Abuko Nature Reserve
The first protected park in The Gambia, Abuko Nature Reserve was founded in 1968 by an English man called Edward Brower. It is about 17 km away from the main tourist resort. The habitat is now one of the rarest in The Gambia and is extremely rich in biodiversity, with many of species of fungi, plants, trees, insects and invertebrates recorded. The park is an ideal habitat for birds and a guided tour can include either full or half day birdwatching.
Some of the species that can be seen include Western Bluebill, Giant Kingfisher, Common Wattle-eye, Violet Turaco, Green Turaco, Ahanta Francolin, Grey-headed Bristlebill, Snowy-crowned Robin Chat, Green Hylia, Green Crombec, Yellow-breasted Apalis, Pygmy Kingfisher, Malachite Kingfisher, Little Bee-eater, Pied Hornbill, Collared Sunbird, Buff-spotted Woodpecker, Little Greenbul, Red-bellied Paradise Flycatcher, Purple Heron, Striated Heron, African Goshawk, Swallow-tailed Bee-eater, Black Crake, Painted Snipe, African Harrier Hawk, Northern Puffback, Bearded Barbet, Grey Heron, Black-necked Weaver, Green Wood Hoopoe, Hamerkop, Squacco Heron, Palm-nut Vulture, Yellow-bellied Hyliota, Oriole Warbler and many more .
Four species of primate occur in the reserve: Red Colobus Monkey, Callithrex Monkey, Patas Monkey and Senegal Bushbaby. Other mammals present include Senegal and Blotched Genets, Bush Buck, Maxwell’s Duiker, Gambian Sun Squirrel, Striped Ground Squirrel, Crested Porcupine, bats and a variety of rodents.
Reptiles present include Nile and Dwarf Crocodile, Nile and Boscs Monitor Lizard, Ngama Lizard, various skinks and geckos, African Rock Python, Royal Puff Adder, Black-necked Cobra and Green Mamba.
The best season for birds is from November to May, with visit early morning or late afternoon being most rewarding as birds and animals will tend to shelter from the heat of the day.