Birds watching us in the Gambia

Originally posted 2023-07-04

Gambia is known for its bird life. Every year a lot of birdwatchers travel here to get a glimpse of the colorful flying fauna. Special excursions are arranged to go to places like Tendaba or Marakisa where you can spot specific species and in many Gambia forums online you can see bird watchers discussing the best places to go.

Both Hooded vultures and the small White egrets in the background are a common sight here in the Gambia

I have to admit that I my self, have never been interested in birds. Not even at the time I was living in Öland (a small Swedish island known for it´s birdlife) and the birdwatchers really were every where. So I´ve never really thought about birds or bird watching – until now that is!

We live in a small apartment on the second floor, which in terms of being in the Gambia is quite high up. Most people here live in traditional one level houses (or maximum two if you happened to be rich), so living on top of 2 other flats like we do can be considered high up. The apartment also have many windows and a lot of light.

And this is where the birds appear! Because they do appear, in the windows.
Almost every morning we are woken up by different birds that are peeking through our windows, looking at us while we sleep. (Think of the scene in Snow White when she is sleeping her poisoned sleep and all the animals gather around her.)
Some of them sing beautiful songs and make funny sounds, while others bang violently on the window with their beaks like the Hornbills that I wrote about in this post.

A curious Red-cheeked Cordon-bleu wondering what kind of animal I am

Birds that have visited us so far

So in the mornings we usually lie in bed and watch the birds. I´ve tried to take pictures of them but the filters on the window dampens the colors. But anyway! So far we´ve have had these visitors.

Sunbirds (Cinnyris pulchellus)
You may remember my first bird-post where we were woken up by a sunbird! This bird is my favorite of all the visitors so far. It is very small with a long curved beak and it makes a funny rubber-like sound. There are different kinds of sunbirds, from gray to shimmering blackish (Purple sunbird aka Cinnyris asiaticus ) to colorful green/red ones (Beautiful sunbirds aka Cinnyris pulchellus).
The ones that usually visit us is the Beautiful sunbirds.

These pictures are terribly bad

Western Red-billed Hornbill (Tockus Kempi)
These beasts bang on the windows with their big beaks. WAKE UP! IT´S 07.00!
There is a cute couple that visits us from time to time and wakes us up. They are always together and one time they even brought a nut with them. After they wake us up they usually fly away and don´t return during the day.

This Hornbill seems to be judging my dirty window

Little Weaver (Ploceus Luteolus)
These acrobatic fellows are bright yellow with a black face mask, like they are some kind of criminals who try to hide their real identity. They usually do acrobatic stunts in the window.


Yellow-billed Shrike (Corvinella Corvina)
We call this bird “the bird with the big eyes”. Its head somehow seems to be disproportionately big compared to its body! It also has very nice eyelashes!


Red-cheeked Cordon-bleu (Uraeginthus bengalus)
This small bird is so very cute. It is brown and blue and the male has red cheeks like its blushing! How cute is that? They usually come together as a pair. The female looks similar but lacks the red cheeks.

I think these two are a couple

Senegal Parrot aka Senegal Parakeet (Poicephalus Senegalus)
These colorful fellows can be a bit noisy. They like to climb in the windows and sometimes they hang there upside down. I think some people have them as pets but I´m not sure.


We have had more visitors but I hav´nt been able to neither photograph them or identify them. Some are very cautios and the smallest of movements make them fly away whilest others are less scared.

Footstep Eco-lodge have a good list of Gambian birds on their site!

xoxo/Salla V

Originally posted 2023-07-04