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Field Guides Tour Report
Ghana II 2013
Apr 10, 2013 to Apr 26, 2013
Phil Gregory & James Ntakor

African Pygmy-Geese are not geese at all, but perching ducks, aligned most closely with such diverse species as Muscovy Duck, Ringed Teal, and Wood Duck. (Photo by guide Phil Gregory)

Ghana has really come to the fore in recent years with some outstanding birds and the chance to see many of the Upper Guinea endemics that are unavailable elsewhere at this time, so it was great to return to West Africa once again in 2013 and also to get the chance to do a second tour after the first one, which made for an interesting comparison. The final result was very similar in terms of overall species numbers, maybe 15 less on the second tour which saw fewer shorebirds and terns and did not have the whole morning at Shai Hills, but amazingly there were around 40 species different on the two trips, reflecting the later date of the second tour, wetter conditions, and a different group.

Happily the two great stars, the White-necked Picathartes and the Egyptian Plover, showed very well again, and there were some nice bonuses as well: actually seeing Brown Nightjar; a male Standard-winged Nightjar in full plumage along with a nearby female and baby; great flight views of Rosy Bee-eater; Capuchin Babbler; and a wonderful forest skulker group at Ankasa which gave Green-tailed Bristlebill, Forest Robin and White-tailed Alethe showing amazingly well.

Ghana is a vibrant, lively country that looks to be doing well; the roads are passable and the country is clearly keen to develop tourism, so you don't get hassled at the numerous police roadblocks. The people are friendly and you get many spontaneous waves and smiles, which is always nice. Its big birding attraction is some sizeable blocks of the greatly threatened Upper Guinea forest that are still fairly intact, and access to the Guinea savana and the edges of the Sahel zone in the far north. Coffee, it has to be said, is dire, and internet access very tricky, but the local food is tasty and we were kept well supplied with bananas and biscuits on the bus- I set a personal best for ginger snaps this tour.

Being in West Africa, Ghana is of course a hot and often humid country, but we were lucky with no major power outages for this tour. Vehicle unavailability meant we had to walk to the ponds at Ankasa from the mudhole, but we managed very well and it was interesting to bird the main track. It all worked out nicely and we ended up with an impressive list and some truly memorable sightings and experiences. This year was much greener than normal in the north and east due to early rains, so again we had quite a few unexpected sightings and Phil added another 11 species (plus 5 lifers!) to his Ghana list on what was his fifth tour here.

The Accra/Tema area offers a fine introduction, with some nice  species at Shai Hills, including the much sought-after Blue-bellied Roller, Vieillot's Barbet at the hotel, and White-crowned (Mocking) Cliff-Chat. Gambian Mongoose was a good and unexpected mammal tick here too. We saw a few migrant Palearctic shorebirds at Sakumono lagoon, as well as Black Heron and Western Reef Heron. Winneba Plains gave us Senegal Plover, African Hobby at nest, a very obliging Guinea Turaco and Red-winged Warbler, whilst a nearby small lily pond had beautiful African Pygmy-Goose. Winneba Lagoon gave us White-fronted Plover and Eurasian Curlew, whilst the distinctive West African race of Royal Tern was a nice find.

Happily the much-delayed Martha was able to catch up with us in time for Kakum Walkway, which is quite an experience, and a super way to see many forest species including Fire-bellied Woodpecker, Rosy Bee-eater, Large-billed (Sabine's)
Puffback, Yellow-mantled Weaver, Golden Greenbul, and Violet-backed Hyliota. Our dusk foray here was brilliant, with first of all an amazing spot of Brown Nightjar by Petra, then views of Potto, Prince Demidoff's Bushbaby and best of all, Pel's Anomalure, a fantastic mammal trifecta. Other great birds nearby included Cassin's, Sabine's and Black spinetails, Black Bee-eater, Chestnut-bellied Helmetshrike, Red-vented Malimbe, and Buff-throated, Blue-throated Brown, Fraser's, Olive-bellied, Tiny, and Johanna's sunbirds. An afternoon at Abrafo (Ebekawopa) Forest gave us more Sabine's Spinetail, Buff-throated Sunbird, Chestnut-winged Starling and a fabulous adult Long-tailed Hawk that flew in late and sat for some time. We also had a neat cultural experience at Antikwaa, being shown how they harvest the sap for palm wine, and also distill a potent spirit. Palm wine tasted pretty good too.

Our next stop was over at Ankasa NP in the far west, and this was memorable for great views of Hartlaub's Duck, Shining-Blue Kingfisher, Yellow-billed and Great Blue Turaco, Rufous-sided Broadbill, Bristle-nosed Barbet, Yellow-bearded, Western Bearded and Swamp Palm greenbuls, and for some of us a very skulking Rufous-winged Illadopsis, plus Mouse-brown and Reichenbach's sunbirds nearby and Carmelite Sunbirds at our hotel. Coming back to Kakum, we scored well with Long-tailed Nightjar and Fraser's Eagle-Owl at dusk, not too far from the lodge. Good we made time for the stop.

White-necked Picathartes (Rockfowl) is the flagship species, and there is a terrific site that is being looked after by the local villagers and where your chances of seeing this legendary bird are very good. Our tour this year had just about ten minutes wait on the newly constructed benches, then a picathartes hopped in on the rock edge above, vanished and reappeared several times before hopping down over the boulders near the rock overhang. In the end, we had great views of at least 2 and maybe 3 birds, a wonderful experience for all of us, and Jenny made her entrance in brilliant time just as the birds appeared. Phil still needs a photo, and his fall on the wet and muddy track on the way in made for a painful afternoon. My thanks for all the various medications from a solicitous group which got me through the rest of the trip largely one-handed!

Heading up-country we got into a much drier habitat from Kumasi northwards, with Mole NP a very diverting stop. En route we stopped at a new forest site for Blue-headed Bee-eater, which sadly chose not to show, but Capuchin Babbler was nice compensation. Star birds at Mole included Standard-winged Nightjar and a marvellous Grayish Eagle-Owl at the airstrip, incredible views of Stone Partridge, the much desired and hard to find Forbes's Plover, Black Scimitarbill, White Helmetshrike, the elusive Chestnut-crowned Sparrow-Weaver, Violet Turaco and Familiar Chat. African Elephants right by the track were also a marvellous experience.

Heading still further north we got Fox Kestrel, Rock-loving Cisticola and White-rumped Seedeater at the striking granite boulder country of the Tongo Hills sacred shrine area, then got into some far-northern species like Chestnut-bellied and Long-tailed starlings, Yellow-billed Oxpeckers on cattle, White-billed Buffalo-Weaver, Speckle-fronted Weaver, Spotted Thick-knee, Small Buttonquail, unexpected Singing Bushlark, and best of all, the great prize: Egyptian Plover right on the Burkina Faso border, where there were at least 7 fine adults on the sandbars in the White Volta and also feeding in the wet ploughed fields.

Going back south, the fascinating Bobiri butterfly sanctuary gave us a wonderful view of Red-thighed Sparrowhawk, Blue Cuckooshrike, Forest Wood-hoopoe, a flyby of Afep Pigeon and again Magpie Mannikin in the seeding bamboos, plus some fantastic butterflies--this tiny site has over 420 species recorded, an astonishing diversity though Atewa has over 600!

This latter site gave us an elusive Red-cheeked Wattle-eye which a few of us saw, plus displaying Crowned Eagles as the last addition to the trip sightings. Other notables included Western Bluebill, Black-capped Apalis, Purple-throated Cuckooshrike, Black-necked and Grosbeak weavers, and an amazingly co-operative Puvel's illadopsis that most folks saw well.

It was another memorable Ghana tour, and thanks to James, Andrew, and Appiah from Ashanti African Tours for their hard work and good humor. Thanks to James for the use of his phone too. Also to Sharon at FG HQ for her hard work, and many thanks as well to a convivial and enthusiastic group who had a great introduction to this terrific West African destination and made it a fun tour to lead. Particular thanks to Jenny, Petra, and Manfred for the medications which helped me continue the trip despite my arm problem. Glenda kindly brought a surplus spare pair of binoculars which found a grateful recipient in Andrew, a nice gesture, and I know the donation to the Picathartes Primary School being built by Ashanti African Tours will be appreciated too. We were also able to make good use of Andrew and his vast knowledge of Ghana's 1000+ butterflies and their amazing names, which added another dimension to the trip. I hope to share adventures with you again, and already look forward to Ghana 2014.

--Phil Gregory, Accra and Addis Ababa April 2013

One of the following keys may be shown in brackets for individual species as appropriate: * = heard only, I = introduced, E = endemic, N = nesting, a = austral migrant, b = boreal migrant

Anatidae (Ducks, Geese, and Waterfowl)
WHITE-FACED WHISTLING-DUCK (Dendrocygna viduata) – About 130 seen at Sakumono Lagoon, 30 in Mole NP and then over 1500 at Tono Dam.
HARTLAUB'S DUCK (Pteronetta hartlaubii) – Four birds on a muddy mangrove site by the Ebi River, which gave nice views.

