Birding in The Gambia

Birdwatching in The Gambia

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Gambia Birding Holidays

Destination expert/TripAdvisor

Our destination expert says…

From June to November ( green season ), birdwatching in The Gambia sees many birds in their summer and breeding plumage.

This means bright colours and long tails being the order of the day.

In contrast from November to May ( dry season ), it’s a great time to see plenty of raptors.

Among others, birds of prey soar effortlessly overhead or perch on the tops of trees.

More importantly, that means excellent photo opportunities.

What’s even better is you don’t need to be a professional photographer or birdwatcher to appreciate the wonders of this West African destination.

Anyone can do it because the birds are all around you.

Scroll to see a list of Gambia birds

Compiled by Steve Keightley and Ian Misselbrook

Yellow-billed Stork in Gambia
  • Pink-backed Pelican
  • Shikra
  • Blue-spotted Wood Dove
  • Great White Pelican
  • African Hawk-Eagle
  • Black Billed Wood Dove
  • Long-tailed Cormorant
  • Wahlberg’s Eagle
  • Namaqua Dove
  • Green-backed Heron
  • Tawny Eagle
  • Laughing Dove
  • Squacco Heron
  • Grey Kestrel
  • African Green Pigeon
  • Cattle Egret
  • Red-necked Falcon
  • Speckled Pigeon
  • Western Reef Heron
  • Lanner Falcon
  • Red-Eyed Dove
  • Double-spurred Francolin
  • African Mourning Dove
  • Intermediate Egret
  • Stone Partridge
  • Vinaceous Dove
  • Great Egret
  • Purple Swamphen
  • Rose-ringed Parakeet
  • Grey Heron
  • African Jacana
  • Senegal Parrot
  • Black-headed Heron
  • Black-winged Stilt
  • Western Grey Plantain Eater
  • Purple Heron
  • Senegal Thick-knee
  • Great Spotted Cuckoo
  • Hamerkop
  • African Wattled Lapwing
  • Senegal Coucal
  • Sacred Ibis
  • Spur-winged Plover
  • Verreaux’s Eagle Owl
  • African Spoonbill
  • Whimbrel
  • Little Swift
  • Osprey
  • Sanderling
  • African Palm Swift
  • Palm-nut Vulture
  • Common Greenshank
  • African Pygmy Kingfisher
  • Hooded Vulture
  • Green Sandpiper
  • Pied Kingfisher
  • Yellow-billed Kite
  • Wood Sandpiper
  • Little Bee-eater
  • Western Marsh Harrier
  • Common Sandpiper
  • Blue-Cheeked Bee-eater
  • Beaudouin’s Snake Eagle
  • Arctic Skua
  • Northern Carmine Bee-eater
  • Long-crested Eagle
  • Grey-headed Gull
  • Rufous-crowned Roller
  • African Harrier Hawk
  • Lesser Black-backed Gull
  • Blue-bellied Roller
  • Lizard Buzzard
  • Caspian Tern
  • Broad-billed Roller
  • Green-Wood Hoopoe
  • Brown Babbler
  • Whistling Cisticola
  • Hoopoe
  • Blackcap Babbler
  • Western Red-billed Hornbill
  • Scarlet-chested Sunbird
  • African Grey Hornbill
  • Beautiful Sunbird
  • African Pied Hornbill
  • Variable Sunbird
  • Yellow-fronted Tinker-bird
  • Splendid Sunbird
  • Bearded Barbet
  • Woodchat Shrike
  • Cardinal Woodpecker
  • Yellow-billed Shrike
  • Levaillant’s Cuckoo
  • Northern Puffback
  • Senegal Eremomela
  • Grey-backed Camaroptera
  • Woodland Kingfisher
  • Malachite Kingfisher
  • Red-throated Bee-eater
  • White-throated Bee-eater
  • African Darter
  • Swallow-tailed Bee-eater
  • Greater Honeyguide
  • White-faced Whistling Duck
  • Long-tailed Nightjar
  • Ruddy Turnstone
  • Black-crowned Night Heron
  • Yellow-billed Oxpecker
  • White-crested Helmet-shrike
  • Northern Red Bishop
  • Common Wattle-eye
  • Giant Kingfisher
  • Yellow-throated Leaflove
  • African Thrush
  • Yellow-crowned Gonolek
  • Heuglin’s Masked-weaver
  • Masked Vitelline Weaver
  • Masked Weaver
  • Orange-cheeked Waxbill
  • Lavender Waxbill
  • Red-cheeked Cordon-bleu
  • Red-billed Firefinch
  • Snowy-crowned Robin-chat
  • Northern Black Flycatcher
  • Piapiac
  • Pied Crow
  • Blue-breasted Kingfisher
  • Northern Grey Sparrow
  • Golden Oriole
  • Red-bellied Paradise Flycatcher
  • Black-necked Weaver
  • Village Weaver
  • Fine-spotted Woodpecker
  • Grey Woodpecker
  • Green Turaco
  • Violet Turaco
  • Common Bulbul

Birdwatching holidays in The Gambia

Not only do we have over 100 species within our grounds, but equally important we also have over 150 within walking distance.

This means whether you are an avid birder or casual bird watcher, birding in Gambia is great!

Sit and relax by our unique freshwater-filtered pool. Being the only eco-pool in The Gambia means it attracts lots of birds.

For example, not only African Pygmy Kingfisher, and Red-bellied Paradise Flycatcher but also Wire-tailed Swallow.

