The term birding refers to the act if watching and observing birds in their natural habitats using enhancement devises like binoculars and cameras. With Madagascar having the largest number of endemic birds in the whole world it has become the perfect birding destination for all birders.
There are not many species of birds in Madagascar but the uniqueness of the ones that are found in the country make your visit worthwhile as you get to see species that cannot be found anywhere else in the world. The bird species that are found in the country are reducing due to the fact that their natural habitats have been encroached on by the locals who keep on cutting down trees for settlement and agriculture.
What To Carry on Your Bird watching In Madagascar?
There are several equipment that you will need as you head out for birding in Madagascar and these include the following:
Birds are extremely sensitive to movement and sound and therefore you will binoculars so that you can be able to view them from a distance without disturbing them. They also help you see the bird species that stay hidden in their habitats.
- A camera
A camera will help you take photos of the rare birds that you have never seen before and those that you would like to compare with the still photos that you have in your birding books.
- An identification book
An identification book is one which has almost all the information about the different bird species that are found in a specific country. Identification books will help you easily identify some of the bird species that you will see as the book has vivid descriptions about the bird and a picture.
- Food and water
As you are heading out for birding, you will need to carry some snacks and water because the places that you are going to do not have snacks for you because the bird habitants are located deep into the forests which makes it hard for one to purchase the food and therefore it is advisable that you carry enough water and food so that you do not get hungry while birding.
In order for one to carry out birding properly without any disturbance, you will need hides to do that. Hides refer to anything whether clothes or a bush thicket that helps you camouflage into the background so that you do not scare away the birds and they also help you observe the birds freely.
- Insect repellents
Most birds in Madagascar are seen during the wet season and this is the same season as to when the insects are on the rise. In order to avoid insect bites while carrying out birding, you will need to carry some insect repellent to avoid becoming a meal to Madagascar insects especially mosquitoes.
- A portable voice recorder
Birds communicate using call signs and sometimes the only to identify them is by having a voice recorder. This helps identify the birds using the sounds that they make.
Popular Birding Destinations in Madagascar & Top Bird Species To See
When you go for birding in magdagsacr, remember that it is coupled with wildlife viewing as the birds species are not as many as in other African countries. The different destination places that one can go to when it comes to birding I Madagascar include the following:
Birding at Mitsinjo
Birding at Mitsinjo forest is mostly done in the morning with the help of a tour guide. The different bird species that can be seen in the forest include the collared nightjar, the ground roller, the velvet asity, the Kittliz’s plover, the Madagascar wagtail, the Hottentote teal and other species.
The Andasibe National Park
The Andasibe National Park is just three hours away from the capital city of Madagascar Antananarivo and has one of the largest rainforests in the area. A trained tour guide will take you through the park where you will get to observe the various bird species and these include the sunbird Asity, the Madagascar Fluff tail, the red tailed vanga, the nightjar, the Madagascar pygmy king fisher, the blue vanga, the pittal-like ground, the spectacled greenbul, the greater vasa parrot, the rufous-headed ground roller, the Madagascar blue pigeon, the ward’s shrike-flycatcher and many more others. All these and more can be viewed in the morning because that is when the lighting is perfect and it is when most of them are up and down and can easily be spotted. There are no meals provided while birding and therefore you need to carry your own food or wait till you get back to your hotel and have your meals.
The Ranomafana national Park
The Ranomafana national park also has a variety of bird species that you can view and like the rest of the birding experiences, you are not provided with food but you can carry your own snacks and water. The different bird species that are found in the park include the red legged ground roller, yellow browed oxylables, the Meller’s duck, the Madagascar snipe, the Madagascar green pigeon, the white throated oxylables, the Madagascar turtle dove, the magdagsacr scops owl, the common Newtonia, the brown Mesite and many more other species.
The Mantadia National park
The Mantadia National Park is one of the best birding destinations that are found in Madagascar and the bird species that can be viewed from the park include the cryptic Tetraka, the scaly ground roller, the little Grebe, white throated rail, pitta- like ground roller, the Madagascar spine tailed swift, the Tylas, the white headed vanga and the egres.
The birding process is also done in the morning and you can always come with your own lunch since you will not be able to buy any during the exercise and all this will be done with the aid of a tour guide.
Birding at the Ampijoroa forest station
The Ampijoroa forest station is located in the Ankarafantsika and it has several bird species. The station is the main point of view where the main birding is done and the different species that you will see include the blue Vangas, the fish eagle, the Rofous chaberts, the parrots and many more others. And on top of birding you get to see lemur species that habitate in the same park and these are the mouse lemurs, the mongoose lemurs and the dwarf lemurs.
Birding at Lake Tsarasaotra
Lake Tsarasaotra is located in the capital city of Antananarivo and there are several endangered bird species that can be found either hiding from the hunters or using the Lake as their habitat and some of these bird species include the Madagascar little grebe, the Meller’s duck, the Madagascar pond heron, the black crowned night heron, the squacco heron, the white whistling duck, the humblot’s heron and many more other water species. The lake is a protected are and therefore you will find many of the birds that are being hunted resting on its banks.
Birding in the Analamazaotra reserve
The Analamazaotra reserve is a rainforest reserve and it houses a lot of bird species within its different habitats. When you get to the reserve, a trained tour guide will be ready to take you through the park and show you the different bird species which include the common sunbird Asity, Madagascar cuckoo shrike, the lesser vasa parrot, the hook-billed vanga, magdagsacr magpie robin, the brush warbler, the Madagascar wagtail, green jery, ward’s flycatcher, the Madagascar flufftail and many more other species.
Birding in Isalo national park
Isalo National park is located in the southern part of the country and also has various bird species that you view besides watching the different lemurs jumping from one tree to the nest. The birds that can be seen at Isalo National Park include the Madagascar Hoopoe, the African palm swift, the Littoral rock trush, the Madagascar Bee Eater, Namaqua Dove, the Souimanga sunbird, the Madagascar Turtle dove, the Madagascar buttonquail, broad billed roller and many more other species.
When To Go Birding in Madagascar? Best Time For the Birders
For all the bird lovers, the best months to visit Madagascar are October and November. During this time, you will be able to see the different bird species in their natural habitats and also get to learn more about their characteristics.
The birding trips that we take you on are always prepared in advance and at a slow pace so that you get to see the birds while taking your time and understand their ways. The different parks where the birding takes place always have local tour guides who take you through the process but in most cases some of these speak only English so you will need a translator so in order to understand everything that is being said.
We organize birding trips to Madagascar so that the different people who come into the country get to see the different endemic species and also advocate for the saving of their safe habitats and this can be done with the various itineraries at a friendly cost that we have on our website.