Large heron on top of a mangrove tree
Birds,  Gambia,  Sunday Stills,  Travel galleries

Gallery: the birds of the Gambia

You don’t need to be a keen birdwatcher to be captivated by the variety and number of birds to be found in the Gambia. The country is considered to be a birdwatcher’s paradise, and even as a non-expert and fairly mild enthusiast I had great fun spotting and photographing (or in some cases trying to photograph) the myriad species here.

The photos below were mostly taken in and around the two places we stayed on this trip: Ngala Lodge, a coastal boutique hotel in Fajara, and Mandina Lodge in the Makasutu Forest. It was on our walks in the forest that our knowledgeable guide Amadou helped me identify many of the birds I was photographing.

I’m sharing these for this week’s Sunday Stills, ‘Feeding the Birds’. Of course we didn’t actually feed any of these, but I hope you’ll overlook that small detail and enjoy them anyway. And as always, click on any photo in the galleries to see it full size and scroll through a complete slideshow.

I visited the Gambia in 2014


  • mtncorg

    I was just listening to the call of the redwing blackbirds as I walked the dog this morning, so the birds of Gambia were apropos. One of our more popular football players in recent past, Momodou Futty Danso, a defender – The Great Wall of Gambia – has returned to Portland at the end of his career to start a football academy, so another branch, as well.

    • Sarah Wilkie

      So many connections 🙂 There have been some good players from that part of the world – Senegal even more so than The Gambia I think. We had a Senegalese player at Newcastle for a while, Papiss Demba Cissé, and when we were in that country it gave us a good point of conversation with some locals 🙂

  • Marsha

    You are definitely forgiven for not feeding them, Sarah. What a joy to see so many different species of birds. I loved the Red-billed Hornbill. That’s one expensive bird that comes with two bills to his name. 🙂

  • Easymalc

    I can’t keep up with all your posts, but I’ve probably seen some of them before in a different guise. It’s good to see all your fab photos laid out like this though.

    • Sarah Wilkie

      Thanks Malcolm 🙂 Don’t worry about keeping up (but btw, have you tried keeping up with Fergy?!) I know I’m posting very frequently at the moment – it’s the lack of much else to do 🙁 When things open up a bit more and we can get out and about a bit more, I’ll slow down 😆 You may have seen these photos on VT back in the day!

  • Tracey

    That’s a great selection of birds and I like that they’re all from another country. I love seeing pelicans and herons fishing from the mangroves. Well done!

  • Anonymous

    I absolutely love birds and now I can understand why Gambia is considered to be a birdwatcher’s paradise! You have so many amazing pictures, how lucky you got to see so many varieties! I was so disappointed when I went to a large bird sanctuary in New Zealand and saw only a few birds but none up close to take pictures of except some quails which I have tons of in my own backyard. The guide described birds and showed us some bird pictures but none were as beautiful as the ones you have pictured here. What a wonderful experience and collection of professional looking pictures you have as a remembrance. Now I want to go to Gambia!

    • Sarah Wilkie

      Thank you for the compliment on my photos 🙂 I’m puzzling as to who you might be, anonymous commenter? I can see why you would be so disappointed by that experience in NZ but I guess it just proves what we’ve been warned on many occasions, that there are no guarantees with wildlife! We had a similar experience ‘whale watching’ in the San Juans, WA, a couple of years ago. Sightings of orca are supposed to be pretty much guaranteed there but we were out all morning with a very expert guide and he couldn’t find any!

    • Sarah Wilkie

      Thank you 🙂 It’s considered a real draw for keen birdwatchers (there are specialist holidays for them) but even for someone more interested in photographing them than knowing what they’re called it was still one of the highlights of our trip!

  • CadyLuck Leedy

    I have a dumb question! Where in the world is Gambia! You take such excellent photos of birds! I spend a lot of time waiting patiently and get nothing! My favorite was the red-billed hornbill!

    • Sarah Wilkie

      It’s on the west coast of Africa. If you look on a map you’ll see it’s a rather odd shaped country, long and narrow. It borders both banks of the Gambia river with only a fairly short coastline, but that’s been well-developed with resorts that attract a lot of British and other northern Europeans during the winter. Inland it’s much more ‘real Africa’ and really worth exploring. It has a very dark history, associated with the slave trade, and most famously was the ancestral country of Alex Haley who wrote Roots – see my post if you’re interested in that side of the country 🙂

    • Sarah Wilkie

      This was very much a ‘get away from the English winter’ trip but we’re far more interested in exploring than lying on a beach so yes, we enjoyed seeing this country and its birdlife

    • Sarah Wilkie

      Thank you Terri 🙂 Yes, I reckon we see egrets almost everywhere we go – apart from at home, unlike herons which are quite common on our stretch of the Thames and even in local parks.

Do share your thoughts, I'd love to hear from you! And please include your name in case WP marks you 'anonymous' - thank you