A well-camouflaged Spotted Thick-knee, one of three birds we found at Tono Dam. (Photo by tour participant Randy Siebert)

SPUR-WINGED GOOSE (Plectropterus gambensis gambensis) – 12 up at Tono Dam were the only sighting.
AFRICAN PYGMY-GOOSE (Nettapus auritus) – Great views of a male and 3 females of this little gem on a small farmbush lily pond near Hut D'Eric, always a terrific bird to get. I was amazed they were here as the pond had 4 fisherman wading about in it.
Numididae (Guineafowl)
HELMETED GUINEAFOWL (Numida meleagris galeatus) – Common in Mole NP and many feral birds in the far north
Phasianidae (Pheasants, Grouse, and Allies)
AHANTA FRANCOLIN (Francolinus ahantensis) – Heard very close by at Antikwaa, but my tape is from Gambia and not quite the same as the local one. [*]
DOUBLE-SPURRED FRANCOLIN (Francolinus bicalcaratus) – The common spurfowl in the bush areas, with small numbers at Mole NP.
STONE PARTRIDGE (Ptilopachus petrosus) – Two glimpsed at Shai Hills, and seen very nicely at Mole NP with 2 at the lodge then 3 in the road near dusk, which gave incredible views. There is a big buff patch on the lower breast which is not shown in the illustrations.
Podicipedidae (Grebes)
LITTLE GREBE (LITTLE) (Tachybaptus ruficollis ruficollis) – We saw 4 adults very well on the Ebi River.
Ciconiidae (Storks)
ABDIM'S STORK (Ciconia abdimii) – One soaring over at Mole was an unexpected trip bird.
WOOLLY-NECKED STORK (Ciconia episcopus microscelis) – Two in Mole NP were a good find.
SADDLE-BILLED STORK (Ephippiorhynchus senegalensis) – At last it goes on my Ghana list, there was a single bird at a wet area in Mole, which is seemingly the usual site if they are around.
Phalacrocoracidae (Cormorants and Shags)
LONG-TAILED CORMORANT (Phalacrocorax africanus) – Seen at Sakumono Lagoon plus a few at Tono Dam and the White Volta wetlands.
Scopidae (Hamerkop)
HAMERKOP (Scopus umbretta) – Small numbers in the drier regions, and a couple of their huge nests were seen in Mole NP.
Ardeidae (Herons, Egrets, and Bitterns)
GRAY HERON (Ardea cinerea) – Just a single at Sakumono was it for the trip.
BLACK-HEADED HERON (Ardea melanocephala) – One at the Nasia Pond was the only record.
PURPLE HERON (Ardea purpurea) – Two at Nasia Pond were the only sighting.
GREAT EGRET (AFRICAN) (Ardea alba melanorhyncha) – A couple at Sakumono, one at Winneba Lagoon and a single at the Ebi River. Curiously scarce.
INTERMEDIATE EGRET (Mesophoyx intermedia brachyrhyncha) – Just a single at Sakumono was it for the trip, they are scarce in Ghana.
LITTLE EGRET (Egretta garzetta) – Just 3 at Sakumono, another curiously scarce species here.
WESTERN REEF-HERON (WESTERN) (Egretta gularis gularis) – Just 4 at Sakumono, all dark phase birds with white chins, and one at Ebi River, which was lucky for Martha.
BLACK HERON (Egretta ardesiaca) – Only seen at Sakumono, where we saw just 2 birds.
CATTLE EGRET (Bubulcus ibis) – Seen almost every day of the trip, this is the western taxon which is split by the IOC from the Eastern birds.
SQUACCO HERON (Ardeola ralloides) – Three at Sakumono, and a couple at Nasia Pond.
STRIATED HERON (Butorides striata) – Singles at Winneba Lagoon, Ankasa, Mole and at Tono Dam.
BLACK-CROWNED NIGHT-HERON (EURASIAN) (Nycticorax nycticorax nycticorax) – Eleven at Sakumono near the golf course, and 15 at Brimsu at dusk.
Threskiornithidae (Ibises and Spoonbills)
GLOSSY IBIS (Plegadis falcinellus) – One was seen by some at Sakumono on the first afternoon.
HADADA IBIS (Bostrychia hagedash) – Four at Mole NP were the only records.
Accipitridae (Hawks, Eagles, and Kites)
BLACK-SHOULDERED KITE (Elanus caeruleus) – Just two day records from Tema and Winneba.
AFRICAN HARRIER-HAWK (Polyboroides typus) – Four day records, with an adult and a juv at Antikwaa.
PALM-NUT VULTURE (Gypohierax angolensis) – Just two sightings of singles, from Kakum and Ankasa.

A Red-chested Goshawk looking angry. Could it be because the West African field guide still treats it as a race of African Goshawk? (Photo by tour participant Randy Siebert)

AFRICAN CUCKOO-HAWK (Aviceda cuculoides) – One at Shai Hills, then one at Mole NP. It is obviously a Baza, strange that this name has not been used (it used to be called the even worse Cuckoo Falcon)
WHITE-HEADED VULTURE (Trigonoceps occipitalis) – Great flight views of 2 of this rare bird in Mole NP, always much scarcer than its compatriots.
HOODED VULTURE (Necrosyrtes monachus) – Small numbers, they have crashed from their former abundance but you still see a handful most days, probably not for much longer given what is happening to vultures planet-wide. Around 8 at Mole was the day maximum.
WHITE-BACKED VULTURE (Gyps africanus) – Sadly only seen in Mole NP with just 8 on one day, the future does not look bright for them.
BATELEUR (Terathopius ecaudatus) – Another striking raptor that is in steep decline, we saw one near Mole NP, and 4 birds next day.
BEAUDOUIN'S SNAKE-EAGLE (Circaetus beaudouini) – Two good sightings from the roads, with one perched as we came out of Mole NP then another in flight as we came south of the White Volta.
CROWNED HAWK-EAGLE (Stephanoaetus coronatus) – Heard calling in display from the bamboo cathedral at Ankasa, then two fine adults in display high over Atewa as we were leaving, the last seen addition to the trip list and saving Randy an ethical dilemma over countability....It was a new species for our Ghana tour too.
AYRES'S HAWK-EAGLE (Hieraaetus ayresii) – A good look at one over the track at Atewa on the last morning, always a difficult bird to get.
LIZARD BUZZARD (Kaupifalco monogrammicus) – Just a couple of sightings from roadside wires at Winneba. Another species that is strangely scarce in Ghana.
DARK CHANTING-GOSHAWK (Melierax metabates) – Great views of two singles by the road near Mole and then up near Bolgatanga.
GRASSHOPPER BUZZARD (Butastur rufipennis) – Three day records starting as we neared Kintampo, with 6 birds in Mole the max day total.
EURASIAN MARSH-HARRIER (Circus aeruginosus) – A single female plumaged bird north of Tamale.
RED-CHESTED GOSHAWK (Accipiter toussenelii) – Great looks at a calling bird at Aboabo, that tail pattern is very distinct and I am surprised Borrow does not split this from African Goshawk in his Field Guide, as even Clements splits it!
SHIKRA (Accipiter badius) – Just two singles from Shai Hills and near Winneba, another oddly local bird in Ghana.
RED-THIGHED SPARROWHAWK (Accipiter erythropus erythropus) – A very good look at one at Bobiri, which seems to be a good site for it.
LONG-TAILED HAWK (Urotriorchis macrourus) – We had a great perched view of this strange species at Abrafo Forest late in the afternoon. A fabulous bird, one I'd wanted to see ever since the publication of the Brown and Amadon "Eagles Hawks and Falcons" volumes of the 1960's and a tick for me just the previous trip.
BLACK KITE (YELLOW-BILLED) (Milvus migrans parasitus) – Now split by all bar Clements, we saw this almost every day of the trip.
RED-NECKED BUZZARD (Buteo auguralis) – A good trip for this species with 6 day records, we saw them at Winneba, then again near Ankasa, at Ebi River and in Mole NP.
Otididae (Bustards)
STANLEY BUSTARD (Neotis denhami denhami) – One of the trip highlights was two males and a female on the Brugbani Loop in Mole NP, with one male having the neck all fluffed out in display. A lucky find, maybe the early rains have stimulated them to move in. Note that Stanley Bustard is the South African race, this taxon is usually called Denham's Bustard.
Rallidae (Rails, Gallinules, and Coots)
WHITE-SPOTTED FLUFFTAIL (Sarothrura pulchra) – Heard at Antikwaa and we managed to lure one into showing briefly in a gap by the the stream, with 2 others calling nearby.
BLACK CRAKE (Amaurornis flavirostra) – One at Mankessim pond was the sole sighting.
PURPLE SWAMPHEN (AFRICAN) (Porphyrio porphyrio madagascariensis) – One at Sakumono, this whole complex needs breaking up into 5 or 6 species.
EURASIAN MOORHEN (Gallinula chloropus) – One at Mankessim pond and one along Stingless Bee Road were the only sightings.
Burhinidae (Thick-knees)
SENEGAL THICK-KNEE (Burhinus senegalensis) – Seen at Sakumono and Tono Dam, and heard at Mole NP. Odd how Water Thick-knee seems to be rare here and this one occupies its habitat.
SPOTTED THICK-KNEE (Burhinus capensis maculosus) – This was a nice find at Tono Dam, with 3 birds, new for our Ghana tours and my first since 1988!
Charadriidae (Plovers and Lapwings)
SPUR-WINGED PLOVER (Vanellus spinosus) – Seen at Sakumono, Mole NP and the White Volta, max. 5 birds.

One of the star birds of the tour- an Egyptian Plover along the White Volta at Bawku. (Photo by tour participant Randy Siebert)

BLACK-HEADED LAPWING (Vanellus tectus tectus) – Two at Tono Dam were a useful find of an attractive species.
SENEGAL LAPWING (Vanellus lugubris) – Two plus another 2 later were a very exciting find at Winneba of an uncommon and elusive migrant.
WATTLED LAPWING (Vanellus senegallus) – A few at Sakumono and Mole, also on the riverine wetlands.
BLACK-BELLIED PLOVER (Pluvialis squatarola) – 4 at Winneba Lagoon.
COMMON RINGED PLOVER (Charadrius hiaticula) – 30 at Sakumono on the shingle there, and some folks saw it at Ebi River.
FORBES'S PLOVER (Charadrius forbesi) – Nice looks at 3 at Mole in the favourite plover area, and the sweat bees were bearable this trip!
WHITE-FRONTED PLOVER (Charadrius marginatus mechowi) – A couple at Winneba Lagoon, a nice tour addition.
Recurvirostridae (Stilts and Avocets)
BLACK-WINGED STILT (Himantopus himantopus) – About 70 at Sakumono and 30 at Winneba Lagoon were the only records.
Jacanidae (Jacanas)
AFRICAN JACANA (Actophilornis africanus) – Widespread in small numbers in the wetlands.
Scolopacidae (Sandpipers and Allies)
COMMON SANDPIPER (Actitis hypoleucos) – Just a single on the Pra River at Twifo Praso.
COMMON GREENSHANK (Tringa nebularia) – One at Sakumono, 6 at Winneba Lagoon and one at Ebi River.
WOOD SANDPIPER (Tringa glareola) – One at Sakumono and 2 at Ebi River were the only records.
COMMON REDSHANK (Tringa totanus) – Four at Winneba Lagoon were the only sighting.
WHIMBREL (Numenius phaeopus) – Two at Sakumono and 4 at Winneba Lagoon, now split from Hudsonian Whimbrel.
EURASIAN CURLEW (Numenius arquata) – Two at Winneba Lagoon were a good trip bird.
RUDDY TURNSTONE (Arenaria interpres) – One at Winneba Lagoon, odd to see this here in West Africa.
LITTLE STINT (Calidris minuta) – Ten at Sakumono were the only record.
Turnicidae (Buttonquail)
SMALL BUTTONQUAIL (Turnix sylvaticus lepurana) – One was flushed at Tono Dam and we got a pretty good flight view, in the same place as on the last tour.
Glareolidae (Pratincoles and Coursers)
EGYPTIAN PLOVER (Pluvianus aegyptius) – One of the trip megas, we had great looks at at least 7 of them on the White Volta at Bawku, feeding and resting on the sandbars there. Split out by most as a separate family these days and they are certainly very distinctive, a terrific bird, I just wish I'd been able to photograph the ones in the ploughed field, which we saw from the bus! The heavy rain storm has kept the locals away and the damp fields were clearly a food source.
ROCK PRATINCOLE (RUFOUS-NAPED) (Glareola nuchalis liberiae) – Very nice looks at 3 of them on the rocks at the Pra River at Twifo Praso, this is the chestnut-collared West African taxon.
Rostratulidae (Painted-Snipes)
GREATER PAINTED-SNIPE (Rostratula benghalensis) – A single male was flushed at Nasia Pond, this seems to be a good site for it.
Laridae (Gulls, Terns, and Skimmers)
BLACK TERN (EURASIAN) (Chlidonias niger niger) – Eleven at Sakumono.
WHITE-WINGED TERN (Chlidonias leucopterus) – A fine summer plumage adult at Sakumono Lagoon, I much prefer the old name of White-winged Black Tern as it is so apt for this species.
ROYAL TERN (AFRICAN) (Thalasseus maximus albididorsalis) – Fifteen at Winneba Lagoon were a pleasing addition to the trip, and quite a distinctive taxon.

