Finding Birds in the gambia update

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These notes include much information received since the first edition of the book in 2012. Note that the latest edition summarises what is known about these sites up to 2019.

Upstream Gambia

2017 Note that Hidden Gambia are no longer able to run their boat trips up the river and their lodge at Georgetown has been illegally confiscated and has fallen into ruin. On the plus side, the road along the south side of the river is now completely metalled even beyond Basse.

Cape Road and Camaloo corner

24th March 2013 1,600 Slender-billed Gulls, 1 Lesser Black-back, 3 Gull-billed Terns, 1 Sandwich Tern plus masses of Grey-headed Gulls and Caspian Terns, plus a few Royal Terns were at the roost.  Olivaceous Warbler, Willow Warblers and Chiffchaffs moved through the trees with Northern Crombecs and a Senegal Eremomela.  Blue-cheeked Bee-eaters passed over. (David Bowman)

Kotu creek area

20-27th March 2013 Visited the Creek area most days.  Birds list was: Piapiac, Blue-bellied Roller, Rufous-crowned Roller, Intermediate Egret, Painted Snipe, White-fronted Whistling Duck, Sacred Ibis, Caspian Tern, Double-spurred Francolin, Black Heron, Western Reef Heron, African Spoonbill, Squacco Heron, Shikra, Lanner Falcon, Yellow-billed Shrike, Senegal Parrot, Rose-ringed Parakeet, Wood Sandpiper, Black-winged Stilt, Grey Plover, Yellow-wattled Plover, Spur-winged Plover, Common Sandpiper, Greenshank, Ringed Plover, Hammerkop, Redshank, Grey Heron, Curlew Sandpiper, Long-tailed Cormorant, Wire-tailed Swallow, Yellow-crowned Gonolek, Senegal Thick-knee, Grey Plantain-eater, Malachite Kingfisher, Blue-breasted Kingfisher, Pied Kingfisher, Tawny-flanked Prinia, Village Weaver, Red-billed Hornbill, Long-tailed Glossy Starling, Grey Woodpecker, African Thrush, African Jacana, Common Bulbul, Bronze Mannikin,  Red-billed Firefinch, Orange-cheeked Waxbill, Lavender Waxbill, Hooded Vulture, Yellow-billed Kite, Palmnut Vulture, Harrier Hawk, Pearl-spotted Owlet, Pied Crow, Laughing Dove, White-billed Buffalo Weaver, Pied Hornbill, Senegal Coucal, Royal Tern, Grey-headed Gull, Great White Egret, Cattle Egret, Little Egret, Whimbrel, Palm Swift, Speckled Pigeon, Giant Kingfisher, Red-necked Falcon, Grey Hornbill, Beautiful Sunbird, Green Wood-hoopoe, Black-headed Heron, Red-eyed Dove, Black-necked Weaver, Fork-tailed Drongo, Yellow-legged Gull, Osprey, African Darter, Black-billed Wood Dove, Yellow Wagtail, Red-chested Swallow, Black Crake, Green Sandpiper, African Golden Oriole, Brown Babbler, Blackcap Babbler, Common Wattle-eye, Abyssinian Roller, Vinaceous Dove, Marsh Harrier and Black-crowned Night Heron.  We also saw Black-headed Plover at the nearby Fajara Golf Course. (David Bowman)

7th Dec 2015 Amongst others we saw Woodland Kingfisher at Badala Park Pool, Black Crake at the Palm Beach Hotel track, Giant Kingfisher and Golden-tailed Woodpecker at Kotu Creek and Lesser Honeyguide, Bearded Barbet and White-crowned Robin-Chat at the golf course. (Greg Baker)

Feb 17 Site 4: early(ish) mornings there are almost always two Giant Kingfishers (M+F) on the wires to the north of the bridge, but these are elusive later in the day. Loads of Pied, but also Blue-breasted and Malachite are normally around. I’ve also seen Pygmy there, and on one occasion a Striped, which surprised my guide! Just on the south side of the bridge, the GBWA have created a feeding site for vultures etc, which has tended to replace the ones in the hotel grounds.

Site 5: is easily reachable by taking the ‘Nature Trail’ signposted on the right, just before the bridge over the creek. Following this track leads to the GBWA garden and tower, and by following the path through the garden you drop down to a muddy track which leads across the creek to the golf course. This is marked on your map as ‘footpath passable at low tide’, but it practice it’s always passable and it actually runs from the garden: on the map the drinks hut/garden need moving north, away from the Bertil Harding Highway. In addition to the birds you’ve mentioned, the golf course is also good for woodpeckers (I’ve had Golden, Fine-spotted, Grey and Little Grey there) and although in five years I’ve never seen Black-headed Plover in the area you suggest, the wet bits are good for herons and egrets (I’ve had Hamerkop, Black Heron, Sacred and Hadada Ibis and Squacco, in addition to the ubiquitous Cattle Egrets). Path also good for small birds (Bronze Manikin, Winding and Singing Cisticola etc). I’ve also been shown Swallow-tailed Bee-eater on the far side of the golf course, and near where you climb on to the golf course from the creek, there’s a reliable roosting site (in the mangroves!) for Long-tailed Nightjar.

