Birding in Senegal

Price: US$2490 Species of Interest
 
Tour Gallery
 

 

Species of Interest

  • Helmeted Guineafowl
  • Double-spurred Francolin
  • White-faced Whistling Duck
  • Fulvous Whistling Duck
  • Spur-winged Goose
  • Knob-billed Duck
  • Egyptian Goose
  • African Pygmy Goose
  • Lesser Flamingo
  • Yellow-billed Stork
  • Woolly-necked Stork
  • Saddle-billed Stork
  • African Sacred Ibis
  • Hadada Ibis
  • African Spoonbill
  • Striated Heron
  • Squacco Heron
  • Black-headed Heron
  • Goliath Heron
  • Purple Heron
  • Black Heron
  • Western Reef Heron
  • Hamerkop
  • Great White Pelican
  • Pink-backed Pelican
  • Reed Cormorant
  • White-breasted Cormorant
  • African Darter
  • Scissor-tailed Kite
  • Yellow-billed Kite
  • African Fish Eagle
  • Palm-nut Vulture
  • Hooded Vulture
  • White-backed Vulture
  • Rüpell’s Vulture
  • Lappet-faced Vulture
  • Brown Snake Eagle
  • Western Banded Snake-Eagle
  • Bateleur
  • African Harrier-Hawk
  • Dark Chanting Goshawk
  • Shikra
  • Lizard Buzzard
  • Grasshopper Buzzard
  • African Hawk-Eagle
  • Wahlberg’s Eagle
  • Martial Eagle
  • Lesser Kestrel
  • Grey Kestrel
  • Red-necked Falcon
  • Lanner Falcon
  • African Finfoot
  • Black Crake
  • Purple Swamphen
  • Senegal Thick-knee
  • Spur-winged Lapwing
  • Black-headed Lapwing
  • White-crowned Lapwing
  • African Wattled Lapwing
  • Kittlitz’s Plover
  • Egyptian Plover
  • Greater Painted Snipe
  • African Jacana
  • Collared Pratincole
  • Slender-billed Gull
  • Grey-hooded Gull
  • Royal Tern
  • Chestnut-bellied Sandgrouse
  • Speckled Pigeon
  • African Collared Dove
  • Mourning Collared Dove
  • Red-eyed Dove
  • Vinaceous Dove
  • Laughing Dove
  • Black-billed Wood Dove
  • Namaqua Dove
  • Bruce’s Green Pigeon
  • Senegal Parrot
  • Western Plantain-eater
  • Senegal Coucal
  • African Scops Owl
  • Pearl-spotted Owlet
  • Long-tailed Nightjar
  • Standard-winged Nightjar
  • Mottled Spinetail
  • African Palm Swift
  • Little Swift
  • Blue-naped Mousebird
  • Purple Roller
  • Abyssinian Roller
  • Blue-bellied Roller
  • Broad-billed Roller
  • Grey-headed Kingfisher
  • Striped Kingfisher
  • Blue-breasted Kingfisher
  • African Pygmy Kingfisher
  • Malachite Kingfisher
  • Giant Kingfisher
  • Pied Kingfisher
  • Swallow-tailed Bee-eater
  • Little Bee-eater
  • Red-throated Bee-eater
  • Green Bee-eater
  • Blue-cheeked Bee-eater
  • Northern Carmine Bee-eater
  • Eurasian Hoopoe
  • Green Wood Hoopoe
  • African Grey Hornbill
  • Western Red-billed Hornbill
  • Abyssinian Ground Hornbill
  • Yellow-fronted Tinkerbird
  • Vieillot’s Barbet
  • Bearded Barbet
  • Eurasian Wryneck
  • Fine-spotted Woodpecker
  • African Grey Woodpecker
  • Senegal Batis
  • Brown-throated Wattle-eye
  • White Helmetshrike
  • Grey-headed Bushshrike
  • Black-crowned Tchagra
  • Northern Puffback
  • Yellow-crowned Gonolek
  • Yellow-billed Shrike
  • Southern Grey Shrike
  • Woodchat Shrike
  • African Golden Oriole
  • Fork-tailed Drongo
  • African Paradise Flycatcher
  • Piapiac
  • Pied Crow
  • African Blue Flycatcher
  • Kordofan Lark
  • Chestnut-backed Sparrow-Lark
  • Black-crowned Sparrow-Lark
  • Red-chested Swallow
  • Wire-tailed Swallow
  • Mosque Swallow
  • Red-rumped Swallow
  • Northern Crombec
  • Western Bonelli’s Warbler
  • Sedge Warbler
  • Western Olivaceous Warbler
  • Tawny-flanked Prinia
  • River Prinia
  • Grey-backed Camaroptera
  • Yellow-bellied Eremomela
  • Senegal Eremomela
  • Blackcap Babbler
  • Brown Babbler
  • Lesser Whitethroat
  • Western Orphean Warbler
  • African Yellow White-eye
  • Greater Blue-eared Starling
  • Bronze-tailed Starling
  • Purple Starling
  • Long-tailed Glossy Starling
  • Chestnut-bellied Starling
  • Yellow-billed Oxpecker
  • African Thrush
  • Snowy-crowned Robin Chat
  • Rufous-tailed Scrub Robin
  • Black Scrub Robin
  • African Stonechat
  • Northern Anteater Chat
  • Northern Wheatear
  • Northern Black Flycatcher
  • Swamp Flycatcher
  • European Pied Flycatcher
  • Western Violet-backed Sunbird
  • Pygmy Sunbird
  • Scarlet-chested Sunbird
  • Beautiful Sunbird
  • Variable Sunbird
  • Northern Grey-headed Sparrow
  • Sudan Golden Sparrow
  • White-billed Buffalo Weaver
  • Speckle-fronted Weaver
  • Vitelline Masked Weaver
  • Village Weaver
  • Red-billed Quelea
  • Green-winged Pytilia
  • Cut-throat Finch
  • Red-billed Firefinch
  • Black-faced Firefinch
  • Red-cheeked Cordon-bleu
  • Lavender Waxbill
  • Orange-cheeked Waxbill
  • Black-rumped Waxbill
  • Orange-breasted Waxbill
  • African Silverbill
  • Bronze Mannikin
  • Village Indigobird
  • Sahel Paradise Whydah
  • Exclamatory Paradise Whydah
  • Pin-tailed Whydah
  • African Pied Wagtail
  • White-rumped Seedeater
  • Yellow-fronted Canary
 
