Madagascar’s Fragile Magic

About this talk:

Helmet Vanga by Francesco Veronesi

Eric Schroeder will take you on a tour of this amazing island, home to 308 species of birds, 108 of which are endemic. Endemism isn’t limited to individual species but, remarkably, extends to the family level; Madagascar has six endemic avian families: the mesites, the asities, the vangas, the tetras, the ground rollers, and the cuckoo roller (which has only one species—the Cuckoo-roller—in the family.) And endemism is even more pronounced among the island’s mammals—there are about 100 species of lemurs, for instance, with all of them being endemic. And then there are the reptiles, especially chameleons.

We’ll explore Madagascar’s varied ecosystems—from the lowland rainforests of the north, to the highland rainforests of the island’s center, the grassy plains of the southern massif, and the weird and wonderful spiney forest of the southwest. Along the way I’ll discuss some of the various threats to the island’s incredible biodiversity.

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About Our Speaker:

Eric Schroeder is a retired lecturer from U.C. Davis where he also was the Faculty Director of Study Abroad for which he led educational programs in Australia, South Africa, Scotland, and England (most of which had a birding component). He is currently a coordinator of Golden Gate Audubon Society’s Travel Program and serves as president of GGAS’s board of directors.