The Unique Birds Found In The Comoros Islands

Many species of birdlife unique to the Comoros Islands are threatened with extinction due to loss of habitat and hunting. Editorial credit: Evgeny Shulin /

The island nation of the Comoros is known for its unique flora and fauna, especially a rich birdlife. Several species of birds found in the islands of the Comoros are found nowhere else in the world. Many species are, however, threatened with extinction due to loss of habitat and hunting. Here is a list of unique birds of the country:

11. Grand Comoro Drongo

The Dicrurus fuscipennis belongs to the avian family of Dicruridae and is found in the subtropical and tropical moist lowland forests in the Comoros archipelago. The birds are also spotted in pastureland and plantation habitats. They are about 24 cm long and have black legs and bill. They feed on insects. The Grand Comoro Drongo is listed as an "Endangered" species that is threatened by habitat loss.

10. Karthala White-eye

The Zosterops mouroniensis, also known as the Comoro white-eye, belongs to the Zosteropidae bird family. The bird is endemic to the heath woodland habitat on Mount Karthala that is known as Philippia. The volcanic mountain is located on the island of Grand Comore in the archipelago. Since the volcano is an active one, a future eruption might exterminate the bird species due to its highly restricted habitat. Habitat loss due to human activities also threatens the Karthala white-eye. It is about 13 cm long with underparts that are yellow-green in color and olive upperparts. The eyes are surrounded by a white ring. Insects and fruits constitute the majority of the bird’s diet. It is a "Vulnerable Species" on the IUCN Red List.

9. Humblot's Sunbird

The Cinnyris humbloti belongs to the avian family Nectariniidae. The bird is endemic to the islands of Mohéli and Grand Comoro in the Comoros archipelago. Here, it occurs in the gardens, forests, and scrub areas at elevations ranging from sea-level to about 790 meters. The males of this species have green upperparts with gold or dark gloss. The color of the underparts varies with subspecies. The females have olive-green upperparts and grayish underparts. The birds are about 11 cm long. They feed on insects and sip on nectar. The species is labeled as "Least Concern" on the IUCN Red List.

8. Anjouan Sunbird

The Cinnyris comorensis, a bird of the Nectariniidae family, is found only in the Anjouan island of Comoros. Here, it inhabits both tropical and subtropical moist lowland forests. It is also found in the montane forests of the island. The bird is a "Least Concern" species from the conservation perspective.

7. Humblot's Flycatcher

The Humblotia flavirostris is a small passerine bird that belongs to the bird family of Old World flycatcher. The bird is found only on the island of Grand Comore on the forested slopes of the island’s volcanic mountain, Mount Karthala. The bird feeds on insects and often feeds in small groups of two or three. The encroachment of human settlements into the bird’s natural habitat has forced the species to a very restricted range. Also, the introduction of non-native species threatens the survival of these birds. For example, rats often raid the nests of these birds. Thus, the IUCN classifies the conservation status of the Humblot's flycatcher as "Endangered".

6. Moheli Brush Warbler

The Nesillas mariae, a bird species of the Acrocephalidae family is endemic only to the Comoros where it occurs in the moist montane forests, both tropical and subtropical. The current population of the species is quite stable leading to its classification as a "Least Concern" species.

5. Grand Comoro Brush Warbler

The Nesillas brevicaudata, a species of the Acrocephalidae family, is found in the Comoros islands and Mayotte where it lives in the montane forest habitat. The bird is a "Least Concern" species from the conservation status perspective.

4. Comoros Thrush

The Turdus bewsheri of the Turdidae family is an endemic species of the Comoros islands. Three subspecies of this bird are endemic to the three separate islands of Grand Comoro, Moheli, and Anjouan. These birds inhabit the evergreen primary forests and edges of these forests. They can be spotted at elevations ranging from sea-level to 700m. Insects, spiders, fruits, and seeds constitute the diet of this species. The IUCN labels its conservation status as “Least Concern” due to the relatively stable population of the bird.

3. Grand Comoro Bulbul

Labelled as “Vulnerable” by the IUCN, the Hypsipetes parvirostris is a songbird belonging to the Pycnonotidae bird family. The bird is endemic to the Comoros archipelago and the nearby Mayotte, an insular French department. The bird inhabits the tropical and subtropical moist montane forests within its range. Habitat loss is one of the biggest threats to this species.

2. Comoros Olive Pigeon

The Columba pollenii, a member of the Columbidae family is also found only in the Comoros archipelago and the nearby Mayotte. The bird shares the same habitat as the Grand Comoro bulbul. The conservation status of the species is currently labeled as “Near Threatened” since the forest habitats where the bird lives are under great threat. Clearance of the forests and also hunting of the bird is a common occurrence. Thus, with the increase in human population, the total population of these birds has considerably decreased and fewer than 10,000 individuals are known to survive today.

1. Endemic Owls Of The Comoros

Three endemic species of owls are found in the Comoros, all three of which are critically endangered. These are the Comoros scops owl, the Anjouan scops owl, and the Moheli scops owl. Habitat destruction has led to the drastic decline in the population of all three species.


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