Birdwatching Trip Reports from the Ivory Coast 



The sites
Parc National de Taï
Forêt Classée de Yapo
Parc National de la Comoé
Trip List


From April 19 through June 24 2000, I spent a little more than 2 months in the République de Côte d’Ivoire. Most of that time (May 1 through June 18) was spent at the Biological Research Camp of the University of Wuerzburg (Germany) in the Parc National de la Comoé, where I did some research work on the general differences of the vocalizations of the birds to be found in the different microhabitats within the park. Thus, a lot of time was spent in the field making bird recordings, whilst - at the beginning of my stay - some time had also been invested in mist-netting.

Before my stay in Comoé, I spent two days at the tourist lodge Ecotel Touraco in the southern half of the Parc National de Tai, where I did a hiking trip all the way to the famed inselberg Mont Niénoukoué. After that, I was fortunately given the kind permission of entering the northern half of the park and to stay at the International Research Station IET for about a week.

After my research in Comoé, I seized the opportunity of spending my last three days in the Forêt Classée de Yapo near Agboville, only about 50km to the north of Abidjan. My research schedule dictated the amount of time spent outside of Comoé, so I was unfortunately not able to get to a few other sites of ornithological interest which I had initially wanted to visit, like the Centre Suisse (CRSR) and Banco National Park (both in the environs of Abidjan), or the Research Station at Lamto right along the road from Abidjan to Yamoussoukro, or Mt. Péko (where there is a new BirdLife International office), Mt. Nimba and Mt. Tonkoui just north of Tai. Those sites will certainly merit another trip to the Ivory Coast in the future.

[Back to Index][Go to Trip List]


Unfortunately, there is very little good literature on the birds and the birding sites in Ivory Coast. When birding the northern savannas, the new and excellent "Field Guide to the Birds of The Gambia and Senegal" will certainly be the most recommendable choice, as it brilliantly depicts nearly all the savanna species to be found there. When birding the southern rain-forests, however, the Gambian guide will not suffice, and one has to resort to the old and out-dated Birds of West Africa by Serle and Morel, which has a few major drawbacks in that the plates are mostly poor, most species are not even depicted and a few are only mentioned by name in the appendix! It is high time for a new and authoritative identification guide to the birds of West Africa.

The best deal should be to up-date your Serle-and-Morel guide with information on the species not covered therein. Get this information either out of the 5 existing volumes of the Handbook of the Birds of the World or the 5 published volumes of the Birds of Africa. When it comes to a few of the passerine families which are not yet covered by either of the two big Handbook series, you will have to consult the Birds of Kenya and Northern Tanzania by Zimmerman or just wait until the corresponding handbook volume is out.

As far as site information is concerned, there seems to be nothing out there yet, maybe with the single exception of a small chapter on the Ivory Coast in "Where to watch Birds in Africa" by Wheatley. At the time of writing, there hadn’t been any trip reports on the Ivory Coast in the net yet, so birders largely depend on a few scientific ornithological publications, as those by Mary Gartshore on Tai National Park, which were of great help to me.

[Back to Index][Go to Trip List]

The country

Map of the Côte d´Ivoire

I have had previous budget birding experience in South America and Asia, but nowhere did the going get as rough as in Ivory Coast. This is a hard country to travel through as a low-budget birder, and you should be prepared for all kinds of adverse circumstances. The most comfortable way of seeing the birds of Ivory Coast should be to go with BIRDQUEST, the only tour operator currently working in this country. Their tour leader is said to be one of this decade’s most knowledgeable people on West African birds. However, it is not impossible to see most birds on your own, if you give it enough time and effort.

French is spoken by virtually all inhabitants of the country, no matter which one of the 72 ethnic groups they adhere to. Communication in a western language other than French will be more than hard to achieve. The currency is called CFA (or Franc on the street), and 100 CFA are equivalent to 1 French Franc; the CFA rises and falls with the French currency, as it is not an independent currency. The CFA is also used in most other former French colonies of West Africa, like Burkina Faso, Mali etc. No-one seems to know what will happen when the French adopt the Euro in 2002, but up till then it will be best to enter the country with French Francs in your pockets, as other currencies are very hard to exchange (maybe except US $).

You can get virtually anywhere with public transportation, and even the remotest localities are served by bush taxis (= taxi brousse). Be prepared for very uncomfortable journeys, though. Sometimes everything goes smooth, but more often, you will be either late one day, or you will emerge from the bus with a major health problem or feeling of disgust at your destination (which could be traced back to things as varied as contagiously ill people sitting next to you and incessantly coughing at you, or overly ripe agricultural products and dirty chickens placed on your lap, or (as a woman) a seat shared with three guys who want to marry you...). Think hard if you have the money to rent a car in Abidjan, and if so, do NOT miss to do so. 

Bring enough money so as to be able to reside in the better hotels that Ivorian towns have to offer. Often, you don’t have the choice, but in most towns you can choose from one hotel for CFA 8000.- a night and another one for CFA 3000.- a night. Let me assure you that the one for 3000.- will most certainly foster mice and rats, the bed sheets will be ripe with all sorts of yellow and white liquid stains, and sometimes there will be used condoms laying around in the bath room, if there is such a thing as a bath room at all. Most other guests in the hotel will be there on an hourly basis, so don’t plan on making friends.

Bring a mosquito net, and make sure it doesn’t have any holes; mine didn’t make the impression of having any, until I got bitten 42 times one night. This is the best way to catch malaria, a sometimes lethal disease which has not ceased to be omnipresent in Ivory Coast. The country is situated in one of the areas blessed with the most diseases on our planet, so beware of contact with mice or food that might have been touched by them (>Lassa fever: killed one German tourist in 1999), get a shot against yellow fever and diphtheria, avoid dogs on the streets and street food, don’t bring your child and pay a little general attention to what and who you touch, particularly with all those inevitable little scratches that start to dot your body after the second week in a tropical country.

All of this sounds pretty hard, and it is. But consider: You can avoid most of this with a little bit of common sense and an inclination towards investing a little money in your own health.

[Back to Index][Go to Trip List]


Parc National de Taï

Ecotel Touraco

The only way to enter Tai as a regular tourist these days is a stay at the Ecotel Touraco, an eco-lodge near Djiroutou in the south-western corner of the park. There are talks of a second eco-lodge being opened in the park’s east some time in the second half of the millennium’s first decade, maybe even with a canopy walk, but I don’t know how serious these plans are. The Ecotel Touraco is only a few kilometers from the main road from Tai City to the coast (San Pédro), but you would have to contact the lodge administration in San Pédro beforehand, either by booking from your home country or by dropping by during your trip in Ivory Coast. I think they would appreciate the first choice more, but if they have vacancies, they won’t decline when you come on a "knock-on-the-door"-basis. (The office - administered by a few Germans - is located in the city center of San Pédro and well known among most taxi drivers; the postal and e-mail address should not be too hard to find in the net).

A stay is fairly expensive: I had to pay US$ 150.- for two days, which included however the meals and a guide. Accompanying guides are compulsory, which is good or bad depending on your objective; my guide had a fairly good knowledge of a few of the bird vocalizations, as he has regularly accompanied the Birdquest groups that visit the lodge every year; furthermore, he was able to show me chimpanzees, which you are not very likely to see on your own. However, he got very impatient and impolite when I was so unkind as to have him wait for one hour while I was watching a high canopy mixed flock at a fruiting tree.

A must during your stay at Ecotel Touraco will be a hiking trip to Mt. Niénoukoué, an impressive block of granite towering out of the rain-forest and allowing for splendid views over the "green ocean". The only great avian rarity that the guides can guarantee you is the Bare-headed Rockfowl (Picathartes), which has a breeding colony near that inselberg, even though the birds have to be waited for for hours on some days. Other than that, it will be up to you to locate the other West African endemics, and if you are a first-timer to Africa, you will have to content yourself with only a very few of them.


Another way of entering the park used to be the IET station in the north, which is strictly limited to scientific research these days. Sometimes, as in my case, exceptional permits are issued upon demand at the Bureau des Eaux et Forets in Tai City, but I might have just been lucky insofar as I knew some of the researchers at IET. If time is no problem, you might find it worthwhile to travel all the way up to Tai City and ask for a permit, but don’t expect to be successful. The IET station is 8km from the main road from Tai to San Pédro, about 16km from Tai itself. It is situated in good forest habitat and boasts an extensive trail system which leaves plenty of room for ornithological observations.

[Back to Index][Go to Trip List]

Forêt Classée de Yapo

Apart from the Centre Suisse near Orstom, Yapo should be the best choice for people who come to the Ivory Coast for only a few days, as it lies only about 50km from Abidjan. It has the status of a Forêt Classée, which renders logging and hunting illegal, although logging tracks seem to give access to all corners of the forest. It is conveniently located along the road from Abidjan to Agboville, right near the village of Petit Yapo. From Petit Yapo, follow the road to the south for three kilometers through some rewarding secondary habitat until you reach the sign "Forêt Classée" whence the forest stretches along the road for about ten kilometers. Accommodation should be looked for in Agboville, as Petit Yapo doesn’t have any hotels. The forest can still be reached before sunlight on one of the countless taxis plying the road to Abidjan at almost any time.

In spite of the ongoing destruction, the forest is great for birdwatching, and a few West African endemics like the Yellow-bearded Greenbul are surely more easy to see here than at Tai. Spend some time along the road, but don’t miss to enter some true forest on one of the logging tracks to see those mixed flocks that contain all the bulbuls and other goodies. Those true forest birds can only rarely be seen from the road itself.

[Back to Index][Go to Trip List]

Parc National de la Comoé


[Back to Index][Go to Trip List]

In this photo, the Comoe River can be seen on the right, lined by gallery forest habitat that can only barely be told apart from the closed savanna in the background of the picture. The open habitat up front is the Lola Plain, an area of open savanna adjoining the Lola Stream and not far from the southern entrance to Comoe at Kakpin

Comoé NP is one of the largest areas set aside for nature in West Africa. It used to be some sort of "Serengeti of West Africa" as little as a decade ago (in the 80ies), when impressive numbers of French tourists poured in to see a little less impressive numbers of elephants (Loxodonta africana), lions (Panthera leo), hippos (Hippopotamus amphibius) and the like in their own former colony. Now, only a few years later, it is depressing to see how little of the former mammalian wealth has been left over by the scourge of poaching which is continuing at a seemingly increasing pace to deplete the park of its star attractions. In the year 2000, lions had not been reliably sighted for two years, although their footprints continue to be seen along the tracks, elephants are thought to have vanished altogether, although rumors of their continued existence around the Iringou River still make their way around once in a while. All the other large mammals have suffered accordingly, and the only species that can nowadays be guaranteed on a one-day tour through parts of the park is the Kob Antelope (Kobus kob kob) and - with a little bit of searching in the right habitat - the hippo.

Ornithologists, however, should not be deterred by the sorry state of the park’s mammal fauna. The half-heartedness with which the Ivorian park officials take care of their heritage, and their collaboration with the poachers that has been proved in a few cases, have fortunately not had any negative effect on the park’s habitat: Dreaded swarms of tse-tse flies not only make human life a painful task during the rainy season, but they also render bovine life hazardous, as they transmit a disease lethal to cows. Therefore, the park has always been shunned by cattle herders, the very people who have contributed to the large-scale degradation of guinea savanna habitat in most other parts of West Africa.


The park is open to tourists during the dry season from November through April, but I have seen tourists enter in May and June as well, so I guess the guides will be willing to take you anytime as long as the road conditions permit entry (which might not be the case in July, August and September any longer). There are several entrances to the park, but if you wish to take advantage of the site information provided in this report, choose the southern entrance at Kakpin, which is only about 12km from the Research Station where I worked at. I suppose that you need a vehicle of your own to enter the park, and you will find out that guides are compulsory (even though I have seen tourists illegally enter the park without a guide). You will instantly be given a guide as soon as you arrive in Kakpin and indicate that you want to visit the park. I guess the same procedure applies at the other park entrances, like the one in Kaffolo (north), or the one in Bouna (east). The park is big, and it takes a full day to cross it once from Kakpin to Kaffolo, so if birding is your objective, don’t plan on seeing all corners of the park, but concentrate on one area; I recommend you the southern area described in this report.

[Back to Index][Go to Trip List]


What makes the park so interesting and diverse (almost 500 species of birds!!!) is the mosaic of habitats that can be found within it. Care should be taken so as to spend some time in all the microhabitats. Even though mammals, raptors and a few other large bird attractions are most likely to be seen from the back of a jeep during long rides through the park, you should spend most time working a few areas on foot to get the most out of your stay.

 Map of the Comoé National Park, southern part

[Back to Index][Go to Trip List]

Open savanna and plains

Bowal area

There are numerous species which will only be found in the small patches of open savanna habitat, generally known as "plains", that can be found throughout the park in a limited number. If you visit the north of the park, plains should be easier to find, and some time should be spent at the huge open bowal area the road traverses around two hours south of the Kaffolo entrance. This is the only area of the park that calls into mind what the habitat must look like a few hundred kilometers to the north in the soudan savannas and Sahel steppes of Burkina Faso, and it was the only spot where I ever saw Abyssinian and Rufous-crowned Roller as well as Spur-winged Goose, although the formermost is supposed to be common throughout the park at the beginning of the dry season.

Bowal area


The area is characterized by a lack of any prominent vegetational features and harbors its own unique avifauna, that is more reminiscent of the soudan savannas in the southern Sahel zone to the north than of the guinea savannas typical for this latitude. When visiting this area in June 2000, we found a lot of species here that vacate most of Ivory Coast during the rainy season and move farther north, such as Abyssinian Roller and Rufous-crowned Roller.


Lola Plain

If you don’t get to the north, there will be a choice of a few smaller plains in the area described by this report: The biggest amongst those is Congo Plain just south of the River Congo, where Flappet Lark, Sun Lark and Longclaw require some searching to be found. Besides open areas, thornbush habitat reminiscent of drier climates can be found right along the road here, even though it didn’t hold the species it had promised whenever I took a closer look.

Another plain to check out is Lola Plain, where I spent most time in; Sun Lark and Flappet Lark can be found with a little bit of patience, particularly in the evening hours, so can the Plain-backed Pipit.

The Bretelle Plain, just a kilometer from the Main Camp, is supposed to hold one of the smaller bustard species at some times of the year, although they were obviously not present while I was there. Still, I regularly recorded Longclaw and Flappet Lark and even Zitting Cisticola, which seems to like the thornbush habitat near the gallery forest’s edge here.

Gansé Plain is the only place where I ever lucked out in seeing a Denham’s Bustard and two Rufous-rumped Larks, as well as a Fiscal Shrike, apart from that, Plain-backed Pipit and Flappet Lark can be expected.

[Back to Index][Go to Trip List]

Closed savanna

Sometimes, plains of open savanna thin out locally to form some habitat that approaches "bowal" character, as demonstrated in this photo of the Lola Plain. These are the areas to keep an eye open for larks and other open habitat specialists.

This is by far the most dominant habitat within the park, so you should expect to see its inhabitants most easily. Still, there is a remarkable number of uncommon species that appear to be confined to large, homogenous tracts of this habitat. The low number of sightings of a few of these is probably attributable to their naturally low abundance, as I suspect with the Hyliota. Others may in fact be more numerous than their sightings reveal, but might pass unnoticed due to their secretive behavior (this seems to hold true with the two savanna tinkerbirds and with Vieillot’s Barbet). Most of them, however, are probably not arbitrarily distributed throughout the savanna, but are restricted to certain microhabitat structures that we are not able to discern through the human eye; this is almost certainly the case with Emin’s Shrike, Plaintive Cisticola, Croaking Cisticola and maybe even with a little commoner representatives as Cabanis’s Bunting and Brubru. 

[Back to Index][Go to Trip List]

Open full-grown woodland

A habitat rarely encountered though very worthwhile to spend some time at, I only know of one locality within the area described in this report that can be characterized thus: opposite the Old Camp, there is a baobab grove whence the surrounding area of about half a square kilometer of open forest must have sprung from. The baobabs and a few of the neighboring ceybas have an impressive girth and merit a look per se, but birdwatchers will be more impressed by the incessant bird activity in this patch of woodland. I have found this spot the best area in the park for quite a lot of species that can otherwise only be found in larger savanna thickets or open island forests, e.g. Cardinal Woodpecker, Spotted Creeper, Heuglin’s and Little Weaver, Western Violet-backed Sunbird, Black Wood-hoopoe, Yellow Penduline-Tit and lots more (see list).

[Back to Index][Go to Trip List]

Forest islands

The park comprises hundreds of little island forests, a few opener and almost of the same character as the preceding habitat category, others more closed and approaching gallery forest character. A couple of them are crossed when driving from Kakpin to the Camps, and another one that turned out promising can be found at the end of a dirt track (4wheel drive!) that turns off to the right just before crossing the Lola Bridge when coming from Kakpin. If you have little time, though, I find it recommendable to concentrate on the gallery forests themselves, as not all of the forest birds found in Comoé also enter forest islands. Puvel’s Illadopsis and Square-tailed Drongo might - on occasion - be slightly easier to find in forest islands, but they don’t compensate for all the birds that are missed when gallery forest is spared out from your timetable.

[Back to Index][Go to Trip List]

Forest edge

Even though most gallery forests end abruptly in a line, suddenly giving way to savanna habitat, there are still a few species that could almost never be found far from this borderline: most weaver species had a noticeable preference for this habitat, and flocks of White-crested Helmet Shrikes (with the occasional Red-headed Weaver/Malimbe mixed in) were almost obligatory for a few patches of forest edge, like just north of the Main Camp towards the Bretelle Plain, even though they would - on occasion - enter either the forest or the savanna. African Gray Hornbills are by far most frequent near the forest edge, although they can be seen in savanna thickets as well, and Gray Tit-Flycatchers were never encountered anywhere else than at the Old Camp’s and the Main Camp’s forest edge.

[Back to Index][Go to Trip List]

Gallery forest

The largest accessible tracts of gallery forest can be found along the Iringou River, one of the bigger tributaries of the Comoe River. This photo shows the part of the Iringou Forest right near the Iringou Bridge, where the first record (incl. tape recordings) of the West-African endemic Finsch's Flycathcer-Thrush could be made in June 2000.

Easy to imagine, this is the hardest habitat to work on the one hand, but equally the most promising one on the other hand. If you have more than a week in Comoé, you will almost certainly find it very hard to add lots of new savanna birds to your list the last few days, but there will always be new birds in the gallery forest, no matter how many weeks you stay here. I was strongly reminded of rain-forest birding when I made the experience of finding yet another handful of new species right in front of my hut in the Main Camp’s gallery forest after one month of intense birding. The use of a tape-recorder certainly pays in gallery forests and will help you make a few sightings that would have been improbable without it.

One problem is to find paths that give access to large tracts of gallery forest, a habitat that can be impenetrable for humans. There are only very few of these, so stick to this information rather than trying to fight your own way through any random piece of gallery forest. A very decent path that goes through 1300m of gallery forest before leading out to the savanna starts at the Old Camp and runs down-river. There are several incipient trails here, but all but one thin out after a few hundred meters. This trail harbors all the regular gallery forest inhabitants of Comoe, including Fire-crested Alethe, Little Green Sunbird, White-browed Forest-Flycatcher, the Trogon, Yellowbill and Capuchin Babbler (rare).

 Most of the afore mentioned can also be found in the gallery forest surrounding the Main Research Camp of the University of Wuerzburg (Germany), with its network of trails giving access to all the huts (if the Camp is still in use, ask for permission to bird around the huts; maybe there is even an experienced ornithologist who wants to show you around).

The best gallery forest in all of Comoé NP, however, can be found along the lower reaches of the Iringou, where the forest structure is not a lot different from old-growth rain-forest. Here, the forest is more than one kilometer wide, and the trees reach remarkable diameters. Early morning visits are important, as the forest can be silent around the afternoon. You should make your observations from the set of roads and paths that are available, as many parts of the forest are too dense to walk through. The main road that runs to the north of the park awards good views of the forest, especially at the Iringou Bridge where bird activity is often high and baboons are regular. At the southern edge of the forest along this road, there is a small footpath going left along the edge and after 30m into the forest. This is the old course of the road, and you can follow this trail all the way to a little temporary lake inside the forest (which is not depicted on the map). 200m before you enter the forest on the main road, an inconspicuous dirt track leads left. Follow this track for about two kilometers through good savanna habitat (best place for Emin’s Shrike and Plaintive Cisticola !) until it ends at the forest edge. From here, there is a long footpath going through prime gallery forest all the way to the spot where the Iringou merges with the Comoé River. At the beginning of this path, you can see a small temporary lake to your right; a few hundred meters on, there are two more temporary lakes left of the path (but not visible from it). It is around these temporary lakes that Emerald Cuckoos and Bronze-naped Pigeons can most often be seen. The Iringou Forest is also the only area where I saw (and tape-recorded) Finsch’s Flycatcher-Thrush. Besides those, I encountered all other rarer gallery forest species here as well, even though less time was spent here than at the other gallery forest sites. There is certainly much room for new discoveries in the Iringou Forest, and I would not be surprised if most new records for the park came from here.

[Back to Index][Go to Trip List]


The Comoé River at the so called cataracts near the Gansé Plain

As most parts of the Comoé River and the Iringou are lined by dense gallery forest, the rivers cannot be accessed just anywhere. Thus, you should not miss to go to at least one of those access points, not just for the serene views of bathing hippos in an African river setting, but also for a few nice species of birds. There are several river birds that occur along the Comoé and its bigger tributaries in low density and that could be seen just about anywhere. Thus, it largely depends on the season, on the amount of time spent at the river and on your good luck, whether you get to see Shining-blue Kingfisher, Giant Kingfisher, Jacana, the occasional Mosque Swallow and Ussher’s Spinetail, African Fish-eagle, Senegal Thick-knee, Goliath Heron or Yellow-billed and Woolly-necked Stork. Other birds will almost certainly be there, no matter where exactly you go, like Pied Kingfisher, White-headed Lapwing, Little Green Heron, Hamerkop and at most times African Pied Wagtail. The Cataracts are generally one of the best spots to see the Fish-eagle and Goliath Heron, and it’s the only place where I ever saw Rock Pratincoles, though their presence seems to be confined to the rainy season.

Other good spots are the Old Camp and the Main Camp (where you would certainly have to ask for permission if you can walk around within the camp). These places are all characterized by islands in the river and shallow riversides, which is probably the reason why they are far more attractive than the riverside at the New Biological Research Station or at the Iringou Delta.

A hot spot, not just for its river birds, but also for the rare forest species, is the Iringou Bridge, the only place where I saw Finfoot (early morning!), but even the Congo Bridge, where there is no gallery forest around, afforded views of a Shining-blue Kingfisher. Three species, namely the Oriole Warbler, Black-capped Babbler and the Yellow-crowned Gonolek, were hardly ever seen at any other spot than the riparian growth near the Congo Bridge, presumably because dense gallery forest habitat abuts most other river sections in the park.

[Back to Index][Go to Trip List]

Savanna streams

Lola stream

It sometimes pays following their course for a while, as a few species are largely restricted to the adjacent vegetation of smaller savanna streams. A prime candidate for "stream observations" is Lola Creek. Malachite Kingfishers are guaranteed at the bridge over Lola Creek, as well as Village Weavers in their nests. African Moustached Warblers and Red-winged Warblers can otherwise only be seen in marshy open savanna habitat which is only infrequently found in this part of the park. The latter does not strictly inhabit the trees and bushes lining the streams, but is rarely found far away from them. The same can be applied to the Black-breasted Firefinch. A particularly promising area appears to be the entrance point of Lola Creek into the gallery forest, where Red-faced Cisticolas climb through the rank streamside vegetation and Bar-bellied Firefinches forage on the ground. This seems to be the preferred microhabitat of the Spectacled Weaver as well, which I rarely ever encountered anywhere else.

[Back to Index][Go to Trip List]


Lola Pond

Most ponds in the area fall dry during the arid season, but even then they still merit a quick look. Unidentified crakes are reported from Hyperolius Pond and a few roadside ponds on the Gansé Plain, but the only thing I ever saw there is Jacana. The denser vegetation around the ponds sometimes attracts songbird activity during the midday hours, particularly Lola Pond and Hyperolius Pond, but beware of (baby) crocodiles in these. Mixed swallow flocks often search for their insect prey in the vicinity of Lola Pond, and even though most of them are Lesser Stripeds, try and find the occasional Rufous- and Red-chested Swallows in between. Hyperolius Pond seems to harbor coucals, and once I even lucked out in seeing Plantain-eaters there, though they can probably be seen just anywhere.

Iringou forest ponds: Ornithologically, these ponds are good for spotting high canopy species that are hard to see elsewhere in more contiguous tracts of gallery forest, as the Emerald Cuckoo or the Bronze-naped Pigeon, or for getting glimpses at secretive waterbirds such as Dwarf Bitterns or Hartlaub's Ducks.

The gallery forest ponds near the Iringou Delta) are of slightly differing character, as they are within dense forest habitat. Apart from the good views of the high canopy that are afforded from their dry parts, they are the spot where I saw Hartlaub’s Duck most often, and once even a Dwarf Bittern.

[Back to Index][Go to Trip List]

Roads and tracks

Numida meleagris galeata (Helmeted Guineafowl) is a bird that can hardly be missed in Comoe NP; little exposed to human persecution, as they appear to be, they often stay on the road when a vehicle passes, and some effort is needed to finally make them step aside.

A few savanna birds like Double-spurred Francolin or Stone-partridge you will most certainly not see on foot; those are the birds that are more often seen by regular tourists than by ornithologists, largely because the former ones restrain their park visit to mammal watching from the jeep. Generally, bigger birds are more likely to be seen driving around than working an area on foot; this can be referred to raptors, Ground Hornbills, bustards and even Blue-bellied Rollers and Red-billed Wood-hoopoes. Night rides can be very fruitful occasions for nightjar sightings: from May onwards, 90% of all nightjar sightings on tracks will be of Long-taileds (only a few Plain Nightjars), while before May, you should also be able to see a considerable percentage of Standard-winged Nightjars. Likewise, Grayish Eagle-owl is occasionally flushed by passing vehicles.

[Back to Index]


Birds encountered within the Parc National de la Comoé are printed in bold.

1. Phalacrocorax africanus - Long-tailed Cormorant

common along the Comoé River; also frequently recorded in other parts of the country


2. Ixobrychus sturmii - Dwarf Bittern

Comoé NP: 1 around one of the gallery forest ponds near the mouth of the River Iringou (June 8)

3. Ardea goliath - Goliath Heron

usually recorded several times a week along the Comoé River

4. Egretta garzetta garzetta - Little Egret

group of 4 along the Comoé River near the Cataracts (May 9)

5. Bubulcus ibis ibis - Cattle Egret

in Comoé NP only recorded three times (little groups of around 5-10 flying along the Comoé River); abundant throughout the rest of the country

6. Butorides striatus atricapillus - Green-backed Heron

common along the Comoé River and its tributaries; frequently encountered in wetland habitats in other parts of the country

7. Scopus umbretta umbretta - Hamerkop

very common in any aquatic habitats within Comoé NP

The Hamerkop (Scopus umbretta) is one of the birds you'd see every day in Comoe NP and you'd still not get bored of. Here, a group of them is searching for food on one of the tracks in the rainy season, when small bodies of water form all over the savanna. Its phylogenetic affinities have still not been completely resolved, even though these days DNA analysis gives us a lot more insight into their taxonomic position than ever before.