It may well feed on plantains, but the Western Plantain-eater is far more likely to be seen eating smaller fruits like figs. (Photo by tour participant Randy Siebert)

SANDWICH TERN (Thalasseus sandvicensis) – One seen at Sakumono Lagoon.
Pteroclidae (Sandgrouse)
FOUR-BANDED SANDGROUSE (Pterocles quadricinctus) – About 14 birds at Tono Dam were a very nice trip addition, and they showed very well.
Columbidae (Pigeons and Doves)
ROCK PIGEON (Columba livia) – A few in the urban areas. [I]
SPECKLED PIGEON (Columba guinea guinea) – Only seen in the far north from Nasia Pond on, and in small numbers.
AFEP PIGEON (Columba unicincta) – Two of this distinctive pale Columba flew by at Bobiri, giving a good flight view, lucky as they were not calling at all.
MOURNING COLLARED-DOVE (Streptopelia decipiens) – A couple at Tono Dam were seen nicely.
RED-EYED DOVE (Streptopelia semitorquata) – Six day records of ones and twos, and only in the south.
VINACEOUS DOVE (Streptopelia vinacea) – First at Shai Hills, then common from Mole northwards.
LAUGHING DOVE (Streptopelia senegalensis) – Seen on most days of the tour.
BLACK-BILLED WOOD-DOVE (Turtur abyssinicus) – A few sightings in the north from Mole onwards.
BLUE-SPOTTED WOOD-DOVE (Turtur afer) – Three day records from Shai Hills, then Ankasa and Aboabo.
TAMBOURINE DOVE (Turtur tympanistria) – Widespread and vocal in the forest zones.
NAMAQUA DOVE (Oena capensis) – A few around Tono Dam.
BRUCE'S GREEN-PIGEON (Treron waalia) – Seen at Mole NP then at Tono Dam.
AFRICAN GREEN-PIGEON (Treron calvus) – Five day records, the most being 5 at Kakum.
Musophagidae (Turacos)
GREAT BLUE TURACO (Corythaeola cristata) – One was seen nicely at Ankasa, an amazing species, just looking and sounding so bizarre.
GUINEA TURACO (Tauraco persa) – A great scope view of one at Winneba Plains, and heard at Kakum and Opro FR. [E]
YELLOW-BILLED TURACO (Tauraco macrorhynchus) – Tough again this trip, but we got them nicely a couple of times at Ankasa. [E]
VIOLET TURACO (Musophaga violacea) – A great look at one as we came into Mole NP, an important trip bird.
WESTERN PLANTAIN-EATER (Crinifer piscator) – Five day records from the south, starting at Shai Hills.
Cuculidae (Cuckoos)
PIED CUCKOO (Clamator jacobinus pica) – One flew down river at the White Volta at the plover site and hid in huge mango tree where it began calling, always a scarce bird on these tours so this was a nice find.
LEVAILLANT'S CUCKOO (Clamator levaillantii) – Two single records from Shai Hills and then Winneba.
RED-CHESTED CUCKOO (Cuculus solitarius) – One at Abrafo Forest was the first I'd actually seen in Ghana; another was heard in Mole NP.
BLACK CUCKOO (Cuculus clamosus gabonensis) – A great view of the red-chested forest taxon at Bobiri, and heard at Opro and Aboabo.

A sparkling male African Emerald Cuckoo was one of the many fabulous birds we got eye level views of from the superb canopy walkway at Kakum. (Photo by tour participant Randy Siebert)

AFRICAN CUCKOO (Cuculus gularis) – A fine view of a flying bird at Tono Dam, and heard at Winneba.
OLIVE LONG-TAILED CUCKOO (Cercococcyx olivinus) – Heard at Abrafo and Bobiri but as elusive as ever. [*]
YELLOW-THROATED CUCKOO (Chrysococcyx flavigularis) – One responded to my tape trolling just as we were leaving Atewa, and it started to come in but we simply ran out of time. A rare and little-known bird, with the host still unknown. [*]
KLAAS'S CUCKOO (Chrysococcyx klaas) – Seen at several sites and again it was about the only cuckoo that was calling a lot this tour.
AFRICAN EMERALD CUCKOO (Chrysococcyx cupreus) – An extraordinarily obliging male sat out at eye level at Kakum Walkway and we got some stunning photos, an incredible look. We also had a female at Bobiri and a brief look at a male at Aboabo.
DIDERIC CUCKOO (Chrysococcyx caprius) – Just one at Antikwaa and one at Atewa, the only places we heard it calling this tour.
YELLOWBILL (Ceuthmochares aereus) – Seen from from Kakum and at Bobiri, often now split as Blue Malkoha, distinct from the Kenyan and South African species.
BLACK-THROATED COUCAL (Centropus leucogaster) – Heard at Kakum, Bobiri and Aboabo but as elusive as always. [*]
BLUE-HEADED COUCAL (Centropus monachus) – A nice look at Aboabo after hearing it at various sites.
SENEGAL COUCAL (Centropus senegalensis) – Seen at our hotel then at Shai Hills, then again on four other days.
Strigidae (Owls)
NORTHERN WHITE-FACED OWL (Ptilopsis leucotis) – One was calling by the hotel at Koforidua and we went out after it, getting a moderate flight view as it lit out of the big tree it was in. A new species for the tour and one I had not seen since my Nigerian days!
GRAYISH EAGLE-OWL (Bubo cinerascens) – A tremendous bird was again at Mole airstrip, and gave some great looks.
FRASER'S EAGLE-OWL (Bubo poensis) – A great pick up at Brimsu, it came in without calling and Andrew luckily picked up on it. The dark eyes are very distinctive.
Caprimulgidae (Nightjars and Allies)
STANDARD-WINGED NIGHTJAR (Macrodipteryx longipennis) – A trip highlight was seeing a tiny chick and then a female on the airstrip at Mole, followed by great looks at a full-plumaged male sat on the laterite, just wonderful and Randy got a great shot.
BROWN NIGHTJAR (Caprimulgus binotatus) – Once again heard at Kakum walkway late afternoon, when they seem to call then go quiet and non-responsive. However this one was live and responded to the tape, and Petra suddenly picked it out sat on bush not too far out, where we could see it's odd dark chocolate colouration and white throat patch in the spotlight. James had not seen it since 2010 so we were dead lucky. Usually now placed in Veles too as it's an odd forest species unlike most other nightjars. [*]
BLACK-SHOULDERED NIGHTJAR (Caprimulgus nigriscapularis) – Heard calling near Abrafo but not responsive. New for the tour anyway. [*]
LONG-TAILED NIGHTJAR (Caprimulgus climacurus) – A fine bird on road at Brimsu, it sat really well.
Apodidae (Swifts)
BLACK SPINETAIL (Telacanthura melanopygia) – One from the Kakum walkway was a good find, as was another at Ankasa. [E]
SABINE'S SPINETAIL (Rhaphidura sabini) – A good tour for them, with fantastic views of 3 circling and calling with Cassin's Spinetail at Kakum, and then 2 at Ankasa.
CASSIN'S SPINETAIL (Neafrapus cassini) – A single from Kakum and 2 at Ankasa, a large odd spinetail shaped like a stealth bomber, and which is always elusive. Good views of the upperside were really nice.
COMMON SWIFT (Apus apus) – Four day records with 2 at Kakum, 6 at Mole, 20 near Kumasi and 2 at Bobiri.

What's the difference between a standard nightjar and a Standard-winged Nightjar? Just a couple of elaborate wing plumes. (Photo by tour participant Randy Siebert)