Senegal is a friendly and extraordinarily diverse country, enormously rich in fauna and an ideal place to visit for anyone eager to experience Africa’s natural wonders. It is located in the western tip of Africa, and has a sub-Saharan tropical climate throughout most of its territory. The Atlantic coastline enjoys moderately warm temperatures throughout the year due to the oceanic influence, while the interior boasts the typical tropical bi-seasonality marked by a rainy season and a dry season.

Within Senegal’s borders, three ecosystems of great value converge: the Sahel, the sub-humid tropical forest, and mangrove wetlands associated with the Atlantic Coast. This is one of Senegal’s biggest attractions; here one can enjoy the contrast between different natural environments in a relatively small area including desert plains, wetlands, mangroves, savanna, riverside forests, sub-humid forests, and farms.


Senegal’s varied ecosystems are home to a rich diversity of birds, with more than six hundred species nationwide. On this tour we will see large populations of waterfowl in Djoudj, as well as desert and savannah species, a large number of migrant and wintering species and forest birds typical of the tropics. Senegal is a wonderful destination for those new to the world of African birds, but will still surprise and delight even the most experienced traveler and naturalist.

Trip Basics

This is a cooperative trip with our friends at Andalucian Guides

Guide: Abdou Lo y Yeray Seminario

Single room supplement: 450 US$

Length: 10 days

Maximum number of participants: 8

Lodging: Rustic acommodation, among the best in the region.

Food: Local food, rice with chicken and excellent fish are among the most popular dishes.

Weather: Cool in the mornings and evenings, can be hot at mid day.

Dificulty: Low. Short walks on mostly level surfaces throughout most of the trip.

Notes and Recommendations for the trip

Notes and Recommendations for the trip

Visa
Beginning on 1 July 2013 a biometric visa will be required to enter the country and stay for up to 90 days. Detailed information on the submission of visa applications, payment of fees and general visa information can be found at: www.visasenegal.sn. 

Climate
The climate is typical of this region of Africa, with the rainy season lasting from June to October and the dry season from November to June. During the dry season, particularly in the month of January, minimum temperatures are reached. On the coast, temperatures are around 16 ° C to 30 ° C, but in the center and east of Senegal, they can reach 41 ° C.

Time difference
GMT -1:00

Money and approximate exchange rates
Senegal's currency is the CFA franc. 
- It has a fixed exchange rate with the Euro: 1 Euro = 655.957 CFA (bank exchange fees apply). 1,000 CFA equals 1.5 euros.
- Major currencies accepted: Euro, dollar.
- The most common credit cards (VISA, American Express) can be used in major hotels in Dakar and some ATMs in the city. In the rest of the country, credit cards are less commonly accepted, except in some hotels.

Airlines
Our meeting point for the journey is the International Airport Dakar-Yoff / Leopold Sedar Senghor. There are many airlines who travel to Dakar from around the world, linked from Paris or Madrid, including Air France, Iberia and Air Europa.