Site 6: is also excellent for feeding Little Swifts and very close views of African Jacana. The open areas are also good for all three common species of Roller and Lizard Buzzard, plus regular Palm Nut Vultures and the occasional Bateleur. I see you’ve mentioned the path through the garden in this para – could do with moving to para 5!

Sites 7 and 8: The pond round the back of the Badala Park is also excellent for a large egret roost in the evenings, plus a good site for Black Heron and lots of feeding Bee-eaters, both Blue-cheeked and Little. The acacia and palm trees on the NW side of the track have roosting African Scops Owl and Northern White-faced Owl, plus, as you suggest occasional migrant warblers and are also good for several species of sunbird. Looking at the map on p.7, between the ‘enclosed resort’ and the Palm Beach, there’s a muddy track behind the Kunta Kinteh beach restaurant, which leads to a hide created by the GBWA. This is the best site in the area for Painted Snipe: another birder and I counted 15 in mid-Feb. 2017, plus the Hadada Ibis sit in the trees beyond the hide if they’re not near the Bertil Harding Highway. Green-backed Heron is also regular, plus it’s a good spot for Black Crake, though if the rice fields down to the Palm Beach hotel still have water, they’re even easier to see there (Giles Pepler).

Senegambia Beach hotel

23rd-30th Nov 2012 Birds on our 'garden list' included Northern Black Flycatcher, White-billed Buffalo Weaver, Grey Woodpecker, Pearl-spotted Owlet, Wattled Plover, Brown Babbler, Yellow-fronted Tinkerbird and Yellow-fronted Canary. the fields just to the north of the hotel had good numbers of Red Bishop (males still red) and Tawny -flanked Prinia. Lots of Gannets at sea on 24th. (DG)

11th April 2014 The garden list at next door Kairaba hotel included Blue-breasted Kingfisher, Squacco Heron, Cattle Egret, Palm-nut Vulture, Hooded Vulture, Senegal Thick-knee, Whimbrel, Speckled Pigeon, Red-eyed Dove, African Mourning Dove, Western Grey, Plantain-eater, Senegal Coucal, Little Bee-eater, Blue-bellied Roller, Green Wood-hoopoe, Fanti Saw-wing, White-crowned Robin Chat, Africa Thrush, Northern Black Flycatcher, Beautiful Sunbird, Yellow-crowned Gonolek, Piapiac, Village Weaver (Bruce Findlay).


Bijilo forest park

25th Nov 2012 We had several sightings of Snowy-crowned Robin Chat. The easiest place to see them is from the 'hide' overlooking a drinking pool. Take the path from the entrance as far as the first fork and look for the hide down a track to the right. (DG)

21st March 2013 Snowy-crowned Robin Chats were seen twice on the circuit through the forest, along with Green-backed Cameroptera, Lanner, Lavender Waxbill and interestingly, a Common Kestrel showing the characteristics of rufescens.  This male was dark rufous and very heavily barred. (David Bowman)

Nov 2013 There is another pond with a hide 'to the right of the left hand path that runs nearest the road. It's about halfway through the reserve. The south of the reserve is excellent for raptors, particularly falcons. (Ed Hutchings)

Brufut woods

25th Nov 2012 Highlights included 2 Levaillant's Cuckoo and Lesser Honeyguide on the track before the wood, Grey-headed Bristlebill and Singing Cisticola near the Woodland Bar, Greater Honeyguide at the drinking pots and Verreaux's Eagle Owl and 2 Long-tailed Nightjars at stake-outs (DG)

5th Dec 2015 Unfortunately this area is apparently destined to be obliterated by the building of a new sports stadium; there is already a huge track through the middle of the woods.  We did manage to see the regular roosting Verreaux's Eagle Owls and Long-tailed Nightjar. Open habitat near the parking area produced African Cuckoo, 3 Pearl-spotted Owlets, a Violet Turaco,  Northern Black Flycatcher, Western Violet-backed Sunbird and African Golden Oriole plus a pair of Lanner Falcons and an African Hobby overhead.  The woods themselves were not very productive, with Northern Puffback, Northern Crombec, Red-bellied Paradise-Flycatcher and Little Weaver the best birds seen, and the drinking pots at the woodland bar were very quiet (although a large cobra had been seen here just before we arrived).

