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Mauritius & Rodrigues, June 9th till June 22nd 2003,
Participants: Jan van der Laan, Marieke Wiringa, Joop van der Laan
Between June 8th and June 22nd 2003 I went to Mauritius for a holiday. Again like in 2002 on the Seychelles I was there with my girlfriend Marieke Wiringa and our daughter Joop. Our main objective was to have a nice pleasant holiday, for me also on the agenda was to see all island endemics plus some photographing. We had it all, although photographing was quite difficult. Most endemic birds are in the forest and there are no seabird colonies like in the Seychelles which we visited in 2002.
Birding in Mauritius was not easy in June. Only the Myna's and the Red-whiskered Bulbuls were in song. I would not recommend this as your next birding destination, unless you combine it with a birding trip to Madagascar, Réunion or the Seychelles. Do not skip Rodrigues, a very pleasant island with two nice endemic birds and one endemic mammal (Rodrigues Fruit Bat Pteropus rodriguensis).
Mauritius and Rodrigues have 10-12 endemic bird species, depending on the status of pending new research on the Pterodroma population on Round Island and the status of the Mascarene Paradise Flycatcher.
Round Island Petrel
A very intriguing article by Brooke, Imber & Growe (Occurrence of two surface-breeding species of Pterodroma on Round Island, Indian Ocean in Ibis, 142: 139-158, 2000) states that there are two species of Pterodroma on Round Island, one that matches Trindade Petrel Pterodroma (a.) arminjoniana or Herald Petrel P (a.) heraldica and one other that is most probably Kermadec Petrel Pterodroma neglecta. The first has no white bases on the upperside of the primaries, the Kermadec Petrel has the white base on both upper- and underside, which makes the picture in Birds of the Indian Ocean Islands by Ian Sinclair and Olivier Langrand a Kermadec Petrel!
I spent a lot of hours seawatching, but without any Pterodroma. One option is to go to Round Island by boat, but this is rather expensive. There is a skipper called Captain Lindi Vencatassin (tel 2637275) in Grand Baie that will take birders around Round Island for c 10.000 rupees (c 340 euro).
In most trip reports birders see this falcon either at Domaine du Chasseur, the Visitor Center at Black River Gorge NP or on Île aux Aigrettes Nature Reserve. During my stay I heard that the first two were dead and the third had left the island! Therefore the Black River Gorges is now the best place. I was lucky to find one along the Macchabée Forest trail, but I would not count on it! According to Threatened Birds of the World (BirdLife International 2000) there were in 1999-2000 about 145-200 breeding pairs and a total of 500-800 individuals.
I did not see any at the Black River Gorge, although I heard one near Bassin Blanc. They are probably scarcer in winter or have decreased considerably the past two years. On Île aux Aigrettes Nature Reserve this pigeon is common, but I can imagine you will not see this as the real thing. According to Threatened Birds of the World (BirdLife International 2000) in January 2000 there were about 364-375 birds in the wild. In 2003 there were 87 individuals on Île aux Aigrettes. Other field stations are at Bel Ombre, Pigeon Wood, Brise Fer and Combo.
Everyone sees the Echo Parakeet along the Macchabée Forest trail. So did I, but to be successfully, please learn the calls of both parakeets. The Echo Parakeet has a very distinct flight call. According to Threatened Birds of the World (BirdLife International 2000) ".The population in January 2000 stood at 106-126 wild individuals.".
The most easy to find of the threatened endemics, although I heard them only! Most birds were at Bassin Blanc and one kilometer north of the lake. You could mimic its song by whistling and indeed the birds will react and come closer. Population estimate is between 600 and 700 individuals according to Threatened Birds of the World (BirdLife International 2000).
In all reports Bassin Blanc seemed to the best place. According to an article in the Bulletin of the African Bird Club, the best place is Bras d'Eau (Safford, RJ 1997. Mascarene Paradise Flycatcher Terpsiphone bourbonnensis. Bulletin African Bird Club 4: 130-131). This location has 66-89 pairs. Another location discovered recently is the Combo Forest Station. This location had 21 territories of Olive White-eyes, 8 pairs of the Mascarene Paradise-Flycatcher and three pairs of Mauritius Fody (source: http://www.mauritian-wildlife.org). I did not attempt to visit this site. In the same article Roger Safford, an authority on Mascarene Birds, proposes to split the Mascarene Paradise-Flycatcher into two separate species. I didn't read the article until I was back home again. Bras d'Eau is a forest reserve between Roches Noire and Poste de Flacq. I stayed nearby for a week, without knowing that!
