The Conservation Society of Sierra Leone (CSSL) celebrates this year´s Independence Day with the publication of our new bird guide: “Common birds of Sierra Leone – an indigenous language guide”. The guide book presents most common birds of our beautiful country with their names in three of our local languages. In this way we want to celebrate Sierra Leone, its rich culture and its amazing nature.

Sierra Leone is a country where you can hardly move one meter without hearing or seeing one of the more than 600 bird species of the country. Of course, all birds – which are known to science – have their scientific names, most of them also have an English name. But how do people of Sierra Leone call their birds in their own languages? The Conservation Society of Sierra Leone (CSSL) supported by African Bird Club (ABC) started a journey through the country to find answers to this question. The outcome is an indigenous language guide which portrays the 60 most common birds of Sierra Leone in three of the nation’s most common languages- Temne, Mende and Krio.

"When we started the project last year none of us really knew what to expect. The team knew a few indigenous names of some birds, but 60? Even for us as bird experts that was a task we assumed to be very ambitious. We set out determined however and visited several communities across the different regions of the country to get to know what indigenous called the 60 birds we had already identified to be amongst the most common across the country."

Over several weeks of travel and over 350 interviews with community members of different language groups later, the manuscript for the indigenous language guide on the common birds of Sierra Leone was ready to be developed. It still was a long way to go as photos of all birds had to be collected and the design had to be adjusted. Upon completion, this bird book is an exciting read for everyone.

“Our main idea and hope regarding this book is that it is widely used throughout the country. It should be suitable for pupils in our school nature clubs, for community members in different parts of the country and for every person who wants to start to learn the names of the birds you can see every day around you.”

The book is perfectly designed for beginners of bird watching. The introduction explains most important things about bird watching, the habitats of birds and how to use the guide. All birds are presented with big colourful pictures and are well described. Most of the birds can be seen everywhere in the country and are definitely not strangers. There are also some very special birds in feature too.

“Three species of birds which were common in Sierra Leone before, are now endangered or can only be seen in some parts of the country. As these birds are of a high interest for conservation and biodiversity, we decided to include them in the book. These are the Hooded Vulture and the Timneh Parrot, which are both critically endangered species as well as the White-necked Picathartes, which can only be seen in the forests.”

One aim of the book is to create more interest in birds and bird protection in Sierra Leone. As stated in the beginning, Sierra Leone is a country where birds can be seen and/or heard everywhere you turn. Wouldn´t it be great to know the name of these birds? The Conservation of Sierra Leone intends to raise awareness for birds and their habitats through this guidebook.

“The way to experience birds and to learn their names and behaviour, is through a bird club. We have several bird clubs in the country. If you are interested in birds and happy to share your passion with others – contact us and become a member of one of CSSL´s bird clubs” invites Momoh Bai-Sesay – the African Bird Club Representative in Sierra Leone. “We are open to beginners and experts to join us in learning more about our birds.”

Now it is up to you! Or do you already know the names of these birds in more than one language? Test your knowledge.

Western Grey Plantain Eater

Mende: Kɔwei / Sɔwei-lei Temne: Gbokɔgbo / Or’ Kuma Krio: Plantin bɔd

Blue-cheeked Bea-Eater

Mende: Yɛgbei / Yollie Temne: Ȧŋkoro / Or Koro

Common Bulbul

Mende: Jɔbɔkɔni / Sɛgbei / Yuvui Temne: Kȧthipra Krio: Pɛpɛ bɔd

White-necked Picatharthes

Mende: Kplɔkunde

Western Reef Egret

Mende: Gbanie lei/Gbanie Temne: Kȧthathəp /Thathəp/Ngabapneth / N'koba

Village Weaver

Mende: Ta Bakui / Mbaqui / Taahun Bakui Temne: Lɛba / Ȧŋlɛba Krio: Pam bɔd

Common birds of Sierra Leone – an indigenous languages guide

Published in 2024 by the Conservation Society of Sierra Leone

154 pages, 60 common birds, lot´s of information about habitats and bird watching in general.

Get your copy now at CSSL´s office (86 Main Road, Congo Town, Freetown / price 300NLe) or order via email: