The avifauna of Ankobohobo Wetland, a neglected Important Bird Area in northwestern Madagascar
We present here the first detailed inventory of the birds of Ankobohobo Wetland in northwest Madagascar, based on data collected annually in June and July 2010–2018. These wetlands consist of a c. 35 km2 area of mangroves and tidal mudflats which were designated as an Important Bird Area (IBA) within the West Malagasy Wetlands Endemic Bird Area (EBA) in 2001. However, recent and detailed information on their avifauna remains lacking. We used a boat to survey three 4 km stretches of the IBA’s river system on four repeated occasions each year, supplemented by opportunistic observations made in various parts of the study area. In total, we detected 59 species in Ankobohobo Wetland through c. 608 h of observation effort. This includes 26 Malagasy endemics, two Near Threatened species, three Endangered species (Malagasy Sacred Ibis Threskiornis bernieri, Malagasy Pond Heron Ardeola idae, and Humblot’s Heron Ardea humbloti), and the Critically Endangered Madagascan Fish Eagle Haliaeetus vociferoides. These constitute substantial additions to the inventory of the established Ankobohobo Wetland IBA, which previously stood at 19 species including one Malagasy endemic. We summarise these records here, providing additional details for threatened species. We also report observed threats to the wetlands, particularly with regards to the breeding H. vociferoides population, and highlight Ankobohobo as an important conservation priority.
Keywords: Endemic, Haliaeetus vociferoides, Important Bird Area, Inventory, Mangrove