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. In addition to these avian attractions, this "mini-continent" also boasts an extraordinarily diverse assemblage of endemic flora, reptiles, frogs and mammals, not least the famous lemurs and two thirds of the world's chameleons. Birding Madagascar is, quite simply, a birding experience like no other on Earth!
The legendary Elephant Birds were still alive in people's memory in the 17th century, but already gone for at least one century is Alaotra Grebe Tachybaptus rufolavatus. Madagascar Pochard Aythya innotata has recently been seen for the first time since the end of the 20th century. The future of such fantastic creatures as Slender-billed Flufftail Sarothrura watersi and Madagascar Fish Eagle Haliaeetus vociferoides remains uncertain. The endangered status of so many of its birds means that there has never been a better reason to visit this evolutionary wonderland!
This country account for Madagascar serves to provide birders with up to date information about birds and birding in the area. While the information provided has been sourced from a variety of reliable resources (a list is provided at the end of this document) the aim is such that this document is dynamic in that birders who have recently visited the region can add their own accounts and contributions. We therefore encourage readers to email new information to [email protected] .