List of birds of Mali
This list's taxonomic treatment (designation and sequence of orders, families and species) and nomenclature (common and scientific names) follow the conventions of The Clements Checklist of Birds of the World, 6th edition. The family accounts at the beginning of each heading reflect this taxonomy, as do the species counts found in each family account. Accidental species are included in the total species count for Mali.
The following tags have been used to highlight several categories. The commonly occurring native species do not fall into any of these categories.
- (A) Accidental - a species that rarely or accidentally occurs in Mali
- (E) Endemic - a species endemic to Mali
The ostrich is a flightless bird native to Africa. It is the largest living species of bird. It is distinctive in its appearance, with a long neck and legs and the ability to run at high speeds.
- Common ostrich, Struthio camelus
Grebes are small to medium-large freshwater diving birds. They have lobed toes and are excellent swimmers and divers. However, they have their feet placed far back on the body, making them quite ungainly on land.
Phalacrocoracidae is a family of medium to large coastal, fish-eating seabirds that includes cormorants and shags. Plumage colouration varies, with the majority having mainly dark plumage, some species being black-and-white and a few being colourful.
- Long-tailed cormorant, Microcarbo africanus
Darters are often called "snake-birds" because of their long thin neck, which gives a snake-like appearance when they swim with their bodies submerged. The males have black and dark-brown plumage, an erectile crest on the nape and a larger bill than the female. The females have much paler plumage especially on the neck and underparts. The darters have completely webbed feet and their legs are short and set far back on the body. Their plumage is somewhat permeable, like that of cormorants, and they spread their wings to dry after diving.
- African darter, Anhinga melanogaster
Pelicans are large water birds with a distinctive pouch under their beak. As with other members of the order Pelecaniformes, they have webbed feet with four toes.
Bitterns, herons and egrets
The family Ardeidae contains the bitterns, herons and egrets. Herons and egrets are medium to large wading birds with long necks and legs. Bitterns tend to be shorter necked and more wary. Members of Ardeidae fly with their necks retracted, unlike other long-necked birds such as storks, ibises and spoonbills.
- Grey heron, Ardea cinerea
- Black-headed heron, Ardea melanocephala
- Goliath heron, Ardea goliath
- Purple heron, Ardea purpurea
- Great egret, Ardea alba
- Intermediate egret, Ardea intermedia
- Black heron, Egretta ardesiaca
- Western reef heron, Egretta gularis
- Little egret, Egretta garzetta
- Squacco heron, Ardeola ralloides
- Rufous-bellied heron, Ardeola rufiventris
- Cattle egret, Bubulcus ibis
- Striated heron, Butorides striata
- Black-crowned night heron, Nycticorax nycticorax
- White-backed night heron, Gorsachius leuconotus
- Dwarf bittern, Ixobrychus sturmii
- Great bittern, Botaurus stellaris
The hammerkop is a medium-sized bird with a long shaggy crest. The shape of its head with a curved bill and crest at the back is reminiscent of a hammer, hence its name. Its plumage is drab-brown all over.
- Hamerkop, Scopus umbretta
The shoebill is a large bird related to the storks. It derives its name from its massive shoe-shaped bill.
- Shoebill, Balaeniceps rex (A)
Ibises and spoonbills
Threskiornithidae is a family of large terrestrial and wading birds which includes the ibises and spoonbills. They have long, broad wings with 11 primary and about 20 secondary feathers. They are strong fliers and despite their size and weight, very capable soarers.
- Sacred ibis, Threskiornis aethiopicus
- Waldrapp, Geronticus eremita
- Hadada ibis, Bostrychia hagedash
- Glossy ibis, Plegadis falcinellus
- Eurasian spoonbill, Platalea leucorodia
- African spoonbill, Platalea alba
Storks are large, long-legged, long-necked, wading birds with long, stout bills. Storks are mute, but bill-clattering is an important mode of communication at the nest. Their nests can be large and may be reused for many years. Many species are migratory.
- Yellow-billed stork, Mycteria ibis
- African openbill, Anastomus lamelligerus
- Black stork, Ciconia nigra
- Abdim's stork, Ciconia abdimii
- Woolly-necked stork, Ciconia episcopus
- White stork, Ciconia ciconia
- Saddle-billed stork, Ephippiorhynchus senegalensis
- Marabou stork, Leptoptilos crumenifer
Ducks, geese and swans
Anatidae includes the ducks and most duck-like waterfowl, such as geese and swans. These birds are adapted to an aquatic existence with webbed feet, flattened bills, and feathers that are excellent at shedding water due to an oily coating.
- Fulvous whistling duck, Dendrocygna bicolor
- White-faced whistling duck, Dendrocygna viduata
- White-backed duck, Thalassornis leuconotus
- Bean goose, Anser fabalis
- Egyptian goose, Alopochen aegyptiacus
- Spur-winged goose, Plectropterus gambensis
- Knob-billed duck, Sarkidiornis melanotos
- African pygmy-goose, Nettapus auritus
- Eurasian wigeon, Mareca penelope
- Gadwall, Mareca strepera
- Green-winged teal, Anas crecca
- Mallard, Anas platyrhynchos
- Yellow-billed duck, Anas undulata
- Northern pintail, Anas acuta
- Red-billed duck, Anas erythrorhyncha
- Hottentot teal, Spatula hottentota
- Garganey, Spatula querquedula
- Northern shoveler, Spatula clypeata
- Marbled teal, Marmaronetta angustirostris
- Common pochard, Aythya ferina
- Ferruginous pochard, Aythya nyroca
- Tufted duck, Aythya fuligula
Genus species and also some cuckoo birdlings which are very rare in this cold environment. The family Pandionidae contains only one species, the osprey. The osprey is a medium-large raptor which is a specialist fish-eater with a worldwide distribution.
Hawks, kites and eagles
Accipitridae is a family of birds of prey, which includes hawks, eagles, kites, harriers and Old World vultures. These birds have powerful hooked beaks for tearing flesh from their prey, strong legs, powerful talons and keen eyesight.
