Remote Madagascar and Comoros birding tour smashes species seen by hardly any birders!

By December 2, 2014 Uncategorized

In November 2014, we did our first Malagasy “Owls of the World” ® tour, and it greatly exceeded expectations! We were seeking five of the world’s most localized owl species just off the African coast on Indian Ocean islands – four of them on the archipelago of the Comoros, and the final one in the extreme north of Madagascar. Very few birdwatchers have ever seen even one of these species, but we got an amazing full house, with photos to prove it! Plus we also saw Slender-billed Flufftail, Madagascar Pochard, and a host of other spectacularly rare birds. A full trip report is yet to come (please watch this space) but in the meantime we want to share a few of the photos of these amazing birds, all by tour participant Alan van Norman. Our next remote Malagasy birding tour will be in September/October 2015 and is already tentatively filling up – please put your name down soonest if you wish to join this. In 2015, we will likely also include the Seychelles for its easy endemic owl – Seychelles Scops Owl, White Tern (Gygis alba, previously known as Fairy Tern), and others – the Seychelles we expect to be a breeze in comparison to remote Madagascar and the Comoros. We are so very excited about this new venture into the Malagasy region beyond the normal Madagascar birding and wildlife tours. Enjoy the photos below and ask (by e-mail at to be added to our mailing list or watch this space for the full report.

1)      Karthala Scops Owl, a Critically Endangered species lurking only on the forested slopes of an active volcano. Estimated population 1500 and declining.

Karthala Scops Owl 2 Karthala Scops Owl

2)      Moheli Scops Owl, Critically Endangered, occurring only on a single mountain ridge. Estimated population 260 and declining.

Moheli Scops OwlMoheli Scops Owl 2

3)      Mayotte Scops Owl, luckily Least Concern but nevertheless not often seen!

Mayotte Scops OwlMayotte Scops Owl 2

4)      Anjouan Scops Owl, rediscovered in 1992, Critically Endangered, with less than 250 individuals left and decreasing.

Anjouan Scops Owl

5)      Red Owl, Vulnerable, population size difficult to assess but estimated to be 3500 – 15000 individuals left

Madagascar Red Owl

6)      Madagascar Pochard, Critically Endangered, 20-50 adults left, hopefully 3 more coming according to this photo?

Madagascar Pochard

7)      Slender-billed Flufftail, Endangered, 250-1000 individuals left

Slender-billed Flufftail

And in addition a great many other Malagasy endemics were seen on this amazing remote Madagascar birding tour, including:

Madagascan Flufftail, White-throated Rail, and Madagascan Rail

Madagascar Flufftail

White-throated Rail

Madagascar Rail

We also saw many of the other “usual” birds we see on our typical Madagascar birding tours, such as this bizarre bird, White-breasted Mesite, and the Madagascan Fish Eagle (both Threatened, like so much of Madagascar’s fauna):

White-breasted Mesite

Madagascar Fish Eagle

We hope you’ve enjoyed a few photos of some of the world’s least-often seen bird species. We’ll post the 2015 remote Malagasy bird tour we run at along with the trip report, but please do e-mail if you want to be on our mailing list, which gives our news once every two months.

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