Republic of Côte d’Ivoire

Dwarf Bittern Ixobrychus sturmii ©Lionel Sineux Website
Birding the Ivory Coast

Ivory Coast, also known as Côte d’Ivoire and officially as the Republic of Côte d’Ivoire, is a sovereign state located in West Africa. The official language is French, with local indigenous languages also widely used, including Baoulé, Dioula, Dan, Anyin, and Cebaara Senufo. In total there are around 78 languages spoken in Ivory Coast. Ivory Coast’s political capital is Yamoussoukro, and its economic capital and largest city is the port city of Abidjan. It is located in southern West Africa bordering the countries of Guinea and Liberia in the west, Burkina Faso and Mali in the north, and Ghana in the east. The Gulf of Guinea (Atlantic Ocean) is located south of Ivory Coast. It is approximately square in shape and about the size of Germany. The climate is generally warm and humid, ranging from equatorial in the southern coasts of the Gulf of Guinea, tropical in the middle and semiarid in the far north. Around 65% of the land is agricultural with arable land taking up under 10%, permanent pasture is about 40%, and permanent crops occupying less than 15%. Water pollution is amongst one of the biggest issues that the country is currently facing.Such a climatic range creates very diverse biotopes for the local avifauna, which provides a bird list of over 730 species. There are also more than 220 mammals, 125 reptiles, 35 amphibians and 111 fish as well as 4,700 native plant species.

After years of political turmoil, the country is now accessible to independent birders, able to deal with the absence of specialised agencies.

There are 13 IBAs in the Ivory Coast, but conservation has for a long time not been a priority, so some of them are badly degraded. However,

the management of natural areas has recently begun to improve considerably so there is hope!Nevertheless, two top sites offer huge birding opportunities, along with safe and quite comfortable visiting conditions (see Top Sites). There are guiding facilities in both places, but there are not any that specialise in birding.

Top Sites
  • African Bird Club List of Sites

  • Banco National Park

    InformationSatellite View
    The Parc National du Banco is a secondary and primary forest adjoining Abidjan. It will provide a nice introduction to Upper Guinean forest's birds. Uncommon birds like Bates's Sunbird, Copper-tailed Starling, or Least Honeyguide may be encountered, among a bird list of about 200 species. Perfect for a birding session while on a business trip. Guiding facilities at the gate of the park, which is known by most taxi drivers in Abidjan.
  • Comoé National Park - Parc National de la Comoé

    InformationSatellite View
    Parc National de la Comoé is a Biosphere Reserve and UNESCO World Heritage Site in the Zanzan and Savanes Districts of north-eastern Ivory Coast. It is the largest protected area in West Africa, with an area of 11,500 km2, and ranges from the humid Guinea savanna to the dry Sudanian zone; a large wooded savannah area near the Burkina and Ghana borders. Top species there are Marabou Stork, Bateleur (50 species of diurnal birds have been listed!), Denham's Bustard, Abyssinian Ground Hornbill and more than 450 other species.
  • Taï National Park - Parc National de Taï

    InformationSatellite View
    The Parc National de Taï is one of the most beautiful primary forests in West Africa. Some of the much sought after species found here include Red-thighed Sparrowhawk, White-breasted Guineafowl, Nkulengu Rail, Red-Chested Owlet, Yellow-casqued Hornbill, Western Wattled Cuckoo-shrike, Yellow-bearded Greenbul, Black-headed Rufous Warbler, Yellow-headed Picathates & Rufous-winged Illadopsis. Among an inventory of about 230 local species, 12 endemics of the Upper Guinean forest ecosystem have been listed
  • Etienne Leroy


Number of Species
  • Number of bird species: 741

  • White-cheeked Turaco Tauraco leucotis

  • iGoTerra Checklist

    iGoTerra Checklist
    Fatbirder Associate iGoTerra offers the most comprehensive and up to date birds lists on the web
Useful Reading

  • Birds of Western Africa

    by Nik Borrow & Ron Demey | Helm | 2014 | Paperback | Edition 2 | 592 Pages | 266 Colour Plates | Distribution Maps ISBN: 9781472905680 Buy this book from
  • Birds of Western Africa: An Identification Guide

    by Nik Borrow and Ron Demey | Helm | 2002 | Hardback | 832 pages, 147 col plates, 1100 distribution maps ISBN: 0713639598 Buy this book from
  • Birds of Western and Central Africa

    by Ber van Perlo | Princeton UP | 2003 | 384 Pages, 109 Plates, 1500 maps | ISBN: 0691007144 Buy this book from
  • Conservation de la nature et aires protégées en Côte d'Ivoire

    by F Lauginie | 2007 | Afrique Nature, Abidjan ISBN: 9782844873132 Buy this book from
  • African Bird Club