Feb 2016 Very close views of roosting  Northern White-faced Owl, Long-tailed Nightjar and Standard-winged Nightjar [female] (Martyn Hnatiuk)

Feb 2017 Regular Pygmy Kingfishers coming to the drinking pots at the entrance, and the guides will find you roosting Long-tailed and Standard-winged Nightjars within three minutes of the entrance – in each case, you can approach to within four or five feet.There are also roosting Verreaux’s Eagle Owls to be seen (Giles Pepler).

December 2022 Verreaux’s Eagle Owl no longer present (John Kirby)

Tujereng woods

27th Nov 2012 Once again an amazing concentration of special birds including 2 Black Wood-hoopoe, 2 Bru-bru, Klaas's Cuckoo, Levaillant's Cuckoo, at least 6 Viellot's Barbet, Cardinal, Fine-spotted and Brown-backed Woodpeckers, Singing, Whistling, Zitting and Siffling Cisticolas, Red-winged Warbler, 2 White-crowned Black Chat, Senegal Batis, Chestnut-crowned Sparrow-weaver and an Ovambo Sparrowhawk low overhead. (DG)

Nov 2013 This site is now earmarked for 'development' (Ed Hutchings)

7th Dec 2015 Just sitting in an area of shade for a couple of hours produced Diederick Cuckoo, Striped Kingfishers, Cardinal and Brown-backed Woodpeckers in a territorial dispute, Grey-headed Bushshrike, Yellow Penduline-Tit, White-shouldered Black Tit, perched Red-breasted and Mosque Swallows, Senegal Batis, White-fronted Black Chat, Scarlet-chested Sunbirds and Little and Vitelline Masked Weavers.  In the fields nearby were African Cuckoo, Vieillot's Barbets, Purple (Rufous-crowned) Rollers, Whistling Cisticolas, a Woodchat Shrike, nesting Chestnut-crowned Sparrow-Weavers and Bronze-tailed Glossy-Starlings amongst a flock of commoner glossy starlings. (Greg Baker)

Feb 2016 The site has been reduced to fields but did have 3 Temminck’s Courser, 5 Black-headed Lapwing. (Martyn Hnatiuk)

December 2022 White-fronted Black Chat seen well. Site 3 nearby had a few Chestnut-bellied Starlings (John Kirby)

NEW SITE Gunjur (near Footsteps Ecolodge, page 14, site 7)

December 2022. I went to this site for Capuchin Babbler. I found a group of 6 birds. They kept to deep cover and moved quickly, occasionally popping in view for a few seconds. There is a hide at the site where the birds are said to come to drink but you may have to wait all day. A site entrance fee is payable. (John Kirby)

Kartong sand pits

29th Nov 2012 Very high water levels so not so good for seeing birds like Painted Snipe. 2 Dwarf Bitterns had been seen here recently but we couldn't find them. Best birds were raptors: Gabar Goshawk, Long-crested Eagle and Beaudouin's Snake Eagle. Also Grey-breasted Bush Shrike and Levaillant's Cuckoo. Colin Cross has built a basic but fantastic hide in front of the reedbed at site 1. It allows you to get exceptionally close to birds such as Malachite and Pied Kingfishers, herons, cormorants, jacanas and gallinules. Superb for photographers (ask at the observatory if you want to use this). A river trip at the mouth of the Allaheim river was good for close up views of gulls and terns but the best birds were  African Hawk Eagle overhead and Senegal Batis and Senegal Eremomela nearby. (DG)

25th March 2013 We spent a whole day here from dawn till dusk, seeing 101 species - despite spending six hours drinking beer, spinning yarns and eating a wonderful goat curry with Colin Cross, the warden at the bird observatory!  Highlights were 1 African Crake, African Green Pigeons, 12 Yellow Wagtails (of at least two races), Grey-headed Kingfisher, Senegal Eremomela, African Golden Oriole, Tawny Eagle, Little Bittern, Splendid Glossy Starlings, Black-headed Bush-shrike, Lavender Waxbills, Orange-cheeked Waxbills, Black Crakes, Purple Gallinules, Grey Kestrel,  Long-tailed Nightjars, African Hobby, Yellow-billed Oxpeckers, Common Snipe etc. (David Bowman)

13th Dec 2015 Birds seen on the reserve included African Pygmy and Spur-winged Geese, Knob-billed Duck, Black and Purple Herons, Long-crested Eagle, Red-necked Falcon, Purple Swamphen, White-fronted Plover, Kentish Plover, Namaqua Dove, Blue-cheeked Bee-eaters, Vieillot's Barbet, Senegal Batis, Fanti Sawing, Senegal Eremomela, Black-headed Weaver, Red-billed Quelia and Plain-backed Pipits.  Along the river we saw African Hobby, a flock of 59 Senegal Thick-knees, plus a Mouse-coloured Sunbird by the boat launch.