8. Mycteria ibis - Yellow-billed Stork

One along the Comoé River near the main camp (June 11)


9. Ciconia episcopus microscelis - Woolly-necked Stork

in Comoé NP recorded around twice a week, usually near the Comoé River

10. Bostrychia hagedash brevirostris - Hadada Ibis

very common along the Comoé River, its tributaries and comparable aquatic habitats within Comoé NP

11. Plectropterus gambensis gambensis - Spur-winged Goose

one sizeable group at a water hole on a large beauval area in the north of Comoé NP (June 9)

12. Pteronetta hartlaubii - Hartlaub’s Duck

Comoé NP: small groups recorded regularly around the gallery forest ponds near the mouth of the River Iringou from June 8 through June 15

13. Milvus migrans parasiticus - Black Kite

only a handful of sightings in Comoé NP, mainly in late May and June; common near the country’s coast

14. Haliaaetus vocifer - African Fish-eagle

recorded around three times a week along the Comoé River

Haliaaetus vocifer (African Fish-eagle) is of pan-African distribution, and can easily be spotted along the Comoe River

15. Gypohierax angolensis - Palm-nut Vulture

regularly seen in Comoé NP (around twice a week); common in other parts of the country

16. Necrosyrtes monachus - Hooded Vulture

2 circling above the Comoé River near the Old Camp (May 24)

17. Gyps africanus - African White-backed Vulture

very common within Comoé NP

18. Trigonoceps occipitalis - White-headed Vulture

recorded twice within Comoé NP: 2 near camp (each May 7 and June 13)

19. Terathopius ecaudatus - Bateleur

common within Comoé NP


20. Polyboroides typus pectoralis - African Harrier-hawk

within Comoé NP recorded around twice a week; commonly seen in other parts of the country

21. Kaupifalco monogrammicus monogrammicus - Lizard Buzzard

1 in closed savanna in the north of Comoé NP (June 9)

22. Melierax metabates metabates - Dark Chanting-goshawk

within Comoé NP recorded around once a week

23. Accipiter badius sphenurus - Shikra

1 in closed savanna habitat near the Congo River, Comoé NP (May 12)

24. Buteo auguralis - Red-necked Buzzard

common within Comoé NP

25. Hieraaetus spilogaster - African Hawk-eagle

2 near Gawi, Comoé NP (June 9)

26. Hieraaetus ayresii - Ayres’s Hawk-eagle

Comoé NP: 1 near the Cataracts (May 17), 1 near the Lola Pond (June 3)

27. Polemaetus bellicosus - Martial Eagle

Comoé NP: 1 near Congo Plain (May 9)

28. Lophaetus occipitalis - Long-crested Eagle

Comoé NP: 1 near Main Camp (May 20), 1 near Hyperolius Pond (June 9)

29. Falco ardosiaceus - Gray Kestrel

Comoé NP: 1 near Main Camp (May 20)

30. Falco cuvierii - African Hobby

Two hunting insects after rain-shower near Comoé’s eastern park boundary at Bouna (June 10)

31. Francolinus lathami lathami - Latham’s Francolin

seen almost daily in Tai NP from April 21 through 29; on April 27 two adults with 1 juvenile of around two weeks’ age; in Comoé NP only one probable sighting within gallery forest habitat near Old Camp on June 7

32. Francolinus ahantensis - Ahanta Francolin

10.0pt; font-family:Arial'>Comoé NP: a family party of 3 seen regularly within Main Camp gallery forest in first half of May

33. Francolinus bicalcaratus bicalcaratus - Double-spurred Francolin

Comoé NP: recorded three times, mostly from the jeep along the tracks, only once when walking through open savanna habitat

34. Ptilopachus petrosus petrosus - Stone Partridge

Comoé NP: 1 on park’s eastern boundary north of Bouna (June 10); a family party within park near the Bouna entrance (June 10)

35. Numida meleagris galeata - Helmeted Guineafowl

common within Comoé NP

36. Guttera pucherani verreauxi - Crested Guineafowl

Comoé NP: 3 in forest island (apparently connected to gallery forest) near the Vista Point (May 25), 1 in gallery forest near Old Camp (June 7)

37. Podica senegalensis senegalensis - African Finfoot

Comé NP: 1 at Iringou Bridge (June 8)

38. Neotis denhami denhami - Denham’s Bustard

Comoé NP: 1 at Gansé Plain (May 9)

39. Actophilornis africanus - African Jacana

only a handful of sightings in Comoé NP, mainly along the Comoé River or in various ponds; frequently seen in many other parts of the country

40. Burhinus senegalensis - Senegal Thick-knee

Comoé NP: recorded around twice a week along Comoé River

41. Glareola nuchalis liberiae - Rock Pratincole

Comoé NP: 1 (June 14) and 5 with breeding display (June 15) at the Cataracts

42. Vanellus albiceps - White-headed Lapwing

common along the Comoé River and its tributaries; also seen along a river within Tai NP (April 21)

43. Vanellus senegallus senegallus - African Wattled Lapwing

common in open savanna and plain habitat within Comoé NP

44. Actitis hypoleucos - Common Sandpiper

One at Comoé River near Old Camp (May 10)

45. Columba iriditorques - Western Bronze-naped Pigeon

Comoé NP: regularly encountered in the Iringou gallery forest from June 8 through 16

46. Streptopelia semitorquata - Red-eyed Dove

Comoé NP: frequently seen at beginning of May with records decreasing towards the end of June

47. Streptopelia vinacea - Vinaceous Dove

Comoé NP: 1 in open savanna near Main Camp (May 5)

48. Streptopelia senegalensis senegalensis - Laughing Dove

frequently seen near human habitations all over the country (not within Comoé NP)

49. Turtur afer - Blue-spotted Wood-dove

common within Comoé NP; also frequently recorded in other parts of the country

50. Turtur brehmeri infelix - Blue-headed Wood-dove

recorded a couple of times in Tai NP (from April 22 through April 28)

51. Treron calva sharpei - African Green-pigeon

Comoé NP: recorded about three times a week in all kinds of wooded habitats; also frequently encountered in the country’s south

52. Psittacula krameri (prob. ssp. krameri) - Rose-ringed Parakeet

one flock in Grand Bassam (June 21)

53. Psittacus erithacus timneh - Gray Parrot

frequently seen flying by around Tai NP and its environs (April 21 through 28)

54. Poicephalus senegalus versteri - Senegal Parrot

single individuals or small groups seen flying by around twice a week in all sorts of habitat within Comoé NP

55. Corythaeola cristata - Great Blue Turaco

frequently seen in and around Tai NP (from April 21 through 29)

56. Tauraco macrorhynchus macrorhynchus - Yellow-billed Turaco

seen a few times in Tai NP (from April 25 through 28)

57. Musophaga violacea - Violet Turaco

Comoé NP: 1 in a forest island near the northern park entrance at Kaffolo (June 9)

58. Crinifer piscator - Western Gray Plantain-eater

1 at the Hyperolius Pond, Comoé NP (June 16)

59. Clamator levaillantii - Levaillant’s Cuckoo

Comoé NP: many sightings around the end of May, otherwise rarely seen

60. Cuculus solitarius - Red-chested Cuckoo

very common in Comoé NP

61. Chrysococcyx klaas - Klaas’s Cuckoo

frequently recorded in Comoé NP (once vocalizations were known); also recorded in Yapo (June 22)

62. Chrysococcyx cupreus - African Emerald Cuckoo

regularly encountered in the Iringou gallery forest and a couple of times encountered in the gallery forest near the Main Camp from June 8 through 16; also seen in Yapo (June 23)

63. Chrysococcyx caprius - Diederik Cuckoo

frequently encountered in Comoé NP (once vocalizations were known), but probably not present before mid-May

64. Ceuthmochares aereus - Yellowbill

regularly encountered in gallery forest habitat in Comoé NP (knowledge of vocalization is of great help); also seen in Yapo (June 24)

65. Centropus leucogaster leucogaster- Black-throated Coucal

One near IET Camp in Tai NP (April 26)

66. Bubo cinerascens - Grayish Eagle-owl

Comoé NP: 1 along track from Main Camp to Kakpin (May 12); several other sightings of unidentified owls most likely referred to this species

67. Strix woodfordii nuchalis - African Wood-owl

Comoé NP: heard very often (periodically even every night) around the Main Camp; 2 chased through the canopy by other birds in broad daylight (May 24) in gallery forest near the Main Camp

68. Glaucidium castaneum etchecopari - Chestnut Owlet

Comoé NP: 2 caught in mist-nets in gallery forest near the Old Camp (May 25); heard a few times in gallery forest at the Main Camp in June

Mist-netted individual, Comoé NP, May 3, 2000 Chestnut Owlet (Glaucidium castaneum etchecopari) - close-up view of a mist-netted individual, Comoé NP (Ivory Coast), May 17 2000. The gallery forests along the Comoé River should be one of the finest spots to see this range-restricted species. If the subspecies "etchecopari" will be split off, Ivory Coast will be one of only three or four countries where the species occurs.

