, as well
as Scaly Ground-Roller (which was the fourth of five living species in the family!), the unique Nuthatch
Vanga, and several of the rarer couas (an endemic subfamily of cuckoos).

It was time to bid farewell to Madagascar and head back to the Mascarenes, this time to the island of
Mauritius, where we could soak up a little sun and enjoy a less-hurried pace. In one morning, we saw
the eight remaining endemics in quick succession (with a particularly memorable interaction with a
Mauritius Kestrel!), an enjoyable picnic by the surf, and had a nice relaxing afternoon at the hotel.

Meegs and I were pleased to have you all along with us, and hope to see you again on future tours.
"Mesotra" and "veloma" until next time! Dan – December 2008.

List total: 204 bird taxa and 20 mammal taxa
If marked to left of list, * = heard only, I = introduced, E = endemic,
               N = nesting, a = austral migrant, b = boreal migrant

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E   MADAGASCAR GREBE (Tachybaptus pelzelnii)
      Seen well at the Parc de Tsarasaotra in Tana.
E   BARAU'S PETREL (Pterodroma baraui)
      Despite having to change our plans our first day on Reunion, we managed to get to a river mouth our second day
      and see this (apparent) endemic breeder very well as birds gathered near-shore before heading inland to nesting
    WEDGE-TAILED SHEARWATER (Puffinus pacificus)
      Another tubenose seen well near-shore from Reunion.
    AUDUBON'S SHEARWATER (Puffinus lherminieri)
      Several black-and-white shearwaters were seen inshore from Reunion. After some bumbling about on my part and
      thinking that they were the poorly-known "Mascarene Shearwater," a communique from FG's Dave Stejskal
      suggests that the latter is probably not a valid species (just a juv. Audubon's), which makes things SOOOO much
N   WHITE-TAILED TROPICBIRD (Phaethon lepturus)
      Seen on the Mascarenes.
    GRAY HERON (Ardea cinerea)
      The Old World replacement of Great Blue Heron.
E   HUMBLOT'S HERON (Ardea humbloti)
      Steve managed to see one flyby our last morning at Berenty.
    PURPLE HERON (Ardea purpurea)
      Although not necessarily common on Madagascar, we saw several individuals.
N   GREAT EGRET (Ardea alba)
      The "GREG"s of Africa have black bills when breeding. They are of race melanorhynchos (which is fitting, as it
      means "black bill"!).
N   BLACK HERON (Egretta ardesiaca)
      I still think the feeding strategy of this heron is facinating. Such space-mongers!
N   "DIMORPHIC" EGRET (Egretta garzetta dimorpha)
      Often considered a subspecies of Little Egret (E. garzetta), this bird is also sometimes separated as Dimorphic
      (E. dimorpha) or Western Reef Egret (E. schistacea).
N   SQUACCO HERON (Ardeola ralloides)
      We saw several pond herons at various points. Interestingly, the apparent hybrids with Squaccos at the heronry
      at Tsarasaotra seem to be overlooked in the literature. This may be a cause of concern, as the present species
      only breeds on Madagascar and the Comoros.
N   CATTLE EGRET (Bubulcus ibis)
    STRIATED HERON (Butorides striata)
      Madagascar and Mascarene birds belong to race rutenbergi. Apparently, New World and Old World Striated
      Herons are not one another's closest relatives, so a split may be coming in the future.
    BLACK-CROWNED NIGHT-HERON (Nycticorax nycticorax)
      Apparently, the birds on Madagascar are nominate nycticorax of Europe and Africa.
    HAMERKOP (Scopus umbretta)
    GLOSSY IBIS (Plegadis falcinellus)
E   MADAGASCAR (WHITE-WINGED) IBIS (Lophotibis cristata)
      This bird didn't perform well for us this year, but there were some sightings in Perinet.