LITTLE SWIFT (Apus affinis) – Widespread and common by road culverts.
WHITE-RUMPED SWIFT (Apus caffer) – Just 5, once again on the way out from Mole, a scarce species in Ghana.
AFRICAN PALM-SWIFT (Cypsiurus parvus) – Widespread in small numbers.
Trogonidae (Trogons)
NARINA TROGON (Apaloderma narina) – A male was calling and was seen by many at Bobiri, a shame it did not sit out for long. [*]
Alcedinidae (Kingfishers)
SHINING-BLUE KINGFISHER (Alcedo quadribrachys) – Two lovely birds at Ankasa pond 1 were unexpected, and also a pain as they seemingly exclude the White-bellied Kingfisher, which we only heard today!
MALACHITE KINGFISHER (Corythornis cristatus) – Two day records, seen at Mole and Tono.
WHITE-BELLIED KINGFISHER (Corythornis leucogaster) – Sadly only heard at the pond at Ankasa, then down in the bamboo cathedral and next day on the tree trail, a very tough species to get. Sorry Petra! [*]
AFRICAN PYGMY-KINGFISHER (Ispidina picta) – Some nice views of this little gem, best at Shai Hills and Mole.
CHOCOLATE-BACKED KINGFISHER (Halcyon badia) – The lovely mournful call is very evocative, and we tried at several of the forest sites without getting one to show this time. Darn! [*]
GRAY-HEADED KINGFISHER (Halcyon leucocephala) – A few from the Mole area, and at Tono Dam.
WOODLAND KINGFISHER (Halcyon senegalensis) – Small numbers along roadsides, this form fuscopileus has a very grey head compared to central African birds.
BLUE-BREASTED KINGFISHER (Halcyon malimbica) – First seen at Shai Hills, then one at Ankasa pond 1, and then seen in circling display and calling high above the canopy at Mole!
PIED KINGFISHER (Ceryle rudis) – Six at Sakumono, 2 at Winneba Lagoon and 4 on the White Volta at Sapeliga.
Meropidae (Bee-eaters)
BLACK BEE-EATER (Merops gularis gularis) – Nice views at Antikwaa, a lovely bird.
RED-THROATED BEE-EATER (Merops bulocki) – Some nice looks in Mole NP where it was quite common.
LITTLE BEE-EATER (Merops pusillus) – We saw one at Sakumono, then 4 near Abrafo looked like a family of 2 adults and 2 juvs. (which lack the breast band.) Also seen at Tono Dam by some.
WHITE-THROATED BEE-EATER (Merops albicollis) – They were migrating this season and we had odd records throughout the drier zones and even some in the forest clearings, with groups of 10-15 at Tono Dam, Winneba and Atewa.
EUROPEAN BEE-EATER (Merops apiaster) – One was seen on the way into Mole, no doubt en route back to Europe. [*]
ROSY BEE-EATER (Merops malimbicus) – Initially frustrating, we saw them flying over and calling from Kakum Walkway, then had excellent close flight views and brief perched ones of 7 along Stingless Bee Track. [E]
NORTHERN CARMINE BEE-EATER (Merops nubicus) – Two fine birds on roadside wires north of Tamale were a very useful pick-up, and the only ones we saw.
Coraciidae (Rollers)
ABYSSINIAN ROLLER (Coracias abyssinicus) – Seen very well at Mole and Tono Dam, a great bird.
RUFOUS-CROWNED ROLLER (Coracias naevius) – Just one this trip, sat on roadside wires north of Tamale and giving a nice look.
BLUE-BELLIED ROLLER (Coracias cyanogaster) – We had great looks at one at Shai Hills, then luckily for Martha picked up 2 more perched north of Kumasi. Always scarce and one that could quite easily be missed!
BROAD-BILLED ROLLER (Eurystomus glaucurus) – Seen again at the Alexis Hotel, where a pair showed well, then more from Mole and Tono Dam.
BLUE-THROATED ROLLER (Eurystomus gularis) – Fine views of two at Kakum, calling nicely, and a single at Antikwaa, with another at Opro.
Phoeniculidae (Woodhoopoes and Scimitar-bills)
GREEN WOODHOOPOE (Phoeniculus purpureus) – Just two at Shai Hills which gave good looks.
WHITE-HEADED WOODHOOPOE (Phoeniculus bollei) – Brief views of 2 at Kakum Walkway then 2 at Aboabo.
FOREST WOODHOOPOE (Phoeniculus castaneiceps) – A very vocal bird at Bobiri gave terrific looks, this is a good site for this scarce species.
BLACK SCIMITAR-BILL (Rhinopomastus aterrimus) – One seen fairly well at Mole was it for the trip.
Bucerotidae (Hornbills)
WHITE-CRESTED HORNBILL (Tockus albocristatus) – One of my favourites and always a challenge to get, the weird vocals are a giveaway but seeing them is tough. We got 2 very well at Abrafo/Ebekawopa again, with very fine flight views as well. One was also seen at Opro when it shot across the track, as was another at Ankasa, they kind of sneak past at low level when you are not looking!
BLACK DWARF HORNBILL (Tockus hartlaubi) – One at Ankasa was only showing the top half, then we got a fine bird at Aboabo, always hard to get and readily missed.
RED-BILLED DWARF HORNBILL (Tockus camurus) – Great views and vocals of two at Abrafo were much appreciated but took a while to come good.
NORTHERN RED-BILLED HORNBILL (Tockus erythrorhynchus) – About 8 at Tono Dam and near the White Volta, our only sites for it on the tour.
AFRICAN PIED HORNBILL (Tockus fasciatus) – Common in the forested zones of the south.

One of seven species of beautiful bee-eaters seen on the tour, the gorgeous Red-throated Bee-eater. (Photo by tour participant Randy Siebert)

AFRICAN GRAY HORNBILL (Tockus nasutus) – Common in the northern savannas.
PIPING HORNBILL (Ceratogymna fistulator) – Hard this time, we finally got 2 flying over the road en route from Half Assini to Ankasa, hornbills were rather sparse this trip.
BLACK-CASQUED HORNBILL (Ceratogymna atrata) – Another large, rare and spectacular hornbill, we had pretty good looks at 10 of them from the walkway, surprisingly in the early morning, and this was a good count. Not seen that afternoon only heard distantly.
YELLOW-CASQUED HORNBILL (Ceratogymna elata) – Even rarer than the preceding, and none from the walkway with the Black-casqued Hornbills., we only heard it distantly at Ankasa which was a real shame. Sorry again for Manfred and Petra. [E*]
Lybiidae (African Barbets)
BRISTLE-NOSED BARBET (Gymnobucco peli) – Fantastic looks at Ankasa, the bristles on the nose are actually two small pinkish-orange tufts like tiny pipe cleaners either side of the culmen. Also one at Aboabo.
NAKED-FACED BARBET (Gymnobucco calvus) – A few at Kakum and Antikwaa and Atewa, and heard at Ankasa.
SPECKLED TINKERBIRD (Pogoniulus scolopaceus) – Three day records in the forest zones.
RED-RUMPED TINKERBIRD (Pogoniulus atroflavus) – One at Atewa was vocal and showed well for a few before flying over and not returning.
YELLOW-THROATED TINKERBIRD (Pogoniulus subsulphureus) – Two day records from the forest zones, seen well at Antikwaa and Aboabo.
YELLOW-RUMPED TINKERBIRD (Pogoniulus bilineatus) – A single at Stingless Bee Track was the only sighting, lucky it was calling!
YELLOW-FRONTED TINKERBIRD (Pogoniulus chrysoconus) – One at Shai Hills was the only sighting, we never seem to see many.
YELLOW-SPOTTED BARBET (Buccanodon duchaillui) – Heard at Abrafo but stayed out of view in deep cover. [*]
HAIRY-BREASTED BARBET (Tricholaema hirsuta) – Three sightings, with a fine view of one at Ankasa, another at Aboabo and then at Opro, this nominate race is sometimes split.
VIEILLOT'S BARBET (Lybius vieilloti) – Great looks at one by the Alexis Hotel, then rather unexpectedly there were 2 at Tono Dam.
DOUBLE-TOOTHED BARBET (Lybius bidentatus) – Seen very well at Shai Hills only this trip.
BEARDED BARBET (Lybius dubius) – Nice looks at Tono Dam, where we saw 3 birds.
Indicatoridae (Honeyguides)
CASSIN'S HONEYGUIDE (Prodotiscus insignis flavodorsalis) – One from Kakum Walkway, then another at Antikwaa. These small ones are usually called honeybirds now.
GREATER HONEYGUIDE (Indicator indicator) – A female at Mole was very persistent in giving its rattling attraction call and we had some very good looks. [*]
Picidae (Woodpeckers)
AFRICAN PICULET (Sasia africana) – A glimpse for some at Aboabo and then again a brief one at Bobiri, the quiet high-pitched trilling call is a good sign of them being present but boy are they elusive!
FINE-SPOTTED WOODPECKER (Campethera punctuligera) – One was heard in Mole but was not responsive despite sounding close by.
BUFF-SPOTTED WOODPECKER (Campethera nivosa) – Two were seen very well from the Kakum Walkway, and also seen flying by at Bobiri.
CARDINAL WOODPECKER (Dendropicos fuscescens) – This was seen on day 2 by some, and heard briefly in Mole.
MELANCHOLY WOODPECKER (Dendropicos lugubris) – Heard at Antikwaa only. [E*]
FIRE-BELLIED WOODPECKER (Dendropicos pyrrhogaster) – Two seen very well at a nest hole at Antikwaa, and singles at Ankasa and Aboabo. Sometimes this can be elusive. [E]
GRAY WOODPECKER (Dendropicos goertae) – Good looks at Mole NP as usual.
Falconidae (Falcons and Caracaras)
EURASIAN KESTREL (EURASIAN) (Falco tinnunculus rufescens) – Just a few around the Accra area as usual, and one at Kumasi.
FOX KESTREL (Falco alopex) – Two at Tongo Hills were very well received despite being quite distant.
GRAY KESTREL (Falco ardosiaceus) – Just three singles from the drier areas, seen well.
AFRICAN HOBBY (Falco cuvierii) – A fine pair calling at their nest Winneba were a good trip bird, and one flew over at Mole.
LANNER FALCON (Falco biarmicus) – Just two day records this tour, with 3 on one day from Mole.
Psittacidae (Parrots)
ROSE-RINGED PARAKEET (Psittacula krameri) – Nice looks at 11 birds in Mole NP.
BLACK-COLLARED LOVEBIRD (Agapornis swindernianus) – Yay! This was a major piece of luck when 3 flew by calling at Kakum Walkway late pm, the call a rather dry almost starling-like trilled note, not the sharp high-pitched call of Red-headed Lovebird. A lifer for Phil and a hard bird to get.
GRAY PARROT (Psittacus erithacus erithacus) – Two in flight at Kakum, then slightly better views at Antikwaa with 3 birds.
RED-FRONTED PARROT (Poicephalus gulielmi) – Five day records from the forest zones, with 6 birds twice and 5 at Atewa, one of which perched up for us.
SENEGAL PARROT (Poicephalus senegalus) – Four at Shai Hills then 2 at Mole, with it being heard at Bobiri, which was unexpected from wet forest.
Calyptomenidae (African and Green Broadbills)
RUFOUS-SIDED BROADBILL (Smithornis rufolateralis) – One displaying at Ankasa which showed very well. Heard at Abrafo and the Picathartes site as well.
Platysteiridae (Wattle-eyes and Batises)
AFRICAN SHRIKE-FLYCATCHER (Megabyas flammulatus flammulatus) – Manfred found us a pair of this uncommon species at Abrafo.
BLACK-AND-WHITE SHRIKE-FLYCATCHER (Bias musicus) – One female at Aboabo and a female on the nest at Bobiri this trip, with a male at Atewa as well.
BROWN-THROATED WATTLE-EYE (Platysteira cyanea) – Just one female at Stingless Bee Track.
CHESTNUT WATTLE-EYE (Platysteira castanea hormophora) – Now split from Chestnut Wattle-eye as West African Wattle-eye, the male has a broad white nape collar. We saw a couple of females at Kakum and a pair at Ankasa.
RED-CHEEKED WATTLE-EYE (Platysteira blissetti) – Boy these things are hard, we heard it near Kakum on the Stingless Bee track, then had a 15 minute duel with one at Atewa which was being glimpsed but not calling back initially. Finally I think most of us got perched views but it was a lengthy effort. We hear it every trip but seeing one is tough. [E]
SENEGAL BATIS (Batis senegalensis) – Two seen well at Shai Hills were the only sighting. [E]
WEST AFRICAN BATIS (Batis occulta) – Another difficult platysteirid, we got a fine male in the scope at Aboabo thanks to James, a bird which is easily missed.
Prionopidae (Helmetshrikes and Allies)
WHITE HELMETSHRIKE (Prionops plumatus) – 5 at Mole which showed quite well.
CHESTNUT-BELLIED HELMETSHRIKE (Prionops caniceps) – We had some 4 day records starting at Antikwaa where most folks saw it, then again at Aboabo, but it was only at Atewa on the last morning that Phil saw it for the tour.
Malaconotidae (Bushshrikes and Allies)
BRUBRU (Nilaus afer afer) – Nice looks at 2 at Mole, calling well and quite responsive.
NORTHERN PUFFBACK (Dryoscopus gambensis) – Seen at Shai Hills and then at Mole.
LARGE-BILLED PUFFBACK (Dryoscopus sabini) – This is a wet forest special which we saw very nicely at Kakum, with a male there, then heard at Ankasa and at Bobiri. One call is quite like that of Olive-green Camaroptera! Sabine's Puffback is the African field guides name. [E]
BLACK-CROWNED TCHAGRA (Tchagra senegalus) – Quite widespread in the drier areas and showed very well at Shai Hills and Mole.

