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East Malagasy wetlands
Country/Territory Madagascar
Area 17,000 
Altitude 0 - 2,700m  
Priority urgent 
Habitat loss major 
Knowledge incomplete 

General characteristics 

This EBA includes lakes, pools and marshes in eastern Madagascar, including those at sea-level (notably in the region of the Pangalanes Canal) and in the uplands. The boundary of the EBA has been difficult to define as these wetland areas are patchy and often small, being, in many cases, small areas of aquatic habitat within the East Malagasy wet forests (EBA 094), and therefore not always featuring on generalized vegetation maps. The extent of the EBA is thus similar to that of the eastern rain forests, although the EBA has been represented by a coastal strip and a handful of key inland localities, including the wetlands around Lake Alaotra (220

Restricted-range species 

Two species have very small distributions: Tachybaptus rufolavatus is known chiefly from Lake Alaotra, and Aythya innotata is also restricted largely to this same region although there are isolated data on its presence elsewhere, including at Lake Itasy. The remaining extant species are more widespread, with Anas melleri being also known from a few sightings in the West Malagasy wetlands (EBA 096) and Actophilornis albinucha largely occurring there, being extremely rare and possibly extinct in this EBA.

Another species of the West Malagasy wetlands, Madagascar Heron Ardea humbloti, has also been recorded in this EBA but has not been included as one of its restricted-range species because the records are presumed to be of wandering juveniles.

Species IUCN Category
Madagascar Pochard (Aythya innotata)  CR 
Meller's Duck (Anas melleri)  EN 
Alaotra Grebe (Tachybaptus rufolavatus)  EX 
Madagascar Fish-eagle (Haliaeetus vociferoides)  CR 
Slender-billed Flufftail (Sarothrura watersi)  EN 
Madagascar Rail (Rallus madagascariensis)  VU 
Madagascar Jacana (Actophilornis albinucha)  NT 
Madagascar Snipe (Gallinago macrodactyla)  VU 
Grey Emu-tail (Amphilais seebohmi)  LC 

Important Bird Areas (IBAs)

IBA Code Site Name Country
  Ankeniheny Zahamena Corridor NPA (CAZ)  Madagascar 
MG014  Tsaratanana Strict Nature Reserve and extension  Madagascar 
MG019  Ankaizina wetlands  Madagascar 
MG045  Bezavona Classified Forest  Madagascar 
MG046  Lake Alaotra NPA  Madagascar 
MG050  Didy and Ivondro wetlands  Madagascar 
MG053  Torotorofotsy Wetlands  Madagascar 
MG054  Mantadia National Park and Analamazaotra Special Reserve  Madagascar 
MG058  Lake Itasy  Madagascar 
MG079  Ranomafana National Park and extension  Madagascar 
MG080  Andringitra National Park  Madagascar 
MG082  Vondrozo Classified Forest NPA  Madagascar 

Threats and conservation 

Lake Alaotra is a rice-producing centre of national importance; since 1923 it has been undergoing a transformation for agricultural purposes and its water has become heavily laden with sediments because of the intense erosion affecting neighbouring hills (Langrand 1990, Pidgeon 1996). It is also heavily polluted with insecticides (including DDT), and, as a result, there is very little aquatic vegetation. In addition, areas under rice cultivation quickly become unusable, resulting in new areas constantly being required and the continuing erosion of reedbed and shallow water (A. F. A. Hawkins in litt. 1995).

Three of the four species endemic to this EBA are considered highly threatened: there have been no reliable records in the last 10 years of Tachybaptus rufolavatus, which is in the irreversible process of disappearing through hybridization with Little Grebe T. ruficollis (a recent colonizer of Madagascar), hunting and trapping, the various impacts of introduced fish (which considerably limit the development of aquatic vegetation), probably poisoning through pesticides and loss of habitat; Aythya innotata has also become increasingly rare during the twentieth century, with one record at Lake Alaotra in 1960, a sighting near Antananarivo in 1970, and the capture of a single bird in 1991 which later died in captivity (Wilm

Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2016) Endemic Bird Area factsheet: East Malagasy wetlands. Downloaded from on 27/10/2016

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