Vangas are a family of birds restricted to Madagascar. The most striking feature of the helmet vanga is its large, deep and pale blue bill (2). This bird is largely black in colour, but the back, rump and central tail feathers are chestnut. Juveniles have a pale brown bill and are brownish in colour (2). A fluty pepepewpew call is produced (2).
Little is known of the life-history of this shy vanga (3). They frequently join mixed-species flocks with other large vangas and feed on a range of invertebrates including large insects, snails, spiders and crabs as well as lizards (3). Prey items are taken from branches and tree trunks and from the ground (2).
The Madagascan low-altitude forest favoured by this species is highly threatened by clearance for agricultural demands and timber extraction (2). The helmet vanga has a small range; its population is highly fragmented and suffering rapid decline (2).
The helmet vanga occurs within a number of national parks and reserves, and so its habitat receives a level of protection at these sites (2). As so few details are known of this vanga’s life history, there is an urgent need for research into its ecology and the threats facing the species before dedicated conservation action can get underway (2).
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