The bird that's on everyone's want list for Ghana- the stellar White-necked Rockfowl, which put in an amazing performance for us this trip. (Photo by tour participant Randy Siebert)

BROWN-CROWNED TCHAGRA (Tchagra australis) – Two along Stingless Bee track at Kakum again this trip, and a very nice look.
COMMON GONOLEK (Laniarius barbarus) – Often heard in the drier areas, but hard to see, we got them at Winneba, Brenu Beach and Mole.
SOOTY BOUBOU (Laniarius leucorhynchus) – Heard along the Stingless Bee track, a real skulker. [*]
SULPHUR-BREASTED BUSHSHRIKE (Telophorus sulfureopectus) – Lovely views of 2 at Mole where we could hear it calling.
Campephagidae (Cuckooshrikes)
RED-SHOULDERED CUCKOOSHRIKE (Campephaga phoenicea) – One male from Mole, a very distinctive bird with its vivid red shoulders.
PURPLE-THROATED CUCKOOSHRIKE (Campephaga quiscalina) – Seen well at Kakum then several at Atewa.
BLUE CUCKOOSHRIKE (Cyanograucalus azureus) – Fairly good looks at Kakum walkway and then one showed really well at Bobiri.
Laniidae (Shrikes)
SOUTHERN FISCAL (Lanius collaris) – Uncommon, mostly single birds from Brimsu on. There was still an adult with a very brown spotty juv. at Atewa.
YELLOW-BILLED SHRIKE (Corvinella corvina) – Small groups at Shai Hills, then again in the far north.
Oriolidae (Old World Orioles)
WESTERN BLACK-HEADED ORIOLE (Oriolus brachyrhynchus) – A few sightings from Ankasa and one at Bobiri.
BLACK-WINGED ORIOLE (Oriolus nigripennis) – Seen well at Kakum, Ankasa and then Bobiri. This is the one whose call sounds like the start of the theme from "The Good, The Bad and The Ugly".
Dicruridae (Drongos)
SHINING DRONGO (Dicrurus atripennis) – A single at Abrafo, and one in the forest at Ankasa, this is always sparse.
FORK-TAILED DRONGO (Dicrurus adsimilis) – Very few, seen at Mole NP and Tono Dam.
VELVET-MANTLED DRONGO (Dicrurus modestus) – A few at Ankasa, rather memorably mobbing a Harrier-Hawk at Aboabo, and at Bobiri.
Monarchidae (Monarch Flycatchers)
BLUE-HEADED CRESTED-FLYCATCHER (Trochocercus nitens) – A brief view of 2 at Abrafo but they went through very fast.
BLACK-HEADED PARADISE-FLYCATCHER (Terpsiphone rufiventer) – Seen well in the wet forest sites, with one still nesting in a vine right over the creek at Ankasa.
AFRICAN PARADISE-FLYCATCHER (Terpsiphone viridis) – Only seen at Mole where a white morph adult showed very well.
Corvidae (Crows, Jays, and Magpies)
PIAPIAC (Ptilostomus afer) – Seen at Shai Hills, Mole and near Bolgatanga.
PIED CROW (Corvus albus) – Seen every single day of the tour.
Picathartidae (Rockfowl)
WHITE-NECKED ROCKFOWL (Picathartes gymnocephalus) – Well, the star of the show did not disappoint, this trip it took just about 10 minutes, and we had great looks of one or two perched on the rock edge, with one coming through on the boulders from the right. The local guide told me there were 31 nests this year, just at the start of the season. Fantastic and of course a trip highlight, just a shame I could barely lift my bins due to my fall, but the rain actually helped and seemed to make them come in early. [E]
Nicatoridae (Nicators)
YELLOW-SPOTTED NICATOR (Nicator chloris) – Heard at all the wet forest sites and seen well at Aboabo, more usually called Western Nicator these days and in its own family now.
Alaudidae (Larks)
SINGING BUSHLARK (Mirafra cantillans chadensis) – A surprise from Tono Dam, this is a rare bird in Ghana and I actually think the puzzling pale Flappet Lark we listed from the previous trip was this bird as it was in the same site and looked much the same. The bill was pale pinkish, and the white sides of the tail showed well.
SUN LARK (Galerida modesta) – Two at a laterite pan area in Mole NP and then a group of 8 later along the Brugbani Loop.
Hirundinidae (Swallows)
BARN SWALLOW (Hirundo rustica) – Very few and mostly in the south.
RED-CHESTED SWALLOW (Hirundo lucida lucida) – Seen very nicely at Twifo Praso, then at Larabanga Mosque. Much paler brighter blue than Barn Swallow, with whiter underparts, smaller size and a largely reddish chin and throat lacking much of a black border.
ETHIOPIAN SWALLOW (Hirundo aethiopica aethiopica) – Two by our hotel at Tema, and a couple at Twifo Praso.
WHITE-THROATED BLUE SWALLOW (Hirundo nigrita) – Great looks at 6 on the Pra River at Twifo Praso as usual, where some juvs were about showing brownish flight feathers.
WIRE-TAILED SWALLOW (Hirundo smithii smithii) – Just one at the pygmy goose pond, and one at the waterhole in Mole NP.
RED-RUMPED SWALLOW (WEST AFRICAN) (Cecropis daurica domicella) – Seen briefly at Kakum Walkway with a swallow flock, and some saw it at Tongo Hills, this race is sometimes split as West African Swallow.
LESSER STRIPED-SWALLOW (Cecropis abyssinica) – Widespread in small numbers.
RUFOUS-CHESTED SWALLOW (Cecropis semirufa gordoni) – Two at Stingless Bee track, only the second tour we have seen this species on oddly enough.
PREUSS'S SWALLOW (Petrochelidon preussi) – Great looks at a roadside culvert near Twifo Praso, with about 120 birds.
SQUARE-TAILED SAWWING (Psalidoprocne nitens) – 5 at Ankasa, then 3 at Atewa on the last day, very small and square-tailed.
FANTI SAWWING (Psalidoprocne obscura) – Five near Abrafo and 2 in Mole NP, the deeply forked tail is distinctive.
Stenostiridae (Fairy Flycatchers)
AFRICAN BLUE-FLYCATCHER (Elminia longicauda) – Just one was heard at Mole NP, it was too wet to go far off the track which hampered things somewhat. [*]
Paridae (Chickadees and Tits)
WHITE-SHOULDERED BLACK-TIT (Melaniparus guineensis) – Seen at Shai hills and Mole, the yellow eye is distinctive and they are quite vocal.
Remizidae (Penduline-Tits)
FOREST PENDULINE-TIT (Anthoscopus flavifrons) – Good looks at this uncommon diminutive species at Aboabo which seems to be a good site for it.
TIT-HYLIA (Pholidornis rushiae) – Two day records from Antikwaa and Aboabo.
Pycnonotidae (Bulbuls)
SLENDER-BILLED GREENBUL (Stelgidillas gracilirostris) – We saw singles at Kakum, Aboabo, Bobiri and and Atewa.

A view of the Kakum Walkway, from which we saw such notable birds as Black-collared Lovebird, Golden Greenbul, and Violet-backed Hyliota. (Photo by tour participant Martha Vandervoort)