At Bassin Blanc this Bulbul was not difficult and they showed themselves very well in the large tree at the lay-by. Most of the time they stay well hidden, but one time or another they will reveal themselves. In Threatened Birds of the World (BirdLife International 2000) there was an estimate of 280 pairs in 1993.
This species is easy to find at the Solitude Forest Station on Rodrigues. According to the people working there the best spot is behind and a little uphill the Forest Station (which is a building with a sign MWF). They also will react on hissing and pishing, but will loose their interest when they see the source. In 1999, the population was estimated to be at least 150 individuals, according to Threatened Birds of the World (BirdLife International 2000 and Showler, DA, Côté, IM & Jones, CG 2002. Population census and habitat use of Rodrigues Warbler Acrocephalus rodericanus. Bird Conservation. International 12: 211-230
Mauritius Grey White-eye
Most common of the endemics and typically in flocks of 5-10 birds. Will react and come close when you do some hand-smacking (make sure nobody sees you doing that.).
Mauritius Olive White-eye
In reports this one is considered the most difficult to find endemic of Mauritius. I was very lucky to see this species almost immediately during both of my visits to Bassin Blanc, although I did not had great views on both occasions. Apparently the best strategy is to wait at the lay-by of Bassin Blanc and continuously looking for a feeding flock to arrive. 300-400 birds and still decreasing is mentioned to Threatened Birds of the World (BirdLife International 2000).
The best place to see this rare Fody is around Bassin Blanc, the road between Bassin Blanc and Pétrin and an inaccessible small reserve called Les Mares WR. An article in the bulletin of the African Bird Club (Status of the critically endangered Mauritius Fody Foudia rubra in 2001, Nichols, Phillips, Jones & Woolaver in Bulletin ABC 9 (2): 95-100, 2002) states that there are 108-122 pairs, with 60-65 pairs in the Montagne Cocotte-Piton Savanne area (Bassin Blanc is in this general area as is the road between Bassin Blanc and Pétrin) and 21-24 pairs at Les Mares NR.
This species is not difficult to identify, once you can see it's bill, it is easy: Madagascar Fody has a triangular thick bill, with the upper mandible straight. Mauritius Fody has a curved upper mandible, making the bill look slender and pointing downwards.
This species is easy to find at the Solitude Forest Station on Rodrigues. According to the people working there, morning is best and the birds appear in the trees around the building and can be attracted by hand-smacking.
The population is estimated to consist of 911-1200 individuals (from: Population recovery of the threatened endemic Rodrigues Fody (Foudia flavicans) (Aves, Ploceidae) following reforestation, by Impet, Côté & Jones in Biological Conservation 107 (2002) 299-305).
To see the endemic birds plus several of the seabirds, you need to visit the following sites:
Bassin Blanc, Mauritius
This is an old volcanic crater, now filled with water. The sides are steep and has still good forest. The surroundings have degraded forest, either caused by hurricanes or overgrazing. To reach this lake, drive south from Pétrin until you reach the junction that goes to one of the viewpoints (signposted). From here it is exactly 3.2 kilometers to Bassin Blanc. You can park your car at the lay-by and bird from here by sitting silently for hours to watch the trees and bushes at the shores of the lake. When bored, just walk north a kilometer or more to pull your luck. Otherwise there seems to be good forest between the junction and Pétrin (several side-trails).
Macchabée Forest Trail, Mauritius
At Pétrin, park your car and walk the road (not open to public cars, it is closed with a chain) to the west. After c 3 km there is a junction. On a rock you can read the word Kiosk. A good trail goes left and ends about 2 km later at a beautiful viewpoint. When you take the right trail at the rock, you will eventually reach one of the fenced plots with indigenous trees and plants (keep left). I did not continue there.
Cap Malheureux, Mauritius
From here you can see the island Gunner's Quoin. With a telescope, you can easy see the Red-tailed Tropicbirds breeding on the large cliff.
Île aux Aigrettes Nature Reserve
A nice island just outside Mahébourg. Only accessible with an organized tour. Every hotel knows how to get there. Here the Pink Pigeon can be observed at close range, but the Mauritius Kestrel has left the island for the mainland. In July 2003 a captive breeding program will started for Mauritius Fody and Mauritius Olive White-eye. The cages where ready and situated on this island. The island is also nice for all kind of reptiles.
Solitude Forest Station, Rodrigues
The place to be for both Rodrigues endemics. From Port Mathurin, take the road to Mount Lubin. After c 2km there is a descending road going to the left (east) and reaches the forest station after c 600 meters. The first house on the right is the forest station. The Rodrigues Fodies can be found in the Araucaria trees, the Rodrigues Warbler can be found more uphill, although I saw one in the gully or stream just behind the house.
Recommended Literature and Trip Reports
For birding I used the Birds of the Indian Ocean Islands by Ian Sinclair and Olivier Langrand, published in 1998 (ISBN 1-86872-035-7). Note that Mascarene Shearwater is nowadays considered not to be a valid taxon, but is most probably an immature Audubon's Shearwater of the subspecies from the Mascarenes, P (lherminieri) bailloni (cf Birding World 14:78-85, 2001).
Good information about distribution and numbers are in Threatened Birds of the World by BirdLife International, published in 2000 (ISBN 0-946888-39-6).
For travel guides I used Lonely Planet's Mauritius, Réunion & Seychelles published in 2001 (ISBN 0-86442-748-4) and the Spectrum Guide to Mauritius published in 1997 (ISBN 1-874041-09-1). The last guide has a nice picture of the Mauritius Fody (p 237) that shows the diagnostic bill shape.
The most useful trip report was by Petri Hottola. He strongly recommends to bring your scope and do a lot of sea-watching. He visited Mauritius in July 2002, the period when the southeast trade winds start. Probably that explains his good numbers of Wedge-tailed Shearwaters and other goodies. In 2003 this report can be obtained at http://www.camacdonald.com/birding/africamauritius&reunion(hottalatripreport).htm. In his report also advices not to bother the staff of the Mauritius Wildlife Fund.
Another good trip report is by Jan Vermeulen (who has always good trip reports). From this report almost all other trip reports have copied this sentence: "Do not visit the park without prior arrangement with the Mauritian Wildlife Appeal Fund. The staff at the Gerald Durrell Endemic Wildlife Sanctuary are doing their utmost to ensure the continued survival of the great rarities Mauritius Kestrel, Pink Pigeon and Mauritius (Echo) Parakeet." I could not agree more.
This report is available at http://www.birdtours.co.uk/tripreports/mauritius/maur1/maurits1.htm
Other reports can be found at the same www.birdtours.co.uk.
8 June (su) Departure from Amsterdam 16:25 hours with flight AF 1941 (Air France). Arrival at Paris 17:45 hours, departure 19:10 hours with flight AF 980 (Air Mauritius).
9 June (mo) Arrival Mauritius at 8:45 hours, picked-up rental car (169 euro for one week) and went straight to Roches Noire to our bungalow Villa Pierre for 7 nights (125 euro).
10 June (tue) All day at Roches Noire with some shopping at in the neighbourhood. Seawatching all afternoon produced both Tropicbirds, lots of Noddies and two Red-footed Boobies.
11June (we) Visited Cap Malheureux. From there the island Gunner's Quoin is visible. With a telescope you can see the Red-tailed Tropicbird colonies on the steep cliffs and identify the flying birds. More seawatching at Roches Noire produced Masked Boobies.
12 June (thu) We visited Casela Bird Park. Highlights were the Pink Pigeons, the Luzon Bleeding-Heart and the Edward's Pheasant. All time low were the three Tigers in a cage. Future is orange, but only in cages. Afternoon seawatching produced c 20 flying fishes and 1 tuna!
13 June (fr) I drove to Bassin Blanc which took me three hours to get there. Some three hours birding along Bassin Blanc produced a few birds. I managed to find the Olive White-eye, the Bulbul and the Cuckoo-Shrike without trouble. Also the only Mascarene Martin of the holiday. Tried in vain to find Les Mares NR, but I probably found Bois Sec NR, but no Fodies.
14 June (sa) We visited to the Botanical gardens of Pamplemousses. We took no guide, so we could walk quietly in this nice park. We forgot to visit the tortoises.
15 June (su) In the early morning I undertook a brave attempt to visit the Black River Gorges NP. Started at Le Pétrin and walked along the trail starting there, the Macchabée Forest Trail. At a junction there is a stone with a vague marking 'Kiosk'. I took the left trail and that ended at a beautiful viewpoint. Birds were extremely few, but on my way back I managed to find a Mauritius Kestrel and two Echo Parakeets. Still no Mauritius Fodies.