- African cuckoo-hawk, Aviceda cuculoides
- European honey buzzard, Pernis apivorus
- Bat hawk, Macheiramphus alcinus
- Black-winged kite, Elanus caeruleus
- Scissor-tailed kite, Chelictinia riocourii
- Black kite, Milvus migrans
- Yellow-billed kite, Milvus aegyptius
- African fish eagle, Haliaeetus vocifer
- Palm-nut vulture, Gypohierax angolensis
- Hooded vulture, Necrosyrtes monachus
- Egyptian vulture, Neophron percnopterus
- White-backed vulture, Gyps africanus
- Rüppell's vulture, Gyps rueppelli
- Eurasian griffon, Gyps fulvus
- Lappet-faced vulture, Torgos tracheliotos
- White-headed vulture, Trigonoceps occipitalis
- Beaudouin's snake eagle, Circaetus beaudouini
- Brown snake eagle, Circaetus cinereus
- Banded snake eagle, Circaetus cinerascens
- Bateleur, Terathopius ecaudatus
- Western marsh harrier, Circus aeruginosus
- Pallid harrier, Circus macrourus
- Montagu's harrier, Circus pygargus
- African harrier-hawk, Polyboroides typus
- Lizard buzzard, Kaupifalco monogrammicus
- Dark chanting-goshawk, Melierax metabates
- Gabar goshawk, Micronisus gabar
- Red-chested goshawk, Accipiter toussenelii
- Shikra, Accipiter badius
- Ovampo sparrowhawk, Accipiter ovampensis
- Eurasian sparrowhawk, Accipiter nisus
- Grasshopper buzzard, Butastur rufipennis
- Eurasian buzzard, Buteo buteo
- Long-legged buzzard, Buteo rufinus
- Red-necked buzzard, Buteo auguralis
- Lesser spotted eagle, Clanga pomarina
- Greater spotted eagle, Clanga clanga
- Tawny eagle, Aquila rapax
- Steppe eagle, Aquila nipalensis
- Golden eagle, Aquila chrysaetos
- Verreaux's eagle, Aquila verreauxii
- African hawk-eagle, Aquila spilogaster
- Wahlberg's eagle, Hieraaetus wahlbergi
- Booted eagle, Hieraaetus pennatus
- Ayres's hawk-eagle, Hieraaetus ayresii
- Martial eagle, Polemaetus bellicosus
- Long-crested eagle, Lophaetus occipitalis
The secretarybird is a bird of prey in the order Accipitriformes but is easily distinguished from other raptors by its long crane-like legs.
- Secretarybird, Sagittarius serpentarius (A)
Caracaras and falcons
Falconidae is a family of diurnal birds of prey. They differ from hawks, eagles and kites in that they kill with their beaks instead of their talons.
- Lesser kestrel, Falco naumanni
- Eurasian kestrel, Falco tinnunculus
- Fox kestrel, Falco alopex
- Grey kestrel, Falco ardosiaceus
- Red-necked falcon, Falco chicquera
- Red-footed falcon, Falco vespertinus
- Eurasian hobby, Falco subbuteo
- African hobby, Falco cuvierii
- Lanner falcon, Falco biarmicus
- Barbary falcon, Falco pelegrinoides
- Peregrine falcon, Falco peregrinus
Pheasants and francolins
The Phasianidae are a family of terrestrial birds which consists of quails, snowcocks, francolins, spurfowls, tragopans, monals, pheasants, peafowls and jungle fowls. In general, they are plump (although they vary in size) and have broad, relatively short wings.
- Coqui francolin, Peliperdix coqui
- White-throated francolin, Peliperdix albogularis
- Double-spurred francolin, Pternistis bicalcaratus
- Clapperton's francolin, Pternistis clappertoni
- Harlequin quail, Coturnix delegorguei
- Blue quail, Excalfactoria adansonii
- Stone partridge, Ptilopachus petrosus
Guineafowl are a group of African, seed-eating, ground-nesting birds that resemble partridges, but with featherless heads and spangled grey plumage.
- Helmeted guineafowl, Numida meleagris
Cranes are large, long-legged and long-necked birds. Unlike the similar-looking but unrelated herons, cranes fly with necks outstretched, not pulled back. Most have elaborate and noisy courting displays or "dances".
- Black crowned crane, Balearica pavonina
- Streaky-breasted flufftail, Sarothrura boehmi
Rails, crakes, gallinules and coots
Rallidae is a large family of small to medium-sized birds which includes the rails, crakes, coots and gallinules. Typically they inhabit dense vegetation in damp environments near lakes, swamps or rivers. In general they are shy and secretive birds, making them difficult to observe. Most species have strong legs and long toes which are well adapted to soft uneven surfaces. They tend to have short, rounded wings and to be weak fliers.
- African crake, Crex egregia
- Corn crake, Crex crex
- Black crake, Amaurornis flavirostris
- Little crake, Porzana parva
- Baillon's crake, Porzana pusilla
- Spotted crake, Porzana porzana
- African swamphen, Porphyrio madagascariensis
- Allen's gallinule, Porphyrio alleni
- Common moorhen, Gallinula chloropus
- Lesser moorhen, Gallinula angulata
- Eurasian coot, Fulica atra
Sungrebe and finfoots
Heliornithidae is a small family of tropical birds with webbed lobes on their feet similar to those of grebes and coots.
- African finfoot, Podica senegalensis
Bustards are large terrestrial birds mainly associated with dry open country and steppes in the Old World. They are omnivorous and nest on the ground. They walk steadily on strong legs and big toes, pecking for food as they go. They have long broad wings with "fingered" wingtips and striking patterns in flight. Many have interesting mating displays.