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    WHITE-FACED WHISTLING-DUCK (Dendrocygna viduata)
    WHITE-BACKED DUCK (Thalassornis leuconotus)
     A very lucky find at the Majunga ponds! Good spotting Meegs!
    COMB DUCK (Sarkidiornis melanotos)
      Seen at several sites... the best probably at Berenty. African birds differ from American birds in having gray (not
      black) flanks.
    AFRICAN PYGMY-GOOSE (Nettapus auritus)
      Although hard to see agains the vegetation, these tiny waterfowl were thick in the airport ponds at Majunga.
E   MELLER'S DUCK (Anas melleri)
      Thanks to Jean Cris and Hadza in Ranomafana, we saw this increasingly rare Mallard relative!
    RED-BILLED DUCK (TEAL) (Anas erythrorhyncha)
EN MADAGASCAR CUCKOO-HAWK (Aviceda madagascariensis)
     Seen at Ranomafana and again at Berenty (on nest). Cuckoo-Hawks are in the same genus as the Bazas of
b   BLACK KITE (Milvus migrans)
      We saw at least one bird that was a boreal migrant at Isalo and Berenty.
    BLACK (YELLOW-BILLED) KITE (Milvus migrans parasitus)
      Common in open country. If considered a separate species from the Eurasian Black Kite, this one is the Yellow-
      billed Kite (M. aegyptius) of which parasitus is the local race.
E   MADAGASCAR FISH-EAGLE (Haliaeetus vociferoides)
      Seen well at the lake at Ankarafansika, but also more distantly at the Besiboka.
    REUNION HARRIER (Circus maillardi)
      Gerard spotted two males in the grassy plateau of southern Madagascar, a great find (even greater since we
      missed the bird in Reunion!). The Madagascar subspecies is macrosceles, which is sometimes considered a
      separate species, Madagascar Harrier.
E   MADAGASCAR HARRIER-HAWK (Polyboroides radiatus)
EN FRANCES' GOSHAWK (Accipiter francesii)
     Given that this is the smallest Accipiter on Madagascar, I don't see how it can be considered a "Goshawk" rather
     than a "Sparrowhawk" (as virtually all books call it).
E   HENST'S GOSHAWK (Accipiter henstii)
      A bit of a hike was involved in seeing this nugget. Happily, it was worth the effort!
E   MADAGASCAR BUZZARD (Buteo brachypterus)
E   MADAGASCAR KESTREL (Falco newtoni)
      Seen every day we were in Madagascar!
EN MAURITIUS KESTREL (Falco punctatus)
     We parked near the nest of one at Bel Ombre. When the female came in, she dived on us, particularly choosing
     Angie as a target! Must be that curly blonde hair, Angie!
E   BANDED KESTREL (Falco zoniventris)
      A lucky spot by Meegs of a flyover at Ifaty! Great!
    SOOTY FALCON (Falco concolor)
      Only some distant flyovers.
E   MADAGASCAR PARTRIDGE (Margaroperdix madagascarensis)
      Our only view was a brief flyby as we drove to the airport on Mauritius. The birds on Mauritius are introduced.
I   HELMETED GUINEAFOWL (Numida meleagris)
      Seen particularly near Berenty. The subspecies in Madagascar is mitrata of SE Africa.

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E   WHITE-BREASTED MESITE (Mesitornis variegata)
     Our first mesite, one froze in a shrub very near to us in Ankarafansika.
E   BROWN MESITE (Mesitornis unicolor)
      A pair was rounded up and brought in for us to see. This may be the hardest of the three mesites to see.
E   SUBDESERT MESITE (Monias benschi)
      Like the other mesites, we saw this one well: frozen up in a tree.
E   MADAGASCAR BUTTONQUAIL (Turnix nigricollis)
      Several views near Majunga.
E   MADAGASCAR FLUFFTAIL (Sarothrura insularis)
      What a tiny waif. We all had views of one particularly brave bird that responded well at Vohiparara.
EN MADAGASCAR WOOD-RAIL (Canirallus kioloides)
     I'm pleased that we had another chance to see this one well in Perinet, as the view of the blur racing off the nest
     in Ranomafana was somewhat anticlimactic.
E   MADAGASCAR RAIL (Rallus madagascariensis)
      Ah, I'm glad that we had that second chance to see this little skulker! Thanks for that!
E   WHITE-THROATED RAIL (Dryolimnas cuvieri)
    ALLEN'S GALLINULE (Porphyrio alleni)
      Several individuals at the Majunga airport ponds were a pleasant surprise.
    COMMON MOORHEN (Gallinula chloropus)
E   MADAGASCAR JACANA (Actophilornis albinucha)
      The Majunga airport ponds were great for jacanas this year!
    CRAB PLOVER (Dromas ardeola)
      We got distant views of a small group near Ifaty. One was whacking away at a crab, so I guess the name fits!
    BLACK-WINGED STILT (Himantopus himantopus)
      The widespread Old World stilt. Some authorities consider most of the the world's stilts one species, and this one
      is the name that is used under those circumstances.
    MADAGASCAR PRATINCOLE (Glareola ocularis)
      Wow, what luck to find a pratincole flying among swifts that one day at Belle Vue! That experience led me to
      wonder if they are the Old World replacement for nighthawks?
b   PACIFIC GOLDEN-PLOVER (Pluvialis fulva)
      A vagrant that Steve and Bev saw.
b   BLACK-BELLIED PLOVER (Pluvialis squatarola)
      Usually called "Gray Plover" in Old World literature.
b   COMMON RINGED PLOVER (Charadrius hiaticula)
E   MADAGASCAR PLOVER (Charadrius thoracicus)
      Very like the next species, but with a black collar.
    KITTLITZ'S PLOVER (Charadrius pecuarius)
    THREE-BANDED PLOVER (Charadrius tricollaris)
      A particularly handsome plover with a lavender eyering.
    WHITE-FRONTED PLOVER (Charadrius marginatus)
     Largely restriced to the west coast of Madagascar and the east coast of Africa.
b   LESSER SANDPLOVER (Charadrius mongolus)
      Formerly called "Mongolian Plover" in North American guides; this race is pamirensis.

