Birds and habitats

As a natural and historical region located at the south-west of Senegal and partially isolated of the rest of the country, Casamance is flanked with Gambia to the north and Guinea-Bissau to the south. Its name comes from Casamance River which flows through from east to west.

Covering an area of 28,350 square kilometers, Casamance holds a strong ecological value, specially regarding its avifauna. Amongst the main natural habitats, mention should be made of mangroves and bolongs, marshes, rice fields, savannas, cultivated areas.

Ornithological history of Casamance

Birds studies in Casamance started in 18th century with the French naturalist Michel ADANSON who published in 1757 hisHistoire naturelle du Sénégal. A century later, in 1884, a list of birds was drawn up by Alphonse Trémeau de Rochebrune in itsFaune de Sénégambie.

But it's not before the 20th century that several publications have been compiling complete lists of birds of Senegambia (including Casamance) and that several amateur and professional ornithologists have been mentioning distribution and status of the birds of that area. This include David A. Bannerman, The Birds of Tropical West Africa, 1930-1951 and The Birds of West and Equatorial Africa, 1953 ; Gérard J. Morel et Francis Roux, Données nouvelles sur l'avifaune du Sénégal, 1962 ; André R. Dupuy, Le Parc National de Basse-Casamance, 1971.

The most comprehensive book is undoubtedly that of Gérard J. Morel et Marie-Yvonne Morel, Les Oiseaux de Sénégambie, 1990, which synthesizes 30 years of field observations in Senegal and where are embedded data of many naturalists.

Amongst them, special mention must be made of Father Antoine Sala who has enthusiastically been inventorying the forest of Basse Casamance National Park from 1978 to 1983. More recently, Alain Sauvage et Stephen P. Rodwell (1998) have published in Malimbusthe results achieved from 1984 till 1994 in Senegal,Notable observations of birds in Senegal (excluding Parc National des Oiseaux du Djoudj), where are mentioned extensive new data for Casamance. Our own work has started from 2007 taking advantage of prolonged stays in Ziguinchor area.