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  • Writer's pictureEbrima Sidibeh

The Birds of Senegal

Updated: Nov 7, 2023

Senegal, a West African nation known for its vibrant culture and stunning landscapes. Senegal is also a paradise for bird enthusiasts. This coastal country boasts a rich diversity of bird species, making it a must-visit destination for bird watchers and nature lovers alike. Senegal offers a unique blend of ecosystems ranging from coastal areas and savannahs to wetlands and semi-arid regions. These diverse habitats provide a haven for a wide variety of bird species, both resident and migratory. Here's a list of some of the prevalent birds of Senegal species that can be found in Senegal.

African Hawk Eagle


African Hawk Eagle
African Hawk Eagle


The African Hawk Eagle, scientifically known as Aquila spilogaster, is a striking raptor native to sub-Saharan Africa. Recognized by its distinctive black and white plumage and moderate size, it thrives in woodlands, savannas, and forests. These skilled hunters primarily prey on birds, small mammals, and occasional reptiles, displaying graceful soaring flights during their hunts. They nest in tall trees, where the female lays one to two eggs, and both parents participate in incubation and caring for the young.


Bateleur Eagle


The Bateleur Eagle is a beautiful bird of prey that lives in Sub-Saharan Africa. What makes it stand out is its unique appearance, with striking black feathers, a short tail, and vibrant red facial skin. These eagles are not the largest, with a wingspan of about 6 feet (1.8 meters), but they make up for it with their incredible aerial skills. They're like the acrobats of the bird world!


Bateleur Eagle
Bateleur Eagle


When it comes to food, Bateleur Eagles are excellent hunters. They swoop down to catch small to medium-sized mammals and birds for their meals. You can often spot them in open woodlands and savannas, where they show off their territorial side.


Bateleur Eagle is a friendly and iconic part of Africa's wildlife, and it's always a treat to see them soar through the skies.


Pin-tailed Whydah


The Pin-tailed Whydah is a captivating, small bird species native to the enchanting landscapes of sub-Saharan Africa. What sets it apart is its extraordinary breeding plumage, featuring long, graceful tail feathers that can stretch up to twice the length of its own body. During the breeding season, the males don this remarkable plumage like a dapper tuxedo to woo potential mates.


These avian wonders belong to the finch family, and while they primarily dine on seeds, they occasionally spice up their menu with delectable insects. But what truly makes them stand out is their enchanting and melodious songs that fill the African air.


Pin-tailed Whydah
Pin-tailed Whydah


These birds are not just inhabitants of Africa; they are storytellers of Africa's avian tapestry. With their striking appearance and intriguing breeding antics, they've earned their place as stars in the theater of birdwatching and research, adding a touch of intrigue and wonder to the continent's rich biodiversity.



Abyssinian ground hornbill


The Abyssinian ground hornbill, scientifically known as Bucorvus abyssinicus, is a distinctive and large bird species native to the northeastern regions of Africa. It belongs to the Bucerotidae family, which includes other hornbill species known for their unique features and behaviors.

Abyssinian ground hornbill
Abyssinian ground hornbill


The Abyssinian ground hornbill is a large bird, with males typically larger than females.

They have striking black plumage with white primary feathers, giving them a distinctive appearance. These ground hornbills are primarily found in savannas, grasslands, and open woodlands across parts of East Africa, including Ethiopia, Somalia, and Kenya. Abyssinian ground hornbills are ground-dwelling birds, rarely flying, and are known for their strong terrestrial habits.

They feed on a varied diet, including insects, small mammals, reptiles, and even carrion.


Green-Winged Pytilia


Green-Winged Pytilia
Green-Winged Pytilia

The Green-winged pytilia, scientifically known as Pytilia melba, is a small and colorful bird species belonging to the finch family, Estrildidae. Green-winged pytilia is a sexually dimorphic species, meaning males and females have different plumage. Male Green-winged pytilias sport striking green wings and back, along with a vibrant red crown, throat, and breast. In contrast, females and young birds have more muted colors, leaning toward olive-green tones. Both males and females have small, conical bills designed for eating seeds. Green-winged pytilias are social birds that often gather in small flocks. These displays may include puffing up their feathers and singing. The female builds a small, cup-shaped nest in shrubs or trees, where she lays and incubates the eggs.


Osprey


Senegal’s national bird Osprey, also known as sea hawk. The osprey is a large raptor, reaching more than 60 cm (24 in) in length and 180 cm (71 in) across the wings.The upperparts are brown, and the head and underparts are mostly greyish. It has a distinctive white chest with a brown band across it.

Osprey
Osprey


Ospreys are found on all continents except Antarctica. They breed in temperate and tropical regions, and winter in warmer climates. They prefer to nest near lakes, rivers, and coasts, where their main food source, fish, is abundant.

Ospreys are solitary birds and only come together to mate. They build large stick nests in trees or on other elevated structures. The female osprey lays two to four eggs, which she incubates for about 35 days. The male osprey helps to feed the chicks, which fledge after about 50 days. Ospreys are skilled fishermen. They soar high above the water, searching for fish. When they spot a fish, they dive into the water and catch it with their talons. Ospreys can carry fish that weigh up to half of their own body weight. The osprey is the only bird of prey that feeds almost exclusively on fish.

Brown-Rumped Bunting


The brown-rumped bunting is a colorful, boldly marked bunting found in Africa from Senegal to Sudan and Uganda. The brown-rumped bunting is a small bird, measuring about 14 cm (5.5 in) in length. It has a black-and-white facial pattern, a brown back and rump, and yellow underparts. The male has a yellow breast, while the female has a streaked chest.

Brown-Rumped Bunting
Brown-Rumped Bunting


Brown-rumped buntings are found in a variety of habitats, including broadleaf woodland, moist savanna, and cultivated areas. They are often seen feeding on the ground, picking up seeds and insects.