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b   GREATER SANDPLOVER (Charadrius leschenaultii)
      The more common sandplover in the area.
b   BAR-TAILED GODWIT (Limosa lapponica)
b   WHIMBREL (Numenius phaeopus)
     This form is the European race phaeopus, with a white rump.
b   COMMON GREENSHANK (Tringa nebularia)
b   WOOD SANDPIPER (Tringa glareola)
     A brief view of a bird flying away our morning birding near Tulear.
b   TEREK SANDPIPER (Xenus cinereus)
b   COMMON SANDPIPER (Actitis hypoleucos)
b   RUDDY TURNSTONE (Arenaria interpres)
b   SANDERLING (Calidris alba)
b   CURLEW SANDPIPER (Calidris ferruginea)
    LESSER CRESTED TERN (Sterna bengalensis)
    GREAT CRESTED TERN (Sterna bergii)
    SAUNDERS' TERN (Sterna saundersi)
      The Indian Ocean version of Least Tern. We had moderately good views on the west coast of the country.
E   MADAGASCAR SANDGROUSE (Pterocles personatus)
      Gerard and Benoi were able to show us a group of 18 at the airstrip in Berenty. The next day we saw (the same?)
      18 fly across the river!
I   ROCK PIGEON (Columba livia)
      Well, this almost was my favorite bird... but I'm happy it was replaced by the fody. Still, it's amazing how
      widespread this species is in the world (I guess only second to Gallus gallus, eh?)
E   PINK PIGEON (Nesoenas mayeri)
       Highly endangered, we saw several well (especially at the feeder!) on Mauritius. What a peculiar color for a
    MADAGASCAR TURTLE-DOVE (Streptopelia picturata)
      Introduced to the Mascarenes, it is native to Madagascar.
I   SPOTTED DOVE (Streptopelia chinensis)
    NAMAQUA DOVE (Oena capensis)
I   ZEBRA DOVE (Geopelia striata)
      The Mascarenes.
E   MADAGASCAR GREEN-PIGEON (Treron australis)
      After a few mediochre views, we finally got them in the scopes in Ifaty.
E   MADAGASCAR BLUE-PIGEON (Alectroenas madagascariensis)
      A handsome pigeon that evaded us until nearly our last day in Perinet!
I   ROSE-RINGED PARAKEET (Psittacula krameri)
      Introduced to Mauritius (lord knows why!), we saw some brief fly-bys.
E   MAURITIUS PARAKEET (Psittacula echo)
      Highly endangered, we saw several near the Bel Ombre hacking site.
E   GRAY-HEADED LOVEBIRD (Agapornis canus)
E   VASA PARROT (Coracopsis vasa)
      Also called "Greater Vasa Parrot". We learned that "vasa" means "white" or "white skin" in Malagasy.

