For our Madagascar Highlights birding tours, we have selected only the very best of this incredible country and offered it in a shorter package and at a more relaxed pace than our Comprehensive tours. Nonetheless, we still target all five endemic Malagasy bird families and good numbers of lemurs and other representative wildlife, making these tours ideal for travellers with limited time or less interest in targeting every single endemic bird.
Our first destination is a journey to the bird and animal-rich sites of Perinet and Mantadia National Park in the eastern rainforest zone. The unforgettable song of the Indri drifts through these forests, and we will take time out to find a family group of these, the largest lemur species. Some of the brilliant birds we will look for include several highly sought-after forest birds, including Pitta-like, Rufous-headed, Short-legged and Scaly Ground Rollers, Red-breasted, Red-fronted and Blue Couas, the stunning Velvet Asity, Cuckoo Roller, Crossley’s Babbler, Madagascar Owl, Rainforest Scops Owl, Madagascar and Collared Nightjars, Madagascar (Crested) Ibis, Madagascar Wood Rail, Nuthatch Vanga, Madagascar Blue Pigeon, Brown Emutail, White-throated Oxylabes and Nelicourvi Weaver. Other attractions in this scenically beautiful region are the vocal Black-and-White Ruffed Lemur and the elusive Diademed Sifaka, considered by many to be the world’s most beautiful lemur.
The next leg of this adventure takes us to Ifaty and Tulear for their spiny deserts and coastal habitats. Here we look for the uncommon Madagascar Plover and the beautiful Red-tailed Tropicbird along the seashores, as well as exploring the bizarre, Tolkienesque landscape of multi-stemmed succulents, squat baobab trees and thorny scrub for such spectacular endemics as Banded Kestrel, Running and Red-capped Couas, Archbold’s Newtonia, Thamnornis, Lafresnaye’s Vanga, the near mythical Subdesert Mesite, Long-tailed Ground Roller (an elusive ground dweller best located by its low, hooting call), flocks of noisy Sickle-billed Vangas, Subdesert Brush Warbler and the attractive Chabert’s Vanga.
Our final destination is Berenty, the most famous of Madagascar’s lemur reserves. This is home to no less than six lemur species and the south’s largest colony of Madagascar fruit bats (sporting 1.25-metre wingspans!). The easiness with which to observe and photograph Ring-tailed Lemurs and ‘dancing’ Verreaux Sifakas, in particular, has turned this small protected area into one of Madagascar’s prime wildlife destinations. Some of the birding highlights here could include Giant Coua strolling along the well-cleared paths, Madagascar Buttonquail scurrying through the leaf litter, Madagascar and France’s Sparrowhawks, and the smart-looking Madagascar Sandgrouse.
Subdesert Mesite, Cuckoo Roller, Long-tailed, Pitta-like, Rufous-headed, Short-legged & Scaly Ground Roller, Red-breasted, Red-fronted, Running, Red-capped, Blue & Giant Coua, Velvet Asity, Nuthatch, Lafresnaye’s & Sickle-billed Vanga, Crossley’s Babbler, Banded Kestrel, Madagascar & France’s Sparrowhawk, Madagascar Sandgrouse, Madagascar Buttonquail, Madagascar Owl, Rainforest Scops Owl, Madagascar & Collared Nightjar, Madagascar (Crested) Ibis, Madagascar Wood Rail, Brown Emutail, White-throated Oxylabes, Archbold’s Newtonia, Thamnornis, Nelicourvi Weaver
Indri, Ring-tailed & Red-bellied Lemur, Black-and-white Ruffed Lemur, Diademed & Verreaux’s Sifaka, Madagascar Flying Fox
rainforest, riparian forest, deciduous woodland, spiny desert, mudflats, wetlands
warm to very hot, cooler evenings in highlands, some rainfall possible
slow to moderate
Spiny Desert, Berenty, weird herps & insects, coral reefs, shopping, culture