Gambia - January 29th - February 12th 2011

Published by Guy Kilgallen (g.c.kilgallen AT

Participants: Guy Kilgallen, Susan Kilgallen, Ebou Barry


Photos with this report (click to enlarge)

Lavender Waxbill
Lavender Waxbill
Glossy Ibis
Glossy Ibis
Long Tailed Nightjar
Long Tailed Nightjar
Dark Chanting Goshawk
Dark Chanting Goshawk
White Backed Night Heron
White Backed Night Heron

Had a fantastic visit to The Gambia this January/ February (January 29th - February 12th 2011) and luckily found a fantastic guide Ebou Barry and driver to take us to the top birding sites in the region. What was supposed to be a relaxing honeymoon turned into an avian adventure! - Ebou Barry

One thing to understand about the Gambia is that Europeans do tend to stick out and you get a lot of attention from people trying to offer you services or sell you crafts or food items. Bare in mind that the dry season is the best season for tourists who want to take advantage of the great beaches, wonderful food and friendly people. This is the time when many Gambian's rely on to make money, therefore you understand there eagerness to connect with you. Most of them are very friendly if persistent and a polite but assertive no thank you will be enough. After a couple of days you will find yourself mellowing to the attention and actively saying hello to people you see outside or around your hotel. Leave your European stress and attitude at the airport and you'll be fine.

We headed for the Birdwatchers Hut at Kotu and found a great guide in Ebou Barry. We started with an introductory leisurely wander around the Kotu Creek, Fajara area.

We were so impressed (see bird lists below) that we signed up for a number of visits. Some included early 7 am starts. If you want to see birds in this climate it's the earlier the better.

Our guide Ebou Barry was extremely knowledgeable and patient, spoke very good English and provided great food and refreshments on our full day trips. Being with Ebou allowed us to see more of the real Gambia as well as the wildlife due to being well known and his connections in the National parks. He did a great job of diverting unwanted attention from us and made sure we were safe wherever we went....and I felt like we went everywhere!

Kotu Sream and Fields, Paradise Inn, Tanji Beach, Koluro Farasuto Forest, Bonto River, Bushtrack Mandinaba, Pirang Ponds, Abuko National Park, Brufut Woods and Marakissa

Being there for 2 weeks we only managed to scratch the surface, we didn't go to the upriver camps but plan to next time we go and....we would go back in a shot. Have a look at our lists, we had an incredible time and hope anyone reading this will feel inspired to go and see such a great country with lovely people and amazing bird and animal life.

Species Lists

Monday 31/01/2011
Kotu Fields
Guide: Ebou Barry

Intermediate Egret
Little Bee Eater
Lizard Buzzard
Broad-billed Roller
Giant Kingfisher
Black-headed Plover
Laughing Dove
Sacred Ibis
Green Wood Hoopoe
Western Grey Plantain Eater
Rose Ringed Parakeet
Black-winged Stilt
Little Grebe
Long-tailed Glossy Starling
Wood Sandpiper
Common Greenshank
Black Kite
Green Sandpiper
Speckled Pigeon
Vinaceous Dove
Piac Piac
Red-billed Hornbill
White-faced Whistling Duck
Pied Kingfisher
Long-tailed Cormorant
Senegal Thicknee
Western Reef Heron
Wire-tailed Swallow
Red Eyed Dove
Spur-winged Plover
Common Sandpiper
Common Redshank
Grey Heron
Pied Crow
Beautiful Sunbird
Wattle Plover
Bronze Mannakin
Senegal Fire Finch
Village Weaver
Senegal Coucal
Cattle Egret
Squacco heron
Yellow-billed Shrike
African Jacana
Black Egret
Double Spurr Frankolin
Caspian Tern
Ringed Plover

Paradise Inn
07:30 – 12:30

Splendid Sunbird
Grey Hornbill
Variable Sunbird
Senegal Parrot
Little Swift
Mottle Spinetail
Mourning Dove
Malachite Kingfisher
African Darter
Barn Swallow

Tanji Beach

Yellow-legged Gull
Lesser Black-backed Gull
Royal Tern
Lesser Crested Tern
Black-tailed Godwit
Kelp Gull
Grey-headed Gull
Caspian Tern
Pink-backed Pelican
Little Egret
African Harrier Hawk
Abyssinian Roller
Blue-bellied Roller

Kotu Stream

Blue-breasted Kingfisher

07:30 – 12:00
Koluro Farasuto Forest

Black Shouldered Kite
Black-capped Babbler
Rufous Crowned Roller
White-backed Night Heron
Black-billed Wood Dove
Orange-cheeked Waxbill
Red-cheeked Cordon Bleu
Ruddy Turnstone
Grey Plover

Bonto River
11:00 – 12:00

Yellow-billed Stork
Pied Avocet
Great White Pelican
Red-chested Swallow
House Sparrow
Village Indigo (Male)
Purple Glossy Starling
African Green Pigeon
Marsh Harrier

Pirang Ponds
12:30 – 15:00

Woodchat Shrike
Red-rumped Swallow
Curlew Sandpiper
Little Ringed Plover
African Spoonbill
Kentish Plover
Little Tern
Gull-billed Tern
Slender-billed Gull
African Darter
Black Tern
Namaqua Dove
Audouin’s Gull
Blue-cheeked Bee Eater
Common Swift

16:30 -17:30

Dark Chanting Goshawk
Grey Kestrel
Greyish Eagle Owl
Tawny Eagle

17:30 – 18:30

Wahlberg's Eagle
Black-headed Heron
Zitting Cisticola (Streaked Fan Tailed Warbler)
Purple Heron
African Harrier Hawk
Yellow-billed Oxpecker
Pearl Spotted Owlet
Grey Woodpecker
Yellow-breasted Apalis
African Paradise Flycatcher

Abuko National Park
Sunday 06/02/2011

Little Greenbul
Black-crowned Night Heron
African Darter
Lizard Buzzard
Palm Nut Vulture
Giant Kingfisher
Lavender Waxbill
Collared Sunbird
Black-necked Weaver
Grey-backed Camaroptera
Common Wattle Eye
Western Bluebill
African Thrush
Green Touraco
Violet Touraco
Fanti-saw Winged Swallow
Pied Hornbill
Pied-winged Swallow
African Goshawk
Snowy-crowned Robinchat
Red-bellied Flycatcher

Brufut Woods
Wednesday 09/02/2011
07:30 – 12:00

White-billed Buffalo Weaver
African Green Pigeon
Pintail Whydah
Blue Spotted Wood Dove
Black-capped Babbler
White-crowned Robinchat
Violet Touraco
Scarlet Chested Sunbird
Green Touraco
White-faced Scops Owl
Long-tailed Nightjar
Four-banded Sandgrouse
Green-backed Eromomela

Kotu Creeks and Fields
Wednesday 09/02/2011
16:30 – 18:00

Grey-headed Kingfisher
Glossy Ibis
Greater Painted Snipe

Friday 11/02/2011

Fine Spotted Woodpecker
White Crested Helmet Strike
Northern Black Flycatcher
Lesser Blue-eared Glossy Starling
Northern Red Bishop
Square-tailed Drongo
Bateleur Eagle
Marsh Sandpiper
Tawny-flanked Prinia
Long Crested Hawk Eagle