(Greg Baker)

3rd March 2016 White-fronted Plover (Martyn Hnatiuk)

Feb 2017 It’s also worth mentioning the river, which you reach by continuing through Kartong village until the road runs out at some really laid back beach bars and a dugout ferry to the south bank, which is in Senegal. You encounter frontier police here, but can take boat trips on the river towards the coast, which pass ‘Ilot des Oiseaux’ (so obviously on the Senegal side!) which has large numbers of pelicans – mostly Pink-backed, but also including some Great White. I also had African Fish Eagle, Goliath Heron and Swallow-tailed Bee-eater from the pirogue, plus numerous other gulls and waders and this was the only place I saw Oystercatcher and Turnstone in 2017. (Giles Pepler)

Abuko forest and Lamin fields

26th November 2012 Birds at site 4 included Grey-headed Bristlebill, Western Bluebill, Oriole Warbler, Yellow-breasted Apalis, Collared Sunbird and Green Crombec. At site 8, a Little Bittern was in the reeds and an African Hawk Eagle flew low overhead (DG)

24th March 2013 All of the birds seen by Dave G. in Nov 2012 were well seen again by us. Also, possible Red-thighed.Sparrowhawk - bad photo being looked at to eliminate Western Little Sparrowhawk.

4th Dec 2015 At Lamin rice fields a Black Heron and a Black Crake were the best birds seen, plus plenty of commoner waders, herons, egrets and open country species. (Greg Baker)


23rd March 2013 We decided to call here for lunch and a bit of birding.  They were very nice at the entrance but wanted to charge us 860 Dalasi for the tourist package (lunch, entertainment, boat trip).  I tried to negotiate this down but nothing doing - till we piled in the van and started the engine - then got a great deal of 300 Dalasi for lunch alone (£6).  Birds seen from the verandah, over-looking the river and mangroves included: White-backed Vulture, Northern Puffback and Fanti Saw-wing, along with loads of Olive Baboons.  We then exited the Lodge and walked back along the track for an hour or so, cutting off down an obvious side track to the left.  The raptor watching was excellent and we saw African Hawk Eagle, Black-shouldered Kite, Long-crested Eagle, Lanner Falcon and Osprey as well as a Bearded Barbet, along with many of the commoner species. (David Bowman)

Nov 2013  Worth visiting for the Goliath Herons that come up to the bar at Mandina Lodges, the numerous migrants in the surrounding bush, the huge egret roost and wide variety of raptors. However, Martial Eagle is very unrealisable there of late. African Finfoot is rarely seen there too. (Ed Hutchings)

Feb 17 Stayed here in 2016 (and Naturetrek run tours based there). Goliath Heron lurk right beside the bar and look particularly good at night when the area is partly floodlighted. The guides will find you roosting Verreux’s Eagle Owl and Long-crested Eagle amongst many other birds, and it’s an amazing experience swimming in the pool with White-throated Bee-eaters diving on you and African Paradise Flycatchers in the bushes in the centre! (Giles Pepler)


28th November 2012 There are well-stocked water pots near the entrance which attracted Yellow-throated Leaflove, Snowy-crowned Robin Chat and several Green-headed Sunbirds which were almost constantly in view. From the back of the wood we saw Woolly-necked Stork overhead. Inside the wood African Goshawk is regularly seen but we missed out; we did get Oriole Warbler and Yellow-breasted Apalis. Nearby we had Levaillant's Cuckoo and Dark Chanting Goshawk. Our guide Modou Jarju took us to a site a few km further east where we successfully found several each of Bruce's green Pigeon and Brown-necked Parrot, plus Scarlet-chested Sunbird. (DG)

24th Nov 2013 Beaudouin's Snake Eagle was soaring on the approach to the forest, while African Goshawk, Oriole Warbler, Grey-headed Bristlebill, Spotted and Greater Honeyguides, Buff-spotted Woodpecker, Green Turaco, Yellow-breasted Apalis and Northern Puffback were seen in the forest.  Looking over the mangroves, we saw a couple of Yellow-billed Storks among the Pink-backed Pelicans.  Last but not least, we saw a huge Forest Cobra in some leaf litter! (David Bowman)

Feb 17 I strongly recommend this site. On the way from the main road, we found Four-banded Sandgrouse and got very close views, and at the entrance to the forest itself the drinking pots attracted all three species of Honeyguide at the same time, plus numerous Lavender Waxbills. About five minutes in from the entrance is a roosting site for African Wood Owl (marvellous views in the middle of the day!), which is apparently now very scarce in The Gambia (Giles Pepler).

