Breakfast Male Lemur
Research Scientists at Berenty
HOMEPAGE of the Berenty Website The Berenty Reserve Tourism Website The Ako Project

Gray Coua

Giant Coua © photo by
Lisa Gray









Read about Promoting Fruit
Bat Conservation in...

Bookcover for Fruit Bat Conservation through Education in Madagascar

Bat Conservation through Education in Madagascar,

an educational work to promote bat conservation in both zoo-based programs as well as in wild habitats.

This document, published by The Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) Bat Taxon Advisory Group (Bat TAG), raises awareness of the critical ecological role that endemic fruit bats play in their environment.


Birds at Berenty

The overall bird list of Berenty, as well as lists and analysis of other sites, can be found in Goodman, S.M., Pidgeon, M., Hawkins, A.F.A., and Schulenberg, T.S. 1997., The Birds of Southeastern Madagascar, Fieldiana Zoology Series No 87.

Available illustrated bird books include Langrand, Olivier; 1990: Guide to the Birds of Madagascar, Yale University Press and Sinclair, I & Langrand, O.; 1998: Birds of the Indian Ocean Islands, Struik, and Morris, P. and Hawkins, F., 1998, Birds of Madagascar: A Photographic Guide. Pica Press.

A few of the birds of Berenty are illustrated on this page. Particularly noteworthy are the giant ground couas, Coua gigas, which are common at Berenty but largely hunted out elsewhere.

Intensive research on the Madagascar paradise flycatcher, Terpsiphone mutata, has been done by Raoul Mülder's team in Bealoka ( The flycatcher has two male forms, a red one and a black-and-white one. They co-exist in stable polymorphism, which is extremely rare among birds. Tracking both DNA and behavior suggests that the black-and-white males may be sexier in terms of female mate choice, but the red forms more attentive in raising chicks, such that they maintain an evolutionary stable strategy with neither gaining a long-term advantage.

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Bats and other mammals at Berenty

Roosting P rufus, photo by Ryszard Oleksy

Madagascar fruit bats, Pteropus rufus, are among the largest bats in the world, with wingspans of over one meter. The Berenty colony is the largest in southern Madagascar, varying seasonally from 600 to 1800 individuals as of 1998, although numbers may have dropped with cyclones and dry years since then. They were studied by Emma Long of Aberdeen University, who found that they fed on indigenous figs but also largely depend on pollen of sisal flowers from the surrounding sisal fields. An article on her work can be found at Lubee Bat Conservancy. Ryszard Oleksy, a University of Bristol PhD student supervised by Prof Gareth Jones has written of, "The Contribution of fruit bats to forest regeneration in Madagascar"

         Roosting P rufus © photo by R Oleksy

The large tenrec, Tenrec ecaudatus, the greater hedgehog tenrec Setifer setosus, live in the reserve, and the smaller hedgehog tenrec, Echinops telfairi probably does so, as does a Microgale species. The endemic rodent, Eilurus myoxinus, the western tuft-tailed rat, can be seen climbing bushes and trees—a sweet animal, with reddish back and creamy belly. Unfortunately the commonest rodents are the world-wide black rats, which are the scourge of all small, modified forests in Madagascar.

Vets at Work
  Tenrec among leaves © photo by G Williams
Graham and Lemur - "All Floppy"

© photo of civet by G Williams

Berenty is too small to hold Madagascar's largest carnivore, the fossa, Cryptoprocta ferox. The only wild carnivores are Indian civets, Viverricula indica. Feral dogs and cats do prey on lemurs, especially on young of the semi-terrestrial ringtails.
A pair of Galidia elegans, the red ringtailed mongoose, has appeared at Berenty in 2012, having never been seen there before! The Berenty pair have not yet been photographed.