Language: English with bilingual summary in English and French
Southeastern Madagascar, defined here as the region from Tolagnaro north to Manantenina and west to the Mandrare River and its upper tributaries, contains a remarkable variety of habitats, including humid forests, dry spiny bush, littoral forests, coastal zones, high mountains, and areas of inland freshwater habitat. Within this region and its variety of habitats 189 bird species have been recorded. This represents 68% of the birds known to occur on Madagascar, within a region representing approximately 10,000 km2, or about 1.7% of the total land area of the island.
Information is presented on the distribution, general aspects of natural history, diet, breeding, weight, soft part colors, and local names of the region's avifauna. This information is based on our own field work, published and unpublished observations, and museum specimens.
The abrupt ecotone between wet and dry over a distance of a few kilometers is largely due to the north-south aligned Anosyenne Mountains, which act as a rain barrier or pluviometric fault. This shift in habitats over a short distance has few parallels elsewhere in the Old World tropics or subtropics and is reflected in extensive bird species turnover.
Virtually all natural habitats within the region are currently threatened as a result of human activities. Little remains of the once extensive lowland forests on lateritic soils as a result of clearing for swidden agriculture, and the spiny forest has been extensively exploited for charcoal production and cleared for sisal plantations. The major reserve within the area is the Réserve Naturelle Intégrale d'Andohahela, which is composed of three parts: parcel I is humid forest (63,100 ha), parcel 2 is spiny forest (12,420 ha), and parcel 3 is transitional forest (500 ha). The future is bleak for natural habitats that remain outside the current protected areas system.
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