GOLDEN GREENBUL (Calyptocichla serinus) – Just 2 at Kakum Walkway, always uncommon. [E]
COMMON BRISTLEBILL (Bleda syndactylus) – Heard at the wet forest sites. [*]
GREEN-TAILED BRISTLEBILL (Bleda eximius) – Heard and seen flicking by at the bamboo cathedral trail, then a splendid bird next day on the Tree Trail which sat out for ages, so we could see the green head, green tail with narrow yellow tips etc. A lifer for Phil and now an Upper Guinea endemic with the split of the Ugandan birds at Lesser Bristlebill, one of my trip highlights as I'd heard it every tour! [E]
GRAY-HEADED BRISTLEBILL (Bleda canicapillus) – Heard at Ankasa, where Martha saw one by the ant swarm with the alethes and Forest Robin. [E]
SIMPLE GREENBUL (Chlorocichla simplex) – Seen at Stingless Bee Track and then Atewa.
HONEYGUIDE GREENBUL (Baeopogon indicator) – Great views of one at Kakum and then some saw it at Bobiri.
YELLOW-THROATED GREENBUL (Atimastillas flavicollis) – One by the Alexis Hotel was the only sighting.
SPOTTED GREENBUL (Ixonotus guttatus) – One at Abrafo was distinctly unobliging and not everyone saw it, a shame as it's quite a snazzy species
SWAMP GREENBUL (Thescelocichla leucopleura) – Seen briefly at Ankasa ranger station and Aboabo, and heard at Antikwaa. Usually called Swamp Palm Greenbul. after its preferred habitat.
RED-TAILED GREENBUL (Criniger calurus) – A good view of one at Ankasa, Abrafo and Atewa, a distinctive greenbul.
WESTERN BEARDED-GREENBUL (Criniger barbatus) – Tough to see, we saw one at Abrafo and then again at Ankasa. [E]
YELLOW-BEARDED GREENBUL (Criniger olivaceus) – An Ankasa special that actually showed fairly well, with the yellow chin and throat easily seen and the quite bright yellow-green upperparts. [E]
GRAY GREENBUL (Eurillas gracilis) – Seen at Bobiri. not much to report except it's actually called Little Grey Greenbul!
ANSORGE'S GREENBUL (Eurillas ansorgei) – Seen from the Walkway at Kakum, just one bird.
PLAIN GREENBUL (Eurillas curvirostris) – Singles from Opro and then Bobiri, more often heard.
LITTLE GREENBUL (Eurillas virens) – Heard at all wet forest sites, and finally seen well at Aboabo.
ICTERINE GREENBUL (Phyllastrephus icterinus) – Nice views of one at Abrafo and then at Ankasa, foraging in mid-stratum.
COMMON BULBUL (Pycnonotus barbatus) – Widespread, seen on all but one day of the tour.
Macrosphenidae (African Warblers)
GREEN CROMBEC (Sylvietta virens flaviventris) – Heard at Atewa but the bee-eater quest intervened...... [*]
LEMON-BELLIED CROMBEC (Sylvietta denti hardyi) – Seen briefly at Kakum by some.
NORTHERN CROMBEC (Sylvietta brachyura brachyura) – Seen briefly by some aat Shai Hills and again at Mole, but unobliging this trip.
MOUSTACHED GRASS-WARBLER (Melocichla mentalis mentalis) – One at Nasia Pond was skulking in a thicket and got herded out by James and Andrew for brief views.
KEMP'S LONGBILL (Macrosphenus kempi) – Heard at Antikwaa, then finally I think everyone got onto one in a thicket at Aboabo, I even got the dull pale yellow eye colour for th first time! [E]
GRAY LONGBILL (Macrosphenus concolor) – Seen at Kakum from the Walkway, they are often hard to see well and looking amazingly green in sunlight. Heard at Aboabo, Atewa, Bobiri etc.
Cettiidae (Bush-Warblers and Allies)
CHESTNUT-CAPPED FLYCATCHER (Erythrocercus mccallii) – A flock of 4 at Kakum, quite vocal and active in small flocks.
Phylloscopidae (Leaf-Warblers)
WILLOW WARBLER (Phylloscopus trochilus) – Only seen at Shai Hills and Mole this trip, very few around as the season moves on.
WOOD WARBLER (Phylloscopus sibilatrix) – Two at Mole were a nice find, no doubt about to head north.
Cisticolidae (Cisticolas and Allies)
BLACK-CAPPED APALIS (Apalis nigriceps nigriceps) – Heard at Ankasa, and quite a few got to see it at Atewa when they went further up after the bee-eater.
SHARPE'S APALIS (Apalis sharpii) – Elusive, heard at all the wet forest sites and eventually seen at Aboabo. [E]
GREEN-BACKED CAMAROPTERA (GRAY-BACKED) (Camaroptera brachyura brevicaudata) – Widespread.
YELLOW-BROWED CAMAROPTERA (Camaroptera superciliaris) – Great looks at this striking bird at Bobiri, where one was singing with the blue skin neck pouches inflated, an extraordinary sight, this is one very handsome and odd bird, which some saw also saw at Kakum.
OLIVE-GREEN CAMAROPTERA (Camaroptera chloronota) – Heard in all the wet forest areas and seen at Bobiri by a few.
RED-FACED CISTICOLA (Cisticola erythrops erythrops) – Good views at Stingless Bee Track and Atewa farmbush.
SINGING CISTICOLA (Cisticola cantans swanzii) – Good views at Tono Dam after an elusive one at Mole.
WHISTLING CISTICOLA (Cisticola lateralis lateralis) – Seen well at Atewa.
ROCK-LOVING CISTICOLA (Cisticola aberrans admiralis) – This distinctive bird was hard at Tongo Hills, but showed fairly well at the very end, the rufous cap and nape showed well against the dark unstreaked back.
WINDING CISTICOLA (WINDING) (Cisticola galactotes amphilectus) – Seen and heard winding at Nasia Pond on both stops, one bird was lacking a tail! Also one at pygmy goose pond.

This tour featured a fine assortment of weavers, including this lovely male Orange Weaver which we found in a weaver colony at Half Assini. (Photo by tour participant Jenny Golden)

CROAKING CISTICOLA (Cisticola natalensis strangei) – Seen at Shai Hills.
SIFFLING CISTICOLA (Cisticola brachypterus brachypterus) – One at Winneba and then one at Tono Dam was it for the tour, both showing slight streaks on the upperparts.
ORIOLE WARBLER (Hypergerus atriceps) – One was singing well at Mole but annoyingly stayed out of view. [*]
TAWNY-FLANKED PRINIA (Prinia subflava) – Seen at Shai hills and heard at a couple of the dry area sites, they seem very local here.
RED-WINGED PRINIA (Prinia erythroptera erythroptera) – Two at Winneba were initially elusive but eventually showed well, then one was found along Stingless Bee Track and was a good catch-up for Martha.
SENEGAL EREMOMELA (Eremomela pusilla) – One at Sakumono, then 4 at Shai Hills, before nice looks at Mole.
RUFOUS-CROWNED EREMOMELA (Eremomela badiceps fantiensis) – Very nice views at Kakum, Antikwaa and again at Aboabo, a small and very local arboreal species.
Sylviidae (Sylviids, Parrotbills and Allies)
GREEN HYLIA (Hylia prasina) – Heard in all the wet forests and seen well at Kakum and Ankasa, an odd species like a large Phylloscopus.
Zosteropidae (Yuhinas, White-eyes, and Allies)
AFRICAN YELLOW WHITE-EYE (Zosterops senegalensis) – Seen at Antikwaa and then at Mole and Atewa, we only see a few each trip.
Pellorneidae (Fulvettas and Ground Babblers)
BLACKCAP ILLADOPSIS (Illadopsis cleaveri cleaveri) – Heard and indeed glimpsed at Abrafo, quite close but somewhat inaccessible, and heard at Ankasa.
RUFOUS-WINGED ILLADOPSIS (Illadopsis rufescens) – Calling well at the usual spot at Ankasa, and again this time we went in and after some while managed to get a few people onto the bird at eye level in the thicket after brief views of the ground earlier. The call is a rather clicking "Dr Pepper" series repeated constantly, plus an anxiety note, and they are quite vocal here. [E]
PUVEL'S ILLADOPSIS (Illadopsis puveli puveli) – This was amazing at Atewa on the last morning, where a close calling bird came up into the mid-levels and sat on a branch for a while allowing quite a few of usa good view of it! They don't sound like the Ugandan birds either and this was my first sighting from Ghana.
PALE-BREASTED ILLADOPSIS (Illadopsis rufipennis extrema) – Actually seen quite well at Ankasa by most, though I have to say the songs and calls are the most distinctive things about most of these Illadopsis. Ths one is relatively small and perches horizontally. [*]
Leiothrichidae (Laughingthrushes)
BLACKCAP BABBLER (Turdoides reinwardtii) – Seen at Mole NP, where it was calling well. [E]
BROWN BABBLER (Turdoides plebejus) – Seen well by the Alexis Hotel at Tema, and then at Sakumono
CAPUCHIN BABBLER (Phyllanthus atripennis haynesi) – The new site at Opro Forest came good, as my tape managed to lure in a small group from quite far back, and we got moderate views of one fossicking about at mid-level. The grey head, black face and yellow bill are quite distinctive, and they were bigger than I had expected. A seen lifer for Phil , who had only heard them in Semliki in Uganda before.
Hyliotidae (Hyliotas)
VIOLET-BACKED HYLIOTA (Hyliota violacea nehrkorni) – Two from Kakum walkway. Now in their own family too.
Muscicapidae (Old World Flycatchers)
PALE FLYCATCHER (Bradornis pallidus) – One was a brief flyover at Mole.
NORTHERN BLACK-FLYCATCHER (Melaenornis edolioides edolioides) – A couple at Mole NP.
AFRICAN FOREST-FLYCATCHER (Fraseria ocreata prosphora) – Seen once at Ankasa and then very nice looks at 2 at Aboabo.
SPOTTED FLYCATCHER (Muscicapa striata) – One at Sakumono and 2 at Shai Hills were all we saw.
USSHER'S FLYCATCHER (Muscicapa ussheri) – Three at Aboabo and 1 at Bonkro, they sure don't look like the plate in the Ghana Field Guide but the colour printing in that book is just awful. [E]
SWAMP FLYCATCHER (Muscicapa aquatica aquatica) – Two seen at Mole NP, which again were lacking a breast band, though they must be this species, being small, dark billed and by swampland.
LITTLE FLYCATCHER (Muscicapa epulata) – One at Opro Forest was some consolation for the lack of Blue-headed Bee-eater, being an uncommon and elusive species. Usually called Little Grey Flycatcher which is far more apt.
DUSKY-BLUE FLYCATCHER (Muscicapa comitata aximensis) – One at Antikwaa, one at Aboabo and finally one at Atewa.
TESSMANN'S FLYCATCHER (Muscicapa tessmanni) – A great find deep in the forest of the bamboo cathedral, sat unobtrusively quite high up, and giving great scope views. A rather rare bird and only the second we have had on a tour, thanks Petra.
CASSIN'S FLYCATCHER (Muscicapa cassini) – One on the river at Ankasa, the usual site of this aquatic species.
ASHY FLYCATCHER (Muscicapa caerulescens nigrorum) – One at Kakum Walkway, and one at Atewa which showed well, this taxon seems to be a forest inhabitant and not savanna.
GRAY-THROATED TIT-FLYCATCHER (Myioparus griseigularis) – Seen in the shade at Kakum, a pity Bob got it confused with Grey Tit-Flycatcher seen earlier and did not look at it! Also heard at Ankasa and Atewa.
GRAY TIT-FLYCATCHER (Myioparus plumbeus) – One at Shai Hills and 2 at Antikwaa..
FIRE-CRESTED ALETHE (WHITE-TAILED) (Alethe diademata diademata) – Heard quite a lot in the wet forests, and finally seen well at Ankasa with a pair feeding a spotted juvenile and giving great looks by an ant swarm. Split by many as White-tailed Alethe. [E]
FOREST SCRUB-ROBIN (Cercotrichas leucosticta) – Heard at Opro Forest, unexpected and a heard lifer for Phil , a pity it did not want to show. [*]
SNOWY-CROWNED ROBIN-CHAT (Cossypha niveicapilla) – A good view in Mole NP after a brief looks by the hotel at Tema.
FOREST ROBIN (WESTERN) (Stiphrornis erythrothorax erythrothorax) – Hard as ever, but we managed to see two in Ankasa, one of which was lacking the white loral spots and initially raised thoughts of it being Lowland Akalat. However it was too clear cut below with sharply demarcated orange breast, and pale legs, a major identification pitfall with reports of Lowland Akalat here though. Great to see one so well though, albeit aberrant. A note to Bulletin of the African Bird Club will be in order.
EUROPEAN PIED FLYCATCHER (Ficedula hypoleuca) – A female at Shai Hills and another in Mole NP.
WHINCHAT (Saxicola rubetra) – Two at Winneba, and 4 at Mole, 2 of them feeding on the track in the late dusk, which was quite strange.
WHITE-FRONTED BLACK-CHAT (Myrmecocichla albifrons) – Good views at Mole whilst sweat bees were only at 60% of their intensity on the first tour this year!
MOCKING CLIFF-CHAT (Thamnolaea cinnamomeiventris coronata) – Nice views at Shai Hills, this form has a white crowned male and is sometimes split.
FAMILIAR CHAT (Cercomela familiaris) – Three at Mole Motel were unexpected, one of them with the dark tail tip very diffuse and hard to see, though the chestnut ear coverts did show in the photos and eliminate Common Redstart.
Turdidae (Thrushes and Allies)
FINSCH'S FLYCATCHER-THRUSH (Neocossyphus finschii) – One showed at Antikwaa, and it was also seen at Atewa farmbush on the last day. [E]
WHITE-TAILED ANT-THRUSH (Neocossyphus poensis) – One was feeding at an ant swarm in Ankasa, along with Forest Robin and the alethes.
AFRICAN THRUSH (Turdus pelios) – Seen on three days starting at Opro, then Tono Dam and Atewa, with one singing but only glimpsed along Stingless Bee Track.
Sturnidae (Starlings)
GREATER BLUE-EARED GLOSSY-STARLING (Lamprotornis chalybaeus chalybaeus) – Finally confirmed this at Tono Dam, with a good view of a large blue-tailed one there, the first definite for our Ghana tours though we have suspected it in the past.
BRONZE-TAILED GLOSSY-STARLING (Lamprotornis chalcurus) – Just two sightings this trip, with 2 at the Alexis Hotel, then a fine view of 6 at Tono Dam, with the purple tail showing well.
SPLENDID GLOSSY-STARLING (Lamprotornis splendidus) – One seen near the Alexis Hotel, and two single flyovers at Aboabo, not a good year for them as some trips they are quite widespread.

