The Gambia

West Africa

11,300 km²



Afrotropical avifauna
Approximately 580 recorded species

Pied-winged Swallow (Tasso Leventis)
West African Swallow (Nigel Voaden)
Blue-bellied Roller (Lionel Sineux)

Birds best found in The Gambia but occurring more widely (BT)
Blue-bellied Roller
Red-chested Swallow
West African Swallow
Lavender Waxbill

Birds best found in two territories of the ABC region but occurring in more (B2)
Northern White-faced Owl
Western Red-billed Hornbill
Pied-winged Swallow
Long-tailed Glossy Starling
White-crowned Robin-Chat

Egyptian Plover (Tasso Leventis)
Lavender Waxbill (Paul van Giersbergen)

Proposed splits not yet accepted by IOC
Brown-necked Parrot (fuscicollis)
Glossy-backed Drongo (divaricatus)
Western Square-tailed Drongo (occidentalis)
Yellow-throated Greenbul (flavicollis)
Yellow-bellied Crombec (flaviventris)
African Reed Warbler (minor)
Grey-hooded Capuchin Babbler (atripennis)
Black-faced Quailfinch (ansorgei)
Vinaceous Firefinch (vinacea)

Other taxa of interest
African Pygmy Goose
Stone Partridge
Ahanta Spurfowl
Double-spurred Spurfowl
Long-tailed Nightjar
Standard-winged Nightjar
Western Plantain-eater
Violet Turaco
Guinea Turaco
Savile’s Bustard
Blue Malkoha
Four-banded Sandgrouse
Adamawa Turtle Dove
African Collared Dove
Bruce’s Green Pigeon
African Finfoot
White-spotted Flufftail
Black Crowned Crane
Black-headed Lapwing
Egyptian Plover
Greater Painted-snipe
West African Crested Tern
White-backed Night Heron
Western Reef Heron
Beaudouin’s Snake Eagle
Western Banded Snake Eagle
Red-thighed Sparrowhawk
Grasshopper Buzzard
Black Scimitarbill
Abyssinian Ground Hornbill
West African Pied Hornbill
Abyssinian Roller
Red-throated Bee-eater
African Green Bee-eater
Northern Carmine Bee-eater
Vieillot’s Barbet
Bearded Barbet
Spotted Honeyguide
Buff-spotted Woodpecker
Fine-spotted Woodpecker
African Grey Woodpecker
Brown-backed Woodpecker
Senegal Parrot
Rose-ringed Parakeet
Senegal Batis
Brown-throated Wattle-eye
Yellow-crowned Gonolek
Red-shouldered Cuckooshrike
Yellow-billed Shrike
Red-bellied Paradise Flycatcher
African Blue Flycatcher
White-shouldered Black Tit
Yellow Penduline Tit
Western Nicator
Sun Lark
Crested Lark
Grey-headed Bristlebill
Red-tailed Leaflove
Fanti Saw-wing
Northern Crombec
Green Hylia
Greater Swamp Warbler
Dorst’s Cisticola
Rufous Cisticola
Red-winged Prinia
Oriole Warbler
Senegal Eremomela
Puvel’s Illadopsis
Brown Babbler
Blackcap Babbler
Yellow-bellied Hyliota
Lesser Blue-eared Starling
Bronze-tailed Starling
Splendid Starling
Purple Starling
Chestnut-bellied Starling
Yellow-billed Oxpecker
Grey Tit-Flycatcher
Swamp Flycatcher
Snowy-crowned Robin-Chat
Anteater Chat
White-fronted Black Chat
Mangrove Sunbird
Western Violet-backed Sunbird
Pygmy Sunbird
Beautiful Sunbird
Splendid Sunbird
Sahel Bush Sparrow
Sudan Golden Sparrow
White-billed Buffalo Weaver
Chestnut-crowned Sparrow-Weaver
Speckle-fronted Weaver
Olive-naped Weaver
Heuglin’s Masked Weaver
Chestnut-and-black Weaver
Northern Red Bishop
African Silverbill
Black-rumped Waxbill
Western Bluebill
Crimson Seedcracker
Red-winged Pytilia
Bar-breasted Firefinch
Quailfinch Indigobird
Sahel Paradise Whydah
Exclamatory Paradise Whydah
White-rumped Seedeater
Gosling’s Bunting
Brown-rumped Bunting

Savanna, Guinea woodland, gallery forest

14 Important Bird Areas

Abuko Nature Reserve, Tanji (Karinti) Bird Reserve, Tendaba Camp, Kartong Bird Observatory, Pirang Forest National Park and Kotu Creek

TIMING (Nov, Mar–Apr)
Probably best to go in the dry season when site access is best (Nov–May)
Avoid the main rains (Jul–Sep)

Birds of Africa (iOS or Android)

Field guides
Birds of Senegal and The Gambia by Nik Borrow & Ron Demey (2023)
Birds of The Gambia and Senegal by Clive Barlow & Tim Wacher (2010)
Birds of Western Africa by Nik Borrow & Ron Demey (2014)
A Photographic Field Guide to the Birds of The Gambia & West Africa by Marcelina Silva, Bob & Cees Scholtz (2004)
Field Guide to Wildlife of The Gambia by David Penney (2012)

Bird Song of the Gambia and Senegal: an Aid to Identification by Clive Barlow, John Hammick & Pat Sellar
African Bird Sounds Vol 2: West and Central Africa by Claude Chappuis

Site guides
Finding Birds in The Gambia by Dave Gosney (2019)
Birding in Tanji Bird Reserve and Bijol Island, The Gambia by Anne Nason (1998)
A Birdwatchers’ Guide to The Gambia by Rod Ward (1994)

Further reading
The Gambia by Paul Robinson in Important Bird Areas in Africa and Associated Islands: Priority Sites for Conservation edited by Lincoln D C Fishpool & Michael I Evans (2001)
Les Oiseaux de Sénégambie: Notices et Cartes de Distribution by Gérard J Morel & Marie-Yvonne Morel (1990)
Birds of The Gambia: an Annotated Checklist by M E J Gore (1990)
The Birds of The Gambia: an Annotated Checklist and Guide to Localities by Jörn Vestergaard Jensen & Jens Kirkeby (1980)
Land Cover and Avian Biodiversity in Rice Fields and Mangroves of West Africa by Daan Bos, Ion Grigoras & Abdoulaye Ndiaye (2006)
Articles in Malimbus, Bull. ABC, etc.

Birds of The Gambia
Gambia Birdwatching
Babu’s Best Gambia Birding
Farasuto Forest Community Nature Reserve
Morgan Kunda Lodge

The Gambia Experience Birdwatching Blog

Facebook groups
Gambia and Senegal Birding is a group created by The Gambia and Senegal Bird Guide Association to encourage birders, photographers and nature lovers who are traveling to The Gambia and Senegal to post their photographs of birds, videos, and trip reports


There is currently no BirdLife Partner in The Gambia

Bird or conservation organisations active in The Gambia include –
Kartong Bird Observatory
West African Bird Study Association (WABSA)
Bird Watchers’ Association, The Gambia (BWA)
Makasutu Wildlife Trust (MWT)
Partenariat Régional pour la Conservation de la Zone Côtière et Marine (PRCM) en Afrique de l’Ouest

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