December 2022 This site and Bonto Forest (below) are still very good for the staked-out birds like White-backed Night Heron, Verreaux’s Eagle Owl, White faced Owl and White spotted Flufftail. (John Kirby)

Pirang/Bonto Forest (signposted east of Mandina Ba as Pirang Eco Forest)

Feb 2013 At Pirang forest  for 2 hours in the morning we had great views of Sulphur Breasted  Bushshrike, Collared Sunbird, Green Crombec, Green Hylia, Grey headed Bristletail, Yellowbill, White-faced Scops Owl. Buff spotted woodpecker and best of all male and  female White spotted flufftail. We were led by an excellent local guide called Kawsu  (Howie Hall)

24th March 2013 We visited this site with a Gambian friend of mine who happens to be a well-known bird-guide!  We were specifically looking for owls and the site didn't disappoint.  Highlights included: African Wood Owl, Northern White-faced Owl, Verreaux's Eagle Owl, Green Hyllia, Klaas Cuckoo, Booted Eagle, Yellow-breasted Apalis, Green Crombec, Collared Sunbird, Blue-spotted Wood Dove, Snowy-crowned Robin-chat, African Golden Oriole, African Paradise Flycatcher, Lizard Buzzard, Violet Touraco, Green Touraco, Ahanta Francolin, Fanti Saw-wing, White-crested Helmet-shrike, Grey-headed Sparrow, Black-rumped Waxbill, Orange-cheeked Waxbill and Lavender Waxbill. (David Bowman)

Nov 2013 Pirang Forest is the most unspoilt of all eastern Gambia's reserves where the warden (Kawsu Gibba) can show you African Wood Owl, Verreaux's Eagle Owl and White-spotted Flufftail. The owners have closed the gate (to the shrimp ponds) and accesss is limited. Nearby Mandina Ba has Brown-necked Parrot. (DG)

26th Jan 2014 Pirang forest is better known as Bonto forest . We saw Wood owl, white-faced owl, green crombec , grey headed bristlebill, brown necked parrot, African goshawk and heard the fluff tail. Well worth a visit. (Bill Turner)

11th Dec 2016 White-spotted Flufftail at a regular stake-out plus Yellowbill, Klaas' Cuckoo, African Pied Hornbill, both paradise-flycatchers, Grey-headed Bristlebill, Green Crombec, Yellow-breasted Apalis, Oriole Warbler, and Collared and Green-headed Sunbirds and Stone Partridges. Unfortunately the site's regular African Wood-Owl had gone missing for a few days around our visit but had apparently been rediscovered a few days later. The nearby shrimp farm (page 22, site 9) is closed to all visitors having been taken over by the President of Gambia (Greg Baker)

Feb 2017  The shrimps ate harvested in November and December and the ponds are therefore accessible from January onwards, though you still have to park at the entrance. In the third week of February, most of them were dry, but by walking north towards the river, you reach a small number that still have water and this had concentrated the Yellow-billed Storks, herons/egrets and waders even more. There were lots of Gull-billed Terms overhead and several hundred Curlew Sandpipers amongst a myriad of waders (Giles Pepler).

December 2022 Pirang Shrimp Ponds are now open to birders. A fee is payable to the ‘warden’ who will accompany around the site for a tip. He knew the birds and which pond Greater Flamingo could be seen and ensured you did not get lost as it is a large site with no shade. Lots of waders, gulls terns and pelicans also present (John Kirby).

Faraba Banta

24th March 2013 Striped Kingfisher, Greyish Eagle Owl (presumably a juvenile as very rufous), Bateleur, Splendid Sunbirds, Yellow-fronted Canaries and Purple Glossy Starlings were the main sightings from an hour's walk down the track, mid-morning. (David Bowman)

26th March 2013 On the way back from Tendaba Camp we diverted to an area of burned grassland, dotted with Acacias and the odd Baobab,  next to the main road, close to the turn-off for the track.  We were looking for Temminck's Courser, which apparently breed there but were not lucky.  We did find some other excellent birds, though, including: Little Weaver, Vitelline Masked Weaver, Yellow Penduline Tit, Variable Sunbird, Red Bishop, Yellow-fronted Canary, Woodchat Shrike, Wheatear, Whinchat, Lanner Falcon and Beaudouin's Snake Eagle. (David Bowman)

11th Dec 2015 We found this site to be rather disappointing with few raptors on show. We did see African Hawk-Eagle and Dark-chanting Goshawk plus a flushed Black-bellied Bustard, Swallow-tailed Bee-eater, Senegal Batis Senegal Eremomela and Pygmy Sunbird but had expected more.  Nearby, a walk along a track across fields near Sotokoi produced an overhead European Honey Buzzard, a Gabar Goshawk, African Golden Orioles, Pied-winged Swallows, Singing and Whistling Cisticolas, and Red-winged Warbler. (Greg Baker)

Jinack island

Oct 2013 Walking along the beach to the right from Jinack lodges ..regular sightings of spur-winged plover ,water Thick-knee, Malachite kingfisher,Royal Tern, Oxpeckers and near the lagoons a colony of weavers,mostly Southern masked. At the lodges ...Buffalo weaver nests  In the mangrove swamps by the river. Malachite kingfisher nesting in the bank and Pied kingfisher diving for fish. (Frances Keats)


