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Top birds, experiences and photographs from our Madagascar tour from 1-16 November 2011

Madagascar offers such unique and endemic wildlife that it's hard to choose a top 5. Here's what our November 2011 tour participants had to say...

The itinerary included the eastern rainforest sites of Andasibe-Mantadia and Ranomafana National Parks, the western dry deciduous forest and Lac Ravelobe of Ankarafantsika National Park, the south western transitional forest of Zombitse National Park, the spiny desert at Ifaty, the coral rag scrub near Tulear and the sacred island of Nosy Ve, breeding site of Red-tailed Tropicbirds. For more tour details, please click here.

Curious to see the votes of 2010? Please click here.
For some 2009 tour photographs please click here.

Top birds

1. Madagascar Flufftail (as we sat on the steep forest floor at Mantadia, it encircled us repeatedly and almost walked over someone's foot!)

2. Common Sunbird-Asity (at Ranomafana, eye-level views of a male feeding)

3. Scaly Ground Roller (at Mantadia, a pair posed for us in the open on a sandbank along the river)

4. Pitta-like Ground Roller (seen several times on the trail!)

5. Collared nightjar roosting (well worth the climb at Andasibe!)

6. Velvet Asity (a male posed obligingly for our cameras)

7. Rufous-headed Ground Roller

8. Madagascar Buttonquail (we must have watched and photographed them for over 20 minutes as they fed in circles along a trail at Ranomafana)

9. Cuckoo-Roller (what an acrobatic flight and haunting call!)

10. Schlegel's Asity

Madagascar Bee-eater

Sickle-billed Vanga

Blue Coua

Pygmy Kingfisher

Verreaux's Coua

Allen's Gallinule

Subdesert Mesite

Madagascar Crested Ibis

Top experiences

1. Our very first morning in the rainforest, we walked up a steep and densely forested ridge, used machetes to clear a trail, breathed heavily and there appeared Madagascar Flufftail: almost walking over someone's foot!

2. Faint rustling sounds in the undergrowth: Madagascar Buttonquail! Oblivious from our presence, it fed at leisure on the forest floor, turning its body and changing directions, making the typical feeding circles. We watched it for at least 20 minutes at about 3 meter from us.

3. Leaftailed Gecko. Ask Dale and Helen about the sharp stick!

4. Swimming in the cristal clear waters at Nosy Ve with all the birds in hand - just before another (hot) birding group trailed by...

5. Ringtailed lemurs - so well-habituated we could watch their natural antics at length. 6. Everyone was just so kind and patient - thank you!

7. Milne-Edwards Sifakas display at Ranomafana while we were watching the Yellow-bellied Sunbird-Asity.

8. The chameleon Furcifer balteatus, with its huge two rostral appendages and zebra-like colouration, caused much excitement at Ranomafana when awaiting our pool-side lunch. Probably the most impressive chameleon of the trip!

9. Coquerel's Sifaka bouncing around our breakfast table at Ankarafantsika.

10. Cuckoo Roller displaying - acrobatic flight and haunting call

Everyone's patience and kindness - thank you!

The nightwalk at Ranomafana: watching mouse lemurs up close plus 5 species of chameleon.

Waking up with Indri calling from our lodge.

Diademed Sifakas.

The long walks on the ridges in the rainforest.

Watching all possible species of Sifaka perform so well for us

The relaxed atmosphere at our Tulear beach-side hotel

Sunrise over the spiny desert

The breadth of knowledge and tenacity of our leader Callan Cohen

Getting so close to a pair of Scaly Ground-Roller that posed extensively for us in the open.

Rehydrating after successfully birding the spiny desert

Our lovely hostess at Andasibe

A refreshing swim in the sea at the spiny desert, and a spontaneous friendly interaction with the local kids

Unexpected views of Rainforest Scops-Owl, Torotoroka Scops-Owl, White-browed Owl and Marsh-owl.

The general rainforest experience.

The shear abundance of wildlife in Ankarafantsika.

Watching three female participants jumping on the trampoline!

When the Golden-brown Mouse lemur fell on top of my head!

Common Sunbird-Asity posing at eye-level, Ranomafana National Park © Callan Cohen & Deirdre Vrancken www.birdingafrica.com

Common Sunbird-Asity posing at eye-level, Ranomafana National Park © Callan Cohen & Deirdre Vrancken www.birdingafrica.com

Velvet Asity © Callan Cohen & Deirdre Vrancken www.birdingafrica.com

Velvet Asity © Callan Cohen & Deirdre Vrancken www.birdingafrica.com

Collared Nightjar at Andasibe-Mantadia National Park © Callan Cohen & Deirdre Vrancken www.birdingafrica.com

Collared Nightjar at Andasibe-Mantadia National Park © Callan Cohen & Deirdre Vrancken www.birdingafrica.com