- Arabian bustard, Ardeotis arabs
- Denham's bustard, Neotis denhami
- Nubian bustard, Neotis nuba
- White-bellied bustard, Eupodotis senegalensis
- Savile's bustard, Lophotis savilei
- Black-bellied bustard, Lissotis melanogaster
The buttonquails are small, drab, running birds which resemble the true quails. The female is the brighter of the sexes and initiates courtship. The male incubates the eggs and tends the young.
- Small buttonquail, Turnix sylvatica
- Black-rumped buttonquail, Turnix nanus (A)
- Quail-plover, Ortyxelos meiffrenii
The jacanas are a group of tropical waders in the family Jacanidae. They are found throughout the tropics. They are identifiable by their huge feet and claws which enable them to walk on floating vegetation in the shallow lakes that are their preferred habitat.
Painted-snipe are short-legged, long-billed birds similar in shape to the true snipes, but more brightly coloured.
- Greater painted-snipe, Rostratula benghalensis
- Eurasian oystercatcher, Haematopus ostralegus
Avocets and stilts
Recurvirostridae is a family of large wading birds, which includes the avocets and stilts. The avocets have long legs and long up-curved bills. The stilts have extremely long legs and long, thin, straight bills.
The thick-knees are a group of largely tropical waders in the family Burhinidae. They are found worldwide within the tropical zone, with some species also breeding in temperate Europe and Australia. They are medium to large waders with strong black or yellow-black bills, large yellow eyes and cryptic plumage. Despite being classed as waders, most species have a preference for arid or semi-arid habitats.
- Eurasian thick-knee, Burhinus oedicnemus
- Senegal thick-knee, Burhinus senegalensis
- Spotted thick-knee, Burhinus capensis
Pratincoles and coursers
Glareolidae is a family of wading birds comprising the pratincoles, which have short legs, long pointed wings and long forked tails, and the coursers, which have long legs, short wings and long, pointed bills which curve downwards.
- Egyptian plover, Pluvianus aegyptius
- Cream-colored courser, Cursorius cursor
- Temminck's courser, Cursorius temminckii
- Bronze-winged courser, Rhinoptilus chalcopterus
- Collared pratincole, Glareola pratincola
- Black-winged pratincole, Glareola nordmanni
- Rock pratincole, Glareola nuchalis
- Grey pratincole, Glareola cinerea
Plovers and lapwings
The family Charadriidae includes the plovers, dotterels and lapwings. They are small to medium-sized birds with compact bodies, short, thick necks and long, usually pointed, wings. They are found in open country worldwide, mostly in habitats near water.
- Spur-winged plover, Vanellus spinosus
- Black-headed lapwing, Vanellus tectus
- White-headed lapwing, Vanellus albiceps
- Senegal lapwing, Vanellus lugubris
- Wattled lapwing, Vanellus senegallus
- Black-bellied plover, Pluvialis squatarola
- Common ringed plover, Charadrius hiaticula
- Little ringed plover, Charadrius dubius
- Kittlitz's plover, Charadrius pecuarius
- Three-banded plover, Charadrius tricollaris
- Forbes's plover, Charadrius forbesi (A)
- White-fronted plover, Charadrius marginatus
- Snowy plover, Charadrius alexandrinus
- Caspian plover, Charadrius asiaticus
Sandpipers and allies
Scolopacidae is a large diverse family of small to medium-sized shorebirds including the sandpipers, curlews, godwits, shanks, tattlers, woodcocks, snipes, dowitchers and phalaropes. The majority of these species eat small invertebrates picked out of the mud or soil. Variation in length of legs and bills enables multiple species to feed in the same habitat, particularly on the coast, without direct competition for food.
- Jack snipe, Lymnocryptes minimus
- Great snipe, Gallinago media
- Common snipe, Gallinago gallinago
- Black-tailed godwit, Limosa limosa
- Bar-tailed godwit, Limosa lapponica (A)
- Whimbrel, Numenius phaeopus
- Eurasian curlew, Numenius arquata
- Spotted redshank, Tringa erythropus
- Common redshank, Tringa totanus
- Marsh sandpiper, Tringa stagnatilis
- Common greenshank, Tringa nebularia
- Green sandpiper, Tringa ochropus
- Wood sandpiper, Tringa glareola
- Terek sandpiper, Xenus cinereus
- Common sandpiper, Actitis hypoleucos
- Ruddy turnstone, Arenaria interpres
- Red knot, Calidris canutus
- Sanderling, Calidris alba
- Little stint, Calidris minuta
- Temminck's stint, Calidris temminckii
- Curlew sandpiper, Calidris ferruginea
- Dunlin, Calidris alpina
- Broad-billed sandpiper, Calidris falcinellus
- Ruff, Calidris pugnax
- Red phalarope, Phalaropus fulicarius
Gulls, terns, and skimmers
Laridae is a family of medium to large seabirds, the gulls, terns, and skimmers. Gulls are typically grey or white, often with black markings on the head or wings. They have stout, longish bills and webbed feet. Terns are a group of generally medium to large seabirds typically with grey or white plumage, often with black markings on the head. Most terns hunt fish by diving but some pick insects off the surface of fresh water. Terns are generally long-lived birds, with several species known to live in excess of 30 years. Skimmers are a small family of tropical tern-like birds. They have an elongated lower mandible which they use to feed by flying low over the water surface and skimming the water for small fish.
- Lesser black-backed gull, Larus fuscus
- Caspian gull, Larus cachinnans
- Grey-headed gull, Chroicocephalus cirrocephalus
- Black-headed gull, Chroicocephalus ridibundus
- Slender-billed gull, Chroicocephalus genei
- Gull-billed tern, Gelochelidon nilotica
- Caspian tern, Hydroprogne caspia
- Sandwich tern, Thalasseus sandvicensis
- Roseate tern, Sterna dougallii
- Common tern, Sterna hirundo
- Little tern, Sternula albifrons
- Whiskered tern, Chlidonias hybrida
- White-winged tern, Chlidonias leucopterus
- Black tern, Chlidonias niger
- African skimmer, Rynchops flavirostris
Sandgrouse have small, pigeon like heads and necks, but sturdy compact bodies. They have long pointed wings and sometimes tails and a fast direct flight. Flocks fly to watering holes at dawn and dusk. Their legs are feathered down to the toes. .