69. Caprimulgus inornatus - Plain Nightjar

Comoé NP: 2 on track from Main Camp towards Gansé after dusk (May 20); a couple of probable sightings a few days earlier

70. Caprimulgus climacurus (ssp. unknown) - Long-tailed Nightjar

Comoé NP: commonly seen on vehicle tracks on moonlit nights

71. Telecanthura ussheri ussheri - Mottled Spinetail

Comoé NP: small numbers recorded a few times a week

72. Neafrapus cassini - Cassin’s Spinetail

a few seen at Yapo (June 23+24)

73. Cypsiurus parvus (ssp. unknown) - African Palm-swift

in Comoé NP, only seen around three times near Main Camp; frequently recorded in most other parts of the country

74. Apus apus apus - Common Swift

Comoé NP: huge flocks on migration; peak from May 17 through 24, first date May 8, last date May 30

75. Apus affinis aerobates - Little Swift

very rarely recorded in Comoé NP itself, but commonly seen in other parts of the country

76. Apus caffer - White-rumped Swift

Comoé NP: commonest swift, also recorded in other parts of the country a couple of times

Photo by Karsten Mody

77. Apaloderma narina constantia - Narina’s Trogon

Comoé NP: regularly encountered at all gallery forest sites once vocalizations were known

78. Halcyon badia - Chocolate-backed Kingfisher

One in Tai NP near Ecotel Touraco (April 22)

79. Halcyon leucocephala leucocephala - Gray-headed Kingfisher

Comoé NP: common at the beginning of May, sightings sharply decreasing towards end of that month

80. Halcyon malimbica forbesi - Blue-breasted Kingfisher

common in Comoé NP, especially once vocalization was known; also recorded at Yapo (June 23+24)

81. Halcyon senegalensis (ssp. unknown) - Senegal Kingfisher

in Comoé NP, only recorded near the boundary in anthropogenically altered habitat; also recorded around Tai (April 21-24)

82. Halcyon chelicuti chelicuti - Striped Kingfisher

seen about twice a week in closed savanna in Comoé NP

83. Ceyx lecontei - African Dwarf Kingfisher

Two near IET station in Tai NP (April 29)

84. Ceyx picta (ssp. unknown) - African Pygmy Kingfisher

Comoé NP: recorded around twice a week in savanna near edge habitat

85. Corythornis cristata galerita - Malachite Kingfisher

Comoé NP: regularly encountered; easily seen at Lola Bridge

86. Alcedo quadribrachys quadribrachys - Shining-blue Kingfisher

Comoé NP: single individual seen three times (Comoé River at Old Camp, May 7; Comoé River at Cataracts, June 14; Congo Bridge, June 12)

87. Megaceryle maxima (ssp. unknown) - African Giant Kingfisher

seen around three times a week along the Comoé River

88. Ceryle rudis - Pied Kingfisher

very common along the Comoé River and its tributaries

89. Merops gularis gularis - Black Bee-eater

one small group at the Ecotel Touraco in Tai NP (April 22)

90. Merops pusillus pusillus - Little Bee-eater

commonly seen in Comoé NP (about every other day); also recorded in Yapo (June 23)

91. Merops hirundineus chrysolaimus - Swallow-tailed Bee-eater

Comoé NP: aggregations seen only about once a week, preferrebly in open island forests with high trees or forest edge habitat

92. Merops bullocki bullocki - Red-throated Bee-eater

commonest bee-eater in Comoé NP, seen almost daily, preferrebly along brooks and in forest edge habitat


93. Merops albicollis - White-throated Bee-eater

Comoé NP: sporadically seen both in May and June, but huge monospecific flocks recorded around the end of May

94. Coracias naevia naevia - Rufous-crowned Roller

Comoé NP: 1 in a huge bowal area in north of park (June 9)

95. Coracias cyanogaster - Blue-bellied Roller

Comoé NP: one sighting in May (May 23), several sightings in June

96. Coracias abyssinica - Abyssinian Roller

Comoé NP: 1 in a huge beauval area in north of park (June 9)

97. Eurystomus glaucurus afer - Broad-billed Roller

very common in Comoé NP, seen almost daily

98. Phoeniculus purpureus (ssp. unknown) - Red-billed Wood-Hoopoe

Comoé NP: only seen about once or twice per week, preferrebly near forest edge habitat

99. Phoeniculus aterrimus aterrimus - Black Wood-Hoopoe

Comoé NP: recorded about three times a week; easily seen in the baobab forest near the Old Camp

100. Upupa epops (ssp. unknown) - Hoopoe

Comoé NP: 1 on Congo Plain (May 9)

101. Bucorvus abyssinicus - Abyssinian Ground Hornbill

Comoé NP: groups of two seen on three occasions (first date May 31) 


102. Tockus albocristatus albocristatus - White-crested Hornbill

One near Mt. Niénoukoué in Tai NP (April 21)

103. Tockus camurus - Red-billed Dwarf Hornbill

One near Ecotel Touraco in Tai NP (April 22)

104. Tockus fasciatus semifasciatus - African Pied Hornbill

seen almost daily in Comoé NP; common in most other parts of the country as well

105. Tockus nasutus nasutus - African Gray Hornbill

very common in Comoé NP, especially near forest edges

Photo by Dr. Thomas Hovestadt

106. Ceratogymna fistulator fistulator - Piping Hornbill

seen almost daily in Comoé NP, especially near the river just before dusk

107. Ceratogymna elata - Yellow-casqued Wattled Hornbill

several groups near the Ecotel Touraco in Tai NP (April 21+22)

108. Gymnobucco calvus calvus - Naked-faced Barbet

recorded at fruiting trees near the park boundary of Tai NP (April 23) and in Yapo (June 23)

109. Pogoniulus scolopaceus scolopaceus - Speckled Tinkerbird

common in Yapo (end of June) and in secondary habitat near Tai NP (end of April)

110. Pogoniulus subsulphureus chrysopygius - Yellow-throated Tinkerbird

one or two seen in Yapo (June 24)

111. Pogoniulus bilineatus leucolaima - Yellow-rumped Tinkerbird

Comoé NP: recorded in closed savanna habitat in low densities (only about once a week)

112. Pogoniulus chrysoconus chrysoconus - Yellow-fronted Tinkerbird

Comoé NP: only recorded twice (first date May 11) in savanna near forest edge habitat

113. Tricholaema hirsuta hirsuta - Hairy-breasted Barbet

One near the boundary of Tai NP (April 23)

114. Lybius vieilloti rubescens - Vieillot’s Barbet

Comoé NP: recorded in closed savanna in low densities (only about once a week)

115. Indicator maculatus maculatus - Spotted Honeyguide

Comoé NP: 1 caught in gallery forest near Old Camp (May 27) with 1 Buff-spotted Woodpecker (Campethera nivosa) caught in the same net 1 hour earlier; 1 sighting from the Iringou Bridge (June 8)

116. Indicator indicator - Greater Honeyguide

Comoé NP: only recorded about once or twice a week, mostly in forest edge habitat

117. Campethera punctuligera punctuligera - Fine-spotted Woodpecker

Comoé NP: recorded almost about once a week in closed savanna habitat

118. Campethera nivosa nivosa - Buff-spotted Woodpecker

low density inhabitant of gallery forests in Comoé NP (only about one sighting per week); also frequently recorded in Tai NP and in Yapo

119. Campethera caroli arizelus - Brown-eared Woodpecker

recorded several times in Tai NP near IET station (April 25-28)

120. Dendropicos fuscescens lafresnayi - Cardinal Woodpecker

Comoé NP: 2 in baobab forest near Old Camp (June 4)

121. Dendropicos goertae goertae - Gray Woodpecker

Comoé NP: recorded about once a week, often near forest edge habitat

122. Picoides obsoletus obsoletus - Brown-backed Woodpecker

Comoé NP: recorded around once or twice a week in open savanna, rarely found in denser habitat

123. Smithornis rufolateralis rufolateralis - Rufous-sided Broadbill

One in Tai NP near IET station (April 28)

124. Smithornis capensis delacouri - African Broadbill

Comoé NP: 2 caught in gallery forest near Main Camp (May 16); heard just on a couple of occasions near the Main Camp

125. Mirafra rufocinnamomea buckleyi - Flappet Lark

Comoé NP: occasionally recorded in open savanna and plain habitat, e.g. Lola Plain, Congo Plain, Bretelle Plain; rarely seen in more closed savanna habitat (track to the Iringou Ponds)

126. Pinarocorys erythropygia - Rufous-rumped Lark

Comoé NP: 2 seen on Gansé Plain (May 15+16)

127. Galerida modesta (ssp. unknown) - Sun Lark

Comoé NP: only seen on few occasions (Lola Plain, Congo Plain)

128. Psalidoprocne nitens nitens - Square-tailed Saw-wing

One in Yapo (June 24)

129. Psalidoprocne obscura - Fanti Saw-wing

Comoé NP: very common

130. Hirundo semirufa gordoni - Red-breasted Swallow

Comoé NP: recorded only about a handful of times, primarily single individuals associating with Lesser Striped Swallows (Hirundo abyssinica); not recorded before the first big rains (end of May)

131. Hirundo senegalensis senegalensis - Mosque Swallow

Comoé NP: single individuals or small groups recorded about once a week, mostly by the river, either singly or associating with swifts

132. Hirundo abyssinica puella - Lesser Striped Swallow

common in Comoé NP and in most other parts of the country, occuring in large flocks

133. Hirundo smithii smithii - Wire-tailed Swallow

common in Comoé NP; occuring pair-wise, seen almost daily

134. Hirundo nigrita - White-throated Blue Swallow

seen a few times in Tai NP (April 26-28)

135. Hirundo lucida lucida - Red-chested Swallow

Comoé NP: a few occasionally seen associated with Lesser Striped Swallows (Hirundo abyssinica) from the beginning of the rains (end of May)

136. Motacilla aguimp vidua - African Pied Wagtail

Comoé NP: seen regularly along the Comoé River (about 4 times a week)

137. Anthus leucophrys (ssp. unknown) - Plain-backed Pipit

Comoé NP: recorded in low densities (only about once a week or less) in open savanna and plain habitat, especially Lola Plain and Congo Plain

