Contact Address Details:
Kartong Bird Observatory
Kombo South, West Coast
The Gambia, West Africa
Tel no: +220 733 2225
Location: 13-05'05N 16-45'39W
The Kartong Bird Observatory (K.B.O) is located on the
west side of Kartong village next to
the wetland area. If you are driving into Kartong from the north, turn right
off the main highway just after the village sign post then continue for
about 1km along the dirt track. KBO is sign posted on the left.
Accommodation & Food:
They do not provide accommodation for bird watchers at
KBO but they can organise stays at local
KBO can provide food and drinks at their cafe-bar. A
pair of binoculars can also be provided. They also sell a range
of prints, cards prints and birding DVDs.
Kartong Bird Observatory (KBO) overlooks a disused sand
mine. During the rainy season the pits fill with rainwater
creating one of the best bird
watching sites along the coast of The Gambia.
The ringing of birds started in 1996 in Kartong with the
ground-breaking efforts of John High and Mike King. In
order to continue their work a team of professional
ringers from the UK has now established a permanent
ringing unit in Kartong.
Bird Watching At KBO:
Over 260 bird species have been recorded at Kartong. The
wetlands form the focus of their recording local. Other
neighbouring habitats include, Savannah scrub,
foreshore, cultivated rice fields, sand dunes, remnant
of high forest and tidal mud flats. The wetlands hold
water all year, although the water levels are greatly
reduced after April this fresh water is an irresistible
lure for water birds and migrants.
The widespread rush beds and reeds offer breeding sites
and roost refuge for some species which are otherwise
problematic to find in The Gambia. Many of the bird
species here are quite approachable and provide superb
photo opportunities for ornithologists.
Among the many birds recorded are the Brown Noddy, Dwarf
Bitten, Golden-tailed Woodpecker, African Crake,
Cassin's Honeybird, Allen’s Gallinule, Little Bitten,
African Reed Warbler, Painted Snipe, Hooded Vultures,
Osprey, Black-crowned and the Crane, Pygmy Goose among
others. Palaearctic migrants includes the Great Reed
Warbler, Temminck's Stint, Lesser Kestrel, European
Roller, Marsh Sandpiper, Woodchat Shrike and the
Wryneck. What is arguably the most impressive event of the day is the heron roost.
Just before sunset between 900 and 1,600 herons from
eight species fly to the
reeds to feed and sleep.
In one year they had ringed in excess of 2,800 birds
belonging to 120 species. A significant number of these
species have been captured in large numbers allowing
them to create new sexing and ageing criteria for an
avifauna that is little studied. They have captured many
migrant birds from the Palearctic eco-zone and they hope
to enhance knowledge of their migration patterns through
this sub-region of West Africa and further afield.
The Kartong Bird Observatory has regular bird ringing
courses for bird ringers from the United Kingdom and aim
to expand the courses to include ringers from other
countries. Each course sponsors a selection of Gambian
pupils to acquire useful work experience learning the
techniques of bird ringing.
Services & Facilities:
They have a range of services for visitors to Kartong.
Their broad local knowledge means they can enhance your visiting
experience in a number of
• Bird Guiding
They welcome everyone visiting
Kartong even if their interest in
ornithology is minimal. They offer guided birding trips around their
recording area and beyond if there are particular species birders
are looking for. KBO provides escorted boat trips along the Halahin
River to see the spectacular bird life there. They have
the contacts for the
best Gambian bird guides and can help organise birding trips
throughout the rest of The Gambia.
• Bush Walking
• Gambian Cooking