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GHANA: Window into West African birding

Egyptian Plover on the banks of the White Volta, photographed by guide Phil Gregory
In search of numerous West African specialties as well as White-necked Rockfowl.

Safe and politically stable, Ghana is an exciting birding destination, featuring excellent opportunities for a number of West African endemics and other highly prized avian species. Foremost perhaps among those endemics is the legendary White-necked Rockfowl, Picathartes gymnocephalus, a sensational prize. The site here in Ghana is one of the best in West Africa, with a colony of the birds constructing their bulky mudcup nests on an overhanging rock face deep in the forest. Enjoying this "charisma bird," a member of a family consisting of just two species, will doubtless be one of the highlights of the tour.

We will visit several of the country's national parks, including Kakum Forest with its secure canopy walkway, ideal for providing access to a range of canopy dwellers. In addition to many world-class species, Kakum Forest hosts a remarkable array of hornbills: Black-casqued and Yellow-casqued, the rare and endemic Brown-cheeked, both Red-billed and Black Dwarf, and White-crested! We'll also visit Bobiri Butterfly Sanctuary, critical in conserving another fragment of the sorely endangered West African primary lowland forest; nearby Atewa reserve, conserving forest that holds additional species (Red-cheeked Wattle-eye, a chance of Yellow-throated Cuckoo, Black-and-white Shrike-flycatcher, plus the recently split Blue-moustached Bee-eater, and just maybe the rare and little-known Nimba Flycatcher); the drier savannas at Shai Hills (Blue-bellied Roller, Vieillot's Barbet); and Mole National Park, where Long-tailed and Standard-winged nightjars, Forbes's Plover, and Abyssinian Ground-Hornbill are all possible. A foray north to the Burkina Faso border takes in the distinct family represented by the amazing Egyptian Plover.

Our tour also includes Ankasa National Park, a pristine wet-evergreen forest near the western border that holds many special birds. A few of these include Hartlaub's Duck, Congo Serpent-Eagle, Shining-blue and White-bellied kingfishers, Cassin's and Black spinetails, Rufous-sided Broadbill, and the Guinea form of Dusky Long-tailed Cuckoo that is likely a split-in-waiting.

Ghana is home to an impressive diversity of butterflies, and you can see a PDF of a small selection of those seen on our 2011 tour here.

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2018 Departures
Mar 29 - Apr 17 ($6975)

2019 Departures
Mar 21 - Apr 9

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Guides for our tours
Phil Gregory

What to Expect
Good to basic accommodations, warm to hot but dry climate. Some moderate walks but none strenuous, though reasonable fitness is needed for the Picathartes trek.

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