About Ousman, Bird Guide in Gambia
About Ousman Joku – Gambia Bird Guide
I am a married man with two young sons living in Kunkujang Jattaya, the village where I grew up. I am passionate about the wildlife of my beautiful country, especially the bird life. When not leading tours I spend much of my time in research, seeking out new locations to find rare birds and interesting habitats which give my visitors a wonderful experience of the real Gambia.
Although I take my professional role very seriously I think the people who meet me find that I have a really good sense of fun. They enjoy the variety of experiences, both natural history and cultural, on a tour with me. I really love the fact that my guiding work allows me to meet people from many countries and that some of these people have become good friends with many return visits to Gambia to go bird watching with me.
My Work as a Bird Guide in Gambia
I am a fully qualified professional bird guide with many years’ experience. I have been watching birds since I was a child when I was fascinated by the weaver birds around my village and so it was always my ambition to become a bird guide. After graduating from St Peter’s High School I studied for 18 months at the Abuko Nature Reserve under the Department of Parks and Wild Life Management. I was trained by Solomon Jallow who ensured that I had a detailed knowledge of all the wonderful flora and fauna of my country, not just the birds. I was proud to graduate as the best student in my class. I then gained further qualifications with the Makasutu Wildlife Trust where I passed with distinction.
I am now licensed with the Gambia Tourist Board as a bird guide and I am a member of the advisory board of the Gambia Bird Watching Association.
For several years I led tours for many international companies including Birdfinders, Birdholidays, Naturetrek, Habitat Africa, West African Tours, Kontika (Finland) and for 4 years I was chief guide for Hidden Gambia.
My research has helped me to identify new sites, accessible to the coast, for Abyssinisn Ground Hornbill, Standard-winged Nightjar and a variety of owls. Further inland new sites for White-crested Tiger Heron, Pel’s Fishing Owl, Wood Owl and Black Crowned Crane have been located. I also make use of a wide network of contacts across the country who help me to identify where the more difficult birds have most recently been seen.