RESOURCES FOR FINDING INFORMATION ABOUT WILDLIFE IN THE GAMBIA.
NB: All of the books listed below are available from the Natural History Bookshop.
General note: Information and photographs on practically any species of wildlife can
be found nowadays by simply typing the name (preferably including the latin one) onto
the web and having a good search. This can be very useful for those species which
cannot be found in any field guide, or to find out more about species which are difficult
The best field guide is Birds of Senegal and The Gambia (Borrow; Demey), Helm
Field Guides 2011. This is in the usual format with illustrations, information and
distribution maps and is all you will need.
Websites: The Internet IBC Bird Collection (http://ibc.lynxeds.com) is very
comprehensive and at the time of writing its Gambia section has 873 videos and 1050
photographs of Gambian birds. Also of interest are the Farakunku Lodges website
(http://farakunku-lodges.com/) which has a comprehensive checklist of birds
found in the area, and also some photographs, the Kartong Bird Observatory site
(http://www.kartongbirdobservatory.org), Jim Wood’s Birds of Gambia Photo
Gallery (http://www.pbase.com/wildbirdimages/gambia) and two sections on
the site of the African Bird Club - Gambia Introduction
(http://africanbirdclub.org/countries/Gambia/introduction) and important bird areas (http://africanbirdclub.org/countries/Gambia/ibas).
Another useful site is Birdtours (http://www.birdtours.co.uk/) where you can find
trip reports posted by birders who have been to The Gambia. Information on the
Abuko Nature Reserve is at http://www.realgambiamoses.com/bird-watching.html
There is no guide devoted solely to The Gambia, but The Kingdon Field Guide to African
Mammals (Kingdon) Second Edition 2015, Bloomsbury books) is very up to date and lists
all known African species. Illustrations, information and distribution maps are provided for
all of the larger species but less information is given for the smaller ones (mice, shrews
Websites: A list of Gambian mammals can be found at
REPTILES AND AMPHIBIANS
There is no field guide available for Gambian reptiles or amphibians, nor for West Africa as a
whole; the area is poorly covered in this respect. There are two books which are useful:
Guide des serpents d’Afrique occidentale (Trape;Mane), IRD Editions, 2006) has
photographs of the 81 species of snake identified (at that time) in West Africa. It also has
detailed distribution maps for each species. However, the (comprehensive) text is in
French, although a common English name is given for each species. Also available is
Tortoises, Terrapins and Turtles of Africa (Branch), Struik Nature, 2008) with
photographs, text and distribution maps for each species.
Other than the above, a good starting point is Common Reptiles of the Gambia
(Barnett; Emms) which can be found at http://www.darwininitiative.org.uk/documents/12009/3838/12-009%20FR%20Appendix%203%20Common%20Reptiles%20of%20The%20Gambia%20-%20article.pdf This
short paper contains much useful information, some photographs and a complete checklist
of all Gambian reptiles, as does The Reptile Database (
pictures are on Les Serpentes du Senegal
(http://www.planete-senegal.com/senegal/serpents_senegal.php). As regards lizards and
crocodiles, you are on your own! (But see the general note at the start of this paper.)
For amphibians (which for the Gambia means frogs and toads) an indispensable site is
(http://www.amphibiaweb.org/cgi/amphib_query?rel-isocc=like&orderbyaw=Order(&where-isocc=Gambia) which has a complete checklist of Gambian amphibians.
There are also photographs and information about most of them. Also worth a look is
African amphibians at http://africanamphibians.myspecies.info/
For butterflies, Field Guide to Butterflies of The Gambia (Penney), Sciri Scientific Press, 2009,
lists 170 species. All but the most uncommon are illustrated, but there are no distribution maps.
Websites: A set of photographs of butterflies taken in The Gambia (by Damian Keith) is at
There is no field guide available for Gambian Dragonflies.
Websites: An annotated list of records up to the end of 1980 was published in Odonatalogica 27(1):25-44 on March 1st 1998. This paper is available at
A set of photographs of Gambian dragonflies is at https://www.flickr.com/photos/rezamink/sets/72157622809393623/ and another,
with 125 photos, at