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E   BLACK PARROT (Coracopsis nigra)
      Also called "Lesser Vasa Parrot".
    MADAGASCAR CUCKOO (Cuculus rochii)
      Perhaps the "sound of Madagascar" (assuming Indri isn't). We heard this species *everywhere*.
E   GIANT COUA (Coua gigas)
      Loud, but rather confiding. Our first view was during lunch our visit to Zombitse, then they were plenty common
      in Berenty.
E   COQUEREL'S COUA (Coua coquereli)
      Our first coua of the trip!
E   RED-BREASTED COUA (Coua serriana)
      Often very hard to see (we missed it in 2007!), we got great views of this coua in Mantadia.
E   RED-FRONTED COUA (Coua reynaudii)
      A rarer humid-forest bird, we had staggering looks the day we walked the Perinet trail!
E   RED-CAPPED COUA (Coua ruficeps)
E   RED-CAPPED (OLIVE-CAPPED) COUA (Coua ruficeps olivaceiceps)
      The SW form of the previous. We saw it first at La Table, but then again at Berenty.
E   RUNNING COUA (Coua cursor)
E   CRESTED COUA (Coua cristata)
      Widespread, but most common in drier forests.
E   VERREAUX'S COUA (Coua verreauxi)
      One of the rarest and most range-restricted of the couas, we saw some quite well near Tulear.
E   BLUE COUA (Coua caerulea)
      Fairly common arboreal coua of humid eastern forests.
E   MADAGASCAR COUCAL (Centropus toulou)
      Seen at night at Perinet. Formerly included the following species.
E   TOROTOROKA SCOPS-OWL (Otus madagascariensis)
      Common in dry western forests. We got particularly good looks at Berenty.
E   WHITE-BROWED OWL (Ninox superciliaris)
     Fairly common in dry forests, particularly at Berenty. This species is currently in the Austral Hawk-owl genus
     Ninox, but will probably be shuffled over into Athene (the Little and Burrowing owls) or have its own genus.
E   MADAGASCAR LONG-EARED OWL (Asio madagascariensis)
      A day-roosting bird at Perinet was a real prize!
E   MADAGASCAR NIGHTJAR (Caprimulgus madagascariensis)
      Seen fleetingly near Majunga and Ifaty, but a day-roosting bird at Berenty was a far better view.
EN COLLARED NIGHTJAR (Caprimulgus enarratus)
     It was lucky our guides in Perinet knew of a stake-out adult and nestling!
E   MASCARENE SWIFTLET (Aerodramus francicus)
      Plenty common over both Reunion and Mauritius.
E   MALAGASY SPINETAIL (Zoonavena grandidieri)
      Not common, but regularly seen over eastern humid forests.
    AFRICAN PALM-SWIFT (Cypsiurus parvus)
      Common and widespread, nesting in dead palm fronds (as the name suggests).
    ALPINE SWIFT (Tachymarptis melba)
      Not very alpine in Madagascar! Still we saw this distinctive swift over Belle Vue in Ranomafana.

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E   MADAGASCAR SWIFT (Apus balstoni)
      Most common at Ranomafana, but also on the drive to Isalo, where birds were probably catching food to bring to
    MALAGASY KINGFISHER (Alcedo vintsioides)
      An attractive, small blue kingfisher.
E   MADAGASCAR PYGMY-KINGFISHER (Ispidina madagascariensis)
      First we waited for the roosting bird near our hotel, but then on our last day in Perinet, we saw them
    MADAGASCAR BEE-EATER (Merops superciliosus)
    BROAD-BILLED ROLLER (Eurystomus glaucurus)
      A large kingfisher-relative... in flight they are remarkably falcon-like!
EN SCALY GROUND-ROLLER (Brachypteracias squamigera)
     Harder to encounter than the Pitta-like, but we saw several at Mantadia, including the recently-fledged young
     beside the trail.
E   PITTA-LIKE GROUND-ROLLER (Atelornis pittoides)
       A really smashing bird, and a great introduction to this endemic family! This and Schlegel's Asity tied for first
       place as favorite bird of the trip.
E   RUFOUS-HEADED GROUND-ROLLER (Atelornis crossleyi)
      Much skulkier than the previous species, we eventually all saw this understated beauty.
E   LONG-TAILED GROUND-ROLLER (Uratelornis chimaera)
      This roadrunner-like bird gave us a run for our money, but eventually, everyone got looks.
E   CUCKOO-ROLLER (Leptosomus discolor)
      A large and noisy bird, we saw them mostly in flight, rarely perched (when they are strangely quiet). This is the
      only species in its family (unless you consider the Comoros race a full species)!
E   MADAGASCAR HOOPOE (Upupa marginata)
      Sometimes considered conspecific with the widespread Hoopoe (U. epops), but the voice is very distinct.
E   VELVET ASITY (Philepitta castanea)
      A rather attractive, if somewhat retiring, bird. We did really well to see all four of the asities on our tour!
E   SCHLEGEL'S ASITY (Philepitta schlegeli)
      What a looker! Our guides in Ankarafansika found a lazy male that we could watch in the scope for hours! With
      reason, this tied for first place as favorite bird of the trip.
E   SUNBIRD ASITY (Neodrepanis coruscans)
      Also called "Common Sunbird Asity" or "Wattled Asity." It is more common than the next species, especially
      once you learn the voice!
E   SMALL-BILLED ASITY (Neodrepanis hypoxanthus)
      The rarest of the four Asities, we got a pair on our second try on the Vohiparara tail in Ranomafana. Also called
      "Yellow-bellied (Sunbird) Asity."
     Common in open country. Angie spotted an active nest near Ifaty.
    PLAIN (BROWN-THROATED) MARTIN (Riparia paludicola)
      A resident on Madagascar, we saw them on the east slope.

