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Population status of the Madagascar Fish Eagle Haliaeetus vociferoides in 2005–2006

  • GILBERT RAZAFIMANJATO (a1), THE SEING SAM (a1), MARIUS RAKOTONDRATSIMA (a1), LILY-ARISON RENE DE ROLAND (a1) and RUSSELL THORSTROM (a2)...
Summary

Coastal and inland surveys for the endemic and “Critically Endangered” Madagascar Fish Eagle Haliaeetus vociferoides were conducted in western Madagascar from Antsiranana in the north to Manja in the south during the 2005 and 2006 breeding seasons (May–October). Surveys covered typical Madagascar Fish Eagle habitat: lakes, rivers, mangroves, estuaries, and marine islands within their known distribution. In total, 287 individuals were encountered, including 98 breeding pairs (196 individuals), 23 breeding trios (69 individuals), 15 single adults and seven immature birds. Of these 287 birds, 128 individuals (44.6%) were observed on lakes; 116 (40.4%) in coastal areas, consisting of 103 (35.9%) in mangroves and 13 (4.5%) in estuaries; 32 (11.2%) on marine islands and 11 (3.8%) on rivers. There was an increase between surveys in 1995 and this study in the number of Madagascar Fish Eagles counted, from 222 to 287, and in the number of pairs from 99 to 121. This study confirms that the Madagascar Fish Eagle population is still low due to human persecution (hunting, collection of eggs and nestlings), overfishing and habitat destruction. We recommend monitoring fish eagles annually at the higher concentration sites to evaluate human activities and conducting a population survey every five years throughout western and northern Madagascar.

Le recensement le long de la côte et à l’intérieur de la terre continentale de l’Aigle Pêcheur de Madagascar Haliaeetus vociferoides a été mené dans la partie ouest de Madagascar depuis Antsiranana, au nord, jusqu’à Manja, au sud. Il a été effectué entre mai et octobre durant deux saisons de reproduction successive (2005 et 2006). Le dénombrement a couvert ses habitats caractéristiques entre autres les lacs, les mangroves, les estuaires et les îles marines à l’intérieur de son aire de distribution. Un total de 287 individus a été enregistré. Ils se répartissent en 98 couples normaux reproducteurs (n = 196 individus), 23 couples polyandres reproducteurs (n = 69 individus), 15 individus adultes solitaires et 7 individus immatures. Parmi ces individus, 44,6% (n 5 128 individus) sont localisés dans l’écosystème lacustre ; 40,4% (n = 116 individus) dans les zones littorales dont 35,9% (n = 103 individus) fréquentent les mangroves et 4,5% (n = 13 individus) préfèrent les estuaires ; 11,2% (n 5 32 individus) dans les îles et îlot marins et 3,8% (n 5 11 individus) dans l’écosystème fluvial. Les nombres de l’aigle pêcheur et de couple recensés présentent respectivement un accroissement de 222 à 287 et de 99 à 121 entre le dernier comptage en 1995 et celui de la présente étude. Cette étude confirme que la taille de sa population reste faible à cause de la persécution humaine directe (chasse, collecte des œufs et des poussins), la surpêche et la dégradation de l’habitat. Le suivi annuel de l’Aigle Pêcheur de Madagascar dans les zones à forte concentration et le comptage systématique tout les cinq ans, couvrant les parties ouest et nord, est fortement recommandé.

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*Author for correspondence; email: rmanjato@yahoo.fr
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