madagascar once more

To: "Wim Vader" <>, "birding-aus" <>
Subject: madagascar once more
From: "Rosemary Royle" <>
Date: 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.

Rosemary Royle

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