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    MASCARENE MARTIN (Phedina borbonica)
      Common on the Mascarenes, and fairly common on Madagascar.
b   BARN SWALLOW (Hirundo rustica)
      A rare migrant, we were lucky to see one at Berenty.
E   MADAGASCAR WAGTAIL (Motacilla flaviventris)
      Quite a looker, and plenty common in much of Madagascar.
EN ASHY CUCKOO-SHRIKE (Coracina cinerea)
     A fairly common canopy flock follower in tall forests of Madagascar.
      One male put on a fine show for us at Bassin Blanc.
E   REUNION CUCKOO-SHRIKE (Coracina newtoni)
      The most endangered land bird on Reunion... we were lucky to see them as well as we did!
I   RED-WHISKERED BULBUL (Pycnonotus jocosus)
      Introduced and common on the Mascarenes.
E   LONG-BILLED GREENBUL (Phyllastrephus madagascariensis)
      The most widespread of the greenbuls... interestingly, the Madagascar greenbuls are now known not to be
      closely related to those of Africa, but are instead a large cisticoline warbler. As a result, many folks now call them
      "Tetrakas". This species is also often placed in genus Bernieria, which is monotypic (since the other greenbuls are
      best placed in Xanthomixis).
EN SPECTACLED GREENBUL (Phyllastrephus zosterops)
     One of the most common of the greenbuls, this, and the following two species, are often placed in genus
     Xanthomixis and called "Tetrakas". The Spectacled is occasionally called "Short-billed Tetraka."
E   APPERT'S GREENBUL (Phyllastrephus apperti)
      A very local and endangered species... we nevertheless got great looks at it in Zombitse.
E   GRAY-CROWNED GREENBUL (Phyllastrephus cinereiceps)
      Forages much like a Black-and-white Warbler, by hitching up vertical trunks. A regular member of understory
      mixed flocks.
E   MADAGASCAR BULBUL (Hypsipetes madagascariensis)
      Common and widespread.
E   REUNION BULBUL (Hypsipetes borbonicus)
      Eventually seen by all on our morning in Reunion.
E   MAURITIUS BULBUL (Hypsipetes olivaceus)
      Seen well our morning in Mauritius.
E   FOREST ROCK-THRUSH (Pseudocossyphus sharpei)
      After some time spent trying, we eventually saw a male relatively well at Ranomafana.
E   BENSON'S ROCK-THRUSH (Pseudocossyphus bensoni)
      Generally considered conspecific with Forest Rock-Thrush in most books, the reasoning therein is flawed: they
      cite a study which compared the DNA of birds from forest to those of open habitats and found no difference.
      However, they sampled the wrong populations (neither were Benson's!). In any event, the birds at the hotel at
      Isalo were Benson's.
E   MADAGASCAR CISTICOLA (Cisticola cherinus)
      Common in all open habitats. This species has no doubt benefitted from human habitat conversion.
E   BROWN EMU-TAIL (Dromaeocercus brunneus)
      Rarer and more skulky than Gray Emu-tail, we encountered one singing male on the Vohiparara trail at