26th March 2013 We stopped here for a pic-nic on our way back from Tendaba.  What a great raptor watchpoint! in an hour we saw 2 Bateleurs, 2 Western Banded Snake Eagles, 1 Brown Snake Eagle, 2 Grasshopper Buzzards, 2 Dark Chanting Goshawks, 1 White-backed Vulture, 2 Shikras, 4 Harrier Hawks, 2 Palmnut Vultures, 1 Grey Kestrel and loads of Hooded Vultures and Yellow-billed Kites. The views were all really close, too.  When we peeled our eyes off the sky we noticed a Vieillot's Barbet nearby. (David Bowman)

Tendaba (now connected by tarmac to/from the coast)

26th March 2013 The road to Tendaba Camp is now completed and the journey takes less than two hours from the coast at Kololi.  We set off at 5.30 am, arrived for breakfast at 7.15 am, hired a canoe and guide who took us across the Gambia River and up a wide tributary, as far as a wide open area of grassland and Acacia woodland on its north bank.  We then walked for a couple of hours and the birding was brilliant.  Highlight was a Bronze-winged Courser, viewed at 20 feet.  Other good finds included Swallow-tailed Bee-eaters, Spur-winged Geese, Mouse-brown Sunbird, Blue-breasted Kingfisher, Fairy Blue Flycatcher, Goliath Heron, Martial Eagle, Striated Heron, African Fish Eagle, Gabar Goshawk, Pygmy Sunbird, Scarlet-chested Sunbird, Dark Chanting Goshawk, Montague's Harrier, African Hawk Eagle, Brown Snake Eagle and White-backed Vulture.  We then still had time in the early afternoon to stop at Kampanti for a fantastic raptor watch, followed by an unsuccesful search for Temminck's Courser at another site till nightfall !! (David Bowman)

Jan 2014 Can confirm Tendaba is now about 2 hours from the coast and quite do-able for a day trip. you miss out on the evening species around the camp, but the river trip plus other stuff on the return makes it worthwhile if you don't fancy staying overnight. (Bill Turner)

Dec 2015 We took two boat trips; a visit to both creeks is required to see the best birds.  Apparently African Finfoot is now very hard to see here and usually only later in the season (February onwards). Like most visiting birders we also only managed to hear and not see African Blue Flycatcher. We did get good views of White-backed Night Heron though, as well as seeing Goliath and Purple Herons, a large flock of Great White Pelicans, Yellow-billed and Woolly-necked Storks, Beaudouin's Snake Eagle, Marsh and Montagu's Harriers, African Hobby, 5 species of kingfisher including Grey-headed and Blue-breasted, White-throated and Blue-cheeked Bee-eaters, Abyssinian and Broad-billed Rollers, Senegal Batis, Brown-throated Wattle-eye, Wire-tailed and Mosque Swallows and plenty of Mouse-coloured Sunbirds.  Behind the camp a track can be followed uphill and through the local school to an a area where a small screen has been erected overlooking a drinking pool.  The sighting of the screen needs more work, but this was the only site where we saw Bush Petronia and a good range of waxbills, weavers and glossy-starlings were coming to drink and bathe. On the way to Tendaba we stopped off at Banba-kuno Forest, an area of woodland and open habitats to the west of Bulock where we saw Bruce's and African Green Pigeons together in the same mahogany tree as well as Red-shouldered Cuckooshrike, African Golden Oriole, Bearded Barbet, Yellow White-eyes and breeding plumaged Black-winged Red Bishops.  The wetland area at the west end of Bulock itself produced Brown-necked Parrots, Egyptian Vulture, Dark-chanting Goshawk and Tawny Eagle.  At Kampanti on the way to and from Tendaba we saw Beaudouin's Snake Eagle, Wahlberg's Eagle, Bateleur, White-backed Vulture, African Hawk-Eagle, Long-crested Eagle and Grasshopper Buzzards plus Woolly-necked Storks soaring overhead.  A track leading into lightly wooded habitat on the south side of the road west of the bridge produced Woodland Kingfisher, Violet Turaco, Yellow-throated Leaflove, Northern Black Flycatcher and Yellow-breasted Apalis, whilst from the bridge flocks of European Bee-eaters were over the rice fields and a couple of male Exclamatory Paradise-Wydahs were displaying.  The large shallow lake area just north of Kalaji on the road to Tendaba is apparently called Brumang Bridge.  It was another good place to scan for raptors and an hour's skywatching around midday on the 10th produced Black-winged Kite, White-backed, Ruepell's and Eurasian Griffon Vultures, Bateleur, African Hawk-Eagle and Wahlberg's Eagle. (Greg Baker)


