Amber Mountain

Tsingy Rouge

Ankarana Tsingy


Flora & Fauna


About Madagascar



Madagascar is a naturalist’s paradise.

Many of the island’s flora and fauna are unique to Madagascar. New species of plant and animal are being discovered each time a scientific team leads an expedition there. 80% of the plants are endemic, as are 95% of the mammals, 90% of reptiles and over 50% of the bird species. This is due to the separation of Madagascar from mainland Africa over 165 million years ago. The plants and animals evolved in unique ways to fill the niches in the ecosystem.

Although Madagascar has over 1,800 miles of beautiful beaches, its greatest attractions are its unique flora and fauna.

The Lemurs

These endangered primates are found wild only in Madagascar. Some of the best known are:

  • the nocturnal mouse and dwarf lemurs, some no bigger than a mouse, found all over the island
  • the "maki" Ring-tailed lemur, with its distinctive grey body and long black-and-white striped tail
  • the agile Sifaka lemurs, able to leap 30 feet or more from branch to branch
  • the "babakoto" Indri lemur, the largest living lemur, and the only tail-less lemur -- all efforts to keep them captive have failed (captured specimens immediately go on hunger strike, and refrain from eating until released), they can therefore only be seen (and heard) in some of the Eastern rainforests of Madagascar
  • the aye-aye is literally one of a kind (the only species of the only genus of the Daubentonidae family)

The Birds

There are approximately 270 bird species on the island. Of these 110 are endemic to Madagascar. Five families of birds are native to Madagascar. Notable birds are:

  • 15 Vanga species, each with slightly different beaks, filling different niches., found all over the island
  • 9 species of Couas, including the crested coua, one of the most beautiful birds of Madagascar, and the Peewit, easily identified by its unique call
  • the ground-rollers, non-migratory insect feeders who nest in holes that they dig themselves in the ground
  • 3 extremely rare Mesites – the Brown Mesite in the rainforest, the White-breasted Mesite in the western dry forests and the Sub-desert Mesite in the south’s spiny forest.
  • an abundance of aquatic birds in rice paddies and marshes, including herons, egrets, cormorants, ibises, ducks, water hens and flamingo
  • birds of prey, including eagles, falcons, kestrels and owls
  • more than 70 difference species of singing birds, including the two species of Vasa parrots

Rare Plants

Madagascar has one of the richest floras in the world and shelters more than 12,000 varieties of plants, over 80% of which are endemic to the island, including:

  • 1,000 different species of orchids, including the Comet Orchid (Angraecum sesquipedale), the hawkmoth-pollinated species with an extraordinarily long nectar spur, and the exotic Black Orchid (Cymbidiella falcigera), both found in the Eastern rain forests
  • the Ravinala, or "Traveler Tree", a striking "tree" with a water-storing trunk, in the bird-of-paradise family
  • 6 different species of baobabs, all of which are found only in Madagascar
  • two species of the carnivorous genus Nepenthes, or "pitcher plant" the spiny thicket of the south, with its many species of Aloe, Euphorbia, Kalanchoe, and Pachypodium

Other attractions:

reptiles (including chameleons, geckos, turtles and tortoises), amphibians (including brightly coloured frogs), beautiful butterflies, moths and stick insects, unique mammals such as the fossa, fantastic coral reefs, and whales during the breeding season.

Read more about Madagascar's reptiles