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E   GRAY EMU-TAIL (Dromaeocercus seebohmi)
      A bird of marsh edge. After seeing one pair at the end of a hike among rice patties, we had another come right
      up to us as we were looking for Meller's Duck.
      Common, but skulky, in humid forest understory.
E   MADAGASCAR (SUBDESERT) BRUSH-WARBLER (Nesillas typica lantzii)
      Though generally still considered a subspecies of the Mad Brush-Warbler, this form differs strongly in voice and
      plumage (and habitat) enough that it is likely to be considered a separate species should anyone ever study the
E   THAMNORNIS (Thamnornis chloropetoides)
E   MADAGASCAR SWAMP-WARBLER (Acrocephalus newtoni)
      Heard on several occasions, but only seen the day we drove from Tana to Ranomafana.
E   RAND'S WARBLER (Randia pseudozosterops)
      Commonly heard singing in the canopy in eastern humid forest.
E   DARK NEWTONIA (Newtonia amphichroa)
      An understory bird of humid eastern forest, we encountered them in Ranomafana and Perinet.
E   COMMON NEWTONIA (Newtonia brunneicauda)
      True to it's name, this species is by far the most common newtonia. Found in most forests and wooded habitats
      (with native trees) on the island.
E   ARCHBOLD'S NEWTONIA (Newtonia archboldi)
      Common in the thorn-forest of the SW. We saw several at Ifaty.
E   CRYPTIC WARBLER (Cryptosylvicola randrianasoloi)
      A new genus of warbler described in 1994. First discovered by Bret Whitney (of Field Guides fame) on his only
      visit to Madagascar! It is relatively common, particularly at Ranomafana.
E   MADAGASCAR MAGPIE-ROBIN (Copsychus albospecularis)
      Common in most forests. Birds in teh east have no white in the tail, but birds in the west do. We never saw an
      all-black male (minus the white in the wing), which are more common in the North.
    AFRICAN STONECHAT (Saxicola torquata)
EN REUNION STONECHAT (Saxicola tectes)
     Common above about 1000 m elevation, this little chat is found in native and non-native woodland on Reunion.
EN WARD'S FLYCATCHER (Pseudobias wardi)
     A flycatcher in habits and appearance; molecular research suggests that this species may actually be a vanga
     (note the close resemblance to Chabert Vanga).
     Common in forest, but striking. We saw rufous, and white males. All females are rufous.
E   MASCARENE PARADISE-FLYCATCHER (Terpsiphone bourbonnensis)
      Fairly easy to see on Reunion, but only a few people saw it on Mauritius.
E   COMMON JERY (Neomixis tenella)
      True to its name, this bird is *everywhere*. We encountered tenella (Ankarafansika, possibly Perinet), orientalis
      (Ranomafana), debilis (Ifaty, Isalo, and Berenty).
EN GREEN JERY (Neomixis viridis)
     Common in canopy of humid forest along the east slope.
E   STRIPE-THROATED JERY (Neomixis striatigula)
      We encountered three subspecies: nominate striatigula at Ranomafana (with the mellow song), pallidior in Ifaty
      (with the long, scratchy song), and sclateri in Perinet (with the intermediate song).

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E   WEDGE-TAILED JERY (Neomixis flavoviridis)
      Normally placed in the monotypic genus Hartertula now, as it is clearly not very closely related to the other three
      Jeries. A member of understory mixed flocks.
E   WHITE-THROATED OXYLABES (Oxylabes madagascariensis)
     A regular member of understory mixed flocks.
E   YELLOW-BROWED OXYLABES (Crossleyia xanthophrys)
      Also called "Madagacar Yellowbrow" since it is not particularly closely related to the Oxylabes. Only a few folks
      caught a glimpse of this skulker in Ranomafana.
E   CROSSLEY'S BABBLER (Mystacornis crossleyi)
      Though thought to be a babbler for a long time, recent molecular evidence suggests that this bird is actually a
    SOUIMANGA SUNBIRD (Cinnyris sovimanga)
      Often placed in genus Nectarinia.
E   MADAGASCAR SUNBIRD (Cinnyris notatus)
      Also called "Madagascar Green Sunbird" and often placed in genus Nectarinia.
E   MADAGASCAR WHITE-EYE (Zosterops maderaspatanus)
E   REUNION GRAY (MASCARENE) WHITE-EYE (Zosterops borbonicus borbonicus)
      The most common native bird on Reunion.
E   MAURITIUS GRAY (MASCARENE) WHITE-EYE (Zosterops borbonicus mauritianus)
      The most common native bird on Mauritius.
E   REUNION OLIVE WHITE-EYE (Zosterops olivaceus)
      Not as widespread as the Gray on Reunion, but still relatively common in the more "undisturbed" forest.
E   MAURITIUS OLIVE WHITE-EYE (Zosterops chloronothos)
      One of the rarest of the extant native forest birds on Mauritius nowadays.
b   EURASIAN GOLDEN ORIOLE (Oriolus oriolus)
      A first-year male (probably) was found by our Berenty guide Benoi. Our views weren't good enough to identify it
      to subspecies (nominate from Europe or kundoo from India). Either way, it's a nice vagrant on Madagascar!
E   RED-TAILED VANGA (Calicalicus madagascariensis)
      One of the indicator species of an arboreal mixed-species flock... and rather fetching, in addition.
E   RED-SHOULDERED VANGA (Calicalicus rufocarpalis)
      A species only described to science in 1997 based on two female specimens and a photo of a male! It is still very
      poorly known: rare and local in the SW. Thus, it was very nice to be able to catch up with a pair at La Table.
EN RUFOUS VANGA (Schetba rufa)
     A widespread, but retiring vanga. We saw it best at Ankarafansika.
EN HOOK-BILLED VANGA (Vanga curvirostris)
     The "original" vanga (note the genus name).
E   LAFRESNAYE'S VANGA (Xenopirostris xenopirostris)
      Several seen well near Toliara.
E   POLLEN'S VANGA (Xenopirostris polleni)
      Remarkably common this year at Ranomafana.
E   SICKLE-BILLED VANGA (Falculea palliata)
      One of the more distinctive vangas, we watched them searching the undersides of branches for insect prey in
E   WHITE-HEADED VANGA (Artamella viridis)
     At one point in Perinet, we watched on that had captured and was dispaching a frog.

