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THE COMOROS & NORTHERN MADAGASCAR

Birdquest’s Comoros and Northern Madagascar birding tour explores two rarely-visited parts of the world. Our Comoros and Northern Madagascar tour is a comprehensive survey of the interesting Comoros endemics, plus a number of rarely-seen Madagascar specialities, including the critically endangered Madagascar Pochard and Sakalava Rail.

Thursday 20th September — Saturday 29th September 2018
(10 days)


Northern Madagascar Extension: Sunday 30th September — Monday 8th October (9 days)

Leader: János Oláh

Group Size Limit: 9

Tour Category: Easy to moderate walking for the most part, accommodations range from comfortable to basic

On this tour, which is a fantastic adventure through seldom travelled lands, we hope to find little-known rarities such as the superb Sakalava Rail (Pete Morris)

On this tour, which is a fantastic adventure through seldom travelled lands, we hope to find little-known rarities such as the superb Sakalava Rail (Pete Morris)

This exciting tour focuses on the seldom-seen endemics of the Comoro Islands and some equally rarely seen specialities of the northern part of Madagascar.

The Comoro Islands are an archipelago of volcanic islands lying between Madagascar and Africa. Known by early seafaring Arabs as ‘The Islands of the Moon’, the Comoros are currently politically divided into two entities, the Union of Comoros (a sovereign state comprising Grande Comore, Anjouan and Mohéli) and Mayotte (an ‘overseas collectivity’ of France).

Originally colonized by people of Malay-Polynesian origin, the islands were later colonized by waves of African, Arab and Shirazi (Persian) colonizers. Each of the islands has a very different character and there is a wonderful expression in the Comoros which says: “Mohéli sleeps, Anjouan works, Mayotte plays and Grande Comore complains!”

The Comoro Islands have been very much neglected by the ornithological world and very few birders have visited these islands in recent times, in spite of the fact that there are already as many as 26 endemic bird species (and perhaps well over 30 in the future after further research). The islands underwent a period of political turmoil in the 1990s, but have since recovered and are now political stable. This exciting tour is certainly one that should appeal to those with the spirit of adventure and a desire to see some of the planet’s least-known birds.

During our visit to the Comoros we will visit all four of the major islands and we have an excellent chance of finding just about all their endemic birds, which include several globally threatened species.

Among the endemics are Comoros Olive, Comoros Green and Comoros Blue Pigeons, Mayotte, Anjouan, Mohéli and Karthala Scops Owls, Grand Comoro and Mohéli Bulbuls, Mayotte, Crested and Grand Comoro Drongos, Comoros Thrush, Humblot’s Flycatcher (a bird in its own genus), Comoros Blue Vanga, Anjouan, Mohéli and Grand Comoro Brush Warblers, Mayotte, Kirk’s and Karthala White-eyes, Mayotte, Anjouan, Humblot’s and Grand Comoro Green Sunbirds, and Comoros Fody.

During the optional extension to Northern Madagascar we will first explore Lake Kinkony, a remote wetland to the southwest of Majunga where the Sakalava Rail was relatively recently discovered.

Moving northwards, we will explore a truly remote region where Madagascar Pochard was recently rediscovered and where other rarities such as Red Owl, Meller’s Duck and Malagasy Harrier all still occur.

As well as these mega-specialities, we can expect to see a wide range of Madagascar endemic birds and other species of interest.

Birdquest has operated tours to the Comoros and the most remote parts of northern Madagascar since 2008.

Northern Madagascar-only Option: You may opt to take just the Northern Madagascar section as a stand-alone tour.

Tsingy Wood Rail Extension Option: If there are enough participants interested, we can arrange an extension to western Madagascar to find the rare and localized endemic Tsingy Wood Rail. Please inform us at the time of booking if you are interested in participating in such an extension.

Helmet Vanga Extension Option: If there are enough participants interested, we can also arrange an extension to an area not too far from Antananarivo where there is a high chance for the amazing Helmet Vanga and also Bernier’s Vanga. Please inform us at the time of booking if you are interested in participating in such an extension.

Accommodation & Road Transport: The hotels are of good or at least medium standard in most locations. On Anjouan and Moheli the hotels are fairly basic. For one night on Grande Comore, those who wish to look for Grand Comoro Scops Owl and Mount Karthala White-eye will have to camp out in tents. During the extension, for two nights at the Madagascar Pochard site and for two nights at Lac Kinkony we will be staying in a comfortable camp with two people per tent. Road transport is by 4x4 vehicles, minibuses (passenger vans) or cars and roads are variable in quality.

Walking: The walking effort is mostly easy, but there are several moderate grade walks on the Comoros. Those wishing to look for Grand Comoro Scops Owl and Mount Karthala White-eye will have to make a rather strenuous uphill hike in order to do so.

Climate: Rather variable. Many days at lower altitudes will be hot, dry and sunny, but it is sometimes overcast and rainy. At higher altitudes the weather is similar but temperatures are cool to warm. It may be humid at times.

Bird/Mammal Photography: Opportunities range from worthwhile to fairly good.

