Birding at KartongBirdLife International has designated the Kartong coast and the Hallahin River as an Important Bird Area (GM006). The diversity of habitats within a relatively small area produces great avian diversity which is easily accessible to the visiting birder.

Kartong Bird Observatory features prominently in Dave Gosney's DVD Finding Birds in The Gambia. Colin guided Dave up the River Gambia and around Kartong during the filming of this DVD. Dave describes Kartong as 'The best birding site in The Gambia [...] in my opinion this site is a must-see for every birder visiting The Gambia'.

To date 357 species of bird have been recorded at Kartong. The wetlands form the centre of the recording area. Other adjacent habitats include sand dunes, foreshore, tidal mud flats, mangroves, savannah scrub, rice fields cultivations and a remnant of high forest. The extensive reed and rush beds provide roost refuge and breeding sites for some species which are difficult to see in the Gambia. Many of the species here are very approachable and allow wonderful photographic opportunities. It is a safe place to walk and seek out birds on your own without hassle.

Species recorded here recently include Northern Carmine Bee-eater, African Crake, Ballion's Crake (1st Gambian record), Dwarf Bittern, Greater Painted Snipe, Allen’s Gallinule, Pygmy Goose, Brown Noddy (2nd Gambian record), Cassin’s Honeybird (1st Gambian record), American Golden Plover (3rd Gambian record), Martial Eagle, Black-crowned Crane, Great Bittern (4th Gambian record), Little Crake, Lesser Moorhen, Little Buttonquail, Blue-naped Mousebird, Green-headed Sunbird, Hudsonian Whimbrel (2nd Gambian record), White-fronted Plover, Black-crowned Sparrow Lark, Little Greenbul, Red-winged Pytilia, African Collared Dove, Cinnamon-breasted Bunting and Wilson's Storm Petrel.

Palearctic migrants include Eastern Olivaceous Warbler, Black-legged Kittiwake (2nd Gambian record), Spectacled Warbler, Bluethroat, Rock Thrush, Egyptian Vulture, European Roller, Wryneck, Woodchat Shrike, Great Reed Warbler, Temminck’s Stint, Eurasian Griffon Vulture, Lesser Kestrel and Marsh Sandpiper.


KBO is a perfect place to visit for bird photography. Within the compounds of the Observatory HQ there is a seated bar area to observe and photograph birds while chilling out with a cool drink. A hide near to the water gives an even better position to photograph Pygmy, Malachite and maybe even Giant Kingfisher. African Jacana and Egrets are common and one might even get a close up of the local Crocodile!

Local birds


Purple SwamphenPurple Swamphen

Rufous-crowned RollerRufous-crowned Roller