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E   CHABERT'S VANGA (Leptopterus chabert)
      One of the more widespread of the vangas, found in humid and dry forests. The form in the SW, schistocercus,
      has white in the tail.
E   BLUE VANGA (Cyanolanius madagascarinus)
      Although common, this striking blue and white bird can be difficult to see in the canopy.
E   TYLAS VANGA (Tylas eduardi)
      Several seen in Ranomafana and Mantadia.
E   CORAL-BILLED NUTHATCH (NUTHATCH VANGA) (Hypositta corallirostris)
      What a treat to see these so well! This species was once thought to be a nuthatch relative, but was since shown
      to be a vanga.
EN CRESTED DRONGO (Dicrurus forficatus)
     About the closest thing in Madagascar to a kingbird, drongos forage inside forest with flocks and at edges like
     large flycatchers.
EN PIED CROW (Corvus albus)
     An attractive crow with a mellow voice... but still with the personality of a crow...
E   MADAGASCAR STARLING (Saroglossa aurata)
      A far more retiring forest starling, we only saw these on a few occasions. Meegs sharp eyes spotted them on two
I   COMMON MYNA (Acridotheres tristis)
      Common, garrulus, and everywhere. One enterprising pair tried to build a nest in the tail fin of our plane that was
      waiting to take us from Tana to Majunga!
I   HOUSE SPARROW (Passer domesticus)
      A familiar bird to us all, but the ones introduced to the Mascarenes are a cleaner-looking bird than those of
      European origin; they are of subspecies indicus.
I   VILLAGE WEAVER (Ploceus cucullatus)
      Introduced to the Mascarenes, the subspecies there is the E African spilonotus, which has a yellow crown.
EN NELICOURVI WEAVER (Ploceus nelicourvi)
     Not a communal nester like the , but we still watched a male trying to entice a female to view his nest at the
     entrance of the Vohiparara trail in Ranomafana. Those juveniles are a poorly-known plumage!
EN SAKALAVA WEAVER (Ploceus sakalava)
     Common on the dry (western) side of Madagascar. It was entertaining to watch the males' displays while females
     were inspecting nests at our hotel in Ifaty.
EN RED FODY (Foudia madagascariensis)
     Widespread and even introduced or self-spread onto many islands in the western Indian Ocean, we encountered
     this species *every day* of the tour and even the extension! And yet it's still a striking bird to look at!
E   FOREST FODY (Foudia omissa)
      After hearing it in Ranomafana, we got good looks at Andohahela NP near Ft. Dauphin.
EN MAURITIUS FODY (Foudia rubra)
     Great views of several males at Bassin Blanc NP, Mauritius.
I   COMMON WAXBILL (Estrilda astrild)
      Seen on Reunion.
E   MADAGASCAR MUNIA (Lonchura nana)
      Fairly common in open country throughout Madagascar.
I   NUTMEG MANNIKIN (Lonchura punctulata)
      Seen by some on Mauritius.

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I   YELLOW-FRONTED CANARY (Serinus mozambicus)
       Seen by some on Mauritius.

