Bird Watching Information
Attractions / Excursions
Things To Do Resorts
The Gambia, in West Africa, is renowned around the world as a
bird watcher's paradise. In the early part of this century, thousands
of ornithologists have come to observe through their binoculars
over 560 bird species of dazzlingly plumed birds.
Seasonal Bird Migrations:
Notwithstanding the Gambia's small territory it has a considerable
and heterogeneous avian population both resident and Palearctic
migratory birds. This unexpected phenomenon is due in part to
the Gambia's geographical location in West Africa, and the large
river and its accompanying banks.
country's location means that it is on the line of flight of two
double migrations. The first from the north in October which returns
March / April of the following year. For these migratory European
birds it is the first life sustaining strip of green after the
long flight south along the arid coast of northwest Africa. The
second from the south at the start of the rains, June /
July, of birds from the equatorial regions of Africa, which come
to the Senegambia Valley in time for the breeding season, of which
the Gambia could be said to form the central focal point,
at any rate from a bird's-eye view.
These avian visitors from the equatorial regions exit The
Gambia at the end of the rainy season, with their departures extended
between the months of October to January. The country's native
species population is therefore given a boot during these months,
though the rise due to the Palearctic visitors is usually only
a matter of a few days or weeks. On the other hand the June to
July influx lasts the whole of wet period, with migratory species
coming in to settle to find a mate and reproduce.
Even from your hotel sunbed ornithologists can spot birds from
their balcony or from the pool. The Senegambia and Kairaba hotels
based in Kololi are best for this method as they have extensive
garden grounds next to a marine environment. Widespread are pied
crows and a few vultures. Red-billed Senegal Fire-finches feed
around tables and common on manicured lawns are Cattle egrets,
glossy starlings and swifts grace most of the grounds.
Long-tailed shrikes and blue-cheeked bee-eaters perch on telephone
lines in the Greater Banjul
area. Greenshanks, turnstones, sandpipers, redshanks and sanderlings
paddle along the river's banks. At Abuko there are severally coloured
barbets, lily trotters, weaver birds rollers, fork-tailed drongo,
parrots, ahanta francolin, pin-tailed whydah, fanti-saw-wing
swallow violet turaco and over 270 other native and itinerant
Along the river pied kingfishers
dive, with wings tucked back, onto their unsuspecting fish prey.
Magnificent River eagles can be seen perched on trees while pelicans
can be spotted roosting on top of dense mangroves or wading slowly
to clear from the path of passing boats. Further inland Double-spurred
francolin (Francolinus bicalcaratus).
for the amateur bird watcher Gambian birds are fairly easy to
spot, being conspicuously coloured and vocal. If however, if you
want to learn more about the country's bird population you would
be advised to seek out a professional local ornithologist who
can guide you on good locations to spot certain species. You can
either join a specialist tour
operator for group trips or by hiring an independent local
tour guide (see ground
tours). These guides can meet you at the Abuko Centre or outside
the West African Bird Studies Association (WABSA) at Kotu Stream.
Contacts For Local Bird
|Local Guide Name:
Bird Guide Association
phone numbers sometimes change ownership. You
are best advised to use the services of the
Guide Association instead.
List of Birding Sites:
some of the best and highly recommended birding hotspots were a large and varied
number of species tend to be concentrated.
Abuko Nature Reserve
Bund Road (Banjul)
Cape Creek (Cape Point)
Casino Cycle Track
Faraba-Banta Bush Track
Kampant Rice Fields
Kiang West National
Ongoing Conservation Projects:
West African Bird Study Association
Operation Desertification Control
Rehabilitation of the Botanical Gardens
Experience Bird Watching Holidays