Republic of Senegal

Bearded Barbet Lybius dubius ©David W Karr Website
Birding Senegal

Senegal, officially the Republic of Senegal, is a country south of the Sénégal River in western Africa. Senegal is bounded by the Atlantic Ocean to the west, Mauritania to the north, Mali to the east, and Guinea and Guinea-Bissau to the south. Its size is almost 197,000 km² with an estimated population of nearly 11,700,000. The Gambia lies almost entirely within Senegal, surrounded by it on the north, east and south; from its western coast, Gambia’s territory follows the Gambia River more than 300 kilometres (186 miles) inland. Dakar is the capital city of Senegal, located on the Cape Verde Peninsula on the country’s Atlantic coast.

Senegal is located on the west of the African continent. The Senegalese landscape consists mainly of the rolling sandy plains of the western Sahel which rise to foothills in the southeast. Here is also found Senegal’s highest point, an otherwise unnamed feature near Nepen Diakha at 584 m (1926 ft). The northern border is formed by the Senegal River, other rivers include the Gambia and Casamance Rivers. The capital Dakar lies on the Cap-Vert peninsula, the westernmost point of continental Africa.The local climate is tropical with well-defined dry and humid seasons that result from northeast winter winds and southwest summer winds. Dakar’s annual rainfall of about 600 mm (24 in) occurs between June and October when maximum temperatures average 27 °C (81 °F); December to February minimum temperatures are about 17 °C (63°F). Interior temperatures can be substantially higher than along the coast, and rainfall increases substantially farther south, exceeding 1.5 m (59.1 in) annually in some areas. The far interior of the country, in the region of Tambacounda, particularly on the border or Mali, temperatures can reach as high as 54 °C (130 °F).The Cape Verde islands lie some 560 kilometers (348 mi) off the Senegalese coast, but Cap Vert (“Cape Green”) is a maritime placemark, set at the foot of “Les Mammelles” , a 105-metre (344 ft) cliff resting at one end of the Cap Vert peninsula onto which is settled Senegal’s capital Dakar, and 1 kilometre (1,100 yd) south of the ‘Pointe des Almadies’, the western-most point in Africa.Senegal’s capital of Dakar is by far the largest city in Senegal, with over two million residents. The second most populous city is Touba, a de jure communaute rurale (rural community), with half a million

Number of Species
  • Number of bird species: 687

    (As at September 2018)

  • iGoTerra Checklist

    iGoTerra Checklist
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Useful Reading

  • Birds of Senegal and The Gambia

    By Ron Demey & Nik Borrow | Christopher Helm | 2012 | Paperback | 352 pages, 143 plates with colour illustrations; colour distribution maps, colour maps ISBN: 9781408134696 Buy this book from
  • Birds of Western Africa

    By Nik Borrow & Ron Demey | Christopher Helm | 2014 | Edition 2 | Paperback | 592 pages, 266 plates with colour illustrations; colour distribution maps | ISBN: 9781472905680 Buy this book from
  • Birds of Western and Central Africa

    By Ber van Perlo | Princeton University Press | 2003 | Paperback | 384 pages, 109 plates with colour illustrations; colour & b/w illustrations, 1500+ b/w distribution maps, colour maps | ISBN: 0691007144 Buy this book from
  • Oiseaux du Sénégal [Birds of Senegal]

    By Jean-Marie Dupart | Amalion Publishing | 2017 | Paperback | 124 pages, colour photos, 3 colour maps, 2 tables | French Text | ISBN: 9782359260748 Buy this book from
  • African Bird Club

    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
  • West African Ornithological Society

    The West African Ornithological Society grew out of the Nigerian Ornithologists

Abbreviations Key

  • AR Kalissaye

    InformationSatellite View
    The reserve was created in 1978 to protect sea turtle and seabird colonies. There were more than 10,000 Caspian terns (Sterna caspia) in the reserve during the 1980s, and there are also many royal terns (Thalasseus maximus) and great white pelicans (Pelecanus onocrotalus)...
  • IBAs