138. Macronyx croceus - Yellow-throated Longclaw

Comoé NP: recorded a few times at the Bretelle Plain and once at the Congo Plain

139. Campephaga phoenicea - Red-shouldered Cuckoo-shrike

common in Comoé NP; recorded up to 5 days a week

140. Coracina pectoralis - White-breasted Cuckoo-shrike

Comoé NP: recorded once or twice a week, usually near forest edge habitat

141. Coracina azurea - Blue Cuckoo-shrike

One in Tai NP near IET station (April 25)

142. Andropadus virens erythropterus - Little Greenbul

commonly encountered in secondary roadside habitat and forest clearings in and near Tai NP and in Yapo

143. Andropadus gracilis extremus - Little Gray Greenbul

Comoé NP: 1 silent individual feeding among a mixed flock at forest edge in Main Camp (June 15), identification based on perception of eye-ring (excluding most other possible greenbuls of similar coloration and size) and lack of rufous tones in plumage (excluding the rare Ansorge’s Greenbul - Andropadus ansorgei); also recorded in forest edge habitat in Yapo several times

144. Andropadus curvirostris (ssp. unknown) - Plain Greenbul

seen on two occasions in virtually primary forest in Yapo (June 23+24)

145. Andropadus gracilirostris gracilirostris - Slender-billed Greenbul

frequently encountered in Yapo Forest (June 22-24)

146. Andropadus latirostris congener - Yellow-whiskered Greenbul

frequently encountered in Tai NP and Yapo

147. Calyptocichla serina - Golden Greenbul

small group repeatedly seen at the same fruiting tree in Yapo Forest (June 23+24)

148. Baeopogon indicator leucurus - Honeyguide Bulbul

Comoé NP: regularly encountered at all gallery forest sites (once vocalizations were known); about three encounters per week; very hard to see without knowledge of sound

149. Ixonotus guttatus - Spotted Greenbul

large groups occasionally encountered in Yapo Forest (June 22-24)

150. Chlorocichla simplex - Simple Greenbul

seen a couple of times in secondary roadside habitat near Yapo (June 22)

151. Chlorocichla flavicollis flavicollis - Yellow-throated Leaf-love

Comoé NP: one caught in closed savanna habitat interspersed with thickets right near Main Camp (June 1)

152. Thescelocichla leucopleura - Swamp Palm Bulbul

large flock in clearing of IET station in Tai NP (April 29)

153. Pyrrhurus scandens scandens - Leaf-love

Comoé NP: common inhabitant of gallery forest, though far more often heard than seen

154. Phyllastrephus icterinus - Icterine Greenbul

common member of mixed bird parties in Tai NP and in Yapo, occuring in good numbers; usually staying in lower canopy

155. Bleda canicapilla canicapilla - Gray-headed Bristlebill

Comoé NP: common inhabitant of gallery forest (once vocalization is known); also recorded in primary forest in Tai NP and in Yapo

156. Criniger barbatus barbatus - Western Bearded Greenbul

regular member of mixed bird parties in primary forest in Tai NP and in Yapo

157. Criniger calurus verreauxi - Red-tailed Greenbul

regular member of mixed bird parties in primary forest in Tai NP and in Yapo

158. Criniger olivaceus - Yellow-bearded Greenbul

One in mixed bird party in primary forest in Yapo (June 24); seen higher up in canopy than Icterine Greenbuls - Phyllastrephus icterinus, gleaning the trunks for insects in woodcreeper manner

159. Pycnonotus barbatus inornatus - Common Bulbul

generally one of commonest bird species in Comoé NP and outside

160. Stiphrornis erythrothorax erythrothorax - Forest Robin

recorded several times in Tai NP and in Yapo

161. Cossypha niveicapilla niveicapilla - Snowy-crowned Robin-Chat

Comoé NP: regularly recorded in gallery forest and forest island habitat, occasionally in savanna thickets; very hard to see, knowledge of vocalization helpful

162. Alethe diademata diademata - Fire-crested Alethe

regularly recorded at all gallery forest sites in Comoé NP (once vocalization was known); about four encounters per week; also seen in Tai NP several times

163. Alethe poliocephala poliocephala - Brown-chested Alethe

seen once or twice in Tai NP (April 27)

164. Neocossyphus poensis poensis - White-tailed Ant-Thrush

seen a couple of times in Tai NP (April 22+27)

165. Neocossyphus finschii - Finsch’s Flycatcher-Thrush

Comoé NP: 2 individuals of different territories found in the Iringou gallery forest (June 16), one of them singing and tape-recorded; also seen in Tai NP and in Yapo several times

166. Cercotrichas leucosticta (ssp. unknown) - Forest Scrub-Robin

Comoé NP: regularly recorded at all gallery forest sites (once vocalization was known)

167. Myrmecocichla albifrons frontalis - White-fronted Black Chat

Comoé NP: common inhabitant of open savanna and plain habitat

168. Zoothera princei princei - Gray Ground-Thrush

One seen in Tai NP (April 27) among huge mixed feeding flock

169. Turdus pelios chiguancoides - African Thrush

fairly common in Comoé NP and its surroundings, especially near forest edge

170. Melocichla mentalis mentalis - Moustached Grass-Warbler

Comoé NP: common in marshy savanna or in open habitat near brooks

171. Hippolais polyglotta - Melodious Warbler

Comoé NP: 1 singing in savanna (May 4), 1 associated with Wood Warblers (Phylloscopus sibilatrix) (May 10)

172. Cisticola erythrops erythrops - Red-faced Cisticola

Comoé NP: seen a few times in rank waterside vegetation along the Lola Creek immediately adjacent to the Main Camp

173. Cisticola cantans swanzii - Singing Cisticola

Comoé NP: common inhabitant of closed savanna habitat, far more often heard than seen with vocal activity starting around the end of May

174. Cisticola lateralis lateralis - Whistling Cisticola

very common inhabitant of closed savanna habitat in Comoé NP, far more often heard than seen, with vocal activity starting around the end of May; also recorded in other parts of the country (e.g. Tai NP)

175. Cisticola natalensis strangei - Croaking Cisticola

Comoé NP: two pairs in closed savanna near Hyperolius Pond (June 12), 1 singing individual at Lola Pond (June 17)

176. Cisticola dorsti - Plaintive Cisticola

Comoé NP: regularly recorded in a small area of closed savanna habitat along the track connecting the Main Road with the mouth of the River Iringou (June 8-15); vocal activity on June 11 and 13, but unfortunately sound recordings could not be obtained on those days due to technical difficulties; however, vocalizations and morphology were found to be clearly consistent with new species coverage in the "Field Guide to the Birds of The Gambia and Senegal" (Barlow et al., 1997); therefore, older records of Rufous-pate Cisticola (Cisticola ruficeps) in Comoé NP will evidently have to be reviewed and - at best - reconfirmed

177. Cisticola brachypterus/rufus - Rufous/Siffling Cisticola

Comoé: birds omnipresent in dry season appeared to be "brachypterus"; from June 2 onwards sightings of very rufous birds with very white underparts ("Booted Warbler" appearance) in Bretelle Plain; after that, apparently no sightings of streaked birds any more, with even the camp birds making appearance of "rufus", even though not necessarily all rufous, but at least unstreaked; sound recording of one such individual obtained on June 15; matches sound description of "rufus" in "The Birds of The Gambia and Senegal", but the "Birds of Africa" considers songs of both species very similar; most probably both species involved, with majority of sightings referring to "brachypterus" and those sightings on more arid habitat in Bretelle Plain referring to "rufus"

178. Cisticola juncidis uropygialis - Zitting Cisticola

Comoé NP: rarely recorded in open savanna or plain habitat, most often near thorn bush habitat at Bretelle Plain (all in all about 4 encounters)

179. Prinia subflava melanorhyncha - Tawny-flanked Prinia

very common in Comoé NP and other parts of the country

180. Heliolais erythroptera erythroptera - Red-winged Warbler

Comoé NP: reasonably common near brooks or in marshy savanna; recorded about once or twice a week, more often towards rainy season (June); on June 6, a family party in marshy savanna near Old Camp.

