A rapid assessment of waterbirds and the mangrove status in the Menabe Antimena Protected Area, Madagascar

Main Article Content

Christoph Zöckler
Solofo Ndrina Razanamahenina
Matthias Markolf


Mangroves are of great ecological importance that provide multiple ecosystem services, shelter, and habitat for many threatened waterbird species.  The mangroves of the Menabe Antimena Protected Area (MANAP) in western Madagascar are among the most extensive remaining on the island.  The remaining dryland forests of the MANAP have been subjected to immense deforestation in recent years.  Although remote sensing studies indicate that the mangrove forest loss is considerably lower than the dryland forest loss, little is known about the mangroves’ degradation status.  Furthermore, detailed information on bird diversity and numbers is scattered, and previous surveys focused on northern parts of the MANAP, recently designated as the Wetlands of the Tsiribihina RAMSAR site.  This study aims to assess bird diversity and abundance, as well as the status of mangroves in the MANAP. We conducted a rapid survey using direct observations at three sites along the coastal regions of the MANAP from 24 Sep–2 Oct 2019.  We recorded 71 species of birds in the mangroves and coastal wetlands.  High numbers of individuals were counted for several species.  Numbers of the Madagascar Plover Charadrius thoracicus and the Madagascar Teal Anas bernieri fulfill criteria for important bird areas at single survey sites and the site is likely to be of importance for Madagascar Sacred Ibis Threskiornis bernieri; these three species are all globally threatened.  Mangrove degradation is still limited, but numerous threats to mangroves are present.  Our results highlight the importance of the mangroves of the MANAP for several endemic bird species in Madagascar.  We provide recommendations for conservation management and future research.

Article Details


Funding data


Andrianarimisa, A. & G. Razafimanjato (2010). Madagascar Sacred Ibis Threskiornis bernieri: current population status, distribution, and implications for conservation, pp. 120–130. In: Harebottle, D.M., A.J.F.K. Craig, M.D. Anderson, H. Rakotomanana & M. Muchai (eds). Proceedings of the 12th Pan-African Ornithological Congress, 2008. Cape Town, Animal Demography Unit.

Baba, S., H.T. Chan & S. Aksornkoae (2013). Useful Products from Mangrove and other Coastal Plants. ISME Mangrove Educational Book Series No. 3. International Society for Mangrove Ecosystems (ISME), Okinawa, Japan, and International Tropical Timber Organization (ITTO), Yokohama, Japan, 99pp.

BirdLife International (2016a). Anas bernieri. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2016: e.T22680252A92852755. Downloaded on 14 October 2020. https://doi.org/10.2305/IUCN.UK.2016-3.RLTS.T22680252A92852755.en

BirdLife International (2016b). Ardea humbloti. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2016: e.T22697012A93598644. Downloaded on 15 October 2020. https://doi.org/10.2305/IUCN.UK.2016-3.RLTS.T22697012A93598644.en

BirdLife International (2020a). Important Bird Areas factsheet: Wetlands of the Tsiribihina delta and upper Tsiribihina river. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 17 March 2020.

BirdLife International (2020b). Species factsheets: Anas bernieri, Ardea humbloti, Charadrius thoracicus. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 01 August 2020.

Carugati, L., B. Gatto, E. Rastelli, M. Lo Martire, C. Coral, S. Greco & R. Danovaro (2018). Impact of mangrove forests degradation on biodiversity and ecosystem functioning. Scientific Reports 8, pp 1–11. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-018-31683-0

Chechia, A.M. (2020). Population evaluation of Humblot’s Heron and Madagascar Fish Eagle at lake Kimanaomby, in new protected area Menabe Antimena. Report. https://doi.org/10.13140/RG.2.2.18055.96165

Clausen, A., H. Rakotondrazafy, H.O. Ralison & A. Andriamanalina (2010). Mangrove Ecosystems in Western Madagascar: An Analysis of Vulnerability to Climate Change, WWF Study Report, 24pp.

Global Forest Watch (2014). World Resources Institute. www.globalforestwatch.org. Accessed on 13 October 2020.

Goodman S.M., M.J. Raherilalao & S. Wohlhauser (2018). Site 85 Menabe Antimena, pp. 1494–1510. In: The Terrestrial Protected Areas of Madagascar. Their History, Description, And Biota. Association Vaharatra, Antananarivo.

Hamilton, S.E. & D. Casey (2016). Creation of a high spatio-temporal resolution global database of continuous mangrove forest cover for the 21st century (CGMFC-21). Global Ecology and Biogeography 25(6): 729–38. https://doi.org/10.1111/geb.12449

Hawkins, F., R. Safford & A. Skerrett (2015). Birds of Madagascar and the Indian Ocean Islands. Helm Field Guides, Bloomsbury Publishing, 336pp.

