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THE COMOROS & NORTHERN MADAGASCAR

Saturday 20th September - Thursday 16th October 2014

Dani Lopez-Velasco

Helmet Vanga (Dani Lopez-Velasco)

Helmet Vanga (Dani Lopez-Velasco)

This was our third tour to explore some of the more remote areas of Northern Madagascar and the Comoro Islands, and although logistics (the number of broken vehicles during the tour was probably a Birdquest record!), including a major Air France strike, didn’t work as smoothly as we would have hoped, we put up with all hardships, in part thanks to an excellent and understanding group. And the result was a hugely successful tour, basically enjoying excellent views of every single Comoro endemic species and future split candidates, as well as almost all key northern Madagascar targets.

Highlights on Madagascar included excellent views of (Madagascar) Red Owl – our bird of the trip, and one of 8 species of owls recorded during the tour-, the recently rediscovered Madagascan Pochard, one of the rarest birds in the world, mega views of the out-of-this-world Helmet Vanga, definitely a must-see bird, as well as Bernier’s and Van Dam’s Vangas, the little known Sakalava Rail, which has been seen by only a handful of birders, and the ultra elusive Slender-billed Flufftail. Other notables species such as stunning Scaly, Pitta-like and Short-legged Ground-Rollers, shy White-breasted and Brown Mesites and the unique Schlegel’s Asity, to name a few, were seen well too. On the Comoro Islands, the clean-sweep of all of the endemics was very pleasing. Getting all four of the endemic scops owls was quite rewarding (with Moheli Scops Owl being a tour favourite by some!), while species such as the scarce Comoros Green Pigeon, the electric-blue Comoro Blue Vanga, the rare Grand Comoro Drongo, the stunning Comoro Blue Pigeon and the hard-to-get Karthala White-eye were also most welcome. We saw plenty of other great wildlife too, including many fabulous species of lemurs, and an incredible selection of reptiles (notably so chameleons) and amphibians – Madagascar is surely THE reptile capital of the world!

Red Owl (Dani Lopez-Velasco)

Red Owl (Dani Lopez-Velasco)