Senegal is one of the few places where it is possible to see Quail Plover, a strange, small bird currently placed in the buttonquail family. It is a hard bird to capture an image of but Nigel Voaden did a great job of it.
The superb Scissor-tailed Kite by Lars Petersson.
The lists below are relevant to the northern winter when numerous birds which nest in Europe are present in Senegal.
Stone Partridge, Double-spurred Francolin, White-backed Night-heron, ‘Mauritanian’ Grey Heron, Scissor-tailed Kite, Beaudouin’s Snake-eagle, Grasshopper Buzzard, Fox Kestrel, African Finfoot, Arabian and Savile's Bustards, Black Crowned Crane, Quail Plover, Egyptian Plover, Audouin’s Gull, Four-banded Sandgrouse, Bruce’s Green-pigeon, Adamawa Turtle-dove, Violet Turaco, Golden Nightjar, Horus Swift (small colony recently discovered near Podor), Blue-bellied Roller, Western Red-billed Hornbill, Bearded and Vieillot’s Barbets, Fine-spotted and Sahelian (Little Grey) Woodpeckers, Yellow-crowned Gonolek, West African Swallow, Sennar Penduline-tit, Sun Lark, Dorst's and Rufous Cisticolas, River Prinia, Cricket Warbler, Oriole Warbler, Fulvous Babbler, Chestnut-bellied Starling, Bronze-tailed Glossy-starling, White-crowned Robin-chat, Black-throated (Northern/Seebohm’s) Wheatear, Pygmy Sunbird, Sudan Golden Sparrow, Heuglin’s Masked and Speckle-fronted Weavers, Red-winged Pytilia, Black-bellied and Black-faced Firefinches, Lavender Waxbill, Sahel Paradise-whydah, White-rumped Seedeater, Mali Firefinch and Gosling’s (Cinnamon-breasted Rock) Bunting.
Also a chance of White-crested Tiger-heron, Pel’s Fishing-owl, Standard-winged Nightjar and Black-faced Firefinch.
Fulvous and White-faced Whistling-ducks, African Pygmy Goose, Marbled Duck, large numbers of other ducks, Helmeted Guineafowl, Red-billed Tropicbird, Great White and Pink-backed Pelicans, African Darter, Greater Flamingo, Western Reef-egret, Black and Goliath Herons, Hadada Ibis, Hamerkop, Saddle-billed and Yellow-billed Storks, Hooded, Lappet-faced, Palm-nut, Ruppell’s Griffon and White-backed Vultures, African Fish-eagle, Lizard Buzzard, African Harrier-hawk, Booted, Short-toed, Wahlberg’s and Western Banded Snake-eagles, Barbary, Lanner and Red-necked Falcons, Grey Kestrel, Black Crake, Greater Painted-snipe, Spotted Thick-knee, Black-headed and Spur-winged Plovers, White-headed Lapwing, African Jacana, Cream-coloured and Temminck’s Coursers, Collared Pratincole and many other shorebirds, Slender-billed Gull, Lesser Crested and West African Crested (Royal) Terns, Chestnut-bellied Sandgrouse, Black-billed Wood-dove, Senegal Parrot, Green Turaco, Western Grey Plantain-eater, Senegal Coucal, Verreaux’s Eagle-owl, Pearl-spotted Owlet, Long-tailed Nightjar, Blue-naped Mousebird, Grey-headed, Malachite, Pied and Striped Kingfishers, Blue-cheeked, European, Little and Red-throated Bee-eaters, Abyssinian and Rufous-crowned Rollers, Black and Green Woodhoopoes, African Grey Hornbill, Greater Honeyguide, Common Wattle-eye, Senegal Batis, White Helmetshrike, Brubru, Black-crowned Tchagra, Yellow-billed Shrike, African Paradise-flycatcher, Black Scrub-robin, Piapiac, Pied-winged Swallow, Black-crowned and Chestnut-backed Sparrow-larks, Senegal Eremomela, Northern Crombec, Northern Anteater-chat, Long-tailed Glossy and Purple Glossy-starlings, Beautiful and Scarlet-chested Sunbirds, Little, Village and Yellow-backed Weavers, Red-billed Firefinch and African Quailfinch.
Also a chance of Lesser Flamingo, White-backed Night-heron, Martial and Tawny Eagles, Denham's Bustard, Allen’s Gallinule, Marsh Owl, Blue-breasted and Giant Kingfishers, Little Green, Northern Carmine and Swallow-tailed Bee-eaters, Abyssinian Ground-hornbill, Greater Hoopoe-lark and Yellow-billed Oxpecker.