Lodging
The tour includes all accommodations. High class accommodations near natural areas of Senegal are not always found. We will stay at the best available hotels in each region, but sometimes these are far from Western standards. However, others will surprise you with their comfort and excellent location.

Pace of the Tour
The pleasant climate, with sunshine and mild temperatures, allows us to be in the field most of the day. We will take a break at noon for lunch and a short rest, before  heading back out in the afternoon.

Packing Essentials
Light and comfortable clothing, a hat for the sun and sun protection are essential. Besides binoculars and a camera, a scope will also come in handy.

Photography
If you are a photographer, keep in mind that it is advisable to bring spare batteries and memory cards.

Health
It is advisable to drink only bottled water. Malaria occurs in Senegal, although less frequently than in most southern African countries. We recommend contacting your doctor or an International Health Center in order get advice on the most appropriate prophylaxis for you.  The use of mosquito repellents is recommended. It is advisable to travel with a good international health insurance that includes repatriation.

Smokers
As a courtesy to all of our guests, smoking is not allowed in the vehicles or when we all meet for dinner or to go over our bird sightings for the day, or otherwise gather in a group. If you share a room with a non-smoker, please refrain from smoking in the room. If you would like to smoke while we are in the field, please do so at a distance from the group.  

Publications and Field Guides
For birds we recommend "Birds of Senegal and The Gambia" Nik Borrow and Ron Demey. For mammals "African Mammals" by Jonathan Kingdon.

Other suggestions and recommendations
It is necessary to show the utmost respect for local customs and traditions. Senegal is a predominantly Muslim country with a generally conservative society. 

Please take a moment to read our Terms and Conditions. This document contains important information about our tours, what is included and what isn’t,and information on our refund and cancellation policies,  as well as other information which can be helpful.
 

Itinerary

Days 1, 2 and 3

Arrival at Dakar International Airport. Within Dakar’s limits we will be able to see some interesting birds such as Reed Cormorant (Microcarbo africanus), African Anhinga (Anhinga rufa), Hooded Vulture (Necrosyrtes monachus), Senegal Coucal (Centropus senegalensis) and impressive numbers of yellow-billed kites (Milvus aegyptius).

On our first morning in Senegal, we will head to Djoudj National Park, an important and well-known reserve on the border with Mauritania and an obligatory stop-over point for thousands of migratory and wintering birds including Aquatic Warbler (Acrocephalus paludícola), whose principal wintering grounds are here. 

En route, we will make several strategic stops in the acacia savannah. This area is home to five vulture species, cálaos o tocos and resident as well as migrant passerines. Red-cheeked Cordon-bleu (Uraeginthus benegalus), el Speckle-fronted Weaver (Sporopipes frontalis), Sahel Paradise Whydah (Vidua orientalis) and la Green-wingend Pytilia (Pytilia melba) will be some of the highlights of this leg of our trip. 

No trip to Senegal would be complete without tasting thiebou djen, a local dish of rice, fish, and vegetables topped with a sauce made of onions, tomatoes, and tamarind juice with a hint of spicy peppers and chili. Yum! On our way we will stop to enjoy a traditional Senegalese meal.

In the afternoon we will pass through the city of Saint-Louis, close to the mouth of the Senegal River, where we will find the first bodies of water with large numbers of  herons, including Great Egret (Ardea alba), Yellow-billed Heron (Egretta intermedia), Little Egret (Egretta garzetta), Western Reef Heron (Egretta gularis) and Squacco Heron (Ardeola ralloides).


As we get closer to Djoudj, we will transition to a desert environment, where we will find large concentrations of fauna around the river and pockets of standing water which  accumulate during the rainy season. Here it will be possible to see Senegal Thick-knee (Burhinus senegalensis), Temminck's Stint (Calidris temminckii), Little Stint (Calidris minuta), the impresive Abyssinian Roller (Coracias abyssinica) and the peculiar Yellow-billed Oxpecker (Buphagus africanus), who are often found in the company of cattle, feeding on parasites.
 
Once inside the park gates we will have a few days to explore its surroundings. We will awake to the call of the African Fish Eagle (Haliaeetus vocifer) on the hotel grounds, whose surroundings provide cover and food for a good number of passerines such as Western Olivaceous Warbler (Iduna opaca) and Subalpine Warbler (Sylvia cantillans) as well as colonies of weavers and starlings.

The Orange-breasted Waxbill (Amandava subflava) or the African Pygmy Goose (Nettapus auritus), as well as some more common birds in impressive numbers, such as the Great White Pelican (Pelecanus onocrotalus), White-faced Whistling Duck (Dendrocygna viduata), Great Cormorant (Phalacrocorax carbo) and African Anhinga, help make this area one of the most important tourist attractions of the region. 