- Chestnut-bellied sandgrouse, Pterocles exustus
- Spotted sandgrouse, Pterocles senegallus
- Crowned sandgrouse, Pterocles coronatus
- Lichtenstein's sandgrouse, Pterocles lichtensteinii
- Four-banded sandgrouse, Pterocles quadricinctus
Pigeons and doves
- Rock pigeon, Columba livia
- Speckled pigeon, Columba guinea
- Eurasian turtle dove, Streptopelia turtur
- Adamawa turtle dove, Streptopelia hypopyrrha
- African collared dove, Streptopelia roseogrisea
- African mourning dove, Streptopelia decipiens
- Red-eyed dove, Streptopelia semitorquata
- Vinaceous dove, Streptopelia vinacea
- Laughing dove, Spilopelia senegalensis
- Black-billed wood dove, Turtur abyssinicus
- Blue-spotted wood dove, Turtur afer
- Blue-headed wood dove, Turtur brehmeri
- Namaqua dove, Oena capensis
- Bruce's green pigeon, Treron waalia
- African green pigeon, Treron calva
Old World parrots
African and New World parrots
The turacos, plantain eaters and go-away-birds make up the bird family Musophagidae. They are medium-sized arboreal birds. The turacos and plantain eaters are brightly coloured, usually in blue, green or purple. The go-away birds are mostly grey and white.
- Guinea turaco, Tauraco persa
- Violet turaco, Musophaga violacea
- Western plantain-eater, Crinifer piscator
Cuckoos and anis
- Pied cuckoo, Clamator jacobinus
- Levaillant's cuckoo, Clamator levaillantii
- Great spotted cuckoo, Clamator glandarius
- Thick-billed cuckoo, Pachycoccyx audeberti (A)
- Red-chested cuckoo, Cuculus solitarius
- Black cuckoo, Cuculus clamosus
- Common cuckoo, Cuculus canorus
- African cuckoo, Cuculus gularis
- Klaas's cuckoo, Chrysococcyx klaas
- Dideric cuckoo, Chrysococcyx caprius
- Black coucal, Centropus grillii
- Blue-headed coucal, Centropus monachus
- Senegal coucal, Centropus senegalensis
Barn owls are medium to large owls with large heads and characteristic heart-shaped faces. They have long strong legs with powerful talons.
- Barn owl, Tyto alba
The typical owls are small to large solitary nocturnal birds of prey. They have large forward-facing eyes and ears, a hawk-like beak and a conspicuous circle of feathers around each eye called a facial disk.
- African scops owl, Otus senegalensis
- Eurasian scops owl, Otus scops
- Northern white-faced owl, Ptilopsis leucotis
- Pharaoh eagle-owl, Bubo ascalaphus
- Greyish eagle-owl, Bubo cinerascens
- Verreaux's eagle-owl, Bubo lacteus
- Pel's fishing owl, Scotopelia peli
- Pearl-spotted owlet, Glaucidium perlatum
- Little owl, Athene noctua
- Short-eared owl, Asio flammeus
- Marsh owl, Asio capensis
Nightjars are medium-sized nocturnal birds that usually nest on the ground. They have long wings, short legs and very short bills. Most have small feet, of little use for walking, and long pointed wings. Their soft plumage is camouflaged to resemble bark or leaves.
- Red-necked nightjar, Caprimulgus ruficollis
- Eurasian nightjar, Caprimulgus europaeus
- Egyptian nightjar, Caprimulgus aegyptius
- Golden nightjar, Caprimulgus eximius
- Black-shouldered nightjar, Caprimulgus nigriscapularis
- Fiery-necked nightjar, Caprimulgus pectoralis
- Swamp nightjar, Caprimulgus natalensis
- Plain nightjar, Caprimulgus inornatus
- Freckled nightjar, Caprimulgus tristigma
- Long-tailed nightjar, Caprimulgus climacurus
- Standard-winged nightjar, Caprimulgus longipennis
Swifts are small birds which spend the majority of their lives flying. These birds have very short legs and never settle voluntarily on the ground, perching instead only on vertical surfaces. Many swifts have long swept-back wings which resemble a crescent or boomerang.
- Mottled spinetail, Telacanthura ussheri
- African palm-swift, Cypsiurus parvus
- Alpine swift, Tachymarptis melba
- Mottled swift, Tachymarptis aequatorialis
- Common swift, Apus apus
- Pallid swift, Apus pallidus
- Little swift, Apus affinis
- White-rumped swift, Apus caffer
The mousebirds are slender greyish or brown birds with soft, hairlike body feathers and very long thin tails. They are arboreal and scurry through the leaves like rodents in search of berries, fruit and buds. They are acrobatic and can feed upside down. All species have strong claws and reversible outer toes. They also have crests and stubby bills. There are 6 species worldwide and 1 species which occurs in Mali.
- Blue-naped mousebird, Urocolius macrourus
Trogons and quetzals
The family Trogonidae includes trogons and quetzals. Found in tropical woodlands worldwide, they feed on insects and fruit, and their broad bills and weak legs reflect their diet and arboreal habits. Although their flight is fast, they are reluctant to fly any distance. Trogons have soft, often colourful, feathers with distinctive male and female plumage. There are 33 species worldwide and 1 species which occurs in Mali.
- Narina trogon, Apaloderma narina
Kingfishers are medium-sized birds with large heads, long, pointed bills, short legs and stubby tails. There are 93 species worldwide and 10 species which occur in Mali.