Mar 2016 At site 2 species seen included Franklin’s Gull (!), Mediterranean Gull and 2 Yellow-billed Stork (Martyn Hnatiuk)


Dec 2015 Tanji Eco Lodge is situated at the northern end of the Tanji Bird Reserve and reached along the track that runs beyond the reserve's as yet unopened (or unused) headquarters building.  The lodge has a number of bird drinking pools which can be viewed from the restaurant dining tables. This was the only site where we saw Western Bluebill, a female briefly coming to drink just after midday on the 12th.  The pools attract a variety of commoner species which can be viewed at close range, including weavers, waxbills and wintering warblers, plus a Red-chested Goshawk which twice caused pandemonium as it raided the drinking and bathing party.  Yellow-fronted Tinkerbird, Northern Puffback and Red-bellied Paradise-Flycatchers were also seen here. (Greg Baker)

late Feb 2016 highlights at the drinking pools included 1 Black-billed Wood Dove, 1 Blue-spotted Wood Dove, 2 Yellow-crowned Gonolek, 1 male Blackcap, 2 Blackcap Babbler, 1 African Thrush, 2 Northern Grey-headed Sparrow, 4 Black-necked Weaver, 4 Red-billed Firefinch, 1 Village Indigobird, 8 Red-cheeked Cordon Bleu, 4 Lavender Waxbill, 15 Bronze Mannikin and 10 Pin-tailed Whydah. (Martyn Hnatiuk)

Mar 2016 We started on the inland side of road and walked around the scrub which held all the usual birds including 1 Grey Kestrel, 2 Palm-nut Vulture, 1 Shikra, 2 Black-billed Wood Dove, 2 Rose-ringed Parakeet, 8 Senegal Parrot, 1 Violet Turaco, 6 Senegal Coucal, 1 Rufous-crowned Roller, 2 Abyssinian Roller, 2 Blue-bellied Roller, 2 Swallow-tailed Bee-eater, 8 Little Bee-eater, 4 Green Wood-hoopoe, both Grey and Red-billed Hornbill, 4 Yellow-fronted Tinkerbird, 1 Grey Headed Bush-shrike, 2Forked-tailed Drongo, 1 Black Scimitarbill, 2 Tawny-flanked Prinia, 1 Grey-backed Camaroptera, 4 Senegal Eremomela, 1 Mouse-brown Sunbird, 2 Willow Warbler, 1 Northern Black Flycatcher, 4 more species of sunbird in Beautiful, Splendid, Variable and Copper, 2 Black-necked Weaver and 2 Lavender Waxbill. We then crossed the road and  flushed 2 Four-banded Sandgrouse (Martyn Hnatiuk)

Feb 2017 I’ve seen up to 40 Kelp Gulls here – they’re clearly on the increase (Giles Pepler).


15th Dec 2015 High water levels on the 14th meant it was difficult to explore site 5 but we still recorded Purple Heron, Woolly-necked Stork, Violet Turaco, Woodland and Giant Kingfisher, Fine-spotted Woodpecker and Yellow-billed Oxpecker amongst a range of commoner wetland species.   A total of 8 Black Crakes were seen from site 3.  At site 1, Greater Honeyguide and Yellow-throated Leaflove were seen at the drinking pots with White-crowned Robin-Chat and African Paradise-Flycatcher along the small nature trail.(Greg Baker)

1st Mar 2016 At site 1, 2 Spotted Honeyguide, 1 Greater Honeyguide, 1 Bronze-tailed Starling coming to the drinking bowls. A short walk along the river to another roost brought African Scops Owl and 2 Northern Puffback (Martyn Hnatiuk)

Feb 17 My guide took me south from Brikama on a road further east (can’t remember the names of the places) and we eventually approached Darsilami from the east, rather than the west. On this road from Brikama, he stopped at an area of savannah which he obviously knew well, and an hour’s walk through this produced three species of snake eagle in half an hour, plus Long-crested Eagle, Dark Chanting Goshawk, Lizard Buzzard, African Harrier Hawk and Grey Kestrel, so he obviously knew a good site for raptors. It also produced White Helmetshrike, lots of small birds and, as European migrants, Hoopoe, Olivaceous and Bonelli’s warblers, plus a Common Whitethroat and five species of sunbird (Giles Pepler).