16 June (mo) We left the bungalow at 10.30 and went straight to the airport. The car was returned without any trouble, although I damaged the rear outside mirror and had to pay 200 rupees, very reasonable. At the check-in we heard our reservations to Rodrigues were cancelled, but in the end we made it for the flight MK130 to Rodrigues with 3 tickets for 8500 rupees. Departure at 14:20. After a very nice one-hour flight we reached Rodrigues. From the airport a bus brought us to Port Mathurin, where we took the Tamaris hotel. After 18:00 hours the town was completely dark and deserted, but we managed to find a shop and bought fruit, beer, milk and water.
17 June (tue) Morning walk in Port Mathurin, a nice lively town. At noon we took a taxi to Pointe Cotton and stayed at the beach the whole afternoon.
18 June (we) Morning walk in Port Mathurin, a nice lively town. At noon we took a taxi to Port Sud-Est and again stayed at the beach the afternoon. On our way back, the taxi driver brought me to the Solitude Forest Station (which lies between Port Mathurin and Citronelle, c 2 km south of Port Mathurin). I asked the people at the station where the birds where and they pointed immediately to a feeding Rodrigues Warbler. They said the Rodrigues Fody was common here, but not in the afternoon. However with some hand-smacking several birds appeared in a minute. After an hour I left the place and at the junction with the main road I stuck upon a beautiful adult male Rodrigues Fody in full summer plumage! Took a passing bus and was back in the hotel 15 minutes later. At dusk we discovered two flying Rodrigues Fruit Bats, one of the rarest mammals in the world (c 200 individuals)!
19 June (thu) We walked at noon to Anse Anglais and stayed the whole afternoon at the swimming pool of the nice Les Cocotièrs hotel. Walked back just before dark (again two Rodrigues Fruit Bats were seen in the southern outskirts of Port Mathurin) and had dinner in the hotel.
20 June (fr) We took the MK121 flight at 9:30 hours to Mauritius and arrived at 11:00 hours. At the airport our driver for the Blue Lagoon hotel was already there and 15 minutes later we enjoyed the swimming pool and cocktails!
21 June (sa) We did a morning excursion to the Île aux Aigrettes Nature Reserve, where I managed to find the Pink Pigeon, re-introduced there. In 2003 the guide told us there were 87 birds and they were doing fine, although I wonder what will happen with this beautiful pigeon if they stopped feeding them. Other highlights were the Aldabra Tortoises, the Wolf Snake and the very beautiful endemic geckos. In the afternoon Marieke went shopping in Mahébourg and I did several hours seawatching. I saw my first Audubon's Shearwater. However if the Réunion subspecies is split into a good species, I will be empty-handed (or are the Audubon's Shearwaters around Mauritius only these bailloni's?). Also several Sooty Terns, Turnstone and a lone Sanderling. Unfortunately no Round Island Petrel.
22 June (su) I took a taxi to Bassin Blanc for a final attempt for the Mascarene Paradise Flycatcher and the Mauritius Fody. On arrival at 7:10 hours the first birds I encountered were two Olive White-eyes! After two hours waiting I managed to find three Mauritius Fodies, but no luck for the Flycatcher. I hope they will not split the flycatcher into two separate species! In the evening we took the 22:30 hours flight for Paris.
23 June (mo) Arrived at Charles de Gaulle's Airport in Paris in time, but this is a huge inefficient airport, so we had to walk a long way to the departure platform on the other side of the Airport. The flight for Amsterdam was on time. We arrived at 10:45 hours in Amsterdam, but had to wait for the luggage for more than an hour. In the end our buggy was not returned.
I would like to thank the following persons: George Sangster, Jur en Netty van der Laan, Matty Wiringa, Annet Meijer, Gien Colenbrander, Petri Hottola and the Ward Travel and Tours agency (www.wardhouses.com).
The Species Accounts
The order and nomenclature of A World Checklist Of Birds by Burt L. Monroe & Charles G. Sibley (1993) is followed with two exceptions: the Mauritius Bulbul and the Mauritius Grey White-eye are considered separate species.
If you have any remarks, questions or suggestions, please contact:
Jan van der Laan
1814 HX Alkmaar
01. Grey Francolin
- Francolinus pondicerianus
Seen only in the first three days in the surroundings of Roches Noire and Poste de Flacq, Mauritius, with a maximum of 6 birds on 10 June. Introduced.