Though the diversity of big game isn't like that in East Africa, there are still some prototypical African mammals to be seen, such as these African Elephants at Mole NP. (Photo by guide Phil Gregory)

PURPLE GLOSSY-STARLING (Lamprotornis purpureus) – A good trip for them, with the first at Shai Hills, then seen at Mole and Tono Dam.
LONG-TAILED GLOSSY-STARLING (Lamprotornis caudatus) – One of the most beautiful of the starlings, we saw 6 at Mole with the long tail very distinctive, then had 3 at Tono Dam and 4 en route back to Kintampo.
CHESTNUT-BELLIED STARLING (Lamprotornis pulcher) – Great to see these at Tono Dam and en route to the plover site.
COPPER-TAILED GLOSSY-STARLING (Lamprotornis cupreocauda) – This distinctive short-tailed forest bird was seen at Kakum, then Antikwaa and a single at Ankasa. [E]
VIOLET-BACKED STARLING (Cinnyricinclus leucogaster) – Just one lovely male at Mole this trip.
CHESTNUT-WINGED STARLING (Onychognathus fulgidus) – Two at Kakum were perched up well, then 2 at Abrafo and finally a single at Atewa.
Buphagidae (Oxpeckers)
YELLOW-BILLED OXPECKER (Buphagus africanus) – Great to see 4 of these at Tono Dam, an endemic African family and in sharp decline as anti-tick drugs kill them off.
Nectariniidae (Sunbirds and Spiderhunters)
SCARLET-TUFTED SUNBIRD (Deleornis fraseri) – Fraser's Sunbird is an odd straight billed species which we saw at Kakum and then Ankasa. Scarlet-tufted Sunbird usually refers to the Malachite Sunbird of that name......
MOUSE-BROWN SUNBIRD (Anthreptes gabonicus) – Great looks by the Ebi River of what seems to be a riverine/mangrove specialist.
WESTERN VIOLET-BACKED SUNBIRD (NORTHERN) (Anthreptes longuemarei longuemarei) – A single male at Mole was a new bird for our Ghana tours, a good find.
LITTLE GREEN SUNBIRD (Anthreptes seimundi) – One at Kakum and one at Opro, very small and nondescript!
GREEN SUNBIRD (Anthreptes rectirostris) – A terrific male seen at Antikwaa, unusual to see it sat so well.
COLLARED SUNBIRD (Hedydipna collaris) – Widespread in all the wet forests.
PYGMY SUNBIRD (Hedydipna platura) – Seen well at Mole with a couple of males and females plus a juvenile.
REICHENBACH'S SUNBIRD (Anabathmis reichenbachii) – This one has become a fixture now, and we had great looks near Ankasa, a really odd sexually monomorphic sunbird in its own genus.
GREEN-HEADED SUNBIRD (Cyanomitra verticalis) – A female at Shai Hills, then again on Stingless Bee Track, at Mole, and there was a female at Atewa farmbush in the afternoon. Bob did eventually nail his nemesis I am happy to report.
BLUE-THROATED BROWN SUNBIRD (Cyanomitra cyanolaema) – One at Antikwaa for some, then another at Ankasa.
WESTERN OLIVE SUNBIRD (Cyanomitra obscura) – A few seen or more usually heard in the forest areas, with a scope view of one at Bobiri. An incredibly dubious split too.
BUFF-THROATED SUNBIRD (Chalcomitra adelberti) – A striking bird, with a fine pair at Antikwaa, and some saw one at Atewa farmbush.
CARMELITE SUNBIRD (Chalcomitra fuliginosa) – Amazing again this trip, we had at least 6 feeding in the flowering Bougainvilllaeas by our hotel at Half Assini. Males have odd grey buff crowns and the females look very pale above, the plumage seems to bleach very quickly.
SCARLET-CHESTED SUNBIRD (Chalcomitra senegalensis) – A female at Shai Hills and a few at Mole and Tono Dam.
OLIVE-BELLIED SUNBIRD (Cinnyris chloropygius) – Just a couple at Antikwaa, and some saw it at Aboabo.
TINY SUNBIRD (Cinnyris minullus) – Two males and a female at Ankasa were a nice bird to get, and there was a singing male at Ankasa by the visitor centre. Uncommon and easily missed.
BEAUTIFUL SUNBIRD (Cinnyris pulchellus) – A few at Mole then Tono Dam, a very striking creature.
SPLENDID SUNBIRD (Cinnyris coccinigastrus) – A pair by the Alexis Hotel, then a male flew over the track at Winneba Lagoon.
JOHANNA'S SUNBIRD (Cinnyris johannae) – This one is always elusive, so a pair at Kakum then again at Antikwaa, with a male at Ankasa later was nice going for this tricky West African special.
SUPERB SUNBIRD (Cinnyris superbus) – Males seen at Kakum and Antikwaa this trip, a large sunbird with a very long bill.
COPPER SUNBIRD (Cinnyris cupreus) – Five day records starting at the Alexis Hotel and Shai Hills.
Motacillidae (Wagtails and Pipits)
AFRICAN PIED WAGTAIL (Motacilla aguimp) – Amazingly scarce, we saw them at Twifo Praso and the Ebi River, also near Kintampo, it is really strange how some common African birds are for some reason so scarce in Ghana.
PLAIN-BACKED PIPIT (Anthus leucophrys zenkeri) – One of these large pipits at Brenu Beach looked amazingly dark at first but got paler as it moved into the sun, though the back was lightly streaked.
YELLOW-THROATED LONGCLAW (Macronyx croceus) – Two flushed up at Sakumono were a nice trip tick, another uncommon bird in Ghana.
Emberizidae (Buntings and New World Sparrows)
CINNAMON-BREASTED BUNTING (Emberiza tahapisi) – Seen well at Tongo Hills as usual.
Fringillidae (Siskins, Crossbills, and Allies)
WHITE-RUMPED SEEDEATER (Serinus leucopygius) – Two at Tongo Hills were a good find of a scarce species.
YELLOW-FRONTED CANARY (Serinus mozambicus) – Just a few in Mole NP.
Passeridae (Old World Sparrows)
NORTHERN GRAY-HEADED SPARROW (Passer griseus) – Widespread.
BUSH PETRONIA (Petronia dentata) – Just 2 at Mole this trip.
Ploceidae (Weavers and Allies)
WHITE-BILLED BUFFALO-WEAVER (Bubalornis albirostris) – Great, we have always seen the nests near Sapeliga, but not the birds, but this year there were actually 10+ birds present at a colony, the second time we have seen it on the Ghana tour.
SPECKLE-FRONTED WEAVER (Sporopipes frontalis frontalis) – Two birds were seen in bush at Tono Dam, a good find and only our second for the Ghana tours
CHESTNUT-CROWNED SPARROW-WEAVER (Plocepasser superciliosus) – Two at Mole were a useful pick-up, they showed well by the Park HQ.
RED-VENTED MALIMBE (Malimbus scutatus) – Seen well at Stingless Bee Track and then Aboabo where it had that really wonderful nest with the long spout built on the palm frond, as in previous years (since 2009).
GRAY'S MALIMBE (Malimbus nitens) – One at Abrafo for a few, and then I think most folks got the bird at Ankasa. The breast is a beautiful deep carmine, a lovely colour, and the bill a striking blue which gives it the alternate name of Blue-billed Malimbe.
CRESTED MALIMBE (Malimbus malimbicus) – Some saw one at Ankasa, and then a fine bird was at Aboabo which is a good site for this uncommon bird.
RED-HEADED MALIMBE (Malimbus rubricollis) – Three day records starting at Kakum, and a nesting bird was at Atewa.
LITTLE WEAVER (Ploceus luteolus) – Ten at Mole and a few at Tono Dam.
BLACK-NECKED WEAVER (Ploceus nigricollis brachypterus) – Very few in the wet forest areas, seen at Antikwaa and Stingless Bee Track, then a pair at Atewa for most. Rather different to the eastern African birds.
ORANGE WEAVER (Ploceus aurantius aurantius) – A fine male was again in a weaver colony near Half Assini.
VIEILLOT'S WEAVER (Ploceus nigerrimus castaneofuscus) – Widespread, and amazingly unlike the all black eastern birds as this taxon is chestnut and black.
VILLAGE WEAVER (BLACK-HEADED) (Ploceus cucullatus cucullatus) – Widespread, this West African race has a chestnut nape.
BLACK-HEADED WEAVER (Ploceus melanocephalus capitalis) – Seen at Nasia Pond then in small flocks <50 at Tono Dam, all in non-breeding dress.
YELLOW-MANTLED WEAVER (Ploceus tricolor) – A small nesting colony at Kakum walkway, and singles at Aboabo and then Bobiri.
MAXWELL'S BLACK WEAVER (Ploceus albinucha albinucha) – Just a single female was seen at Aboabo, the white eye and small size are good characters for a tricky species.
PREUSS'S WEAVER (Ploceus preussi) – I think this may have been seen by one or two at Antikwaa? It's an uncommon bird that creeps about along branches, and we did not get it later sadly.
RED-HEADED QUELEA (Quelea erythrops) – 3 non-breeding birds were just getting some red onto the face at Stingless Bee Track, but they flew before most got to the scope.
RED-BILLED QUELEA (Quelea quelea) – Five at Sakumono, then 40+ at Tono Dam, though only a few showed red bills and none was in full plumage
ORANGE BISHOP (Euplectes franciscanus) – Northern Red Bishops were seen in non-breeding dress at Nasia Pond, with a male coming into breeding dress at Tono Dam.
BLACK-WINGED BISHOP (Euplectes hordeaceus) – Non-breeding birds in Mole and at Atewa, with a couple of coloured males in full plumage near there, they seem to come into breeding plumage early at this site.
YELLOW-CROWNED BISHOP (Euplectes afer afer) – A few rather yellow faced non-breeding birds at Brenu Beach, only our second Ghana record.
YELLOW-SHOULDERED WIDOWBIRD (Euplectes macroura macroura) – Non-breeding birds at Winneba and Brenu Bech, the males with yellow shoulders.
GROSBEAK WEAVER (Amblyospiza albifrons capitalba) – 8 seen sat at Atewa farmbush.
Estrildidae (Waxbills and Allies)
GRAY-HEADED NIGRITA (Nigrita canicapillus) – Seen at Kakum and Aboabo also at Bobiri and Atewa.
CHESTNUT-BREASTED NIGRITA (Nigrita bicolor) – Seen at Kakum, then at Abrafo where one had a striking white crown and white spots on the wing covers, apparently from the frog spawn which it was feeding from! Also seen at Bobiri and then at Atewa, a good trip for them.
WHITE-BREASTED NIGRITA (Nigrita fusconotus) – Good views at Kakum.
ORANGE-CHEEKED WAXBILL (Estrilda melpoda) – Five day records, with small numbers at various drier country sites starting at Stingless Bee track. 10 at Tono Dam was the max.
BLACK-RUMPED WAXBILL (Estrilda troglodytes) – 10 at Brenu Beach, then 6 at Aboabo.
WESTERN BLUEBILL (Spermophaga haematina) – Nice views in scrub at Atewa after we played tape for it. [E]
RED-CHEEKED CORDONBLEU (Uraeginthus bengalus) – A few at Mole and Tono Dam.
RED-BILLED FIREFINCH (Lagonosticta senegala) – A couple at Mole and Tongo Hills.
BAR-BREASTED FIREFINCH (Lagonosticta rufopicta) – Seen at Mole and 3 at Atewa farmbush.
AFRICAN FIREFINCH (Lagonosticta rubricata) – One at Winneba Plains and 2 at Brenu Beach were the only sightings of this nicely coloured bird.
ZEBRA WAXBILL (Sporaeginthus subflavus) – Fairly good views of 8 at Nasia Pond, a very striking species.
BLACK-FACED QUAILFINCH (Ortygospiza atricollis atricollis) – Brief views at Nasia Pond and flying over at Tono Dam of this finch of moist mud habitats. There are variously between 1 and 3 quailfinch species recognised.
BRONZE MANNIKIN (Spermestes cucullatus) – Small numbers in the drier areas.
BLACK-AND-WHITE MANNIKIN (Spermestes bicolor) – A few at Antikwaa and at Atewa.
MAGPIE MANNIKIN (Spermestes fringilloides) – A noisy flock of 30+ in the bamboos at Bobiri again. It's an elusive and quite nomadic species and was new for most.
Viduidae (Indigobirds)
PIN-TAILED WHYDAH (Vidua macroura) – Two good plumage males, the one at Atewa showing very well.
PALE-WINGED INDIGOBIRD (Vidua wilsoni) – This was a surprise find at Brenu Beach, and in breeding dress with black plumage and browny wings, plus pinky legs and whitish bill. There were a couple of females alongside as well. Each designated species of Indigobird is supposed to parasitize various firefinch and waxbill species, and to mimic their songs, but most are unidentifiable unless singing and the whole thing just seems a bit too pat for me. Luckily this one is one of the few recognizable ones and was the first for our Ghana tours, mainly die to them usually being in non-breeding dress at this time!