The brown-rumped bunting is a shy bird and can be difficult to spot. However, it is a beautiful bird and is well worth looking for.

Splendid Starling


Splendid Starling
Splendid Starling

The Splendid Starling is a small, iridescent starling found in Africa. It is also known as the Splendid Glossy-starling. Adult males and females have similar plumage, with black heads and iridescent blue-to-green back, upper breast, wings, and tail. The belly is bright red-orange, and there's a white strip that separates it from the blue chest. The undertail coverts and the wing linings are also white. Splendid Starlings are found in a variety of habitats, including savanna, woodland, thorn scrub, and villages. They are gregarious birds and are often seen in flocks of up to 100 individuals. They are particularly fond of termites and will often follow herds of grazing animals in order to catch the insects that are disturbed by the animals' hooves. Splendid Starlings are known for their mimicry abilities. They can mimic the calls of other birds, including hawks and owls. This ability helps them to confuse predators and protect themselves from attack.


Martial Eagle


Martial Eagle is renowned as one of the world's largest eagle species, and it stands out as one of the few eagles known to primarily hunt by descending rapidly from great heights onto its prey. The martial eagle is a powerful predator, capable of taking down prey as large as small antelopes and jackals. It is also known to take on other birds of prey, such as buzzards and hawks.

Martial Eagle
Martial Eagle

This eagle is a large bird with a wingspan of up to 2.5 meters. It has a dark brown head, back, and chest, and its belly is pale with brown spots. You can easily spot it by its short crest and bright yellow eyes.


Marsh Owl


Marsh Owl
Marsh Owl


Marsh owl is a medium-sized owl found in wetlands, grasslands, and other open areas around the world. It is a nocturnal bird, but can be seen hunting during the day, especially on cloudy days. They have long legs and toes that allow them to walk through deep grass and reeds. Their wings are broad and rounded, which helps them to fly slowly and maneuver easily in tight spaces. They typically hunt by quartering low over the ground, searching for prey with their keen eyesight. Marsh owls are important predators of rodents, which can help to control populations of these pests. They are also a food source for other predators, such as hawks and foxes.

Northern Red Bishop


Northern Red Bishop is a small passerine bird. It is found in semi-open habitats, including brushy thickets, overgrown fields, and the edges of marshes and ponds andi t is native to Africa. The northern red bishop is easily distinguished by the male's bright reddish orange plumage during breeding season.

Northern Red Bishop
Northern Red Bishop


The female and non-breeding males are brown and black above, and buff below. Both sexes have a short, stout bill.Northern red bishops are social birds and are often found in flocks of tens to hundreds. They feed on seeds.

Senegal Parrot


The Senegal Parrot is a small and colorful parrot species native to a wide range of countries in West Africa. These parrots are popular as pets due to their friendly and sociable nature, as well as their striking appearance. Senegal Parrots are relatively small parrots, measuring about 9 to 11 inches (23 to 28 centimeters) in length. They are known for their vibrant and distinct plumage. Typically, they have green feathers covering their bodies, a yellow-orange patch on their belly, and a distinctive V-shaped pattern of red or orange on their wings. Their eyes are surrounded by a narrow, white eye-ring.

Senegal Parrot
Senegal Parrot


Senegal Parrots are known for their intelligent and playful nature. They are often described as social birds that enjoy interacting with their owners.

Red-throated Bee-eater


Red-throated Bee-eater
Red-throated Bee-eater


The red-throated bee-eater is a medium-sized, brightly colored bird found in tropical Africa. It is a member of the bee-eater family, which is known for its acrobatic flight and its diet of insects, including bees. They can be observed in various landscapes, including savannas, grasslands, woodlands, and near water sources such as rivers and lakes.

These birds typically nest in burrows dug into riverbanks or sandy cliffs. The breeding season varies depending on their geographical location. They lay a clutch of eggs, and both the male and female share incubation and chick-rearing duties.

Hoopoes


Hoopoes, vibrant avian species found across Africa, Asia, and Europe, possess distinctive features. They sport a lengthy, slender bill with a black coloration transitioning into a fawn hue at the base. The robust musculature in their heads enables them to open their bills effectively while probing into the ground. Hoopoes boast wide, rounded wings capable of powerful flight, with the northern migratory subspecies exhibiting larger wings.

Hoopoes
Hoopoes


Notably, hoopoes exhibit a unique undulating flight pattern, resembling that of a large butterfly. This flight style is achieved through their wings partially closing at the conclusion of each wingbeat or short series of wingbeats.

Hoopoes are insect-eaters and forage on the ground, probing the soil with their long bills to find insects. They eat spiders, snails.

Golden-breasted bunting


Golden-breasted buntings are found in dry open woodlands and moist savanna in Africa south of the Sahara, but are absent from the equatorial forest belt. They are not gregarious, and are normally seen alone, in pairs or small groups. They feed on the ground on seeds, insects and spiders, animal prey being taken mostly when the birds have young.

Golden-breasted bunting
Golden-breasted bunting


Golden-breasted buntings are able to learn and remember complex songs. Golden-breasted buntings are beautiful and fascinating birds.



The birds of Senegal offer a diverse and captivating avian experience for birdwatchers and nature enthusiasts alike. With its strategic location in West Africa, Senegal provides a unique habitat for a wide variety of bird species, making it a haven for ornithologists and bird lovers. The country's diverse ecosystems, including wetlands, savannas, woodlands, and coastal areas, contribute to its rich birdlife.

Birds of Senegal encompass a broad spectrum of species, from the colorful and charismatic Northern Red Bishop to the striking and acrobatic Red-throated Bee-eater. These avian wonders are not only a testament to the country's biodiversity but also play essential roles in local ecosystems and cultures.

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