Birding Gambia

Gambia activities | birding | photography | 6 of the best | Tim Sexton

© Tim Sexton, all rights reserved

Birding in The Gambia

The Gambia is home to more than 550 species of birds and they are all around you, which means you don’t have to go far to see some beautiful, exotic birds.

Birding in The Gambia is a year-round activity, with the two distinct seasons – ‘Dry’ (November to May) and ‘Green’ (June to October). In addition to the numerous resident species, each season also attracts a varied selection of migratory birds.

June to November sees many birds in their summer, and often, breeding plumage, with bright colours and long tails being the order of the day.

During the drier months, from November to May, is a great time to see the numerous raptors, amongst others, as they soar effortlessly overhead or perch in the tops of trees.

Birding, or Birdwatching, in The Gambia has never been easier with our purpose-built hides

In fact, at Footsteps Eco-Lodge we have over 100 species of birds within our grounds and over 150 within walking distance, so whether you are an avid birder or casual birdwatcher, novice or professional, the birding is great!

Sit and relax by the fresh water filtered pool, the only one in The Gambia, and watch such daily visitors as the colourful African Pygmy KingfisherIspidina picta, the Red-bellied Paradise FlycatcherTerpsiphone rufiventer, and the Wire-tailed SwallowHirundo smithii.

In the area around the pool you will also see Bronze MannikinsRed-billed FirefinchesRed-cheeked Cordon-bleuVariable SunbirdsBeautiful Sunbirds and many more.

Take a stroll around the grounds, or set up in one of the bird hides, and you will be amazed by the number of exotic birds making an appearance throughout the day: HornbillsSnowy-crowned Robin-chatSenegal CoucalPlantain-EatersCommon Wattle-eye and Yellow-crowned Gonolek to name just a few.

About sustainable Footsteps | birdhide

Birding trips and birdwatching itinerary

Footsteps also offers a variety of Gambia Birding Trips in the company of expert and experienced guides, an opportunity not to be missed. You can visit Nature Reserves, Bird Reserves, Paddy Fields, Wetlands and take a trip along the River Gambia, amongst others, each with its own ecosystem and each with an abundance of flora and fauna.

Please choose from our Gambia Birding itinerary options below, or stay in the beautiful grounds of Footsteps and use our purpose-built bird hides.

Birding trip number 1

Leave Footsteps after a very early breakfast and travel by four wheel drive approximately 40 minutes to Lamin Lodge. You’ll go on a short one hour boat trip on the river.

Here you will expect to see:

  • Common Wattle-eye
  • Paradise Flycatcher
  • Royal Tern
  • African Darter
  • Long Tailed Cormorant
  • Western Bluebill.
  • Great Honeyguide
  • Cut Throat Finch
  • Singing Cisticola

By the rice fields you can see Buffalo Weavers. These birds represent only a small fraction of birds seen regularly at Lamin Lodge.

Picnic style lunch around 1 pm and on to Abuko Nature Reserve. This is the pride of Gambia and a must for all birders, here you will see:

  • Pin-tailed Widow
  • Rose-ringed Parakeet
  • Red-bellied Paradise Flycatcher
  • Senegal Batis
  • Grey Headed Gull

and many more.

Birding trip number 2

Another early breakfast. Today we visit 3 separate venues. Tanji Bird Reserve is about 30 minutes away along the coast. Just 10 minutes further and you are in the next birding spots.

During a visit to  these locations expect to see:

  • Black Crowned Tchagra
  • Osprey
  • Yellow Crowned Gonolek
  • Broad Billed Roller
  • Abyssinian Roller
  • Purple Glossy Starlings
  • Violet Backed Starlings.

Birding trip number 3

Visits to Marakissa River Camp, Darsalami Woods and Siffoe.

Marakissa is approximately one hour away and our first venue. A morning is spent here. Darsalami Woods and Siffoe are on the way back.

You will see:

  • Sulphur-breasted Bush Shrike
  • Exclamatory Paradise Whydah
  • Wilson Indigo
  • African Blue Flycatcher
  • Yellow Shouldered Widowbird
  • Northern Puffback
  • Woodchat Shrike

and many more!

Birding trip number 4

Up at the crack of dawn and off again with Lamin to Mandinaba Pirang Shrimp Farm, Faraba Bantang Rice Fields and Bush Track.