On the way to Gran Lac, we will pass semiarid plains with scattered acacia trees, which may reveal a few surprises such as Kittlitz's Plover (Charadrius pecuarius), Kordofan Lark (Mirafra cordofanica), Chestnut-backed Sparrow-Lark (Eremopterix leucotis) or the Pallid Harrier (Circus macrourus), among others. At Grand Lac we will observe large flocks of whistling ducks and impressive numbers of Black-crowned Crane (Balearica pavonina), Eurasian Spoonbill and Yellow-billed Stork.


Days 4, 5, 6 & 7

There are many interesting species to be seen along the road from Saint Louis to Wassadou. Apart from vultures: Rüppell's Vulture (Gyps rueppellii), White-backed Vulture (Gyps africanus), Griffon Vulture (Gyps fulvus) and Hooded Vulture, we will see some new species such as African Collared Dove (Streptopelia risoria), Broad-billed Roller  (Eurystomus glaucurus), Black-headed Lapwing (Vanellus tectus), Dark Chanting Goshawk (Melierax metabates), Martial Eagle (Polemaetus bellicosus) and Black Scrub Robin (Cercotrichas podobe), among others. The sacred city of Touba is an important place for migrants en route from Europe such as White Stork (Ciconia ciconia), Black Kite (Milvus migrans), Short-toed Eagle (Circaetus gallicus) and Woodchat Shrike (Lanius senator).


Wassadou is, without a doubt, a must- see spots for any birder. Its surroundings make exploring the dry tropical forest and river edge very accessible. The comfortable cabins are close to the Gambia River, providing the perfect observation point to make birding a relaxing, easy and fun experience. Without leaving the camp we will be able to see more than 100 species in one day, with some of the most interesting birds being: Wahlberg's Eagle, African Fish Eagle, African Finfoot (Podica senegalensis), Egyptian Plover (Pluvianus aegyptius), White-crowned Lapwing (Vanellus albiceps),  Blue-bellied Roller (Coracias cyanogaster), Swamp Flycatcher (Muscicapa aquatica), Scarlet-chested Sunbird (Chalcomitra senegalensis) and the spectacular Standard-winged Nightjar (Macrodipteryx longipennis).

During our stay in Wassadou, we will take the opportunity to enter the heart of Niokolo Koba Park. On this occasion, the mammals and the birds will be sharing the stage: Guinea Baboon (Papio papio), Kob (Kobus kob), Bushbuck (Tragelaphus scriptus), Waterbuck (Kobus ellipsiprymnus), Warthog (Phacochoerus africanus) and, floating along the Gambia River, small groups of Hippopotamus (Hippopotamus amphibius). The park is also home to large predators and scavengers such as Lion (Panthera leo), Leopard (Panthera pardus), Spotted Hiena (Crocuta crocuta) and the last remaining Wild African Dogs (Lycaon pictus) of western Africa.


Days 8, 9 y 10

On our way to Toubacouta, we will make occasional stops along the way, where we will be able to see Black-headed Heron (Ardea melanocephala), Brown Snake Eagle (Circaetus cinereus), Martial Eagle (Polemaetus belicosus), Exclamatory Paradise Whydah (Vidua interjecta) and Pin-tailed Whydah (Vidua macroura), among many other species.

Toubacouta is located in the heart of the Saloum Delta, and houses an impressive mangrove forest (180,000 hectares of which 76,000 are protected). It is a RAMSAR site designated as a World Heritage Site by Unesco. It also contains a considerably rich bird life, including the spectacular Goliath Heron (Ardea goliath), Western Reef Heron, Yellow-billed Heron, Reed Cormorant and African Anhinga. Dozens of them seek refuge in the mangroves and can be seen here.


In the areas surrounding Toubacouta we will be able to find Pearl-spotted Owlet (Glaucidium perlatum), Wire-tailed Swallow (Hirundo smithi), African Thrush (Turdus pelios) or Pygmy Sunbird (Hedydipna platura). It is also possible to see the rare yellow morph of Common Gonolek (Laniarius barbarus). The individuals with this plumage are very difficult to find and are present in the region only during breeding season. 

On the way back to Dakar, we will spend our last afternoon with our scopes pointed toward the Atlantic Ocean in order to look for Royal Tern (Thalasseus maximus), Pomarine Skua (Stercorarius pomarinus), Northern Gannet (Morus bassanus) and even Bottle-nosed Dolphin (Tursiops truncatus) breaking through the ocean’s surface at sunset.

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