Sickle-billed Vanga from our breakfast Ankarafantsika National Park © Callan Cohen & Deirdre Vrancken www.birdingafrica.com

Sickle-billed Vanga from our breakfast Ankarafantsika National Park © Callan Cohen & Deirdre Vrancken www.birdingafrica.com

Madagascar Little Grebe, swimming next to Meller's Duck at Andasibe-Mantadia National Park © Callan Cohen & Deirdre Vrancken www.birdingafrica.com

Madagascar Little Grebe, swimming next to Meller's Duck at Andasibe-Mantadia National Park © Callan Cohen & Deirdre Vrancken www.birdingafrica.com

A pair of Meller's Duck at Andasibe-Mantadia National Park © Callan Cohen & Deirdre Vrancken www.birdingafrica.com

A pair of Meller's Duck at Andasibe-Mantadia National Park © Callan Cohen & Deirdre Vrancken www.birdingafrica.com

Madagascar Sandgrouse near Tulear © Callan Cohen & Deirdre Vrancken www.birdingafrica.com

Madagascar Sandgrouse near Tulear © Callan Cohen & Deirdre Vrancken www.birdingafrica.com

Eastern Woolly lemur, andasibe, Avahi laniger © Deirdre Vrancken & Callan Cohen www.birdingafrica.com

How many can you see?! Four Eastern Woolly Lemurs cuddled up in a daytime roost under a bird's-nest fern, Andasibe-Mantadia National Park © Deirdre Vrancken & Callan Cohen www.birdingafrica.com

Brookesia superciliaris, Ranomafana (c) Deirdre Vrancken & Callan Cohen www.birdingafrica.com

Brookesia superciliaris, Ranomafana, found as we checked into our accommodation © Callan Cohen & Deirdre Vrancken www.birdingafrica.com

Frog Mantella baroni, Ranomafana  © Callan Cohen & Deirdre Vrancken www.birdingafrica.com

Mantella baroni at Ranomafana © Callan Cohen & Deirdre Vrancken www.birdingafrica.com

Coquerel's Sifaka bounds around our dinner table at Ankarafantsika © Deirdre Vrancken & Callan Cohen www.birdingafrica.com

Uroplatus sikorae, Andasibe-Mantadia © Callan Cohen & Deirdre Vrancken www.birdingafrica.com

Uroplatus sikorae at Andasibe-Mantadia National Park © Callan Cohen & Deirdre Vrancken www.birdingafrica.com

Verreaux's Coua © Callan Cohen & Deirdre Vrancken www.birdingafrica.com

Verreaux's Coua near Tulear © Callan Cohen & Deirdre Vrancken www.birdingafrica.com

Indri at Andasibe-Mantadia National Park © Callan Cohen & Deirdre Vrancken www.birdingafrica.com

Indri, the largest living lemur, at Andasibe-Mantadia National Park © Callan Cohen & Deirdre Vrancken www.birdingafrica.com

Madagascar Pond Heron © Callan Cohen & Deirdre Vrancken www.birdingafrica.com

Madagascar pond Heron at Lake Ravelobe, Ankarafantsika National Park © Callan Cohen & Deirdre Vrancken www.birdingafrica.com

Golden-brown Mouse Lemur © Deirdre Vrancken & Callan Cohen www.birdingafrica.com

Southern Black-and-white Ruffed Lemur © Deirdre Vrancken & Callan Cohen www.birdingafrica.com

Ring-tailed Mongoose © Deirdre Vrancken & Callan Cohen www.birdingafrica.com

Diademed Sifaka © Deirdre Vrancken & Callan Cohen www.birdingafrica.com

Small-toothed Sportive Lemur © Deirdre Vrancken & Callan Cohen www.birdingafrica.com

Madagascar Hoopoe © Deirdre Vrancken & Callan Cohen www.birdingafrica.com

 

For some more photographs from this tour, please click here.


About Birding Africa

Birding Africa is a specialist birding tour company customising tours for both world listers and more relaxed holiday birders.  We combine interests in mammals, butterflies, dragonflies, botany and other natural history aspects and will guide you to Africa's and Madagascar's most diverse birding destinations. Our guides' knowledge of African birds and birding areas is our greatest strength and together we have rediscovered species, shared exciting observations with the birding community and had a fun time exploring our home continent.  We've even written two acclaimed guide books on where to find Southern Africa's and Madagascar's best birds. Birding is more than our passion, it's our lifestyle, and we are dedicated to making professional, best value trips filled with endemic species and unique wildlife experiences. Since 1997, we've run bird watching tours in South Africa and further into Africa for individual birders, small birding groups and top international tour companies. We've run Conservation Tours in association with the African Bird Club and work with and consult for a number of other top international tour companies and the BBC Natural History Unit.

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