Hudson, M., H. Andrianandrasana, R. Lewis, R. Gerrie & L. Concannon (2019). Unprecedented Rates of Deforestation in Menabe Antimena: Can We Halt This Catastrophic Damage?, Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust, 22pp, Downloaded on 15. August 2020. https://www.documentcloud.org/documents/5744009-Durrell-2018-Unprecedented-rates-of.html

Jones, T., L. Glass, S. Gandhi, L. Ravaoarinorotsihoarana, A. Carro, L. Benson, H. Ratsimba, C. Giri, D. Randriamanatena & G. Cripps (2016). Madagascar’s mangroves: quantifying nation-wide and ecosystem specific dynamics, and detailed contemporary mapping of distinct ecosystems. Remote Sensing 8(2): 106. https://doi.org/10.3390/rs8020106

Long, P.R., S. Zefania, R.H. French-Constant & T. Székely (2008). Estimating the population size of an endangered shorebird, the Madagascar Plover, using a habitat suitability model. Animal Conservation 11(2): 118–127. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1469-1795.2008.00157.x

PAG Menabe Antimena (2014). Plan d’amenagement et de gestion de la nouvelle Aire Protegee Menabe Antimena. Fanamby, Durrell, Ministere de l’Environnement, de l’Ecologie et des Forets, Centre National de Formation, d’Etude et de Recherche sur l’ Environnement et Foresterie.

Project Zicoma (2001). Madagascar, pp. 489–537. In: Fishpool, L.D.C. & M.I. Evans (eds.). Important Bird Areas in Africa and Associated Islands: Priority Sites for Conservation. Pisces Publications & BirdLife International, Newbury & Cambridge, UK, 1129pp..

Razafimanjato, G., T.S. Sam & R. Thorstrom (2007). Waterbird monitoring in the Antsalova region, western Madagascar. Waterbirds 30(3): 441–447. https://doi.org/10.1675/1524-4695(2007)030[0441:WMITAR]2.0.CO;2

Razafindrajao, F., A.J. Bamford, H.G. Young, A. Andrianarimisa, A.I.B. Aboudou & R.E. Lewis (2017). Reassessing the conservation outlook for Madagascar’s endemic Anatidae following the creation of new protected areas. Wildfowl 67: 72–86.

Rasolofo, M.V. (1997). Use of mangroves by traditional fishermen in Madagascar. Mangroves and Salt Marshes 1: 243–253.

R Core Team (2019). R: A language and environment for statistical computing. R Foundation for Statistical Computing, Vienna, Austria. URL https://www.R-project.org/.

Safford, R.J. (1993). The Madagascar Teal Anas bernieri: a preliminary survey from Antsalova to Morondava. Dodo 29: 95–102.

Safford, R.J. & A.F.A. Hawkins (eds.) (2013). Birds of Africa. Volume VIII. The Malagasy Region. Helm London, 1024pp.

Sanderman, J., T. Hengl, G. Fiske, K. Solvik, M.F. Adame, L. Benson, J.J. Bukoski, P. Carnell, M. Cifuentes-Jara, D. Donato, C. Duncan, E.M. Eid, P. Ermgassen, C.J.E. zu, Lewis, P.I. Macreadie, L. Glass, S. Gress, S. Jardine, L. T.G. Jones & E. Landis (2018). A global map of mangrove forest soil carbon at 30 m spatial resolution. Environmental Research Letters 13(5): 055002. https://doi.org/10.1088/1748-9326/aabe1c

Sartain, A. & A.F.A. Hawkins (2013). Madagascar Heron Ardea humbloti, pp. 192–194. In: Safford, R.J. & A.F.A Hawkins (eds.). The Birds of Africa. Vol. VIII: The Malagasy Region, Christopher Helm, London, 192–193pp.

Shapiro, H., D. Randriamanantena, H. Kuechle & F. Razafindramasy (2019). The Mangroves of Madagascar: Cover, Status and Trends 2000–2018. WWF Germany, Berlin, and WWF Madagascar, Antananarivo, 39pp.

Young, H.G., R.P. Young, R.E. Lewis, F. Razafindrajao, Abdallah Iahia Bin Aboudou & J.E. Fa (2014). Patterns of waterbird diversity in central western Madagascar: where are the priority sites for conservation? Wildfowl 64: 35–53.

Wetlands International (2012). Waterbird Population Estimates, 5th edition. Wetlands International, Wageningen, The Netherlands. https://www.wetlands.org/publications/waterbird-populations-estimates-fifth-edition/

Ramsar (2020). Ramsar Sites Information Service, Taxonomic lists, Ramsar site: Mangroves de Tsiribihina, https://rsis.ramsar.org/ris/2302

Zefania, S. & T. Székely (2013). Madagascar Plover Charadrius thoracicus, pp. 395–397. In: Safford, R.J. & A.F.A. Hawkins (ed.), The Birds of Africa. Vol. VIII: The Malagasy Region. Christopher Helm, London.

Zinner, D., C. Wygoda, L. Razafimanantsoa, R.T. Rasoloarison, H. Andrianandrasana, J.U. Ganzhorn & F. Torkler (2014). Analysis of deforestation patterns in the central Menabe, Madagascar, between 1973 and 2010. Regional Environmental Change 14: 157–166. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10113-013-0475-x

Zöckler, C., D. Wodehouse & M. Markolf (2021). A Visual Assessment Scale for Rapid Evaluation of Mangrove Degradation, Using Examples from Myanmar and Madagascar. In Mangrove Ecosystem Restoration [Working Title]. IntechOpen. https://doi.org/10.5772/intechopen.95340

Zöckler, C., D. Wodehouse & M. Markolf (2021). A Visual Assessment Scale for Rapid Evaluation of Mangrove Degradation, Using Examples from Myanmar and Madagascar [Online First], IntechOpen. https://doi.org/10.5772/intechopen.95340 Available from: https://www.intechopen.com/online-first/a-visual-assessment-scale-for-rapid-evaluation-of-mangrove-degradation-using-examples-from-myanmar-a