Sunday, December 29, 2013

In the Abuko Nature Reserve/The Gambia

A great place for nature observations in The Gambia is the Abuko Nature Reserve (the oldest nature reserve in Gambia). It is placed near the Lamin Stream and the village of Abuko in western Gambia. The access is easy and in the park, there is only one way (no danger to get lost). The area is covered by savanna bushlands and gallery forests. I had the luck to stay there for several hours. The guide books recommend a tour in two hours, I think it makes more sense to plan four or five hours visiting all places and have a longer stop at the crocodile pool (a lake at the visitors center, called Darwin Station) and on the observation points in the forest areas.

Abuko Nature Reserve
Forest on the crocodile pool in the Abuko Nature Reserve.

The area is a good place for birding. Unfortunately we arrived too late in the morning (at 10 a clock in the morning) and most birds were gone. Nevertheless, we could still observe some species and it was a great trip. Beside many passerine birds (firefinches, cordon-bleus and mannikins), Western plantain-eaters, Snowy-crowned Robin-Chats, we saw some hornbills and African Thrushes. The highlights of the tour were a Giant Kingfisher and Violet Turacos.

African Jacana in the Abuko Nature Reserve
African Jacana at the crocodile pool.

African Pied Hornbill in the Abuko Nature Reserve
Far away in the trees, a African Pied Hornbill.

 Bronze Mannikin in the Abuko Nature Reserve
Bronze Mannikin are one of several passerine birds that are present in the park.

Giant Kingfisher on the crocodile pool
A Giant Kingfisher near the crocodile pool.

Violet Turaco in the Abuko Nature Reserve
A Violet Turaco in the forest.

Western Plantain-eater in the Abuko Nature Reserve
Always present and one of the most common birds in Gambia, the Western Plantain-eater.

There are no large mammals in the area. Only duikers and bushbucks are present, both were too fast for me and my camera. Green and Western Red -colobus monkeys were common along the forest area near the crocodile pool. Sun Squirrels should be frequently (after the guide book), I saw only one hidden in the forest.

Gambian Sun Squirrel in the Abuko Nature Reserve
Gambian Sun Squirrel

Western Red Colobus
Western Red Colobus monkeys.
Links Id rather b birdin, Outdoor Wednesday and Wild Bird Wednesday.


  1. Beautiful photos! I love the Kingfisher! It looks very similar to our Belted Kingfisher.

  2. Wonderful photos! Looks like a great place to visit.

  3. That Giant Kingfisher blows me away!!! Wow...what a huge kingfisher. I would LOVE to see one in real time.

  4. hm, seems like Gambia has a lot of fine birds to look at. Maybe I should take a look. Love the beautirul Jacana. :)

  5. Looks a marvellous place.

  6. Great birds in a very interesting environment.

  7. Lovely collection of birds, your photos are awesome! Happy New Years to you and your family!

  8. the giant Kingfisher amazes me, wow and then there's the violet Turaco!! A treat to see the monkeys too; Great post.

  9. Giant Kingfisher looks amazing. Happy New Year.

  10. Lovely shots of some exotic creatures!

  11. HI Great post and this is one place I have always wanted to visit since I started birding. HAPPY NEW YEAR TO YOU.

  12. Lovely post, however the Columbus monkeys are wonderful

    Happy 2014

  13. Beautiful!
    Happy New Year to you!


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