Ostrich: Journal of African Ornithology

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Nesting biology and food habits of the endangered Sakalava Rail Amaurornis olivieri in the Mandrozo Protected Area, western Madagascar

Yverlin Z Pruvot, Lily-Arison René de Roland, Gilbert Razafimanjato, Marius PH Rakotondratsima, Aristide Andrianarimisa, Russell Thorstrom


We studied the nesting biology and food habits of the endangered and endemic Sakalava Rail Amaurornis olivieri from July to November 2015 in the Mandrozo Protected Area, western Madagascar. Three nesting pairs were observed and their nests were constructed in a dense mat of reeds Phragmites mauritianus and averaged 56.7 ± 15.3 cm above the water (n = 3 nests). Nests were built by both adults and it took 3 d on average to complete a nest (n = 2 nests). Thirteen matings were observed and lasted 4.1 s on average (n = 2 pairs). Average clutch size was three eggs (n = 2 nests). Both sexes incubated; the incubation period was 15–17 d (n = 2 nests). Both male and female participated in brooding and feeding the young, which remained for 3 d in the nest and became independent of their parents at 45 d of age. Based on 194 identified food items, the Sakalava Rail’s diet was composed of invertebrates: spiders (53.1%), insects (32%), crustaceans (10.8%) and molluscs (4.1%). The home ranges of two radio-tagged individuals were 0.95 and 1.98 ha.

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