Birds of Senegal

Senegal Coucal (Centropus senegalensis) by tj.haslam.

More than 600 species of birds are present in Senegal. Photo of Senegal Coucal taken in Le parc forestier de Hann, near Dakar by tj.haslam (Senegal birds -Flickr)

List of birds of Senegal (Wikipedia)

Birds, birding & conservation in Senegal

With good travel connections, a tourist infrastructure and a list of over 600 bird species, one might expect that more birders would visit Senegal. There have been fairly thorough surveys of most of the coastal areas, the Niokolo-Koba National Park and the large Ferlo reserves. However, some other parts of the country remain relatively unknown in ornithological terms, and there are good opportunities for the independently minded birder to explore this interesting country.

Birds of the Gambia and Senegal (Helm Field Guides)
Birds of the Gambia and Senegal (Helm Field Guides)

I’ve just returned from two weeks travelling in Senegal and The Gambia, doing quite a bit of birding there. This Field Guide was simply excellent: the plates are of a very high quality, the distribution notes straightforward and helpful, and the descriptions of behaviour brilliant. Frequently, and almost uncannily, when trying to identify a bird, the exact behaviour and habitat we were observing was described in the text, helping precise identification greatly. The book was a pleasure to use and nothing else I have see for the region comes close; general West African guides will simply not do the job half as well as this book does. If you are going to The Gambia or Senegal and are interested in birds, get this book; you will be delighted that you did.

Senegal – Birding Senegal & Dakar

Birding in Senegal can begin right on the Cap Vert peninsula, where the capital city Dakar, and the international airport are located. This densely populated area is nevertheless an active, if unlikely, haven for many of the species found in the region. This is understandable when one realizes that little more than two decades ago there were still relatively undisturbed habitat zones on the peninsula which included some secondary growth light woodlands, extensive reed marshes and coastal tidal pools.
As the city, and more recently residential suburbs, have grown up around, and sometimes within, these zones, a few have remained intact – although admittedly, no longer undisturbed. If the Birder can set his sights beyond the all too evident physical disturbances that a city of two million plus inhabitants would be expected to create, a virtual treasure trove of West Africa’s avifauna is there for the enjoying! Dakar definitely affords urban birding opportunities at their best.

The Best Pelagic Birding in the World – Senegal and the Cape Verde

The Cape Verde Peninsula, in the West African nation of Senegal, juts out into the Atlantic Ocean. The seawatching potential of this locality has only just been realized and initial results are very exciting (see Baillon and Dubois, 1992; Marr and Porter, 1992). From early September to mid-October, Bailon and Dubois observed an extensive passage on jaegers/skuas totalling nearly 1000 in 40 hours of counting, while Marr and Porter reported spectacular northward passage in April including hundreds of Wilson’s Storm-petrel, European Storm-petrel, Pomarine Jaegers, Sabine’s Gulls, and 1,000s of terns including over 10,000 Black Tern. In addition, numbers of South Polar Skua and Cape Verde Shearwaters occur offshore in the fall (Porter et al., 1997; Newell et al., 1997).

Birdwatching and Wildlife Holidays in Gambia & Senegal


Djoudj National Bird Sanctuary, Senegal

For millions of Palaearctic ducks and other aquatic birds, the Sanctuary, along with the Niger swamps in Mali and Lake Chad, is one of the great staging and wintering areas on the far side of the Sahara. From September to April, an estimated three million migrants pass through, joining a dense population of resident breeding birds. Between 450-550,000 Anatidae, 250,000 Limicolae, 20,000 greater flamingos Phoenicopterus ruber, 3,000-12,000 lesser flamingos P. minor and 2,500 European spoonbills Platalea leucorodia, owe their winter survival to the quality of the environment of the Senegal river delta.

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