Can be taken together with: THE SEYTCHELLES, MAURITIUS & RÉUNION and/or ULTIMATE MADAGASCAR

Tour Price: £3320, €3780, $4350 Moroni (Grand Comoro)/Dzaoudzi (Mayotte). Single Room Supplement: £306, €349, $401. Deposit: £400, €500, $550.

Northern Madagascar taken as an extension: £3190, €3640, $4190 Dzaoudzi (Mayotte)/Majunga. Single Room Supplement: £180, €205, $236. Deposit: £400, €480, $520.

Northern Madagascar taken as a stand-alone tour: £2890, €3290, $3780 Majunga/Majunga. Single Room Supplement: £140, €160, $184. Deposit: £350, €420, $460.

Includes surface transportation, accommodations, meals, water, entrance fees and tips/gratuities.

Also includes these flights: Moroni (Grande Comore)-Mohéli, Mohéli-Anjouan, Anjouan-Dzaoudzi (Mayotte), Dzaoudzi (Mayotte)-Majunga.

Also includes an extra hotel night (most likely in Dzaoudzi) for those taking the extension.

Please note that the extension price is based on there being a direct flight available from Dzaoudzi to Majunga. Direct flights on this route are not daily and schedules can change. In the event of an indirect routing there will have to be a supplementary charge to cover the difference in cost.

The Northern Madagascar single room supplement excludes the four nights at Lac Kinkony and the Madagascar Pochard site.

Base prices for this tour are in Euros. The exchange rates applied at the time of costing were: £1 = €1.140 and €1 = $1.150.

Air Travel To & From The Tour: Our in-house IATA ticket agency will be pleased to arrange your air travel on request, or you may arrange this yourself if you prefer.

Of the endemics in the Comores, the Comoros Blue Pigeon is arguably one of the most spectacular. Around twenty two endemics are currently recognized, but plenty more are likely to be split. (Pete Morris)

Of the endemics in the Comores, the Comoros Blue Pigeon is arguably one of the most spectacular. Around twenty two endemics are currently recognized, but plenty more are likely to be split. (Pete Morris)

The magnificent Red Owl is an excellent possibility on this tour (Pete Morris)

The magnificent Red Owl is an excellent possibility on this tour (Pete Morris)

We will also go to see the recently re-discovered Madagascar Pochard, a species that we are helping to conserve (Pete Morris)

We will also go to see the recently re-discovered Madagascar Pochard, a species that we are helping to conserve (Pete Morris)

109 photos View Gallery Photos From THE COMOROS & NORTHERN MADAGASCAR
The endemics in the Comores include four scops owls, all of which were seen well in 2008. This inquisitive beast is a Mayotte Scops Owl (Pete Morris)

The endemics in the Comores include four scops owls, all of which were seen well in 2008. This inquisitive beast is a Mayotte Scops Owl (Pete Morris)

... and this, the poorly known Moheli Scops Owl, a species with an amazing voice (Pete Morris)

... and this, the poorly known Moheli Scops Owl, a species with an amazing voice (Pete Morris)

The spectacular Comoros Blue Vanga is a potential split (Pete Morris)

The spectacular Comoros Blue Vanga is a potential split (Pete Morris)

Other endemics include the colourful Mayotte Sunbird (Pete Morris)

Other endemics include the colourful Mayotte Sunbird (Pete Morris)

... Anjouan Sunbird (Pete Morris)

... Anjouan Sunbird (Pete Morris)

... Comoros Thrush (the three forms vary greatly and may actually be three species!) (Pete Morris)

... Comoros Thrush (the three forms vary greatly and may actually be three species!) (Pete Morris)

... the drab but rare Grand Comoro Drongo (Pete Morris)

... the drab but rare Grand Comoro Drongo (Pete Morris)

... and the more spectacular Mayotte Drongo (Pete Morris)

... and the more spectacular Mayotte Drongo (Pete Morris)

Other diverse wildlife in Madagascar includes the world's smallest chameleon (Pete Morris)

Other diverse wildlife in Madagascar includes the world's smallest chameleon (Pete Morris)

... and the splendid Crowned Sifaka, pictured here at Katsepy, south of Majunga (Pete Morris)

... and the splendid Crowned Sifaka, pictured here at Katsepy, south of Majunga (Pete Morris)

Many of the flights and flight-inclusive holidays on this website are financially protected by the ATOL scheme. But ATOL protection does not apply to all holiday and travel services listed on this website. Please ask us to confirm what protection may apply to your booking. If you do not receive an ATOL Certificate then the booking will not be ATOL protected. If you do receive an ATOL Certificate but all the parts of your trip are not listed on it, those parts will not be ATOL protected. Please see our booking conditions for information, or for more for more information about financial protection and the ATOL Certificate go to: www.atol.org.uk/ATOL Certificate

Birdquest Ltd is Registered in England, Company No. 01568270. The address of our registered office is Two Jays, Kemple End, Stonyhurst, Clitheroe, Lancashire BB7 9QY

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