Working for birds in Africa

The Endemic Birds of Madagascar

Fri, 21/12/2012 - 12:09 -- abc_admin
Guy Eldridge, 2008. Privately published. Four DVD set featuring 130 Malagasy endemic species.
pages 284 - 285

More than four years in the making, Guy spent over 24 weeks in the field producing this truly stunning set of DVDs of Madagascar's endemic birds. However, I would question whether some of the species that migrate to continental Africa, e.g. Madagascar Pond Heron Ardeola idae, Madagascar Pratincole Glareola ocularis and Madagascar Bee-eater Merops superciliosus can really be called endemics. Coverage includes such localised species as Madagascar (Bernier's) Teal Anas bernieri, although there are still a few omissions, namely Sakalava Rail Amaurornis olivieri, Slender-billed Flufftail Sarothrura watersi and Madagascar Red Owl Tyto soumagnei, leaving Guy with a few challenges for the next edition.

Individual coverage lasts from a few seconds to a couple of minutes, but almost without exception the footage is superb. I am sure everyone will have their own personal favourites but for me it is difficult to beat the ground-rollers, particularly Short-legged Brachypteracias leptosomus and Rufous-headed Atelornis crossleyi, and the couas Coua spp. Quality-wise, my only small gripe is that the freeze-frame images at the start of some of the species sequences flickered badly on one of the review DVDs, but other than that I had no complaints at all.

Although the price may be off-putting, this is a great reminder of how terrific a destination for birdwatchers Madagascar is. The set should appeal to everyone who has already been there and surely act as a catalyst for those yet to do so. I would certainly like to return after watching this. Now if only Guy would move on to the lemurs. Highly recommended.

Richard Webb

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