White-breasted mesite

Like its largely flightless sister species, white-breasted mesites make use of camouflage as their first line of defense

Francesco Veronesi

The white-breasted mesite is found in six isolated populations in Madagascar’s drier subtropical forests.

The species has banded stripes on its head with brown speckles on its throat and chest. The females have rusty red chest feathers, while the males are white-breasted.

Their morning song is a series of loud whistles and vibrating clucking sounds. Couples sing to each other and are thought to pair for life. The white-breasted mesite lays up to 3 sets of eggs per season. Only a day or two after hatching, their chicks leave the more exposed nest and are fed and cared for by both parents (and perhaps an older sibling) on the ground.


Population est.
Official estimate

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Terrestrial / Aquatic

Altricial / Precocial

Polygamous / Monogamous

Dimorphic (size) / Monomorphic

Active: Diurnal / Nocturnal

Social behavior: Solitary / Pack / Herd / Flock

Diet: Carnivore / Herbivore / Omnivore / Piscivorous / Insectivore

Migratory: Yes / No

Domesticated: Yes / No

Dangerous: Yes / No