02. Rose-ringed Parakeet - Psittacula krameri
15 June c 5 Macchabée Forest Trail, Black River Gorges NP. Introduced.
03. MAURITIUS or ECHO PARAKEET - Psittacula echo
15 June 2 Macchabée Forest Trail, Black River Gorges NP.
Two birds flew over the trail just before the junction to the Kiosk Trail. The birds were not seen very well, but the flight-call was easy to identify. I work in two cities where the Ring-necked Parakeet is common, so I know the calls better than the average visiting birder.
On the site www.mandarinproductions.com there used to a short sample of the flight call.
04. MASCARENE SWIFTLET - Collocalia francica
Daily seen on Mauritius with daily numbers from 10-50. Some birds were moulting their remiges.
05. Rock Pigeon - Columba livia 'domestica'
Common on Mauritius and Rodrigues. Introduced.
06. Madagascar Turtle-Dove - Columba picturata
Common on Mauritius, especially in the Botanical Gardens at Pamplemousses. Introduced.
07. PINK PIGEON - Columba mayeri *
13 June 1 (heard) Bassin Blanc, Mauritius
21 June c 20 Île aux Aigrettes Nature Reserve (near Mahébourg), Mauritius
The birds on Île aux Aigrettes were seen at close range. They are being fed and there are now 87 birds on this island.
08. Spotted Dove - Streptopelia chinensis *
12 June c 20 Casela Bird Park, Mauritius. Introduced.
09. Zebra Dove or Barred Ground Dove - Geopila striata *
Common on Mauritius and Rodrigues. Introduced.
10. Common Moorhen - Gallinula chloropus
C 10 seen daily in an pond at Roches Noire, Mauritius
11. Whimbrel - Numenius phaeopus
Seen daily along the coast in small numbers (1-5 birds), both on Mauritius and Rodrigues.
12. Ruddy Turnstone - Arenaria interpres
20 June 1 Blue Lagoon, Mauritius
21 June 3 Blue Lagoon, Mauritius
13. Sanderling - Calidris alba
21 June 1 Blue Lagoon, Mauritius
14. Pacific Golden Plover - Pluvialius fulvus
11 June 1 flying south, Roches Noire, Mauritius
15. Sooty Tern - Sterna fuscata
21 June c 100 seen from the Blue Lagoon Hotel, Mauritius
16. Brown Noddy - Anous stolidus
Common at sea at Roches Noire and Blue Lagoon, Mauritius, c 1000-2000 birds seen daily. Also c 10 birds seen on Rodrigues on 15 June 2 km east of Port Mathurin.
17. Lesser Noddy - Anous tenuirostris
Common at sea at Roches Noire and Blue Lagoon, Mauritius, c 100-200 birds seen daily.
18. MAURITIUS KESTREL - Falco punctatus *
15 June 1 Macchabée Forest Trail, Black River Gorges NP.
Discovered when it flew overhead. Then it sat in a tree along the trail and could be watched and photographed from a distance of 10 meters! I did not see any rings, so I presumed it was of wild offspring.
19. Red-tailed Tropicbird - Phaethon rubricauda
10 June 3 seen from Villa Pierre, Roches Noire, Mauritius
11 June c 100 seen from Cap Malheureux at Gunner's Quoin, Mauritius
c 10 seen from Villa Pierre, Roches Noire, Mauritius
12 June c 5 seen from Villa Pierre, Roches Noire, Mauritius
13 June 1 seen from Villa Pierre, Roches Noire, Mauritius
20. White-tailed Tropicbird - Phaethon lepturus
Seen daily, but in small numbers of 1-3 daily. Also seen in Black River Gorge along the Macchabée Forest Trail and at Bassin Blanc. Also seen daily (1-3) on Rodrigues.
21. Masked Booby - Sula dactylatra
11 June 2 (fishing) seen from Villa Pierre, Roches Noire, Mauritius
12 June 4 (fishing) seen from Villa Pierre, Roches Noire, Mauritius
22. Red-footed Booby - Sula sula
10 June 2 (adults, identified by the white tails) seen from Villa Pierre, Roches Noire, Mauritius
23. Green-backed Heron - Buteroides striatus *
Seen daily 1-3 birds), both on Mauritius and Rodrigues. Also one at Bassin Blanc on 13 June and 22 June.
