Birds – Madagascar

Philip Briggs
Expert
By Philip Briggs

Philip is a renowned Africa expert and author of many guidebooks to African destinations, including the Insight guide to Madagascar.

Philip is a renowned Africa expert and author of the Insight Guide to Madagascar.

Philip is the author of the Insight Guide to Madagascar.

Madagascar is a great birding destination. Close to 300 species have been recorded, of which over 100 species only occur in Madagascar. Of particular interest are the four families found nowhere else in the world. These are the mesites, asities, bernierids and ground rollers. A further two families are restricted to the region, which includes only Comoros and Seychelles: the cuckoo roller and vangas. Birds in Madagascar tend to be noticeably less noisy than on mainland Africa – although they are generally more vocal during the Wet season. Birds do however tend to be more approachable in Madagascar.

Notable Birds in Madagascar
Crested coua
Locally common
Crested drongo
Common
Madagascar hoopoe
Common
Madagascar magpie-robin
Common
Madagascar paradise flycatcher
Common

Birding Rating

Birding Specials Treats for Avid Birders

Facts & Figures

Birds in Madagascar
Bird Species
280+
Migratory Birds
Apr to Nov

Best Time for Bird Watching

Bird watching in Madagascar is great throughout the year as most interesting species are present year-round. The best months are during the Wet season, from November to April when birds are most vocal and therefore easier to spot. Many birds nest during the rainy months and some birds, such as the sought-after helmet vanga, are most easily found by their nests. Some migrating birds breed on the island in the Wet season and go to the mainland for the Dry season.

Best Parks for Birding Includes Birding Rating

Most parks in Madagascar offer good bird watching. It is almost impossible to include all the good birding parks in one trip. However, to tick off a good range of species, it pays to visit both the rainforest and the dry spiny forest zones. The wet rainforest habitat of northern and eastern Madagascar is particularly rich in species. Andasibe-Mantadia NP is very accessible and highly rewarding. Less accessible, but worth the effort is Masoala NP, the best place to see Madagascar’s top bird, the helmet vanga. Dry country specials can be found in places such as Berenty PR, Isalo NP and little known Zombitse-Vohibasia NP.

Recommended Birding Books

  • Birds of Madagascar and the Indian Ocean Islands
    Roger Safford, Adrian Skerrett, et al.
  • Chamberlain's Birds of the Indian Ocean Islands: Madagascar, Mauritius, Reunion, Rodrigues, Seychelles and the Comores
    Olivier Lagrand
  • A Photographic Guide to the Birds of the Indian Ocean Islands: Madagascar, Mauritius, Seychelles, Réunion and the Comoros
    Fanja Andriamialisoa  (Author), Ian Sinclair  (Author), Olivier Langrand (pocket guide)

Want to Visit Madagascar?

Birding Rating

Facts & Figures

Birds in Madagascar
Bird Species
280+
Migratory Birds
Apr to Nov