    TENREC (Tenrec ecaudatus)
      We actually saw these best on Reunion, where they are introduced.
    MADAGASCAR FRUIT BAT (Pteropus rufus)
      The "Flying Fox" we saw at Berenty.
    WESTERN MOUSE-LEMUR (Microcebus murinus murinus)
      Also called Gray Mouse Lemur (we saw this and the Gray-brown Mouse Lemur, M. griseorufus, at Berenty).
    MOUSE LEMUR SP. (Microcebus rufus)
      Also called Brown Mouse Lemur. This is the widespread species of eastern humid forests, such as Ranomafana,
      where we saw it.
    BROWN LEMUR (Lemur fulvus fulvus)
      Plenty common at Ankarafansika.
    RED-FRONTED LEMUR (Lemur fulvus rufus)
      The (sub)species of Brown Lemur we saw in Ranomafana and (introduced) Berenty.
    RED-BELLIED LEMUR (Lemur rubriventer)
      Briefly seen on the Vohiparara trail (Ranomafana) our last morning there.
    RING-TAILED LEMUR (Lemur catta)
      Amazing how much these resemble raccoons in both appearance and behavior.
    GRAY BAMBOO (GENTLE) LEMUR (Hapalemur griseus)
    GOLDEN BAMBOO LEMUR (Hapalemur aureus)
      A species that we saw well at Ranomafana as it came to the ground at close quarters. Its discovery was one of
      the events that led to Ranomafana being preserved!
      Also called "Greater Bamboo Lemur" (Prolimur simus).
    VARIEGATED (RUFFED) LEMUR (Varecia variegata)
      These showy, panda-like lemurs put on an impressive show for us at Mantadia!
    DRY-BUSH WEASEL LEMUR (Lepilemur mustelinus leucopus)
      This was the species we saw at Berenty and called "White-footed Sportive Lemur."
    VERREAUX'S SIFAKA (Propithecus verreauxi verreauxi)
      The best-known of the sifakas. All the footage you may have seen of galloping sifakas was taken at Berenty,
      where we saw this one best.
    COQUEREL'S SIFAKA (Propithecus verreauxi coquereli)
      Our first sifaka of the tour at Ankarafansika.
    DIADEMED SIFAKA (Propithecus diadema)
      The largely cinnamon sifaka that we saw at Mantadia.
    MILNE-EDWARDS' (DIADEMED) SIFAKA (Propithecus diadema edwardsi)
      Angie and Moira got a glimpse of this attractive sifaka from the platform at Belle Vue in Ranomafana.
    INDRI (Indri indri)
      What a sound! And we saw them so easily. These wonderful animals are always a treat to encounter.
    RED FOREST RAT (Nesomys rufus)
      A few of these large rodents seen inside forest at Ranomafana.
    SUNDA SAMBAR (Cervus timorensis)
      The "Javan Deer" on Mauritius

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Additional Comments

Reddish-gray Mouse-Lemur (Microcebus griseorufus)- the other mouse-lemur we saw on our night
walk in Berenty.

Hubbard's Sportive Lemur (Lepilemur hubbardi)- our first sportive lemur of the tour, in Zombitse NP. It
is also the one that set the trend of not desmostrating its "sportiveness."

Mantella madagascariensis: the colorful frogs from Ranomafana (I must say that the "M. baroni" from
Perinet looks identical!).
Mantidactylus pulcher: on the Pandanus on the Vohiparara trail, Ranomafana.
Mantidactylus liber: Andasibe, Perinet.

Furcifer verrucosus: chameleon at Berenty.
Furcifer parsonii: the large chameleon at Perinet.
Furcifer oustaleti: the common large chameleon in the west.
Calumma globifer: the colorfully-patterned chameleon with the white lateral stripe at Andohahela NP.
Calumma brevicornis: the common horned chameleon in humid eastern forests.
Oplurus cuvieri: the large, collared iguanid that was common in Ankarafansika.
Chalaradon madagascariensis: the Three-eyed Lizard of Ifaty.
Phelsuma madagascariensis: the smaller geckos on the Baobab at Zombitse.
Phelsuma quadriocellata: The handsome geckos at Belle Vue.
Phelsuma standingi: The large gecko on the trunk at Zombitse.
Phelsuma lineata: the one at the hotel at Ranomafana.
Phelsuma guimbeaui: the Mauritius day gecko.
Uroplatus fimbriatus: the lichen-mimic gecko from Perinet.
Lygodactylus sp.: the well-camouflauged ground gecko at Perinet.
Paroedura picta: the large-headed nocturnal gecko from Ifaty.

Crocodylus niloticus: Nile crocodile (at least seen captive at Berenty).

Leioheterodon madagascariensis: the Madagascar Hog-nosed Snake of Ankarafansika.
Sanzinia madagascariensis: Madagascar Tree Boa (usually found on the ground, as we did at

Unfortunately, I can't find positive identifications of other herps we encountered in time to include them

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