Bottlenose Dolphin, Hippopotamus, Guinea Baboon, Warthog, Gambian Mongoose and Pale Fox. Also a chance of West African Manatee and Patas Monkey. (The rare western subspecies of Derby’s Eland has been introduced into the Bandia Reserve, a fenced reserve were 90% of the mammals are introduced from South Africa).
Nile Crocodile, Water Monitor and Adanson's Mud Turtle.
Lake Retba or Lac Rose At 7.5 sq km (2.7 sq miles) in extent this is the largest 'pink lake' on Earth, thanks to a combination of micro-organisms and minerals.
The brilliant Blue-bellied Roller by Martin Goodey.
The peak time for birds is November to March, during the dry season which usually lasts until May. Late November-early December is the most reliable time for Egyptian Plover, the presence of which is dependent on water levels. The temperature is usually high, especially in March-April, but a little lower during December and January.
Helm Field Guide: Birds of Senegal and The Gambia by N Borrow and R Demey. Helm, 2012.
Birds of the Gambia and Senegal by C Barlow, T Wacher and T Disley. Pica Press, 2005 (Second Edition).
Birds of Western Africa by N Borrow and R Demey. Helm, 2014 (Second Edition).
Birds of Africa south of the Sahara by I Sinclair and P Ryan. C Struik, 2011 (Second Edition).
The Kingdon Field Guide to African Mammals by J Kingdon. Bloomsbury, 2015 (Second Revised Edition).
The Kingdon Pocket Guide to African Mammals by J Kingdon. Bloomsbury, 2016 (Second Edition).
The Kingdon Guide to African Mammals.
Where to watch birds in Africa by N Wheatley. Helm, 1995.
Don’t know which country/countries to visit in Africa? Then it may be worth considering taking a look at this book, written by this website’s author. It is many years old of course but it still provides a starting point, an overview and a guiding light to the best birds and the best places to look for them on the continent, and could save hours of searching for similar information on the internet. However, it is important to check more up-to-date sources for sites which have been opened up, sites and species which have been discovered, lodges that have been built etc. since the book was published.
Many trip reports, some for Senegal, are posted on the websites listed here. On some of these websites some reports are independent and some are posted by tour companies who organize tours to Senegal. These tour companies and others also post their own reports on their websites, which are listed under 'Some Organized Tours to Senegal' below.
The costs of organized tours partly reflect the quality of the tour leaders. Some leaders are certainly better than others and many companies claim their leaders are the best but even the best rely at least to some extent on the exceptional skills of the local guides they employ. If you are travelling independently, employing such local guides will greatly increase your chances of seeing the wildlife you wish to see.
There are many tour companies who organize tours to see mammals, birds, other wildlife and other natural wonders. The cost of these tours vary considerably according to such variables as the airlines used, the number of days the tours last, the number of sites visited, the number of people in the group (an important consideration if you wish to see such wildlife as rainforest mammals and birds), the number of tour leaders, the standard of accommodation and transport, and the percentage profit the company hopes to make. Generally, where the number of days tours last and the number of sites visited are similar, the cheapest tours are those that use the cheapest airlines, accommodation and local transport, that have the largest groups with the least number of leaders, and that make the least amount of profit. The most expensive tours tend to be those which are exceptionally long, use the most expensive accommodation (ridiculously lavish in some cases, even for single nights) and which make the most profit. Some tour costs partly reflect the quality of the tour leaders. Some leaders are certainly better than others and many companies claim their leaders are the best but even the best rely at least to some extent on the exceptional skills of the local guides they employ.
While tour companies organize tours with set itineraries many also organize custom tours for individuals and private groups who instead of taking a tour with a set itinerary want to follow their own itinerary to suit their own personal tastes, whether it be mammals, birds, other wildlife, other natural wonders or even man-made attractions, or a mixture of them all. Many organized tours with set itineraries are also fast-paced and target as many species as possible, whether they are mammals, birds or other wildlife or everything, which usually leaves little time to enjoy the best sites and individual species, but on a custom tour those taking part can specify the pace and the sites and species they wish to concentrate on. Custom tours also suit people who like to travel with people they already know, rather than with a group of strangers, and they are popular with people with partners with different interests. Individuals, partners and small groups will almost certainly have to pay more for a custom tour than an organized tour with a set itinerary but a large group of friends may be able to travel for less than the price quoted for a set tour.
Tour companies who run organized tours to Senegal include the following. Many of these also offer custom tours.