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Extension: Mauritius & Reunion

In-depth coverage of the accessible parts of Madagascar: many endemic birds, striking lemurs, bizarre flora and chameleons, fascinating culture. Optional extension to the Indian Ocean islands of Mauritius and Reunion will add yet more endemics.

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Madagascar is one of the major zoogeographic regions of Earth. Ninety percent of its forest species and all of its native land mammals are unique, among them the many species of lemurs, a primate group now largely confined to Madagascar. More than half of the 250-plus bird species are endemic, including six families of birds found only here and on the nearby Comoros: the mesites, the monotypic Cuckoo-Roller, the ground-rollers, the asities, the vangas, and the recently separated Malagasy Warblers (Bernieridae). Additionally, the couas comprise a distinctive endemic subfamily. It is also sadly a place where habitat destruction and over-population greatly threaten biodiversity, so it's an important destination on any birder's must-visit list.

Our tour visits all of the major habitats of the island, from gallery forests at Berenty and spiny forest near Toliara to dry deciduous forest near Mahajanga in the northwest and lush rainforest at Perinet, Mantadia, and Ranomafana. This broad coverage of the best locales gives us an excellent chance to find all the endemic bird families as well as potentially more than 110 species of Madagascar's endemic birds--the few others being either nearly extinct, virtually unknown, highly localized, or inaccessible to groups.

To walk the misty forest of Perinet to the dawn chorus of Indris crying, couas calling, and vangas scolding, or to hike the gallery forest of Berenty followed by troops of Ring-tailed Lemurs while Black Parrots and Cuckoo-Rollers fly overhead and giant fruit bats rise on noisy, leathery wings is truly to feel one is returning to a living remnant of the Eocene era--Earth as it might have appeared fifty million years ago.

Optional Extension
We will visit the Indian Ocean islands of Mauritius and Reunion in search of a variety of exciting endemic and specialty birds. These include some of the rarest species on earth, the subjects of intense conservation projects over the past 30 years. On Mauritius these are Mauritius Kestrel, Echo (Mauritius) Parakeet, Pink Pigeon, Mauritius Fody, and Mauritius (Olive) White-eye. Reunion, too, holds special subset of endemics: Reunion Harrier, Reunion Stonechat, Reunion Bulbul, two endemic white-eyes, and a chance for the rare Reunion Cuckooshrike, as well as Barau's Petrel close inshore.

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2019 Departures
Nov 2-25 ($9875)

2020 Departures
Oct 31 - Nov 23

2021 Departures
Oct 30 - Nov 22



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Guides for our tours
Phil Gregory

What to Expect
Accommodations variable in Madagascar and good elsewhere, easy to moderately difficult terrain, some long walks, several long drives, warm to very hot climate.

Our staff travel agents can assist you with tour information, flight reservations and tour bookings. Contact us at (800) 728-4953
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