Bird-hide at Footsteps
Our bird hide overlooks a natural water feature!

The area around our pool

You will see for example birds such as Bronze Mannikin, Red-billed Fire-finches and Red-cheeked Cordon-bleu. And also Variable Sunbirds & Beautiful Sunbirds.

Take a stroll around the grounds and set up in one of the bird hides. You will be amazed by the number of exotic birds making an appearance throughout the day. Hornbills, TuracosSnowy-crowned Robin-chatSenegal CoucalPlantain-EatersCommon Wattle-eye, and Yellow-crowned Gonolek.

Bird trips and birdwatching itinerary

First & foremost, Footsteps offer a variety of Gambia Birding Trips in the company of an expert and experienced bird guide. An opportunity not to be missed. Secondly, you can also visit Nature Reserves, Bird Reserves, Paddy Fields, Wetlands and a trip along the River Gambia. Each with its own ecosystem and also each with an abundance of flora and fauna.

Thirdly, and in addition to our Birding holidays in The Gambia, itinerary options are below. You can also stay on the beautiful grounds of Footsteps and use our purpose-built bird hide.

Birds you will find locally

We have six Gambia birding trips listed below. All come with a top-class bird guide of your choice. However, with around 100 bird species visiting us, you would be forgiven for simply making yourself comfortable and enjoying the best that nature has on offer at the lodge.

Enjoy a taster of a small fraction of the species we have local to us at Footsteps. All the photos were taken by our guests between the months of November and June.

If you have specific birds you want to see, contact us and we will tell you exactly where to find them.

Birding Trip 1 – Lamin Lodge & Abuko Nature Reserve

Rose-ringed-Parakeet

Lamin Lodge – We have an early breakfast and travel 40 minutes to Lamin Lodge.

Here we enjoy a short one-hour boat trip on the river.

We expect to see Common Wattle-eye, Royal Tern, African Darter, Long-Tailed Cormorant, Western Bluebill, Greater Honeyguide also Cut-Throat Finch.

Abuko Nature Reserve – Picnic-style lunch around 1 pm and then on to Abuko Nature Reserve.

Disclaimer – Abuko used to be the pride of the Gambia but in recent years we feel it has fallen behind with its standards ie. rubbish in the reserve, however, it still has birds you will struggle to see elsewhere so we still run this trip.

Here you will see Giant Kingfisher, Pin-tailed whydah, Rose-ringed Parakeet, Red-bellied Paradise Flycatcher also Senegal Batis.

Osprey being mobbed by a lapwing

Trip 2 – Tanji bird reserve

Tanji Bird Reserve is 30 minutes away along the coast so as a result, we have more time for breakfast.

Expect to see for example. Black-crowned Tchagra, Osprey, Yellow-Crowned Gonolek, Broad-billed Roller, Abyssinian Roller also Purple Glossy Starlings, and Violet Backed Starlings.

Pied Kinfisher

Trip 3 – Marakissa camp, Darsalami woods & Siffoe

Marakissa is approximately one hour away.

Because the morning is spent there, Darsalami Woods and Siffoe are on the way back in the afternoon.

In addition to Sulphur-breasted Bush-Shrike, Exclamatory Paradise Whydah, Wilson Indigo, African Blue Flycatcher, Yellow Shouldered Widowbird, also see Northern Puffback, Senegal Eremomela and Woodchat Shrike.

Gambia Birds-Pearl spotted owlet

Trip 4 – Mandinaba shrimp farm, Faraba rice fields

Likewise, Mandinaba Pirang Shrimp Farm is one and a half-hour away, we need to be up at the crack of dawn.

And, for example, you can expect sightings of Quail Finch, Village Indigo, Pin-tailed Whydah, and also Cut-Throat Finch.

Senegal Thick-knee

Trip 5 – Banjul, Kotu & Fajara golf course

Because Banjul is an hour away, we need an early start.

Later, we will be visiting Kotu and Fajara Golf Club. Also for those who want to have a 9 or 18-hole round, this can be arranged.

An example of some of the birds you can see here is Grey Plover, Senegal Thick-knee, Wattle Plovers, Wire Tailed Swallow and Little Ring Plover.

Also, Stone Partridge, Sand Grouse, European Hoopoe with Red-shouldered Cuckoo Shrike and Woodland Kingfisher.

White-faced Whistling Duck

Trip 6 – Wetlands close to Footsteps

This trip is on our doorstep and is simply a fantastic day of birding.

In fact, it’s so good you will want to revisit it again and again.

An example of some of the birds you can see here is Osprey, the White-faced whistling duck, Pelicans, Storks, Grey-backed Camaroptera and Woodland Kingfisher.

The above birds of The Gambia photos were taken by Rob Garner, Rob Carr and Emyr Evans – Thank you!

We have 3 top-class bird guides, please pre-book by email David

Pricing for guided Birding

Our birding days are as follows. Between 4 and 8 hours in duration. And include your guide and also transport and lunch.

Moreover, all our trips can be prepaid online when you book and are also arranged at the lodge.

Prices for 2022/23
  • Single birder, the price per day is £90.
  • 2 birders the price per day is £60 each.
  • 3 birders the price per day is £50 each.

In conclusion, below you will find websites from guests who enjoyed their Gambia Birdwatching Holidays

Want a Gambia Bird Identifier?, then purchase The Birds of The Gambia book, considered to be the best for birdwatchers.