181. Apalis sharpii - Sharpe’s Apalis

One female seen at Mt. Niénoukoué in Tai NP (April 21)

182. Camaroptera brachyura (ssp. unknown) - Bleating Warbler

one of the commonest birds encountered in Comoé NP and other parts of the country

183. Camaroptera superciliaris - Yellow-browed Camaroptera

encountered along road through Yapo Forest (June 23+24)

184. Camaroptera chloronota (ssp. unknown) - Olive-green Camaroptera

One in Yapo (June 24)

185. Macrosphenus kempi kempi - Kemp’s Longbill

One in forest edge habitat near IET station in Tai NP (April 25)

186. Eremomela pusilla - Senegal Eremomela

Comoé NP: very common inhabitant of open or closed savanna habitat

187. Sylvietta brachyura brachyura - Northern Crombec

Comoé NP: recorded around once a week in open forest, closed savanna or forest edge habitat; little groups often associated with other songbirds

188. Sylvietta virens flaviventris - Green Crombec

family parties recorded along road through Yapo Forest (June 22-24)

189. Phylloscopus sibilatrix - Wood Warbler

Comoé NP: small migrant parties encountered from May 5 through 15, a few times recorded singing, found especially in forest edge habitat and open forest

190. Hypergerus atriceps - Oriole Warbler

Comoé NP: patchily recorded in riparian growth habitat (regularly along Congo near Congo Bridge) and in damp savanna thickets (once)

191. Hyliota flavigaster flavigaster - Yellow-bellied Hyliota

Comoé NP: rarely recorded in closed savanna habitat (less than once a week); usually pair-wise or associated with other songbirds

192. Hylia prasina prasina - Green Hylia

recorded several times in Tai NP and in Yapo

193. Fraseria ocreata prosphora - Fraser’s Forest-Flycatcher

One seen foraging on a huge tree trunk at the IET entrance to Tai NP (April 29)

194. Fraseria cinerascens cinerascens - White-browed Forest-Flycatcher

Comoé NP: single individuals recorded twice in gallery forest near Old Camp and twice in Iringou Forest; 2 adults feeding one spotted juvenile on June 6 at Main Camp

195. Melaenornis edolioides edolioides - Northern Black Flycatcher

Comoé NP: recorded around twice a week, particularly in savanna habitat with high emergent trees and in open forest habitat

196. Melaenornis pallidus (ssp. unknown) - Pale Flycatcher

Comoé NP: very common in open savanna habitat, seen almost daily

197. Muscicapa cassini - Cassin’s Flycatcher

One family along stream near Mt. Niénoukoué in Tai NP (April 21+22)

198. Muscicapa ussheri - Ussher’s Flycatcher

A few seen in Tai NP (April 25)

199. Muscicapa comitata aximensis - Dusky-blue Flycatcher

A family party seen along road in Yapo Forest (June 23)

200. Muscicapa epulata - Little Gray Flycatcher

seen twice in Yapo Forest (June 23+24)

201. Myioparus plumbeus plumbeus - Gray Tit-Flycatcher

Comoé NP: recorded about once a week, exclusively at the edge of gallery forest (e.g. at Main Camp and at Old Camp)

202. Ficedula hypoleuca (ssp. unknown) - European Pied Flycatcher

Comoé NP: migrants recorded from May 6 through 16 with decreasing numbers, found particularly often in open forested habitat or gallery forest edge; one late date: 1 seen near Main Camp on June 11

203. Erythrocercus mccallii nigeriae - Chestnut-capped Flycatcher

A few seen in Tai NP (April 29) and in Yapo Forest (June 23 + 24)

204. Elminia longicauda longicauda - African Blue Flycatcher

Comoé NP: recorded around three times a week; fond of open forest habitat, forest edge and savanna with high emergent trees surrounded by thickets

205. Terpsiphone rufiventer nigriceps - Red-bellied Paradise-Flycatcher

very common inhabitant of forested habitats in Comoé NP; also recorded in Yapo and Tai NP


206. Megabyas flammulatus flammulatus - Shrike-Flycatcher

a couple of pairs seen in Tai NP (April 22-25)

207. Dyaphorophyia castanea hormophora - Chestnut Wattle-eye

frequently seen in Tai NP and in Yapo

208. Dyaphorophyia concreta concreta - Yellow-bellied Wattle-eye

seen on a couple of occasions as a member of mixed feeding parties in Tai NP (April 27)

209. Platysteira cyanea cyanea - Brown-throated Wattle-eye

Comoé NP: frequent inhabitant of forested habitat and savanna thickets, seen daily

210. Batis senegalensis - Senegal Batis

Comoé NP: common inhabitant of fairly open savanna habitat, seen almost daily

211. Prionops plumatus - White-crested Helmet-Shrike

Comoé NP: mostly seen in flocks of up to 7, recorded about twice to three times a week, preferrably in gallery forest and forest edge habitat

212. Prionops caniceps - Red-billed Shrike

small groups seen twice in Tai NP (April 26-28) and twice in Yapo Forest (June 23+24)

213. Nilaus afer - Brubru

Comoé NP: low density inhabitant of closed savanna and open wooded habitat, recorded around twice a week, regularly seen in Baobab Forest near Old Camp

214. Dryoscopus gambensis - Northern Puffback

Comoé NP: common inhabitant of forest edge habitat and savanna thickets, seen on most days of the week

215. Dryoscopus sabini - Sabine’s Puffback

One seen in Yapo Forest (June 24)

216. Tchagra senegala - Black-crowned Tchagra

Comoé NP: common inhabitant of opener savanna habitats, recorded almost daily

217. Laniarius aethiopicus - Tropical Boubou

Comoé NP: common inhabitant of forest edge habitat and savanna thickets; readily encountered once conspicuous vocalization is known

218. Laniarius barbarus - Yellow-crowned Gonolek

Comoé NP: confined to riparian growth along river sections where there is little gallery forest; regularly encountered at Congo Bridge, otherwise only recorded once along Comoé River in central parts of Park

219. Malaconotus sulfureopectus - Sulphur-breasted Bush-Shrike

Comoé NP: recorded around four times a week, patricularly in forest thickets, vegetation along savanna streams and forest edge habitat

220. Lanius collaris - Fiscal Shrike

Comoé NP: 1 on Gansé Plain (May 9), 1 in savanna near Main Camp (May 14)

221. Lanius gubernator - Emin’s Shrike

Comoé NP: presumably a family recorded a few times in closed savanna along the connective track between the Main Road and the Iringou Delta (June 7 through 16); 1 at Lola Pond (June 17)

222. Oriolus auratus - African Golden Oriole

Comoé NP: low density inhabitant of closed savanna with high emergent trees or open wooded habitat; recorded about once a week

223. Oriolus brachyrhynchus - Black-headed Oriole

frequently recorded in primary forest in Tai NP and in Yapo

224. Oriolus nigripennis - Black-winged Oriole

Comoé NP: encountered at all gallery forest sites, though somewhat sparse; knowledge of vocalization is of great help

225. Dicrurus adsimilis (ssp. unknown) - Glossy-backed Drongo

Comoé NP: fairly common inhabitant of forest edge and opener habitats with high trees, recorded almost daily

226. Dicrurus atripennis - Shining Drongo

frequently encountered as a leader of mixed bird parties in Tai NP and in Yapo

227. Dicrurus ludwigii - Square-tailed Drongo

Comoé NP: encountered at all the gallery forest sites and in forest islands, though not more than three times a week; often hard to see

228. Lamprotornis chalybaeus - Greater Blue-eared Glossy Starling

Comoé NP: large flocks gathering every evening along Lola Creek and adjacent Plain before the first rains (peak from May 3 through 8); after that, no more records

229. Cinnyricinclus leucogaster - Violet-backed Starling

Comoé NP: recorded around three times a week, preferrably in savanna habitat with high emergent trees and thickets, or in open wooded habitat

230. Buphagus africanus - Yellow-billed Oxpecker

Comoé NP: recorded three times; exclusively seen in association with Wild Buffalo (Syncerus caffer), with one to five individuals accompanying herds of five to ten buffalo

231. Corvus albus - Pied Crow

common in most inhabited parts of the country covered with open habitat; in Comoé only seen around park margins and once on Gansé Plain

232. Picathartes gymnocephalus - Bare-headed Rock-fowl

One seen at Mt. Niénoukoué in Tai NP (April 22)

233. Nicator chloris - Western Nicator

Comoé NP: uncommon inhabitant of gallery forest, only recorded about once a week; also recorded in Tai NP and in Yapo

234. Illadopsis puveli - Puvel’s Illadopsis

Comoé NP: regularly encountered at all gallery forest sites and in most larger forest islands; very shy and unconfiding, knowledge of vocalization is prerequisite

235. Phyllanthus atripennis - Capuchin Babbler

Comoé NP: rare inhabitant of gallery forest, recorded twice near Main Camp, once near Old Camp and once in Iringou Forest

236. Turdoides plebejus - Brown Babbler

Comoé NP: 1 caught in savanna thicket near Hyperolius Pond (May 12)

237. Turdoides reinwardtii - Black-capped Babbler

Comoé NP: a large group twice encountered in riparian growth near Congo Bridge

238. Pholidornis rushiae - Tit-Hylia

seen a few times in Yapo Forest (June 23-24)

239. Parus leucomelas - White-shouldered Black Tit

Comoé NP: small groups or family parties encountered around every other day, preferrably at the edge of savanna thickets or open wooded habitat

240. Anthoscopus parvulus - Yellow Penduline-Tit

Comoé NP: small groups (often associated with Yellow White-eyes - Zosterops senegalensis and Wood Warblers - Phylloscopus sibilatrix) occasionally encountered in Baobab Forest near Old Camp and in adjacent gallery forest edge (about 5 records); also one record from closed savanna habitat along connective track between Main Road and Iringou Delta

241. Salpornis spilonota - Spotted Creeper

Comoé NP: about two sightings a week, preferrably in open wooded habitat (like Baobab Forest near Old Camp); also in closed savanna

242. Zosterops senegalensis - Yellow White-eye

Comoé NP: recorded around three times a week, often in association with other passerines; fond of open forest islands and comparable wooded habitat, gallery forest edge

243. Emberiza cabanisi - Cabanis’s Bunting

Comoé NP: low density inhabitant, strictly confined to extensive areas of closed savanna, like along the connective track from Main Road to Iringou Delta, or the so-called "Buffalo Pond Valley" near Lola Pond; only recorded around 5 or 6 times

244. Serinus mozambicus - Yellow-fronted Canary

Comoé NP: seen on most days of the week in all kinds of open habitat; also recorded in Bouaké

245. Anthreptes gabonicus - Mouse-brown Sunbird

Comoé NP: a small party at the river’s edge near the Cataracts (May 15)

