Bird watching

See some of the World’s rarest birds and wildlife during your endemic bird-watching tour

Highlights:
• Private visit to the bird release aviaries to see the rare Pink Pigeon and Echo Parakeet feed in the wild
• Experienced and passionate guide about the endemic birds
• Enjoy a selection of local drinks and Mauritian snacks at the breath-taking Sublime Point
• Bespoke tour to accommodate your needs. You can hike or drive different sections as you choose

 

Prepare for a very special and unique birding experience among one of the most magnificent ebony forests and few places in Mauritius where six of the nine remaining endemic birds call home. Walk in glorious tranquil forests while observing some of the World’s rarest birds, such as the Pink Pigeon, Echo Parakeet, Mauritius Paradise Flycatcher, Mauritius Black Bulbul (also known as the merle), Mauritius Kestrel, and Grey-white eye. Not to forget the Mascarene swallows, White-tailed tropic birds and Mascarene swiftlets. Ebony Forest is an Important Bird Area, as listed by BirdLife International. So you have come to the right place if you want to do a bit of bird watching.

 

Your 3-4 hour guided bird-watching tour starts with a brief visit of the museum, written and illustrated by British palaeontologist, bird expert and artist, and critically acclaimed co-author of Lost Land of the Dodo, Dr Julian Hume. Your expert guide will give you a summary of the natural history of Mauritius and explanation of why the island’s birds are so threatened. You will have time after your Tour to visit the museum at your leisure.

 

Join your guide for a five minute walk to the viewing platform of the Echo Parakeet and Pink Pigeon release aviaries. Access to the aviaries is only accessible to visitors on the Bird watching Tour and so you will have the privacy and exclusivity of this memorable experience. Your experienced guide will help you spot and listen for the calls of the Echo Parakeet and Pink Pigeon.

Bird Watching Kestrel - Ebony Forest - Mauritius
Bird Watching Pink Pigeon - Ebony Forest - Mauritius

You will learn all about our efforts to reintroduce these two species to Ebony Forest as part of a partnership together with the Mauritian Wildlife Foundation, National Parks and Conservation Service and Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund. Ebony Forest was selected as a suitable reintroduction site for the Echo Parakeet and Pink Pigeon because of our high quality native forest and commitment to protect and conserve the island’s native biodiversity. The first birds were released in February 2018 and can be regularly seen near the aviaries and throughout the forest. Watch male Pink Pigeons parade around in an effort to impress their female counterparts. Chest puffed out and bow- cooing!

 

The release aviaries are used to hold young birds when they are first brought to Ebony Forest. Today, the birds come and go when they want. Food is provided in feeding hoppers inside and outside the aviaries. This supplementary feed ensures the birds have enough food and encourages the birds to stay in the area. It also enables the Mauritian Wildlife Foundation Conservation Scientists to monitor them. Unique colour combination rings on their legs tell us whether it is Black Panther or Weetabix you see. Yes, they all have names! On your visit, you may meet one of the Conservation Scientists who stays in our Field Station. Learn more about their day-to-day activities monitoring the birds and helping to ensure that the birds establish and increase in number.

 

On the way to the Flycatcher Raised Walkway, either by jeep or foot, observe our plant restoration sites which our conservation team regularly weed. Proceeds from your visit are helping to contribute to this much needed forest restoration work, which benefits the birds, as well as other native and endemic wildlife. Float through the majestic ebony forest along a raised walkway in the Flycatcher Forest and see what we are hoping to achieve through our forest restoration efforts. Feel the density of ebony wood and understand why it is one of the most valuable woods in the world. See Fruit Bats hanging in the trees or eating fruits, endemic Phelsuma geckos sunbathing, pic pic birds fluttering among the canopy looking for insects and one of the rarest trees in the world, bois corail or Coral Tree, named for its magnificent coral-shaped flowers. Breathe in the sweet scents of the fresh and cool forest air and learn about the diversity of the island’s birds, both extinct and extant, and the reasons for their demise.

You can then choose to either walk to Sublime Point along the Ridgeline Trail or take the jeep. Your guide will help you find the birds as they know the bird’s territories. The inquisitive Mauritius Paradise Flycatcher is bound to find you before you see it. Often seen in pairs, these delightful passerines will come and say hello. In contrast, the Mauritius Black Bulbul or merle is more elusive. Except when they have young and will aggressively defend their territory. Besides the island’s endemic birds, you can also spot non-native birds such as the Red-whiskered Bulbul, Indian Mynah bird, Ring-necked Parakeet, Spotted Turtle Doves, Village weaver and more.

 

Sublime Point offers a stunning view of the Le Morne Brabant, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, crystal clear waters surrounding Ile aux Benitiers, Tourelle du Tamarin, Montagne du Rempart, Corps de Garde, Trois Mamelles, Le Pouce, Pieter Both, Piton Canot and the island’s highest peak, Piton de la Riviere Noire. With a unique vantage point, watch the endemic Mauritian Fruit Bat flying below, White-tailed Tropic Birds delight you with their aerial acrobatics, Mascarene swiftlets, and Mauritius Kestrel. Relax and enjoy the view with a selection of drinks (tamarind juice, lemon grass juice, soft drink, water) and local snacks (gateaux piments, samosas).

