The site is located on the Route Nationale 4, 40 km north-west of Ambato-Boeni. This complex of protected areas is centred on an outcrop of calcareous rock, lying c.250 m above the neighbouring plains (which are 60–90 m above sea-level). The site’s eastern and southern limits slope down abruptly but the northern and western parts are less steep. The Mahajamba river flows along the north-eastern boundary of the reserve. The site includes several lakes, such as Lake Ravelobe in the eastern part of Ampijoroa Forestry Station. Dry forest covers most of the site, with numerous trees of Leguminosae, Myrtaceae and Passifloraceae. Xerophytes such as Pachypodium can also be found.
See Box and Tables 2 and 3 for key species. One hundred and fifteen species are known from the site, of which 41 are endemic to Madagascar. At least five pairs of Haliaeetus vociferoides breed at the site. Ankarafantsika is one of only two sites known for Xenopirostris damii, and one of only six sites known for Mesitornis variegata. The total population of the latter species at the site has been estimated at between 6,000 and 26,000. Tachybaptus pelzelnii and Ardea humbloti are regular non-breeding visitors, and about 20 pairs of Ardeola idae breed at Lake Ravelobe. Lophotibis cristata and Philepitta schlegeli are both fairly common, the latter being restricted to humid valleys. Alectroenas madagascariensis, normally a species confined to the East Malagasy biome, is sometimes recorded here. There have been recent records of Hypositta corallirostris which, if confirmed, would be the first record of this species outside the east.
Non-bird biodiversity: Lemurs: Microcebus ravelobensis (only known from here), Eulemur mongoz (VU), Avahi occidentalis (VU), Propithecus verreauxi coquereli (EN). Carnivore: Cryptoprocta ferox (VU). Rodent: Macrotarsomys ingens (CR). Reptiles: Erymnochelys madagascariensis (EN), Boa madagascariensis (VU), B. manditra (VU).
Pressure/threats to key biodiversity
Threats at this site include uncontrolled bush-fires, slash-and-burn cultivation, and illegal exploitation of wood.
BirdLife International (2020) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Ankarafantsika National Park and Ampijoroa. Downloaded from
http://www.birdlife.org on 23/11/2020.