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Location Madagascar, Antsiranana
Central coordinates 49o 6.00' East  12o 55.00' South
IBA criteria A1, A2, A3
Area 18,225 ha
Altitude 50 - 409m
Year of IBA assessment 2001

Asity Madagascar (Affiliate)

Site description This reserve is located 70 km south of Antsiranana and 20 km north of Ambilobe. It is delimited by a cliff in the west, by the Mananjeba river in the south and, in the east, by the Route Nationale 6 between Antsiranana and Ambilobe. Ankarana is a massif of Jurassic limestone overlying a basaltic plain. The massif is highly eroded and karstic (‘tsingy’), and is divided by deep, northward-running canyons, penetrated by caves. Several underground rivers, the most important of which are the Ankarana, Mananjeba and Besaboba, flow through these caves in an east–west direction (into Ambavanankarana Bay), creating a very complex drainage system. During the dry season, the massif is an important hydrological reservoir for neighbouring people and their domestic animals. There is a large variety of microhabitats. Flat limestone areas are covered by dense, dry deciduous forest, dominated by Leguminosae and Burseraceae. The basalt floor of the canyons, where little water can infiltrate, allows the presence of dense, humid evergreen forest, similar in structure to such forest in eastern Madagascar, and dominated by Dalbergia, Canarium, Ficus, Zanthoxylum, palms and Pandanaceae. Degraded areas contain bamboo Olyra. Xerophytes such as Adenia, Aloe, Pachypodium and Noronhia cover the tsingy. The surroundings of the massif are covered by typical western savanna with Bismarckia palms.

Key Biodiversity See Box and Tables 2 and 3 for key species. Ninety-four species are known from the site, of which 34 are endemic to Madagascar. The site is important for both forest birds and waterbirds. Forest birds occur in the ‘Foresters Canyon’ and the ‘Grand Canyon’ in the western part of the reserve, as well as in Analamay in the eastern part. Such birds are usually absent from the Tsingy May forest, an area of low vegetation on the most exposed rocks. The site is one of the six known for Mesitornis variegata, and holds (with nearby Andavakoera) the only populations of Caprimulgus enarratus known in the West Malagasy biome.

Non-bird biodiversity: Lemurs: Phaner furcifer ?electromontis (VU), Eulemur coronatus (VU), E. fulvus sanfordi (VU), Hapalemur griseus ?occidentalis (VU), Lepilemur septentrionalis (VU), Propithecus diadema perrieri (CR), Daubentonia madagascariensis (EN). Carnivore: Cryptoprocta ferox (VU).

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
Madagascar Crested Ibis Lophotibis cristata resident  1986  present  A1  Near Threatened 
Madagascar Pond-heron Ardeola idae breeding  1986  present  A1  Endangered 
Madagascar Heron Ardea humbloti resident  1986  present  A1, A3  Endangered 
Madagascar Fish-eagle Haliaeetus vociferoides resident  1986  present  A1, A3  Critically Endangered 
Madagascar Sparrowhawk Accipiter madagascariensis resident  1986  present  A1  Near Threatened 
White-breasted Mesite Mesitornis variegatus resident  1986  present  A1, A2, A3  Vulnerable 
Coquerel's Coua Coua coquereli resident  1986  present  A2, A3  Least Concern 
Van Dam's Vanga Xenopirostris damii resident  1986  present  A1, A2  Endangered 
Sickle-billed Vanga Falculea palliata resident  1986  present  A3  Least Concern 
Sakalava Weaver Ploceus sakalava resident  1986  present  A3  Least Concern 

Protected areas

Protected area Designation Area (ha) Relationship with IBA Overlap with IBA (ha)  
Ankarana Special Reserve 25,308 protected area contains site 18,225  


IUCN habitat Habitat detail Extent (% of site)
Artificial - terrestrial   3%
Unknown   6%
Shrubland   42%
Forest   47%

Land use

Land-use Extent (% of site)
agriculture -
forestry -
nature conservation and research -
water management -
other -
Notes: Firewood collection.
not utilised -

References Decary and Kiener (1970), Fowler et al. (1989), Green et al. (1991), Hawkins et al. (1990), Jenkins (1987), Meyers and Ratsirarson (1988), Nicoll and Langrand (1989), Paulian (1961), Rand (1936), Remillet (1973), Simons et al. (1990), Walters et al. (1986), Wilson (1985), Wilson et al. (1987).

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Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2016) Important Bird and Biodiversity Area factsheet: Ankarana Special Reserve. Downloaded from on 23/10/2016

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