The area on either side of the Gambia River, immediately east of the divisional capital Basse Santa Su, 350 km from the coast, is a modified but representative example of typical habitat originally found in the Upper River Division. Prufu swamp is a seasonal, rain-fed freshwater marsh. Prufu Bolon, a tributary of the Gambia River, flows through the marsh. There are patches of riverine woodland and thicket along the bolon and on the riverbank just east of Basse. On the north bank of the river there are further areas of seasonal marsh and degraded savanna, some of it cleared for agriculture, on thin soils above a low laterite escarpment close to the village of Darsilami, which is on the main north bank road.
See Box and Table 2 for key species. The area is the ornithologically best-known part of the Upper River Division. The recently discovered population of Galerida modesta is known only from degraded savanna around Darsilami, although it is probably more widespread. Characteristic species of riverine thickets are Musophaga violacea, Cossypha albicapilla and Hypergerus atriceps. The Basse area is a focus for occasional sightings of Streptopelia hypopyrrha, Lagonosticta rufopicta and L. larvata. The former species was discovered in riverine habitats in this region of The Gambia in the 1990s. Merops bulocki, another eastern Gambian species, has a small breeding colony near Prufu swamp. Small numbers of Circus macrourus are regularly reported in the early dry season.
Non-bird biodiversity: None known to BirdLife International.
Pressure/threats to key biodiversity
The swamps are grazed by livestock during the rains and early dry season when rice is also cultivated. Upland arable cultivation occurs around Darsilami. Gathering of wood and timber in the area is widespread and probably uncontrolled. No conservation measures have been taken.
BirdLife International (2019) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Prufu - Darsilami area. Downloaded from
http://www.birdlife.org on 13/12/2019.