Birds of Gambian ricefields

3 February 2012.

After yesterday, today to the ricefields.

First, the bus passes through Serrekunda, the biggest city in Gambia. Pied crows sitting on billboards and buildings. Black (and/or yellow-billed?) kites and hooded vultures flying.

In a palm grove near the ricefields: blue-spotted wood dove.

Red-cheeked cordon-bleu on a field.

Red-cheeked cordon-blue

Red-cheeked cordon-blue

Spur-winged plover.

Cattle egret.

A whimbrel calls.

Squacco heron.

A bearded barbet.

A striated heron. A western reef heron.

Western reef heron

Long-tailed cormorant.

Green wood-hoopoe in a leafless tree top.

In a pond: African spoonbill, great egret, grey heron and western reef heron.

A bit further, a little bittern.

Painted snipe.

Purple heron.


A black heron doing its umbrella thing.

Black crake.

A palmnut vulture flying.

Two Senegal parrots flying.


European and African kites and lizards

2 February 2012.

As I wrote, we arrived at the building of the Gambian Birdwatchers Association.

Birds of prey flying around. Are they black kites, or yellow-billed kites? That is not an easy question, as both species look similar. Both have yellow bills. Completely yellow in yellow-billed kites; yellow with a black end in black kites; but one cannot always see that.

However, we saw a kite flying with a twig in its bill. Unmistakably, that bird was saying: “I am a yellow-billed kite, an all-year African resident. I am building my nest here. Unlike black kites, who will migrate back to Europe in spring.”

On the wall, and on trees, lizards. They are rainbow agamas.

Rainbow agama

On a tree, two green wood-hoopoes.

Back to Kotu sewage farm. Two wood sandpipers on a stone in the polluted water.

On a wire, an Abyssianian roller.

Abyssianian roller near Kotu, 2 February 2012

A lizzard buzzard.

A yellow-crowned gonolek.

In a pond, four hamerkops. One climbs on the back of another bird.

Hamerkop on top of other hamerkop

Black-winged stilts. Spur-winged plovers. Grey heron. Striated heron.

Greenshank. Green sandpiper.

African jacana.

Two painted snipes.

A black heron does it famous umbrella trick with its wings to catch fish.

Black heron

A little egret standing in the water, and a squacco heron on a tree.

Cattle egrets.

Over fifty white-faced whistling ducks.

Behind them, a long-tailed cormorant.

A commun bulbul singing on a tree.

Yesterday’s Abyssinian roller still sits on the corrugated iron roof. It dives, catches a mouse, and swallows it.

Abyssinian roller, Kotu, 2 February

Panuccio, M., Agostini, N., Mellone, U., & Bogliani, G. (2013). Circannual variation in movement patterns of the Black Kite (Milvus migrans migrans): a review. Ethology Ecology & Evolution, DOI:10.1080/03949370.2013.812147
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Rare bee on Texel island

Banded mining-bee, (C) Josef Dvorak for BWARS

Translated from the blog of Staatsbosbeheer on Texel island, the Netherlands (about the surroundings of De Cocksdorp village):

Banded mining-bee seen last year near Dorpzicht

Posted on February 16, 2012

I caught a banded mining-bee in April on a flower rich grassland along the Roggesloot at Dorpzicht. This is the third sighting of this species on the island. Earlier (in 2004) I saw a female at Ottersaat and Menno Reemer saw one in Spang. Presumably, this species is present on Texel in small numbers, scattered over the island.

Gambia, Kotu birds, second day

Western reef heron and great egret, Kotu

Thursday 2 February. Like yesterday, again a walk in the surroundings of Kotu. Where we saw this western reef heron and great egret.

Grey-headed gulls.

A pied kingfisher catches a small fish.

A grey heron.

A common sandpiper.

A spur-winged plover on a small beach.

Spur-winged plover in field near Kotu, 1 February 2012

A squacco heron flies away. A black kite flying.

A pied crow.

A piapiac.

Near the bridge, a greenshank wading.

A great egret.

Senegal thick-knees on the bank.

Ringed plover.

Whimbrel, redshank, on the river bank as well.

Western plantain-eater at Kotu bridge

A western plantain-eater sitting on one of the wires across the river.

Pied kingfishers sit on those wires as well. Sometimes in groups of four birds, often looking down to see if there are any fish in the water.

Pied kingfishers at Kotu bridge

Pied kingfishers at Kotu Bridge

A grey plover on the bank.

A yellow wagtail between the mangrove roots.

A wire-tailed swallow sitting on a pole in the water.

African jacana. Sacred ibis.

An African monarch butterfly.

A grey-headed kingfisher on a fence.

Long-tailed glossy starlings on a tree.

Kotu Pond is really a sewage farm. Nevertheless, there are many birds. Including cattle and intermediate egrets. A little grebe swimming.

A little swift flying.

White-billed buffalo weavers. A yellow-billed shrike.

A beautiful sunbird.

In the same tree, a bearded barbet.

Back to the bridge. Blue-cheecked bee-eaters sitting on the wires now.

A long-tailed cormorant diving in the river.

We arrive at the building of the Gambian Birdwatchers Association.

Birds of Kotu, Gambia

Wednesday 1 February. After our arrival in Kotu, this afternoon our first search for Gambian birds.

Pied crows are a common sight in the Gambia, especially in the west, including urban areas.

On the beach: western reef egret and laughing dove.

Laughing dove on Kotu beach

Sexual size dimorphism and morphometric sexing in a North African population of Laughing Doves (Spilopelia senegalensis): here.

In a field, two spur-winged plovers.

An Abyssinian roller, sitting sometimes on a wire, sometimes on the roof of a shed. Again and again, it dives from the shed roof to the ground, catching a mouse or an insect.

This is an Abyssinian roller video.

A green wood-hoopoe on a tree near the road.

A cattle egret.

A red-billed hornbill on a tree.

A black-headed heron.

The first Senegal coucal of many which we will see in the Gambia.

A yellow-billed shrike.

In a marsh, about ten cattle egrets and a black egret. Black egrets are famous for their way of catching their prey: they spread their wings like an umbrella, thus making a shadow over the water which attracts fish. However, our first Gambian black egret is not doing that now.

Squacco heron. Great egret. Intermediate egret.

Over ten white-faced whistling ducks flying.

Two village weavers in a palm tree.

Two vinaceous doves.

Holes in the mangrove forest soil, made by fiddler crabs. Gambian environmentalists are trying to make this beautiful area a nature reserve, but so far they have not succeeded.

Two little bee-eaters.

This is a little bee-eater video from Gambia.

A lizzard buzzard on a tree.

A grey-headed kingfisher.

A whimbrel calls.

A female painted snipe feeding.

Mudskipper fish.

Finally, as the sun sets, a broad-billed roller on a wire.