Guinea Bissau is the second most important area in West Africa for migratory waterfowl

Guinea Bissau is a key destination for lovers of ornithological tourism, especially with regard to migratory waders and waterfowl, which choose the country’s coastline as a stopover on their way to South Africa; or as a final destination to spend the winter.

According to the ornithology guide Miguel Lecoq, Guinea Bissau has some 600 species of birds, of which 34 have been classified as of global conservation interest, and 16 as near threatened, among which are the Terathopius ecaudatus, the Circaetus beaudouini , Trigonoceps occipitalis, Aquila rapax, Ceratogymna elata and Psittacus timneh, among others.

In addition, the ornithological richness of Guinea Bissau continues to grow, and in the last 10 years 60 new species of birds have been found in the country. Most of them belong to the ecosystem of the Forests of Guinea-Congo, more frequent in the forests of Upper Guinea, which are much further south.

All this makes Guinea Bissau the second most important area in West Africa for migratory waterfowl, after the Banc d’Arguin in Mauritania.

buitre palmero

Buitre palmero (Gypohierax Angolensis)

Where to do ornithological tourism in Guinea Bissau?

Experts in ornithological tourism recommend visiting two specific areas of Guinea Bissau. On the one hand, the Bijagó archipelago, and more specifically the Orango and Joao Vieira-Poilão National Parks.

The reason is that, of the million waders from the palearctic region (Europe and North Asia and Africa) that migrate to Guinea Bissau, three quarters do so to the coastal wetlands of the Bijagó archipelago, declared a Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO. .

The other recommended area is located on the mainland, in the Boé, Quínara and Tombali regions, where there are several protected areas such as the Lagoon of Cufada Natural Park (where the largest freshwater lagoon in the country is located), and the Cantanhez, Boé and Dulombi National Parks (in which forests abound).

What birds will you be able to observe if you practice ornithological tourism in Guinea Bissau

According to Sergio Rejado, a graduate in Biology and an expert in Africa, some of the migratory waders that usually frequent the Bijagó archipelago are the Gray Plover, the Greater Plover, the Great Sandpiper, the Little Sandpiper, the Speckled Godwit, the Common Redshank and the Sandpiper Whimbrel.

We can also find terns that hibernate there such as the black-billed tern, the little tern, the common tern, the lesser tern, the royal tern, the red-billed tern or the common terminus. There are also palm vultures, ospreys, African eagles and various species of kingfishers, including kingfishers, giant kingfishers and others.

Lastly, the African Spoonbill, the Pink Pelican, the African Cormorant, the Grey-headed Gull, the Slender-billed Gull and a great variety of herons, egrets and ibis stand out.


What does Orango sound like?

In addition to seeing, there are those who prefer to listen to the sound of the birds and how they modulate the soundscape of destinations as fascinating as the island of Orango. This is the case of the writer and specialist in recording the sound of nature Carlos de Hita, who is another of the great connoisseurs of the Bijagó archipelago.

In his book “Sounds of the World”, Carlos de Hita defines the island of Orango as a “scale model of African landscapes”. In it, he makes special mention of the figure of the mangroves that cover a large part of the island, and that he values “as the most effective barrier to stop the erosion of the coast”, describing his passage through them as “green silence, quiet the waves, oppressive atmosphere and smell of swamp and decomposition”.

A multicolored sound story that takes place through other environments such as savannahs, lagoons, jungles, forests and immense white sand beaches, in which 3 birds monopolize a large part of the sensory universe of the island: the cucales, the turtledoves and the weavers .

But beyond its echo, many other species stand out, such as black-tailed godwits, shortbills, plovers, sandpipers, terns, African spoonbills and herons, among many others, competing in shouts and whistles with crickets, scops owls and curlews, under the watchful and silent gaze of the crocodiles.

When night falls, the light of the stars and the sound of the sea take over, attenuating the hubbub and offering a brief truce to the visitor so that they have time to internalize the magnitude of everything they have seen and heard in this corner of the world in the one that the material is always associated with the spiritual.

This is the ornithological tourism circuit of Orango Parque Hotel

If you are a lover of ornithological tourism, and you are interested in observing any of the migratory birds that stop at Guinea Bissau, take part in the ornithological tourism circuits organized by the Orango Parque Hotel. You will enjoy touring some of the enclaves of the continental zone where unique species such as the Timneh parrot can be found; and later entering the spectacular environment of the Bijagó, an archipelago of 88 islands whose natural wealth and biodiversity are absolutely unique and unforgettable.

If you like birds, discover one of the most unknown areas of West Africa. We will wait for you!