- Shining-blue kingfisher, Alcedo quadribrachys
- Malachite kingfisher, Corythornis cristatus
- White-bellied kingfisher, Corythornis leucogaster
- African pygmy kingfisher, Ispidina picta
- Grey-headed kingfisher, Halcyon leucocephala
- Woodland kingfisher, Halcyon senegalensis
- Blue-breasted kingfisher, Halcyon malimbica
- Striped kingfisher, Halcyon chelicuti
- Giant kingfisher, Megaceryle maximus
- Pied kingfisher, Ceryle rudis
The bee-eaters are a group of near passerine birds in the family Meropidae. Most species are found in Africa but others occur in southern Europe, Madagascar, Australia and New Guinea. They are characterised by richly coloured plumage, slender bodies and usually elongated central tail feathers. All are colourful and have long downturned bills and pointed wings, which give them a swallow-like appearance when seen from afar. There are 26 species worldwide and 8 species which occur in Mali.
- Red-throated bee-eater, Merops bulocki
- Little bee-eater, Merops pusillus
- Swallow-tailed bee-eater, Merops hirundineus
- White-throated bee-eater, Merops albicollis
- Green bee-eater, Merops orientalis
- Blue-cheeked bee-eater, Merops persicus
- European bee-eater, Merops apiaster
- Northern carmine bee-eater, Merops nubicus
Rollers resemble crows in size and build, but are more closely related to the kingfishers and bee-eaters. They share the colourful appearance of those groups with blues and browns predominating. The two inner front toes are connected, but the outer toe is not. There are 12 species worldwide and 5 species which occur in Mali.
- European roller, Coracias garrulus
- Abyssinian roller, Coracias abyssinica
- Rufous-crowned roller, Coracias naevia
- Blue-bellied roller, Coracias cyanogaster
- Broad-billed roller, Eurystomus glaucurus
Hoopoes have black, white and orangey-pink colouring with a large erectile crest on their head. There are 2 species worldwide and 1 species which occurs in Mali.
- Hoopoe, Upupa epops
The woodhoopoes are related to the kingfishers, rollers and hoopoes. They most resemble the hoopoes with their long curved bills, used to probe for insects, and short rounded wings. However, they differ in that they have metallic plumage, often blue, green or purple, and lack an erectile crest. There are 8 species worldwide and 2 species which occur in Mali.
Hornbills are a group of birds whose bill is shaped like a cow's horn, but without a twist, sometimes with a casque on the upper mandible. Frequently, the bill is brightly coloured.
The ground-hornbills are terrestrial birds which feed almost entirely on insects, other birds, snakes, and amphibians.
- Abyssinian ground-hornbill, Bucorvus abyssinicus
The African barbets are plump birds, with short necks and large heads. They get their name from the bristles which fringe their heavy bills. Most species are brightly coloured.
- Yellow-rumped tinkerbird, Pogoniulus bilineatus
- Yellow-fronted tinkerbird, Pogoniulus chrysoconus
- Vieillot's barbet, Lybius vieilloti
- Bearded barbet, Lybius dubius
- Yellow-breasted barbet, Trachyphonus margaritatus
Honeyguides are among the few birds that feed on wax. They are named for the greater honeyguide which leads traditional honey-hunters to bees' nests and, after the hunters have harvested the honey, feeds on the remaining contents of the hive. There are 17 species worldwide and 2 species which occur in Mali.
Woodpeckers and allies
Woodpeckers are small to medium-sized birds with chisel-like beaks, short legs, stiff tails and long tongues used for capturing insects. Some species have feet with two toes pointing forward and two backward, while several species have only three toes. Many woodpeckers have the habit of tapping noisily on tree trunks with their beaks.
- Eurasian wryneck, Jynx torquilla
- Fine-spotted woodpecker, Campethera punctuligera
- Golden-tailed woodpecker, Campethera abingoni
- Buff-spotted woodpecker, Campethera nivosa
- Little grey woodpecker, Dendropicos elachus
- Cardinal woodpecker, Dendropicos fuscescens
- African grey woodpecker, Dendropicos goertae
- Brown-backed woodpecker, Dendropicos obsoletus
Pittas are medium-sized by passerine standards and are stocky, with fairly long, strong legs, short tails and stout bills. Many are brightly coloured. They spend the majority of their time on wet forest floors, eating snails, insects and similar invertebrates. There are 32 species worldwide and 1 species which occurs in Mali.
- African pitta, Pitta angolensis
Larks are small terrestrial birds with often extravagant songs and display flights. Most larks are fairly dull in appearance. Their food is insects and seeds. There are 91 species worldwide and 15 species which occur in Mali.
- Singing bushlark, Mirafra cantillans
- Kordofan lark, Mirafra cordofanica
- Rufous-naped lark, Mirafra africana
- Flappet lark, Mirafra rufocinnamomea
- Rusty lark, Mirafra rufa
- Rufous-rumped lark, Pinarocorys erythropygia
- Chestnut-backed sparrow-lark, Eremopterix leucotis
- Black-crowned sparrow-lark, Eremopterix nigriceps
- Bar-tailed lark, Ammomanes cincturus
- Desert lark, Ammomanes deserti
- Greater hoopoe-lark, Alaemon alaudipes
- Greater short-toed lark, Calandrella brachydactyla
- Dunn's lark, Eremalauda dunni
- Crested lark, Galerida cristata
- Sun lark, Galerida modesta
Swallows and martins
The family Hirundinidae is adapted to aerial feeding. They have a slender streamlined body, long pointed wings and a short bill with a wide gape. The feet are adapted to perching rather than walking, and the front toes are partially joined at the base. There are 75 species worldwide and 18 species which occur in Mali.
- Sand martin, Riparia riparia
- Brown-throated martin, Riparia paludicola
- Banded martin, Riparia cincta
- Grey-rumped swallow, Pseudhirundo griseopyga
- Pale crag martin, Ptyonoprogne obsoleta
- Rock martin, Ptyonoprogne fuligula
- Barn swallow, Hirundo rustica
- Red-chested swallow, Hirundo lucida
- Ethiopian swallow, Hirundo aethiopica
- Wire-tailed swallow, Hirundo smithii
- Pied-winged swallow, Hirundo leucosoma
- Lesser striped-swallow, Cecropis abyssinica
- Rufous-chested swallow, Cecropis semirufa
- Mosque swallow, Cecropis senegalensis
- Red-rumped swallow, Cecropis daurica
- Preuss's swallow, Petrochelidon preussi
- Common house martin, Delichon urbicum
- Fanti sawwing, Psalidoprocne obscura
Wagtails and pipits
Motacillidae is a family of small passerine birds with medium to long tails. They include the wagtails, longclaws and pipits. They are slender, ground feeding insectivores of open country. There are 54 species worldwide and 11 species which occur in Mali.
- White wagtail, Motacilla alba
- African pied wagtail, Motacilla aguimp
- Yellow wagtail, Motacilla flava
- Grey wagtail, Motacilla cinerea
- Yellow-throated longclaw, Macronyx croceus
- Plain-backed pipit, Anthus leucophrys
- African pipit, Anthus cinnamomeus
- Tawny pipit, Anthus campestris
- Long-billed pipit, Anthus similis
- Tree pipit, Anthus trivialis
- Red-throated pipit, Anthus cervinus
The cuckooshrikes are small to medium-sized passerine birds. They are predominantly greyish with white and black, although some species are brightly coloured.
Bulbuls are medium-sized songbirds. Some are colourful with yellow, red or orange vents, cheeks, throats or supercilia, but most are drab, with uniform olive-brown to black plumage. Some species have distinct crests.
- Common bulbul, Pycnonotus barbatus
- Simple greenbul, Chlorocichla simplex
- Yellow-throated leaflove, Atimastillas flavicollis
- Red-tailed leaflove, Phyllastrephus scandens
Thrushes and allies
The thrushes are a group of passerine birds that occur mainly in the Old World. They are plump, soft plumaged, small to medium-sized insectivores or sometimes omnivores, often feeding on the ground. Many have attractive songs.
Cisticolas and allies
The Cisticolidae are warblers found mainly in warmer southern regions of the Old World. They are generally very small birds of drab brown or grey appearance found in open country such as grassland or scrub. There are 21 species which have been recorded in Mali.
- Red-faced cisticola, Cisticola erythrops
- Singing cisticola, Cisticola cantans
- Whistling cisticola, Cisticola lateralis
- Rock-loving cisticola, Cisticola aberrans
- Red-pate cisticola, Cisticola ruficeps
- Dorst's cisticola, Cisticola guinea
- Winding cisticola, Cisticola marginatus
- Croaking cisticola, Cisticola natalensis
- Siffling cisticola, Cisticola brachypterus
- Rufous cisticola, Cisticola rufus
- Foxy cisticola, Cisticola troglodytes
- Zitting cisticola, Cisticola juncidis
- Desert cisticola, Cisticola aridulus
- Black-necked cisticola, Cisticola eximius
- Tawny-flanked prinia, Prinia subflava
- River prinia, Prinia fluviatilis
- Red-winged prinia, Prinia erythroptera
- Cricket longtail, Spiloptila clamans
- Yellow-breasted apalis, Apalis flavida
- Oriole warbler, Hypergerus atriceps
- Green-backed camaroptera, Camaroptera brachyura
- Yellow-bellied eremomela, Eremomela icteropygialis
- Senegal eremomela, Eremomela pusilla
- Aquatic warbler, Acrocephalus paludicola
- Sedge warbler, Acrocephalus schoenobaenus
- Eurasian reed warbler, Acrocephalus scirpaceus
- African reed warbler, Acrocephalus baeticatus
- Great reed warbler, Acrocephalus arundinaceus
- Greater swamp warbler, Acrocephalus rufescens
- Eastern olivaceous warbler, Iduna pallida
- Western olivaceous warbler, Iduna opaca
- Olive-tree warbler, Hippolais olivetorum
- Melodious warbler, Hippolais polyglotta
- Icterine warbler, Hippolais icterina
- Willow warbler, Phylloscopus trochilus
- Common chiffchaff, Phylloscopus collybita
- Western Bonelli's warbler, Phylloscopus bonelli
- Wood warbler, Phylloscopus sibilatrix
- Yellow-bellied hyliota, Hyliota flavigaster
Sylviid warblers, parrotbills, and allies
The family Sylviidae is a group of small insectivorous passerine birds. They mainly occur as breeding species, as the common name implies, in Europe, Asia and, to a lesser extent, Africa. Most are of generally undistinguished appearance, but many have distinctive songs.
- Eurasian blackcap, Sylvia atricapilla
- Garden warbler, Sylvia borin
- Greater whitethroat, Sylvia communis
- Lesser whitethroat, Sylvia curruca
- African desert warbler, Sylvia deserti
- Western Orphean warbler, Sylvia hortensis
- Rüppell's warbler, Sylvia ruppeli
- Subalpine warbler, Sylvia cantillans
- Sardinian warbler, Sylvia melanocephala
- Spectacled warbler, Sylvia conspicillata
Old World flycatchers
Old World flycatchers are a large group of small passerine birds native to the Old World. They are mainly small arboreal insectivores. The appearance of these birds is highly varied, but they mostly have weak songs and harsh calls.