246. Anthreptes fraseri - Scarlet-tufted Sunbird

frequent member of mixed bird parties in Tai NP and in Yapo

247. Anthreptes longuemarei - Western Violet-backed Sunbird

Comoé NP: seen only about four times in Baobab Forest near Old Camp

248. Anthreptes collaris - Collared Sunbird

Comoé NP: fairly common inhabitant of gallery forest (seen at least four times a week); also recorded in Tai NP and in Yapo

249. Nectarinia olivacea - Olive Sunbird

recorded a few times in Tai NP and probably also in Yapo

250. Nectarinia verticalis - Green-headed Sunbird

Comoé NP: 1 female caught in savanna thicket near Hyperolius Pond (May 11)

251. Nectarinia cyanolaema - Blue-throated Brown Sunbird

recorded once in Tai NP (April 29) and several times in Yapo Forest (June 22-24)

252. Nectarinia adelberti - Buff-throated Sunbird

One in Yapo Forest (June 24)

253. Nectarinia chloropygia - Olive-bellied Sunbird

Comoé NP: just one or two records from the Iringou Forest (June 8); recorded in Yapo and Tai NP a few times

254. Nectarinia cuprea - Copper Sunbird

Comoé NP: recorded on around four to five days a week, found in all kinds of savanna habitat; also one record from secondary roadside habitat in Yapo

255. Nectarinia coccinigaster - Splendid Sunbird

Comoé NP: one of commonest sunbirds, found in savanna habitat as well as all sorts of wooded habitat right into closed gallery forest; seen almost daily

256. Nectarinia pulchella - Beautiful Sunbird

Comoé NP: one couple along Lola Creek near Main Camp (May 3)

257. Nectarinia johannae - Johanna’s Sunbird

fairly frequently encountered in Yapo and Tai NP

258. Nectarinia seimundi - Little Green Sunbird

Comoé NP: almost exclusively found in monospecific flocks; recorded around once a week or less, mostly in gallery forest near Old Camp or in Iringou Forest; possible sightings of this species in Tai NP and in Yapo included associations with other flocking species, but identity of those birds could never be securely established due to identification problems resulting from poor literature

259. Ploceus luteolus - Little Weaver

Comoé NP: seen around 4 or 5 times, often in vicinity of the two following species; preferrably in forest edge habitat, for instance a few records from Baobab Forest near Old Camp

260. Ploceus heuglini - Heuglin’s Masked Weaver

Comoé NP: only recorded around 5 or 6 times, often in vicinity of following species; fond of edges of forest islands and open wooded habitat, for instance a few records from Baobab Forest near Old Camp

261. Ploceus cucullatus - Village Weaver

Comoé NP: regularly recorded in open wooded habitat, forest edge, savanna thickets and along savanna streams; seen on most days of the week; also seen in many other parts of the country, often in villages

262. Ploceus nigerrimus - Vieillot’s Black Weaver

one flock in open agricultural area near Yapo (June 22)

263. Melanoploceus tricolor - Yellow-mantled Weaver

one colony at IET park entrance of Tai NP (April 29)

264. Ploceus nigricollis - Spectacled Weaver

Comoé NP: recorded around 5 times, exclusively at the edge of gallery forest along savanna streams, for instance several sightings along Lola Creek near forest edge; also seen in Tai Village

265. Malimbus scutatus - Red-vented Malimbe

One in Tai NP (April 21); one couple in Yapo Forest (June 24)

266. Malimbus nitens - Gray’s Malimbe

several sightings in Tai NP and in Yapo Forest, mostly in association with mixed flocks

267. Malimbus rubricollis - Red-headed Malimbe

One in Tai NP (April 23)

268. Anaplectes rubriceps - Red-headed Weaver

Comoé NP: only recorded around once a week; fond of open wooded habitat (like Baobab Forest near Old Camp) or gallery forest edge (as near Main Camp); often in one flock with White-crested Helmet Shrike - Prionops plumatus and other birds of comparable size

269. Quelea erythrops - Red-headed Quelea

a few in agricultural field near Yapo (June 22)

270. Euplectes macrourus - Yellow-shouldered Widowbird

Comoé NP: very common and seen almost daily in open savanna habitat

271. Plocepasser superciliosus - Chestnut-crowned Sparrow-Weaver

Comoé NP: common in closed savanna habitat, sometimes entering open wooded habitat; recorded on most days of the week

272. Passer griseus - Gray-headed Sparrow

Comoé NP: only three records from the Lola Plain; however, common outside of park, recorded in many other parts of country

273. Vidua macroura - Pin-tailed Whydah

frequently seen in humid southern half of country; one record from Dabakalah near Comoé NP (May 1)

274. Pyrenestes sanguineus - Crimson Seed-Cracker

One near lake along roadside in vicinity of Yapo Forest (June 22)

275. Nigrita canicapilla - Gray-crowned Negro-Finch

seen a few times at the edge of primary habitat in Yapo (June 22-24)

276. Nigrita bicolor - Chestnut-breasted Negro-Finch

seen a few times in secondary habitat and even in town near Yapo Forest (June 22-23)

277. Spermophaga haematina - Western Bluebill

a couple seen in thick habitat bordering the Comoé River near Main Camp (June 11+13)

278. Pytilia melba - Green-winged Pytilia

Comoé NP: only recorded 4 or 5 times, exclusively in closed savanna habitat

279. Pytilia phoenicoptera - Red-winged Pytilia

Comoé NP: one caught in savanna thicket near Hyperolius Pond (May 12); one or two more sight records from closed savanna habitat

280. Estrilda melpoda - Orange-cheeked Waxbill

Comoé NP: only recorded in more or less extensive marshy savanna areas or along savanna streams; not recorded more often than once a week; seen near Tai NP in rice paddies and in other parts of the country

281. Estrilda bengala - Red-cheeked Cordon-bleu

very common and daily encountered in open savanna habitat in Comoé NP

282. Estrilda larvata - Black-faced Fire-Finch

Comoé NP: irregularly encountered; apparently found in strange mix of habitat, as seen in forest islands as well as closed savanna near marshy openings (around 5 sight records)

283. Lagonosticta rufopicta - Bar-breasted Fire-Finch

Comoé NP: recorded once or twice a week, mostly on open ground not far from savanna stream

284. Lagonosticta rara - Black-bellied Fire-Finch

Comoé NP: seen around once or twice a week, often on ground in closed savanna, not seldom near thickets or streams

285. Bronze Mannikin - Lonchura cucullata

only seen in cultivated margins of Comoé NP; common elsewhere in the country

286. Lonchura bicolor - Black-and-white Mannikin

frequent in logged areas near Tai NP and Yapo

287. Anthreptes rectirostris rectirostris - Yellow-chinned Sunbird

One in Yapo Forest (June 24)

TOTAL: 288 species (considering record of C."rufus" and C."brachypterus", number 177)

  prob. Accipiter erythropus erythropus - Red-thighed Sparrowhawk

One briefly seen at the Iringou Bridge, Comoé NP; most probably this species, though confusion with Accipiter toussenelii cannot be excluded

prob. Stephanoaetus coronatus - Crowned Hawk-eagle

a sighting of one individual above primary rainforest habitat within Tai NP (April 27) and another one in the same habitat within the Forê t Classée de Yapo (June 24) probably referred to this species

prob. Centropus senegalensis senegalensis - Senegal Coucal

two sightings of single adult coucals within the Comoé NP (one near Main Camp, the second one at Hyperolius Pond) most probably referred to this species, although confusion with Centropus monachus cannot entirely be excluded

prob. Andropadus ansorgei ansorgei - Ansorge’s Greenbul

in Yapo Forest a couple of sightings of small-sized greenbuls with white eye-rings and a strongly rufous tinge to plumage within virtually primary habitat; on June 24, 1 vocalizing individual: short series of "chuck" notes, reminiscent of a short version of the main vocalization of Lesser Whitethroat - Sylvia curruca

prob. Muscicapa olivascens nimbae - Olivaceous Flycatcher

Comoé NP: 2 or 3 flycatchers in high and mid canopy just along the Iringou River seen from Iringou Bridge (June 15); brown back, dense forest habitat, long slender bill, whitish underparts with olive-brown wash on breast and sallying and perching behavior virtually exclude all other species; nonetheless, reconfirmation advisable, as this would be the first record of this species in Comoé NP

prob. Illadopsis fulvescens - Brown Illadopsis

One individual with a chattering scold in low thickets within primary forest in Yapo (June 23) with plumage characteristics consistent with this species; however, literature employed insufficient for positive identification; in Tai NP, also several sightings of Illadopses, which appeared, however, more like White-breasted (I. rufipennis) or Rufous-winged (I.rufescens) Illadopses

If you want to contact us:

Frank E. Rheindt

Current Office Address:
Department of Biology, Duke University, PO Box 90338, Durham, NC 27708, USA

Current Home Address:
2515 Chapel Hill Rd., Durham NC 27707, USA; Phone: +01-919-401-8955

Current Home Country Address:
Breslauer Straße 8, 74336 Brackenheim, Germany; Phone: 49-07135-2418 



Minnattallah Boutros

Current Office Address:
Department for Animal Ecology and Tropical Biology, University of Würzburg
Am Hubland, 97074 Würzburg, Germany

Current Home Address:
Gneisenaustraße 24 e, 97074 Würzburg, GERMANY

[Back to Index]