madagascar once more

To: "'Rosemary Royle'" <>, "'Wim Vader'" <>, "'birding-aus'" <>
Subject: madagascar once more
From: "Simon JR Muirhead" <>
Date: Sun, 25 Nov 2007 23:49:56 +1000
Hi all, I've always been under the impression it?s a lot more difficult
detecting birds in the typically high canopy of a rainforest type habitat,
and this may be affecting the number of birds you are seeing, though I could
be wrong?

Simon Muirhead

-----Original Message-----
 On Behalf Of Rosemary Royle
Sent: Sunday, November 25, 2007 9:59 PM
To: Wim Vader; birding-aus
Cc: ; ; Franz Krapp;
Subject: madagascar once more

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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