Dark Newtonia
Newtonia amphichroa

Passeriformes Order – Vangidae Family

The Dark Newtonia is endemic to Madagascar and occurs in the evergreen humid forest in E Madagascar. It can be seen up to 2,300 metres of elevation, but more often between 800 and 1,200 metres. It feeds on small invertebrates caught on or near the ground.
The Dark Newtonia is not globally threatened. It is present in all E rainforest reserves and has large range throughout the eastern part of the island.  

Length: 12 cm
Weight: 9-18 g

The Dark Newtonia resembles Common Newtonia, but it is darker and browner, especially on the underparts.
It has dark olive-brown top and sides of head and upperparts, but rump and undertail-coverts are slightly warmer. On the upperwings, the flight-feathers are slightly darker with broad pale olive edges. The tail is olive-brown.
The underparts are deep buff to olive-buff, with slightly paler chin and throat. Breast and flanks are darker and browner. The undertail-coverts are buffy-white.
The bill is blackish. The eyes are golden yellow, but they often appear dark in the field. Legs and feet are dark grey.
Male and female are similar.
The fledged juvenile is more rufous than adults, mainly on rump and underparts. We can see paler shafts on crown and mantle. The eyes are brownish-grey.

The Dark Newtonia is found in E Madagascar, from Montagne d’Ambre to Andohahela. It may occur in isolated forests on Central Plateau.

The Dark Newtonia frequents the primary or degraded rainforest. It is often observed in the dense understorey, but it is absent from littoral forest and lowland forest with sparse undergrowth. It can be seen sometimes in dense vegetation at low elevation, but it is more common between 800 and 1,200 metres in herbaceous undergrowth along rivers and forest streams, and in dense forest on ridgetops.

The Dark Newtonia gives a penetrating “shreep” call, accompanied by a quiet, repeated “pit” probably used as contact call.
The song is a rolling warbled phrase given from perches hidden among the low vegetation, a loud phrase of 3-5 seconds “weetaweetaweetachui-wit chui-wit cheweechewee”. This song is more melodious than that of the Common Newtonia.

The Dark Newtonia feeds on small invertebrates such as Coleopterans, Hymenopterans, Homoptera bugs and Orthopterans, and also spiders.
It forages close to the ground among liana tangles and dead vegetation, and in rainforest in dense herbaceous areas. It may sometimes perform short flights to catch flushed insects.
It is often seen in small groups, and it also joins mixed-species flocks.

The Dark Newtonia may be occasionally territorial. It calls loudly in alarm at intruders.
The species appears to be sedentary on the island.
It does not fly long distances, and moves mainly along forest edges rather than across open areas.

The Dark Newtonia sings more frequently in September/January, and juveniles have been observed between August and March, and mainly in October/December. The breeding season probably occurs in the early austral summer.
Like in other members of genus Newtonia, the nest is a deep cup built in low vegetation.

The Dark Newtonia is usually common in montane forests of E Madagascar, and the species occurs in all rainforest reserves. However, it is scarce in less dense understorey of lowland forest.  
The species is not globally threatened, and currently evaluated as Least Concern.

Fr: Newtonie sombre
Ang: Dark Newtonia
All: Olivbauchnewtonie
Esp: Newtonia Oscura
Ita: Newtonia scura
Nd: Groene Newtonia
Sd: mörk newtonia
Mal: vangasoratra

Text by Nicole Bouglouan


HANDBOOK OF THE BIRDS OF THE WORLD Vol 11 by Josep del Hoyo, Andrew Elliott and David Christie - Lynx Edicions - ISBN: 849655306X

Birds of Madagascar and the Indian Ocean Islands Par Roger Safford, Adrian Skerrett, Frank Hawkins – ISBN: 1472924118, 9781472924117- Editeur: Bloomsbury Publishing, 2015

The Birds of Africa: Volume VIII: The Malagasy Region: Madagascar, Seychelles, Comoros, Mascarenes - Par Roger Safford, Frank Hawkins – ISBN: 1408190494, 9781408190494- Editeur: A&C Black, 2013

Birds of the Indian Ocean Islands Par Ian Sinclair, Olivier Langrand - ISBN: 1868729567, 9781868729562- Editeur: Struik, 2003

Birds of Madagascar: A Photographic Guide Par Pete Morris, Frank Hawkins – ISBN: 0300077556, 9780300077551- Editeur: Yale University Press, 1998

Wildlife of Madagascar par Ken Behrens,Keith Barnes - ISBN: 140088067X, 9781400880676 – Editeur: Princeton University Press, 2016

Avibase (Denis Lepage)

Birdlife International

HBW Alive

Creagus – Bird Families of the World – Vangas - Vanginae


Vanga - From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


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