    Côte d'Ivoire has a bird list of about 730 species which is a good total for a country about the size of Italy but not exceptional. Although it has deserved more ornithological attention than have many West African countries and although the number of recorded species is probably not far from the real one, much still remains to be discovered about the distribution and habits of Ivorian birds, and the country cannot be considered as very well-known. This state of knowledge will probably not improve for some time due to the current political troubles.
  • SOS-Forêts - BirdLife Affiliate

    The goal of our organization is to fight against all forms of degradation of biodiversity and especially forests, for a rational management of our natural resources, for a sustainable development of Côte d'Ivoire.
  • West African Ornithological Society

    The West African Ornithological Society grew out of the Nigerian Ornithologists’ Society, which was founded in February 1964. Its object is to promote scientific interest in the birds of West Africa and to further the region’s ornithology, mainly by means of its journal Malimbus (formerly the Bulletin of the Nigerian Ornithologists’ Society). This journal is biannual and bilingual, a unique feature in Africa.The West African Ornithological Society grew out of the Nigerian Ornithologists’ Society, which was founded in February 1964. Its object is to promote scientific interest in the birds of West Africa and to further the region’s ornithology, mainly by means of its journal Malimbus (formerly the Bulletin of the Nigerian Ornithologists’ Society). This journal is biannual and bilingual, a unique feature in Africa.

Abbreviations Key

  • IBAs

    WebsiteSatellite View
    BirdLife International identified 14 Important Bird Areas (IBAs) in C
  • List of national parks of Ivory Coast

    InformationSatellite View
    Interactive list includes: Assagny National Park, Banco National Park, Îles Ehotilés National Park, Marahoué National Park, Mont Péko National Park & Mont Sângbé National Park.
  • NP Comoé National Park

    WebpageSatellite View
    Birds include 10 species of herons such as grey heron Ardea cinerea, goliath heron A. goliath, yellow-billed egret Egretta intermedia, ducks (Anatidae); raptors (Accipitridae); plovers and francolins (Phasianidae); hammerkop Scopus umbretta, black-winged stilt Himantopus himantopus, four of the six West African stork species, and five of the six West African vulture species…
  • NP Taï National Park

    WebpageSatellite View
    Over 230 bird species have been recorded, 143 typical of primary forest, including white-breasted guineafowl Agelastes meleagrides (E); Nimba flycatcher Melaenornis annamarulae (I); western wattled cuckoo-shrike Campephaga lobata (V); and yellow-throated olive greenbul Criniger olivaceus (V). More details about birds are given in Thiollay (1985)…
  • UWHS Mount Nimba Strict Nature Reserve

    InformationSatellite View
    Mount Nimba Strict Nature Reserve is a protected area and UNESCO World Heritage Site located in both Guinea and Côte d'Ivoire, extending over a total of area of 17,540 hectares, with 12,540 hectares in Guinea, and 5,000 hectares in Côte d'Ivoire. The reserve covers significant portions of the Nimba Range, a geographically unique area with unusually rich flora and fauna, including exceptional numbers of single-site endemic species, such as viviparous toads, and horseshoe bats. Its highest peak is Mount Richard-Molard at 1,752 m (5,750 ft), which is the highest peak of both countries. There are a number of rare and endemic bird species and a detailed account of birds in Liberian Nimba is given in Coston and Curry-Lindahl (1986).
Trip Reports

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  • 1999 [03 March] Michiel de Boer

    The main reason to go to Ivory Coast was to try and find the Yellow-headed Rockfowl or White-necked Rockfowl Picathartes gymnocephalus which to me seemed to be the most amazing and bizarre bird in the world. This bird is only known from Ivory Coast and adjacent Liberia and was our target bird.
  • 2000 [06 June] Frank Rheindt

    From April 19 through June 24 2000, I spent a little more than 2 months in the République de Côte d`Ivoire. Most of that time (May 1 through June 18) was spent at the Biological Research Camp of the University of Wuerzburg (Germany) in the Parc National de la Comoé, where I did some research work on the general differences of the vocalizations of the birds to be found in the different microhabitats within the park. Thus, a lot of time was spent in the field making bird recordings, whilst - at the beginning of my stay - some time had also been invested in mist-netting…
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