    WebsiteSatellite View
    There are no endemic species in Senegal and no primary Endemic Bird Area, although species representative of Sahel, Sudan-Guinea Savanna and Guinea-Congo Forests biomes occur in the country. There is one EBA secondary area for Mali Firefinch, Lagonosticta virata in the Upper Niger Valley and contiguous with that in Mali. Of particular note are the huge concentrations of migrant and resident waterbirds for which the wetlands in the floodplain of the Senegal river are of vital importance. It is estimated that 3 million migrant birds pass through the protected areas in the Senegal river each year. The importance of the coastline for resident and passage seabirds has become apparent in recent years with observations of tens of thousands of migrant terns, gulls and shearwaters moving along the coast
  • NBS Djoudj

    WebsiteSatellite View
    In the Senegal River delta, the Djoudj Sanctuary is a wetland of 16,000 hectares, comprised of a large lake surrounded by streams, ponds and backwaters, which form a living but fragile sanctuary for one and a half million birds, such as the white pelican, the purple heron, the African spoonbill, the great egret and the cormorant.
  • NP Basse Casamance

    InformationSatellite View
    There are 200 species of birds and 50 species of mammals, including African forest buffalo, African leopard, Campbell's mona monkey, Prince Demidoff's bushbaby and western red colobus.
  • NP Niokolo-Koba

    WebsiteSatellite View
    Birds include Denham's Bustard Neotis cafra denhami, Ground Hornbill Bucorvus abyssinicus, Violet Turaco Musophaga violacea, Spur-winged Goose Plectropterus gambensis, White-faced Tree Duck Dendrocygna viduata, Martial Eagle Polemaetus bellicosus and Bateleur Terathopius ecaudatus.
  • NP Saloum Delta

    InformationSatellite View
    Saloum Delta National Park or Parc National du Delta du Saloum in Senegal, is a 76,000-hectare (190,000-acre) national park. The bird species that breed or winter in the area include royal tern, greater flamingo, Eurasian spoonbill, curlew sandpiper, ruddy turnstone, and little stint.
  • NP Îles de la Madeleine

    InformationSatellite View
    The islands are known for their birds, fish and plant life. The cliffs are steep, and had been carved by the sea over millions of years
  • NR Ferlo Nord

    InformationSatellite View
    The Ferlo Nord Wildlife Reserve (Réserve de Faune du Ferlo-Nord), established in 1971, is a 6,000 square kilometres (2,300 sq mi) IUCN habitat and species protected nature reserve. It is bordered by the Ferlo Sud Wildlife Reserve to the south.
  • NR Guembeul

    InformationSatellite View
    The park is home to many species of birds, reptiles and mammals. The site is also the center for reintroduction programs of three species of gazelles and is home to the African Spurred Tortoise.
  • Senegal Parks

    WebsiteSatellite View
    e.g. Parc National du Djoudj - Riverine habitat on the Senegal River. Access by road from St Louis. Open all year round. Reasonable accommodation or camping available. Viewing by foot, vehicle or pirogue (canoe). Important resting place for migratory birds, over 300 species recorded.
Guides & Tour Operators

Click on WAND for tours, guides, lodges and more…

  • Dakar Travels

    Tour Operator
    Here are some of the best places for birdwatching in Senegal. Don't forget to check out the great bird-focused Senegal tours we offer!
  • Senegal Ornithology

    Tour Operator
    Tours in East Senegal
  • The Gambia & Senegal Bird Watching

    Tour Operator
    Senegal is one of West Africa’s most stable countries with a heavy French influence dating back to colonial days. The coastline has two important wetlands of international importance which are protected in the form of national parks…
Trip Reports

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  • 2010 [01 January] - Mark Finn

    …Highlights were many including several sought after species notably African Swallow-tailed Kite, Arabian and Savile’s Bustards, Bronze-winged Courser, Four-banded Sandgrouse, Little Grey Woodpecker, African Scrub Robin, Yellow-bellied Eremomela, Chestnut-bellied Starling, Sudan Golden Sparrows, Black-faced Quail-finch and Blackcap Babblers…
  • 2012 [02 February] - Mark Finn