- Common rock thrush, Monticola saxatilis
- Blue rock thrush, Monticola solitarius
- Pale flycatcher, Melaenornis pallidus
- Northern black flycatcher, Melaenornis edolioides
- Spotted flycatcher, Muscicapa striata
- Gambaga flycatcher, Muscicapa gambagae
- Swamp flycatcher, Muscicapa aquatica
- Cassin's flycatcher, Muscicapa cassini
- Grey tit-flycatcher, Myioparus plumbeus
- European pied flycatcher, Ficedula hypoleuca
- Collared flycatcher, Ficedula albicollis
- Common nightingale, Luscinia megarhynchos
- Bluethroat, Luscinia svecica
- Snowy-crowned robin-chat, Cossypha niveicapilla
- White-crowned robin-chat, Cossypha albicapilla
- Rufous-tailed scrub robin, Cercotrichas galactotes
- Black scrub robin, Cercotrichas podobe
- Black redstart, Phoenicurus ochruros
- Common redstart, Phoenicurus phoenicurus
- Whinchat, Saxicola rubetra
- African stonechat, Saxicola torquatus (A)
- White-tailed wheatear, Oenanthe leucopyga
- Northern wheatear, Oenanthe oenanthe
- Black-eared wheatear, Oenanthe hispanica
- Desert wheatear, Oenanthe deserti
- Isabelline wheatear, Oenanthe isabellina
- Heuglin's wheatear, Oenanthe heuglini
- Familiar chat, Oenanthe familiaris
- Blackstart, Oenanthe melanura
- Northern anteater-chat, Myrmecocichla aethiops
- White-fronted black-chat, Myrmecocichla albifrons
- Mocking cliff-chat, Thamnolaea cinnamomeiventris
The wattle-eyes, or puffback flycatchers, are small stout passerine birds of the African tropics. They get their name from the brightly coloured fleshy eye decorations found in most species in this group. There are 31 species worldwide and 2 species which occur in Mali.
- African blue flycatcher, Elminia longicauda
The monarch flycatchers are small to medium-sized insectivorous passerines which hunt by flycatching.
- Blue-headed crested flycatcher, Trochocercus nitens
- African paradise flycatcher, Terpsiphone viridis
- Fulvous chatterer, Turdoides fulvus
- Blackcap babbler, Turdoides reinwardtii
- Brown babbler, Turdoides plebejus
Chickadees and titmice
The Paridae are mainly small stocky woodland species with short stout bills. Some have crests. They are adaptable birds, with a mixed diet including seeds and insects. There are 59 species worldwide and 1 species which occurs in Mali.
- White-shouldered black-tit, Melaniparus guineensis
Treecreepers are small woodland birds, brown above and white below. They have thin pointed down-curved bills, which they use to extricate insects from bark. They have stiff tail feathers, like woodpeckers, which they use to support themselves on vertical trees.
- African spotted creeper, Salpornis salvadori
The penduline tits are a group of small passerine birds related to the true tits. They are insectivores. There are 13 species worldwide and 2 species which occur in Mali.
Sunbirds and spiderhunters
The sunbirds and spiderhunters are very small passerine birds which feed largely on nectar, although they will also take insects, especially when feeding young. Flight is fast and direct on their short wings. Most species can take nectar by hovering like a hummingbird, but usually perch to feed. There are 131 species worldwide and 10 species which occur in Mali.
- Mouse-brown sunbird, Anthreptes gabonicus
- Western violet-backed sunbird, Anthreptes longuemarei
- Collared sunbird, Hedydipna collaris
- Pygmy sunbird, Hedydipna platura
- Green-headed sunbird, Cyanomitra verticalis
- Scarlet-chested sunbird, Chalcomitra senegalensis
- Beautiful sunbird, Cinnyris pulchellus
- Splendid sunbird, Cinnyris coccinigaster
- Variable sunbird, Cinnyris venustus
- Copper sunbird, Cinnyris cupreus
The white-eyes are small and mostly undistinguished, their plumage above being generally some dull colour like greenish-olive, but some species have a white or bright yellow throat, breast or lower parts, and several have buff flanks. As their name suggests, many species have a white ring around each eye. There are 96 species worldwide and 1 species which occurs in Mali.
- African yellow white-eye, Zosterops senegalensis
Old World orioles
The Old World orioles are colourful passerine birds. They are not related to the New World orioles. There are 29 species worldwide and 2 species which occur in Mali.
Shrikes are passerine birds known for their habit of catching other birds and small animals and impaling the uneaten portions of their bodies on thorns. A typical shrike's beak is hooked, like a bird of prey.
- Red-backed shrike, Lanius collurio
- Isabelline shrike, Lanius isabellinus
- Emin's shrike, Lanius gubernator
- Great grey shrike, Lanius excubitor
- Lesser grey shrike, Lanius minor
- Grey-backed fiscal, Lanius excubitoroides
- Northern fiscal, Lanius humeralis
- Masked shrike, Lanius nubicus
- Woodchat shrike, Lanius senator
- Yellow-billed shrike, Corvinella corvina
Bushshrikes and allies
Bushshrikes are similar in habits to shrikes, hunting insects and other small prey from a perch on a bush. Although similar in build to the shrikes, these tend to be either colourful species or largely black; some species are quite secretive. There are 46 species worldwide and 8 species which occur in Mali.
- Brubru, Nilaus afer
- Northern puffback, Dryoscopus gambensis
- Black-crowned tchagra, Tchagra senegala
- Tropical boubou, Laniarius major
- Common gonolek, Laniarius barbarus
- Sulphur-breasted bushshrike, Telophorus sulfureopectus
- Fiery-breasted bushshrike, Malaconotus cruentus
- Grey-headed bushshrike, Malaconotus blanchoti
Vangas, helmetshrikes, and allies
The helmetshrikes are similar in build to the shrikes, but tend to be colourful species with distinctive crests or other head ornaments, such as wattles, from which they get their name.
- White helmetshrike, Prionops plumatus
The drongos are mostly black or dark grey in colour, sometimes with metallic tints. They have long forked tails, and some Asian species have elaborate tail decorations. They have short legs and sit very upright when perched, like a shrike. They flycatch or take prey from the ground. There are 3 species which occur in Mali.
- Western square-tailed drongo, Dicrurus occidentalis
- Glossy-backed drongo, Dicrurus divaricatus
- Velvet-mantled drongo, Dicrurus modestus
Crows, jays, ravens and magpies
The family Corvidae includes crows, ravens, jays, choughs, magpies, treepies, nutcrackers and ground jays. Corvids are above average in size among the Passeriformes, and some of the larger species show high levels of intelligence. There are 120 species worldwide and 4 species which occur in Mali.
