Family Mesites (Mesitornithidae)


Subdesert Mesite (Monias benschi)


French: Mésite monias German: Moniasstelzenralle Spanish: Mesito monias
Other common names: Monias

Monias Benschi

Oustalet and G. Grandidier

, 1903,

Vorondreo (25 km east of Toliara), Madagascar




SW Madagascar, from R Mangoky in N to R Fiheranana in S, occupying a strip c. 200 km long and 70–80 km wide between coast and start of hills inland.

Descriptive notes

32 cm. Bill relatively long and decurved; legs longer than in Mesitornis. Greyish brown above, with long white supercilium. Male has black crescents on underparts;... read more


Complete songs, which are given by several members of a group in unison, last almost one minute and... read more


Restricted to spiny subdesert thicket, 5–15 m tall, from sea-level up to 130 m. Lives in... read more

Food and feeding

Terrestrial invertebrates including termites and buried insect larvae; also small amounts of vegetable material, e.g. seeds and small fruit... read more


Main egg dates Dec–Jan, but breeding is not tied to rainfall (unlike most other species in same region) and occurs year-round,... read more


Apparently sedentary, with both sexes being philopatric, but when dispersal (or eviction) occurs,... read more

Status and conservation

VULNERABLE. Within its limited range, species occurs patchily at high densities (0·2–0·3 individuals/ha), but may be rare in some areas. Total area within... read more

Recommended citation

Evans, M.I., Hawkins, F., Duckworth, J.W. & Kirwan, G.M. (2020). Subdesert Mesite (Monias benschi). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from on 22 February 2020).