Ankarana Special Reserve This is an IBA in Danger! 

Country/territory: Madagascar

IBA criteria met: A1, A2, A3 (1999)
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Area: 25,330 ha

Asity Madagascar
IBA conservation status
Year of assessment (most recent) State (condition) Pressure (threat) Response (action)
2017 near favourable very high low
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Site description (2001 baseline)
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).

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2024) Important Bird Area factsheet: Ankarana Special Reserve. Downloaded from on 29/02/2024.