- Piapiac, Ptilostomus afer
- Pied crow, Corvus albus
- Brown-necked raven, Corvus ruficollis
- Fan-tailed raven, Corvus rhipidurus
Starlings are small to medium-sized passerine birds. Their flight is strong and direct and they are very gregarious. Their preferred habitat is fairly open country. They eat insects and fruit. Plumage is typically dark with a metallic sheen. There are 125 species worldwide and 9 species which occur in Mali.
- Greater blue-eared glossy-starling, Lamprotornis chalybaeus
- Lesser blue-eared glossy-starling, Lamprotornis chloropterus
- Bronze-tailed glossy-starling, Lamprotornis chalcurus
- Purple glossy-starling, Lamprotornis purpureus
- Long-tailed glossy-starling, Lamprotornis caudatus
- Chestnut-bellied starling, Lamprotornis pulcher
- Violet-backed starling, Cinnyricinclus leucogaster
- Neumann's starling, Onychognathus neumanni
- Yellow-billed oxpecker, Buphagus africanus
Weavers and allies
The weavers are small passerine birds related to the finches. They are seed-eating birds with rounded conical bills. The males of many species are brightly coloured, usually in red or yellow and black, some species show variation in colour only in the breeding season.
- White-billed buffalo-weaver, Bubalornis albirostris
- Speckle-fronted weaver, Sporopipes frontalis
- Chestnut-crowned sparrow-weaver, Plocepasser superciliosus
- Little weaver, Ploceus luteolus
- Black-necked weaver, Ploceus nigricollis
- Heuglin's masked-weaver, Ploceus heuglini
- Vitelline masked-weaver, Ploceus vitellinus
- Village weaver, Ploceus cucullatus
- Black-headed weaver, Ploceus melanocephalus
- Red-headed weaver, Anaplectes rubriceps
- Red-headed quelea, Quelea erythrops
- Red-billed quelea, Quelea quelea
- Yellow-crowned bishop, Euplectes afer
- Black-winged bishop, Euplectes hordeaceus
- Orange bishop, Euplectes franciscanus
- Fan-tailed widowbird, Euplectes axillaris
- Yellow-shouldered widowbird, Euplectes macroura
- Red-collared widowbird, Euplectes ardens
Waxbills and allies
The estrildid finches are small passerine birds of the Old World tropics and Australasia. They are gregarious and often colonial seed eaters with short thick but pointed bills. They are all similar in structure and habits, but have wide variation in plumage colours and patterns.
- Grey-headed oliveback, Nesocharis capistrata
- Red-winged pytilia, Pytilia phoenicoptera
- Green-winged pytilia, Pytilia melba
- Dybowski's twinspot, Euschistospiza dybowskii (A)
- Bar-breasted firefinch, Lagonosticta rufopicta
- Red-billed firefinch, Lagonosticta senegala
- Black-bellied firefinch, Lagonosticta rara
- African firefinch, Lagonosticta rubricata
- Jameson's firefinch, Lagonosticta rhodopareia
- Mali firefinch, Lagonosticta virata (E)
- Black-faced firefinch, Lagonosticta larvata
- Red-cheeked cordonbleu, Uraeginthus bengalus
- Lavender waxbill, Estrilda caerulescens
- Orange-cheeked waxbill, Estrilda melpoda
- Black-rumped waxbill, Estrilda troglodytes
- Common waxbill, Estrilda astrild
- Zebra waxbill, Sporaeginthus subflavus
- Quailfinch, Ortygospiza atricollis
- Black-faced quailfinch, Ortygospiza atricollis atricollis
- African silverbill, Euodice cantans
- Bronze mannikin, Spermestes cucullatus
- Magpie mannikin, Spermestes fringilloides
- Cut-throat, Amadina fasciata
The indigobirds are finch-like species which usually have black or indigo predominating in their plumage. All are brood parasites, which lay their eggs in the nests of estrildid finches. There are 20 species worldwide and 10 species which occur in Mali.
- Village indigobird, Vidua chalybeata
- Baka indigobird, Vidua larvaticola
- Quailfinch indigobird, Vidua nigeriae (A)
- Variable indigobird, Vidua funerea
- Pale-winged indigobird, Vidua wilsoni
- Cameroon indigobird, Vidua camerunensis
- Pin-tailed whydah, Vidua macroura
- Togo paradise-whydah, Vidua togoensis
- Long-tailed paradise-whydah, Vidua interjecta
- Northern paradise-whydah, Vidua orientalis
Old World buntings
The emberizids are a large family of passerine birds. They are seed-eating birds with distinctively shaped bills. Many emberizid species have distinctive head patterns.
- Ortolan bunting, Emberiza hortulana
- House bunting, Emberiza sahari
- Gosling's bunting, Emberiza goslingi
- Golden-breasted bunting, Emberiza flaviventris
- Brown-rumped bunting, Emberiza affinis
- Cabanis's bunting, Emberiza cabanisi
Finches, euphonias, and allies
Finches are seed-eating passerine birds, that are small to moderately large and have a strong beak, usually conical and in some species very large. All have twelve tail feathers and nine primaries. These birds have a bouncing flight with alternating bouts of flapping and gliding on closed wings, and most sing well.
- White-rumped seedeater, Crithagra leucopygius
- Yellow-fronted canary, Crithagra mozambicus
- West African seedeater, Crithagra canicapilla
- Trumpeter finch, Bucanetes githaginea
Old World sparrows
Old World sparrows are small passerine birds. In general, sparrows tend to be small, plump, brown or grey birds with short tails and short powerful beaks. Sparrows are seed eaters, but they also consume small insects.
- Grey-headed sparrow, Passer griseus
- Desert sparrow, Passer simplex
- Sudan golden-sparrow, Passer luteus
- Yellow-spotted petronia, Gymnoris pyrgita
- Bush petronia, Gymnoris dentata
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