    …The group met up at 0700 hours for a pre-breakfast walk around the grounds. The acacia trees surrounding the horse paddocks were productive for Red-billed Hornbill, Western Olivaceous Warbler, Common Chiffchaff and dozens of wintering Subalpine Warblers. By the new accommodation block a small pool attracted African Jacana and African Black Crakes. The fields leading to the riverside restaurant produced Double-spurred Francolin, Western Yellow Wagtail (three races), White Wagtail, Sudan Golden Sparrows, Vitteline Masked Weavers and Red-billed Firefinches. The shallow waters and reed fringed edges of the lagoon were a magnet for birds including Little and Cattle Egrets, Squacco and Grey Herons, Black-winged Stilt, Wood and Common Sandpipers, Gull-billed and Caspian Terns…
  • 2013 [12 December] - Chris Kehoe - Gambia & Senegal

    PDF Report
    Our 2013 Birdquest tour to Gambia and Senegal served up a splendid selection of regional specialities plus a wealth of more widespread Afrotropical species and Palearctic winter visitors. Particular highlights amongst the more localised or tricky species included delightful Cricket Warblers, exquisite Scissor-tailed Kites, showy Quail-plovers, Arabian and Saville's Bustards, localised River Prinias, confiding Ahanta Francolins, Western Bluebills, Grey-headed Bristlebill…
  • 2013 [12 December] - Mark Finn

    …The first stop along the road provided us with Abyssinian and Rufous-crowned Rollers, Long-tailed and Chestnut-bellied Starlings, Northern Wheatear, Woodchat Shrike, Bush Petronia and a single Eurasian Kestrel. Further north we located circling vultures which included; White-backed and Ruppell’s and the declining Hooded. On reaching St Louis the mudflats and rubbish areas attracted Grey-hooded Gulls, Cattle and Little Egrets, waders, Eurasian Spoonbill and Spur-winged Lapwings. Reached the ranch for a late lunch where the gardens held Northern Crombec, Common Gonolek, Western Yellow and White Wagtails, Tree Pipit and our first African Fish Eagles…
  • 2014 [01 January] - Christoph Moning & Gerlinde Taurer

    PDF Report
    This year we decided to escape the drab European winter by exploring the region of Senegambia. We took this as an introduction to the West-African avifauna, while enjoying the huge diversity and quantity of European migrants.
  • 2014 [11 November] - Justin Nicolau

    PDF Report
    Arriving late in the evening at Léopold Sédar Senghor International Airport, baggage was collected, money exchanged, and in a dazed state a taxi ushered me to my lodge just outside of the capital, Dakar. Luggage unpacked and alarm set, I could not wait for sunrise and for the birding to commence...
  • 2014 [12 December] - Christopher Hall

    After a good night’s sleep, our local guide Abdou, aka Carlos, joins us for breakfast, along with Common Bulbuls, and then we head north for Saint Louis and the Djoudj National Park, near the border with Mauritania. Just ten minutes into the journey, we make an emergency stop for a handsome Red-necked Falcon perched in a roadside tree, along with a Red-billed Hornbill, quickly followed by a couple of Western Grey Plaintain Eaters, which look as exotic as they sound. After an hour on the road, a stroll through some non-descript looking scrub produces a series of good birds in the top of the same bush; Black Scrub Robin, Yellow-crowned Gonolek, and Sahel Paradise Whydah, with an unfeasibly long flowing tail; All these on top of Grey Kestrel, Mottled Spinetail, Abyssinian Roller, Tawny-flanked Prinia, Grey-backed Camaroptera and Cut-throat Finch. A little further up the road, we find a bush with Rufous-crowned Roller, Northern Grey-headed Sparrow and Laughing Doves, and further on, Northern Anteater Chat and Chestnut-bellied Starling, but best stop of all is for a melee of about twenty Vultures feasting on a goat...
  • 2015 [11 November] - Jan Sjostedt & Ingvar Jansson - Gambia & Senegal

    PDF Report
  • 2016 [02 February] - Henk Hendriks - Northern Senegal

    PDF Report
    Every morning I walked from 08.00 to 10.30 out of my hotel and birded the surroundingscrub, gardens and the bay area. The area was surprisingly birdy and at the end of thisreport you can find the species list in which I stated the species seen during thesemorning walks.
  • 2017 [11 November] - Jon Lehmberg

