The Gambia - March 2015

Published by Kevin Bollington (tanager AT


On 18 March 2015 I made a 10 night holiday with my wife at the Sheraton Hotel, Brufut Heights, in the Gambia. The hotel grounds proved very fruitful with Abyssinian and Blue-bellied Rollers, Yellow-billed Shrike, Yellow-crowned Gonolek, Purple & Long-tailed Glossy Starlings, Bearded Barbet, Green Woodhoopoe, Senegal Parrot and Slender-billed Gull to name but a few.

I arranged to make two early morning trips with guide Ebou Barry, I asked him to find me some difficult birds and he delivered on every one.

On 23/3 he took me to Kuloro where I saw 2 White-backed Night Herons, Violet Touraco were also here. We moved on to Bonto where we were unlucky with Verraux's Eagle-Owl which flew as we approached the roost site. In compensation we had great views of Northern White-faced Owl. We moved on to Brufut Forest where I was shown a roosting Long-tailed Nightjar. A bonus here was a Pygmy Kingfisher which posed superbly for the camera.

On 27/3 Ebou picked me up again having informed me that the eagle-owl had returned to it's roost. We first went to Marakissa where we scored with African Scops Owl, before returning to Bonto where the local contacts had not one but two Verraux's under close observation until I arrived. Both were thankfully stored on my SD card.

We finished with a visit to the Kotu stream where Ebou found me an elusive Blue-breasted Kingfisher.

Ebou is a fantastic guide who is in constant touch with wardens and birders at key sites to find the birds you need. He is prompt and has his own transport which is an advantage in such countries where car ownership is rare. He can be contacted at or email him tele.(+220) 71 61 202.

Please note there is no ebola in The Gambia, this has been keeping tourists away bigtime. Any time of year is good for birding here.

Species Lists

Spur-winged Goose
Double-spurred Francolin
Sacred Ibis
White-backed Night Heron
Black-crowned Night-Heron
Striated Heron
W. Cattle Egret
Black-headed Heron
Purple Heron
Great Egret
Intermediate Egret
Western Reef Heron
Great White Pelican
Pink-backed Pelican
Reed Cormorant
White-breasted Cormorant
Black-winged Kite
Palm-nut Vulture
Hooded Vulture
Lizard Buzzard
W. Marsh Harrier
Yellow-billed Kite
Black Crake
Senegal Thick-knee
Spur-winged Lapwing
Black-headed Lapwing
African Wattled Lapwing
Common Sandpiper
Slender-billed Gull
Grey-headed Gull
Kelp Gull
Lesser Black-backed Gull
Gull-billed Tern
Caspian Tern
Royal Tern
Speckled Pigeon
Red-eyed Dove
Vinaceous Dove
Laughing Dove
Black-billed Wood Dove
Blue-spotted Wood Dove
African Green Pigeon
Violet Touraco
W. Plantain-Eater
Senegal Coucal
African Scops Owl
N. White-faced Owl
Verraux's Eagle-Owl
Long-tailed Nightjar
African Palm Swift
Abyssinian Roller
Blue-bellied Roller
Broad-billed Roller
Blue-breasted Kingfisher
African Pygmy Kingfisher
Giant Kingfisher
Pied Kingfisher
Little Bee-eater
Blue-cheeked Bee-eater
Green Woodhoopoe
African Pied Hornbill
African Grey Hornbill
W. Red-billed Hornbill
Bearded Barbet
African Grey Woodpecker
Common Kestrel
Grey Kestrel
Red-necked Falcon
Rose-ringed Parakeet
Senegal Parrot
Brown-throated Wattle-eye
N. Puffback
Yellow-crowned Gonolek
Yellow-billed Shrike
Fork-tailed Drongo
Red-bellied Paradise Flycatcher
Pied Crow
Common Bulbul
Little Greenbul
Barn Swallow
Red-chested Swallow
C. Chiffchaff
Eur. Blackcap
C. Whitethroat
L. Blue-eared Starling
Purple Starling
Long-tailed Starling
African Thrush
Snowy-crowned Robin-Chat
White-crowned Robin-Chat
N. Wheatear
Scarlet-chested Sunbird
Beautiful Sunbird
Splendid Sunbird
Variable Sunbird
House Sparrow
N. Grey-headed Sparrow
White-billed Buffalo Weaver
Village Weaver
Spectacled Weaver
Red-billed Quelea
N. Red Bishop
Red-billed Firefinch
Red-cheeked Cordon-bleu
Black-rumped Waxbill
African Silverbill
Bronze Mannakin
Yellow-fronted Canary