Breeding and foraging behaviour and habitat characteristics of the Scaly Ground-roller Geobiastessquamigerus in Madagascar

  • Jean Eric Rakotoarisoa The Peregrine Fund, PO Box 4113, Antananarivo 101, Madagascar <br> Faculté des Sciences, PO Box 906, Antananarivo 101, University of Antananarivo, Madagascar <br> Current address: Illinois State University, PO Box 4120, Normal, IL 61761, United States
  • Berthin Be The Peregrine Fund, PO Box 4113, Antananarivo 101, Madagascar


The endemic Scaly Ground-roller Geobiastes squamigerus was studied during two breeding seasons from October 1997 to January 1999 in Masoala National Park, Madagascar. Several vocalisations were associated with territorial defence, contact, excitement, and aggressiveness towards intruding conspecifics. Of the 269 prey items observed, 71.5% were invertebrates, 7.5% vertebrates, and 21.0% unidentified. Earthworms and centipedes represented the most numerous prey-types taken, representing 55% and 21% of the identified prey, respectively. Three nests were located in valleys and near streams. Nests were placed in ground burrows with tunnels that measured less than 10cm in diameter and less than 1m in depth. A single egg clutch was laid in each nest, and incubation and the nestling periods lasted 18 days and 24 days, respectively. Nesting began in late October, and one young from each nest successfully fledged in mid-December. Only the female incubated and brooded the young. Both male and female provided food for the nestling, and feeding rates did not differ between the sexes. Nesting habitat differed significantly from random plots sampled. Herbaceous coverage density was higher in nesting areas than random plots.

Ostrich 2004, 75(1&2): 25–31

Journal Identifiers

eISSN: 1727-947X
print ISSN: 0030-6525