About 1½ hours drive away, you can expect sightings of:

  • Quail Finch
  • Village Indigo
  • Pin-tailed Whydah
  • Cut Throat Finch

and many more!

Birding trip number 5

Off early and an hour down the coast to visit Gambia’s capital of Banjul.

Then back to Kotu and Fajara Golf Club. For those who want to have an 9 or 18 hole round, this can be arranged.

 

Some of the birds found here are:

  • Grey Plover
  • Senegal Thick-knee
  • Wattle Plovers
  • Wire Tailed Swallow
  • Little Ring Plover
  • Stone Partridge
  • Sand Grouse
  • European Hoopoe
  • Red-shouldered Cuckoo Shrike
  • Woodland Kingfisher.
+ Birding trip 1

Birding trip number 1

Leave Footsteps after a very early breakfast and travel by four wheel drive approximately 40 minutes to Lamin Lodge. You’ll go on a short one hour boat trip on the river.

Here you will expect to see:

  • Common Wattle-eye
  • Paradise Flycatcher
  • Royal Tern
  • African Darter
  • Long Tailed Cormorant
  • Western Bluebill.
  • Great Honeyguide
  • Cut Throat Finch
  • Singing Cisticola

By the rice fields you can see Buffalo Weavers. These birds represent only a small fraction of birds seen regularly at Lamin Lodge.

Picnic style lunch around 1 pm and on to Abuko Nature Reserve. This is the pride of Gambia and a must for all birders, here you will see:

  • Pin-tailed Widow
  • Rose-ringed Parakeet
  • Red-bellied Paradise Flycatcher
  • Senegal Batis
  • Grey Headed Gull

and many more.

+ Birding trip 2

Birding trip number 2

Another early breakfast. Today we visit 3 separate venues. Tanji Bird Reserve is about 30 minutes away along the coast. Just 10 minutes further and you are in the next birding spots.

During a visit to  these locations expect to see:

  • Black Crowned Tchagra
  • Osprey
  • Yellow Crowned Gonolek
  • Broad Billed Roller
  • Abyssinian Roller
  • Purple Glossy Starlings
  • Violet Backed Starlings.
+ Birding trip 3

Birding trip number 3

Visits to Marakissa River Camp, Darsalami Woods and Siffoe.

Marakissa is approximately one hour away and our first venue. A morning is spent here. Darsalami Woods and Siffoe are on the way back.

You will see:

  • Sulphur-breasted Bush Shrike
  • Exclamatory Paradise Whydah
  • Wilson Indigo
  • African Blue Flycatcher
  • Yellow Shouldered Widowbird
  • Northern Puffback
  • Woodchat Shrike

and many more!

+ Birding trip 4

Birding trip number 4

Up at the crack of dawn and off again with Lamin to Mandinaba Pirang Shrimp Farm, Faraba Bantang Rice Fields and Bush Track.

About 1½ hours drive away, you can expect sightings of:

  • Quail Finch
  • Village Indigo
  • Pin-tailed Whydah
  • Cut Throat Finch

and many more!

+ Birding trip 5

Birding trip number 5

Off early and an hour down the coast to visit Gambia’s capital of Banjul.

Then back to Kotu and Fajara Golf Club. For those who want to have an 9 or 18 hole round, this can be arranged.

 

Some of the birds found here are:

  • Grey Plover
  • Senegal Thick-knee
  • Wattle Plovers
  • Wire Tailed Swallow
  • Little Ring Plover
  • Stone Partridge
  • Sand Grouse
  • European Hoopoe
  • Red-shouldered Cuckoo Shrike
  • Woodland Kingfisher.
Gambia activities | Birding Gambia

© Jan Erik Roer, all rights reserved

Gambia activities | Birding Gambia

© Rob Garner, all rights reserved

Gambia activities | Birding Gambia
Gambia activities | Birding Gambia

© Jan Erik Roer, all rights reserved

Duration:

4 – 8 hours

Your guide:

Lamin

Unguided:

not available

Like a local:

not available

Price:

D 3,000 per trip / person

Included:

Transport, guide, lunch and admission fees.

Excluded:

Drinks and personal expenses.

Prepay:

possible when booking your stay through our website, or by contacting David.

Here are some links to pages created by some really great birders who have spent time at Footsteps in The Gambia:

If you find yourself unable to identify a particular bird at some stage, maybe when you are sorting through your photos at home, here is a great resource: birdforum