The avifauna of the forest mosaic habitats of the Mariarano region, Mahajanga II district, north-west Madagascar
Keywords:birds, endemic, Madagascar, inventory, dry forest
Background: The West Malagasy dry forests support numerous endemic species and experience heavy anthropogenic pressures, yet remain very poorly studied. Further research is required to understand species distributions and overall diversity in these threatened forest ecosystems.
Objectives: We aimed to provide a description of the avifaunal community of a particular dry forest, Mariarano forest, north-western Madagascar, as well as other habitats that are heavily integrated with these Forests. The study site possesses a highly endemic bird community and is under severe environmental pressure, but remains poorly explored.
Method: We compiled all records from a 9-year (2010–2018) bird survey data set (the most extensive compiled from a Madagascan dry forest to date), which yielded data from a combination of point count and mist-netting protocols. This was further supplemented by approximately 4384 h of opportunistic observation effort.
Results: In total, 95 species were detected, including 63 regional endemics (66.3% of all species), 2 local endemics and 7 Threatened or Near-Threatened species.
Conclusion: We highlight the forest mosaic habitats of Mariarano as a potential new Important Bird Area, given the regional importance of its endemic avifauna.