 

Have you heard about the Dodo and the Tambalocoque Tree, also known as the Dodo Tree? Your guide will recount the contentious story of how the extinction of the Dodo was presumed to cause the decline of this endemic species. Hold a replica of the London Dodo foot, first recorded in 1656 and see the feathers and eggs of the endemic birds.

Bird Watching Binoculars - Ebony Forest - Mauritius
Bird Watching Echo Parakeets - Ebony Forest - Mauritius

You can choose to return to the Visitor Centre by hiking the 2.4 km (30 – 50 mins) or taking a safari jeep (15 mins). Alternatively, hike up Piton Canot for a 360 degree panorama of the west and south-west coasts, village of Chamarel and Black River National Park. This 400 m trail has an ascent of 140 m to the summit at 542 m above sea level. We recommend the last time to walk up Piton Canot is at 4pm.

 

If you are still feeling hungry after the snacks and drinks at Sublime Point, visit the Restaurant for a refreshing drink, coffee, local dish, salad or pizza cooked in our wood-fired oven using wood removed during the weeding process. As well as great memories and photographs, why not buy a souvenir in our Shop to treasure when you are at home. Your visit and purchases in our Shop, Sublime Snack and Restaurant contribute to helping save endangered species from extinction and offsetting carbon.

 

Just like all wildlife observation tours, we cannot guarantee that you will see all the bird species present at Ebony Forest. There is nowhere in Mauritius where all 9 endemic species occur in the one location. Check out our fauna conservation section to see what bird species and other wildlife can be seen at Ebony Forest.

Overview

Highlights:
• Private visit to the bird release aviaries to see the rare Pink Pigeon and Echo Parakeet feed in the wild
• Experienced and passionate guide about the endemic birds
• Enjoy a selection of local drinks and Mauritian snacks at the breath-taking Sublime Point
• Bespoke tour to accommodate your needs. You can hike or drive different sections as you choose

 

Includes:
• Access to self-guided hiking trails
• Film in English (6 mins) or French (8 mins) about the island’s wildlife
• Option to further contribute to saving endangered species and carbon offsetting
• Raised walkway to the spectacular Sublime Point
• Flexibility with the option to hike or hop on an open-air safari jeep, if available
• Museum about the island’s natural history written by bird expert Dr Julian Hume

 

Suitable for:
children and adults of all ages. As you can choose to walk or use the safari jeep during your tour, our bird watching tour is one of the few available in Mauritius ideal for those less mobile. However, be prepared for the short walk (5 mins) to the release aviaries and along the raised walkways. As Ebony Forest is located on a mountain slope, access by push- or wheel-chair to the raised walkway and hiking trails is limited. The Shop, Restaurant, museum, ecology centre and toilets are accessible to wheel- and push- chair users. If you need assistance, please contact us for advice.

 

Group size:
minimum 2 adults – maximum 9 persons. We limit the total number of persons due to our safari jeep capacity and to ensure a better experience and chance of seeing the birds. If you are a larger group wishing to do a Bird watching Tour, contact us and we can arrange to ensure the best experience.

 

Difficulty level:
The Flycatcher raised walkway has 113 steps up and 142 down, which you will hardly notice on your guided tour. The hikes are graded easy, based on international standards. In some places, the Flycatcher raised walkway is more than 4m in height so if you suffer from vertigo, please inform our staff in advance. This Tour can be tailor-made to suit your fitness and agility levels.

 

Duration:
3 – 4 hours. After your tour, you are welcome to continue exploring the site, Visitor Centre, or simply to go and look for more birds. Our Bird Watching Tours generally start at 9am to increase the chances of spotting the birds. Call or email should you have any special requests.

Distance:
1 – 6 km, depending on if you hike or take our safari jeep. The 1km is made up of short walks from the Visitor Centre to the bird aviaries, along the Flycatcher Forest raised walkway and along the Sublime Point raised walkway.

 

Booking:
we recommend booking, but will try to accommodate you if you have not booked. The best time to see the birds is in the morning so Tours start at 9am.

 

What to bring:
we recommend trainers or hiking shoes, a hat, water and a raincoat. Mosquito repellent is advised, and of course your camera and if you have them, binoculars.

 

Parking:
available. If you come by bicycle, let us know and we can find somewhere safe to store it

 

Food and drink:
as part of the Bird Watching Tour, you will be offered one drink (lemon grass juice, tamarind juice, soft drink) and a selection of vegetarian snacks (gateaux piments and vegetable samosas) at Sublime Point. Picnics are not allowed as we wish to limit the amount of rubbish generated. We have a Restaurant at the Visitor Centre and a snack at Sublime Point. As part of our commitment to the environment, we do not sell drinks in plastic bottles, but you can fill up your water bottle for free from our water fountain in our Shop.

 

Buying your ticket:
purchase your ticket either online to benefit from 10 % discount or when you visit.

 

Rates:
Adult
Rs1500
Child Rs350
Our rates are the same whether you choose to hike or take the safari jeep. Profit generated from ecotourism activities are reinvested into the conservation of the flora and fauna, which has been on-going since 2006.

Small acts

of Kindness can
go a long way

CONTACT EBONY FOREST TO FIND OUT HOW TO DONATE, AND MAKE A DIFFERENCE TO OUR MAURITIAN WILDLIFE…