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Key bird species of Marojejy Strict Nature Reserve, Madagascar

  • M. I. Evans (a1), J. W. Duckworth (a2), A. F. A. Hawkins (a3), R. J. Safford (a4), B. C. Sheldon (a5) and R. J. Wilkinson (a6)...

From mid-August to late October 1988, Marojejy Strict Nature Reserve, in the northern part of Madagascar's rainforest, was surveyed for birds. The reserve extends from 75 to 2,133 m altitude and the 60,150 ha comprise an almost intact series of altitudinal forest zones. Observations were made in all forest zones and at all altitudes of the reserve and the total of 104 species found included almost all Madagascan rainforest birds, making Marojejy one of the most important sites for bird conservation in Madagascar. The status of the eight threatened, 10 near-threatened and two restricted-range species observed is detailed here, together with notes on their ecology and behaviour. Finds of major conservation interest included the first documented sighting of Madagascar Serpent-eagle Eutriorchis astur since 1930, a healthy population of Henst's Goshawk Accipiter henstü, all four rainforest ground-rollers Brachypteracüdae and a new population of Yellow-bellied Sunbird-asity Neodrepanis hypoxantha. Furthermore, the patchy distribution of Helmetbird Euryceros prevostü urges reconsideration of its current assessment as not at risk. Four threatened species (Rufous-headed Ground-roller Atelornis crossleyi, Yellow-bellied Sun-bird-asity, Grey-crowned Greenbul Phyllastrephus cinereiceps and Madagascar Yellowbrow Crossleyia xanthophrys) were found only in the upper montane forests; this apparent altitudinal preference for three of these species had not been suggested before this survey. The major threat to the birds of Marojejy is the ceaseless piecemeal clearance of the reserve's forest, which is proceeding inwards from the boundary.

De la mi-aout a la fin octobre 1988, une etude sur les oiseaux a été menee dans la Reserve Naturelle Integrate de Marojejy, situee dans le nord de la foret equatoriale de Madagascar. La reserve s'etend sur une altitude allant de 75 a 2,133 metres et sa superficie de 60,150 ha abrite une serie de forets d'altitude restees pratiquement intactes. Des observations ont 6te faites dans toutes les zones foresrieres et a toutes les altitudes de cette reserve et les 104 especes d'oiseaux trouvees incluaient presque toutes les especes d'oiseaux de la foret tropicale de Madagascar, la reserve de Marojejy representant ainsi l'un des sites de conservation des oiseaux les plus importants de Madagascar. La situation des huit especes menacees, dix especes presque menacees et deux especes a distribution geographique limitee, observees au cours de l'etude, est decrite ici en detail, avec des notes sur leur ecologie et leur comportement.

Parmi les decouvertes particulierement interessantes pour la conservation, nous pouvons citer la premiere observation documented de l'aigle-autour Eutriorchis astur depuis 1930, une population bien developpee de Accipiter henstü, l'ensemble des quatre types forestieres de Brachypteracüdae et une nouvelle population de Neodrepanis hypoxan-tha. De plus, la repartition geographique inegale de YEuryceros prevostü exige une reconsideration urgente de son evaluation actuelle en tant qu'espece sans risque. Quatre especes menacees (Atelornis crossleyi, Neodrepanis hypoxantha, Phyllastrephus cinereiceps et Crossleyia xanthophrys) n'ont été trouvees que dans les forets de haute altitude: l'apparente preference de ces trois especes pour les hautes altitudes n'avait pas été suggeree avant cette etude. La principale menace pour les oiseaux de Marojejy est le defrichage incessant de la foret de la reserve, cette destruction s'etendant progressive-ment de l'exterieur vers l'interieur de la foret.

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Bird Conservation International
  • ISSN: 0959-2709
  • EISSN: 1474-0001
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