"Wim Vader" <>, "birding-aus" <>
madagascar once more
"Rosemary Royle" <>
Sun, 25 Nov 2007 11:58:57 -0000
Hi Wim and Birding Aussers,
We were in Madagascar at the same time as you - (we were in Perinet at the same
time as the Rockjumpers group and actually watched Pygmy Kingfisher with you!)
- and I concur entirely with your impressions of the Madagascar forest being
low on bird density.We have also birded all over the world in rainforest and
had exactly the same impression that you did. Why were there so few birds?? The
only theory we could come up with was that it could be because there is quite a
high density of lemurs and reptiles and any patch of forest can only support a
certain biomass of wildlife irrespective of what form it takes??
Interestingly we found the dry forest at Ankaranfantsika (Ampirijoa) to have
more birds and they weren't all skulkers. And the dry desolate-looking spiny
forest was higher in bird density than you might expect. It was really the
rainforest which was such a puzzle.
The Madagascar Bird Guide does not help either - it describes a number of birds
as "common" which we only saw once or in one case (Common Sunbird Asity) not at
all, even though we spent long periods in suitable habitat.
All a bit of a mystery.
Our total for the 4 week trip was 178 and like you we missed only really
difficult birds (except for the one mentioned above!). But it was certainly
very hard work - it was useful that there were lemurs and chameleons to look at
when the going got tough! I think to fully enjoy a trip to Madagascar you need
to go for more than just the birds.
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