    PDF Report
    Why Senegal, you might ask. Well, for us the answer was simple: Scissor-tailed Kites – lots of Scissor-tailed Kites! Ever since seeing the first picture of the impressive numbers of roosting kites near Kaolack, on a New Year’s greeting some 10 years ago, Senegal has been on our radar. Since then we’ve been talking about, and checking up on, the matter from time to time, but the roost has gotten surprisingly little mention in various trip reports and elsewhere. However, since we found ourselves with time to travel towards the end of 2017, we decided to finally go there to find out for ourselves what the (lack of) fuss was all about...
  • 2018 [02 February] - Chris kehoe

    PDF Report
    Our second Senegal only tour (earlier tours combining with either The Gambia or Cape Verde) was a huge success in which all of our top targets, particularly several Sahelian endemics, were found and showed extremely well. Bird of the trip was the amazing Quail-Plover and we chanced upon four of these enigmatic birds at a single site where they gaveamazing close views. Golden Nightjars were found at day roosts to allow perfect looks of their exquisitely intricate markings while both Saville’s and Arabian Bustards showed well...
  • 2018 [02 February] - Hans Meltofte - Senegal and Mauritania including Banc d’Arguin

    PDF Report
    Annotated list.
  • 2018 [03 March] - David Karr - Djoudj National Park

    PDF Report
    A weekend trip from the Senegalese capital, Dakar,to visit the National Bird Park (Parc National des Oiseaux) at Djoudj, located 60kms north of the city of Saint Louis. The trip was timed to coincide with the beginning of the Spring migration of some 2 million birds that winter annually in northern Senegal.The park bird list numbers more than 300 species.The sheer volume of avifauna makes for a spectacular spectacle and in my opinion, a real ‘mustsee’for birders visiting West Africa.
  • 2018 [03 March] - David Karr - Northern Senegal

    PDF Report
    Using informationgleaned fromseveral helpfulCloudbirderstrip reportsfor northern Senegal, I planneda weekend visit to the town of Richard Toll*to try and see some Sahelian specieson my bird wish list. The trip was constrained by a very short time-frame (24 hours birding), but was successful in seeing three of seven target species.A total of 56species were seen.
  • 2018 [04 April] - Andy Mears

    PDF Report
    Northernand CentralSenegal, 26/3/18 to 6/4/18Andy MearsAfter some careful research, and advicefrom bird guideCarlos Abdou Lo together withthe thoughts of a coupleof top birding mates who have each been to Senegal recently, I was able to plan a successful Easter trip. I was keen to comprehensively cover Senegal and Gambia in two shortish trips whilst making sure the seasons would be right for both. Additionally, Ollie Wardman and I both had a free window for a trip overEaster 2018 to fill
Other Links
  • Birds of The Gambia and Senegal

    …this photo group started with the intent of promoting responsible birding in The Gambia and Senegal, and sharing information for birders visiting The Gambia, Senegal, or West Africa. Of the 660+ species listed (Clements) for Senegambia, we have pictures of over 495 now: 73%. Also, discussion of trip reports, subspecies, and more. Non-profit, volunteer - with contributors from all over the world…
  • Checklist

  • Les Oiseaux du Senegal

    Les oiseaux que l'on peut rencontrer au Sénégal représentent environ 630 espèces dont un peu moins du tiers sont des oiseaux migrateurs européens…
  • Seabirds off Senegal

    Despite its location on the extreme western coast of Africa, Senegal has attracted attention from only a few intrepid seabird observers. This is surprising given the unique location of the capital, Dakar, on a low-lying peninsula, the tip of which projects 50 km out to sea from the main north-south line of the coast, offering exceptional opportunities for observations, especially in autumn. The results of our seawatching efforts, presented here, are relatively modest, yet significant.
  • Senegal Pelagics

    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). A detailed on-line account of spring and fall observations prepared by Tony Marr, Dick Newell and Richard Porter (based on an article in the Mar 1998 Bulletin of the African Bird Club, vol. 5) can be found on the African Bird Club site
  • Ornithondar

    Les oiseaux à Saint-Louis et au nord du Sénégal - About birds and others in the Senegal delta and the sahelian area in north Senegal…
  • Senegal Wildlife

    Wildlife BLOG from Bram Piot, Paul Robinson & Simon Cavaillès with entries in English or French. This blog and associated web pages soon to be launched grew out of a desire to exchange information on sightings of birds and occasionally other fauna in Senegal and interesting places to see birds, fulfilling a gap for resident and visiting birders.

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