24. Audubon's Shearwater - Puffinus lherminieri (bailloni?)
21 June 1 seen from the Blue Lagoon Hotel, Pointe d'Esny, Mauritius
25. House Crow - Corvus splendens
12 June 1 Port Louis, Mauritius
14 June c 20 Botanical Gardens, Pamplemousses, Mauritius. Introduced.
26. MAURITIUS CUCKOO SHRIKE - Coracina typica
13 June 3 Bassin Blanc, Mauritius
15 June 1 Macchabée Forest Trail, Black River Gorges NP, Mauritius
22 June 2 Bassin Blanc, Mauritius
All birds were singing males. The song is a very conspicuous warble, a quick flow of 4-5 descending notes.
I did not see any of them, although one bird was as close as 10 meters, hidden in the canopy of a tree.
27. Mascarene Martin - Phedina borbonica
13 June 1 1 km north of Bassin Blanc, Mauritius.
28. Common Myna - Acridothes tristis *
Common bird on Mauritius and Rodrigues. Introduced.
29. Red-whiskered Bulbul - Pycnonotus jocosus
Common to very common on Mauritius, even at Bassin Blanc. Not seen on Rodrigues. Introduced.
30. MAURITIUS BULBUL - Hypsipetus olivaceus *
13 June 2-4 Bassin Blanc, Mauritius
15 June 1 Macchabée Forest Trail, Black River Gorges NP, Mauritius
22 June 1 between Petrin and Grand Bassin, Mauritius
1 (heard) Bassin Blanc, Mauritius
On June 13th I did some tape luring with the song of Seychelles Bulbul, but none of the birds reacted.
31. MAURITIUS GREY WHITE-EYE - Zosterops mauritianus *
Common on Mauritius. Especially common in the Black River Gorges NP.
32. MAURITIUS OLIVE WHITE-EYE - Zosterops chloronothus
13 June 1-2 Bassin Blanc, Mauritius
22 June 2 Bassin Blanc, Mauritius
Although notoriously difficult to find, on both visits, these were the first birds I saw, but on both occasions only cursory views of olive green white-eyes with a diagnostic call (a metallic tjiet-tjiet, different from the ubiquitous Grey White-eye).
33. RODRIGUES WARBLER - Acrocephalus rodericanus *
18 June 1-2 Solitude Forest Station, Rodrigues.
Very easy to find c 50 m behind the forest station. Reacts and comes closer when pishing, but will loose interest once it detects who makes the noise. Very active and constantly feeding, looking under leaves for insects.
The total world population is about 150 birds, but slowly increasing.
34. House Sparrow - Passer domesticus *
Common bird on Mauritius and Rodrigues. Introduced. Here we saw what we are currently missing in the Netherlands, male sparrows fighting for a female, a dozen sparrows around you waiting for bread, dust bathing etc. In the Netherlands the House Sparrow is currently getting rarer and rarer.
35. Spotted-backed or Village Weaver - Ploceus cucullatus *
Common bird on Mauritius. Introduced. Only the yellow-headed form was seen. In Birds of the Indian Ocean Islands (Sinclair & Langrand 1998) only the black-hooded northern form is illustrated.
36. Madagascar Fody - Foudia madagascariensis *
A common bird on Mauritius, however only a few were seen on Rodrigues (1 in the garden of Hotel Cotton Beach and 1 between Solitude and Port Mathurin). Introduced.
37. MAURITIUS FODY - Foudia rubra
22 June 3 (all birds in basic plumage) Bassin Blanc, Mauritius
The popular belief is that this taxon is hard to identify and in winter virtually impossible. These birds were darker-backed and the underside was a uniform dark grey. However, the most easy identification marker is the bill: the curved bill of Mauritius Fody has a convex upper mandible, the Madagascar Fody a straight, almost concave upper mandible. This was even visible in flight (but seen with binoculars in focus and close-by!).
38. YELLOW or RODRIGUES FODY - Foudia flavicans *
18 June c 6 Solitude Forest Station, Rodrigues.
This birds are common around the forest station at Solitude. They will react on the good old hand-smacking.
All birds were in basic plumage, but one male was in superb summer plumage and reacted on hand-smacking by singing: a swee-swee warble, accelerating and descending at the end.
39. Common Waxbill - Estrilda astrild
15 June c 10 Grand Bassin, Mauritius. Introduced.
40. Scaly-breasted Munia or Spice Finch - Lonchura punctulata
Common (sometimes flocks of c 50 birds) at Roches Noire, Mauritius. Introduced.
41. Yellow-eyed Canary - Serinus mozambicus
Common (c 10-25 birds seen daily) at Roches Noire, Mauritius. Introduced.
* means photographed
species in capitals are endemic for the Mascarene Islands (Réunion, Mauritius and Rodrigues).