Mandiana woods reserve

Feb 2016 First we visited the tree of a roosting Greyish Eagle Owl which was seen well. We then visited the woods and sat down by some drinking bowls put out by the wardens. A good list of birds were seen here and the surrounding area and included 2 Shikra, 1 Lanner, 6 Vinaceous Dove, 4 Senegal Parrot, 2 Senegal Coucal, 1 Black-billed Wood Dove, 1 Blue-spotted Wood Dove, 2 Abyssinian Roller, 1 Blue-bellied Roller, 1 African Pygmy Kingfisher, 10 Little Bee-eater, 3 Green Wood-hoopoe, 1 Cardinal Woodpecker, 3 Yellow-billed Shrike, 1 Woodchat Shrike, 2 Yellow-crowned Gonolek, 1 Zitting Cisticola, 1 Tawny-flanked Prinia, 1 African Thrush, 2 White-crowned Robin Chat, 2 Northern Grey-headed Sparrow, 2 Black-necked Weaver, 20 Black-winged Bishop, 2 Northern Red Bishop, 4 Red-billed Firefinch, 1 Village Indigobird, 1 Lavender Waxbill, 4 Black-rumped Waxbill, 15 Bronze Mannikin, 6 Red-cheeked Cordon Bleu and 1 Pin-tailed Whydah. (Martyn Hnatiuk) 

Batelling Bush Track

Dec 2015 This excellent loop track to and from Batelling village is off the main road just west of Tendaba and signposted to West Kiang National Park.  It is better than the national park itself, which proved very disappointing as the main lake there was full with few birds around.  Birds seen included Western Banded Snake Eagle, Grasshopper Buzzard, Spotted Thick-knee, Black-headed Lapwing, Four-banded Sandgrouse, Namaqua Dove, Long-tailed and Standard-winged Nightjars at dusk, Senegal Eremomela, Yellow-billed Oxpecker, Pygmy Sunbird, Chestnut-crowned Sparrow-Weaver and Brown-rumped Bunting.  One of the best returns of the trip. (Greg Baker)


Dec 2015 We approached site 3 (apparently known to the locals as Tujereng Sand Pits) from a track which runs west to the north of Tujering Art Village and therefore viewed the pits from the north rather than the south as indicated in the book.  Birds included a pair of Oriole Warblers, Palm-nut Vulture, Black-winged Kite and the only Little Terns of our trip were also seen well here. The bushes behind the dunes would be worth a thorough search during migration periods.  A couple of non-birders also staying at Farakunku Lodges gave a convincing description of an Allen's Gallinule seen in the reeds behind the beach shack (north of the main track just before it reaches the beach), however despite a lengthy search I could not relocate it. At site 4, Heather and Moses have created a Bird and Tree Sanctuary close to the lodges and this proved to be an excellent place to sit and watch local birds come to feed and drink.  Furthermore, as it matures it can only improve with age.  Afternoons seemed to be best.  Birds seen here included Diederick Cuckoo, Senegal Parrot, Fine-spotted and African Grey Woodpeckers, Green Wood-hoopoe, Yellow-crowned Gonolek, Yellow-billed Shrike, Piapiac, Yellow-throated Leaflove, Blackcap and Brown Babblers, White-billed Buffalo-Weaver, Red-headed Quelia, Lavender, Orange-cheeked and Black-rumped Waxbills and White-rumped Seedeater, plus the commoner weavers.  The lodge itself also has bird drinking stations which attracted Splendid and Beautiful Sunbirds and Bronze-tailed Glossy-Starlings as well as the commoner weavers, waxbills and mannikins.  The Little Bee-eaters still come down to drink at the bathing pool late afternoon.  Having heard owls on regular occasions at night I made a concerted effort to track them down on our last evening and spotlighted Northern White-faced Owl in the lodge grounds and African Scops Owl nearby.  Walking around the tracks outside the lodge was also productive with Stone Partridge, Black-winged Kite, Lizard Buzzard, Grey Kestrel, Red-necked Falcon, Pearl-spotted Owlet, Mottled Spinetail, Blue-bellied and Broad-billed Rollers, Northern Puffback, Senegal Eremomela, Singing Cisticola, Red-winged Warbler and Northern Black Flycatcher seen in addition to the above. (Greg Baker)

NEW SITE Killy Woods

December 2022 On the Tendaba/Soma road just after the village of Bintang, there is a large sign for Bintang Bolong lodge (13.2235N, 16.2285W) and Killy Woods is a bit further on down a track on the right. We went first to the lodge and arranged to have lunch there. A short way down the track is a house where we parked. The owner has built a hide in his garden, Albaart’s Hide, which attracted several species. We gave the owner a contribution. Walking down the track and into the weed covered peanut and sorrel fields for a couple of hours we had: Long Crested Eagle, Short toed Eagle, Brown Snake Eagle, Mottled Spinetail, Striped Kingfisher, Copper, Scarlet-chested, Splendid,Variable and Beautiful Sunbirds, (Pygmy Sunbird was heard), Black Scimitarbill, White throated Bee Eater, African Cuckoo, Klaas’s Cuckoo, Black rumped Waxbill, Black winged Bishop, Senegal Batis, Yellow Penduline Tit and Black faced Firefinch. Thanks to my guides Mass and Mustafa.(John Kirby)


Finding Birds in The Gambia

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