STRAW-COLORED FRUIT BAT (Eidolon helvum) – One was seen around a blossoming tree as we came back from Sakumono at dusk.
EPAULETED BAT SP. (Epomops franqueti) – The little group is still in the shady trees at the hotel in Tamale, but they may be an Epomophorus species and not a singing fruit bat, the head shape seems a better fit.
POTTO (Perodicticus potto) – Ome of the highlights of the trip was finding a Potto from the Walkway at Kakum at dusk, hanging upside down from a branch. This is a species Phil had wanted to see since reading about them as a kid in "The Bafut Beagles' by Gerald Durrell.
PRINCE DEMIDOFF'S BUSHBABY (Galago demidoff) – A great close look at one at Kakum as we came out of the forest at dusk. [*]
MONA MONKEY (Cercopithecus mona) – One was seen by a few at Kakum, and we heard it there late pm.
GREEN MONKEY (Cercopithecus sabaeus) – Seen on two days at Mole, also called Black-faced Vervet.
PATAS MONKEY (Erythrocebus patas) – A nice group of them at Mole.
OLIVE BABOON (Papio anubis) – 25 at Shai hills and 10 at Mole, seen close by.
FOREST GIANT SQUIRREL (Protoxerus stangeri) – For once a good view of one at Kakum from the Walkway, this tends to be one we glimpse as a rule.
AFRICAN STRIPED SQUIRREL SP. (Funisciurus substriatus) – The squirrel at Tono Dam with the fairly long slender tail and barring near the tip seems likely to have been this species, the Kintampo Rope Squirrel. James has not seen any squirrels here before and this seems the likeliest.
FIRE-FOOTED ROPE SQUIRREL (Funisciurus pyrrhopus) – Heard at Ankasa, quite a vocal species. [*]
GAMBIAN SUN SQUIRREL (Heliosciurus gambianus) – A nice view of one from the Walkway at Kakum.
RED-LEGGED SUN SQUIRREL (Heliosciurus rufobrachium) – We saw one at Ankasa, a fairly good view with the reddish underside seen.
SCALY-TAILED FLYING SQUIRREL SP. (Anomalurus peli) – One at dusk as we came out of the walkway, a truly strange animal in its own family of Anomaluridae. We saw it glide off, then it was refound sat on a trunk as we came out for great views. This one is a striking black and white colour.
GIANT POUCHED RAT (Cricetomys emini) – Phil saw saw one as we came out of the forest at Kakum.
GAMBIAN MONGOOSE (Mungos gambianus) – An amazing group of 6 at Shai Hills, sitting up like Meerkats and giving a decent look; this was a lifer mammal for Phil and the first good look James has had here.
AFRICAN ELEPHANT (Loxodonta africana) – Great to see 4 big females grazing on weeds right by the guard camp, two with just a single tusk which might be a smart move, it is just so sad to think of the awful slaughter currently going on for ivory which looks set to exterminate the species.
TREE HYRAX SP. (Dendrohyrax dorsalis) – Heard at both Kakum, I really want to see one!
WARTHOG (Phacochoerus aethiopicus) – Just a few at Mole, and what endearing creatures they are, the way they kneel to feed.
BUSHBUCK (Tragelaphus scriptus) – A few close ones at Mole and one on the track at Ankasa.
MAXWELL'S DUIKER (Cephalophus maxwelli) – Martha saw one in the trail at Ankasa but i was blocked at that point and we all missed it, we had seen the scat earlier.
DEFASSA WATERBUCK (Kobus defassa) – Just a few at Mole was it for the trip.
KOB (Kobus kob) – Small numbers <40 at Mole, this is the race buffoni.


Quite a tour, the long drives, hot days and early mornings being compensated by some wonderful sightings. I will long remember James being mobbed by the market women at Tanaso and him saying they were worse than sweat bees, just great.

Bird highlights were of course the big two, the White-necked Picathartes and the Egyptian Plover, but there were many other excitements such as Long-tailed Hawk, Blue-bellied Roller, Red-billed and Black Dwarf Hornbill, White-crested Hornbill, Fraser's and Grayish Eagle Owl, unexpected Northern White-faced Owl at Kumasi, Stone Partridge, Forbes's Plover, and the mega skulking Rufous-winged illadopsis and Red-chested Wattle-eye plus that fantastic Green-tailed Bristlebill at Ankasa.

Mammals were more limited but Potto was again a brilliant find, Prince Demidoff's Bushbaby showed amazingly well, Pel's Anomalure was a big favourite, Gambian Mongoose was a lifer for all of us and who can resist African Elephants?

Other critters included Nile Crocodiles at Mole NP, Red-headed Agamas all over the place, and Nile Monitor at Ankasa.

This is a remarkably good tour for butterflies (Ghana has over 1000 species!) so it was good to have Andrew along to help with identifying many of them, and I include a summary of a few below- just be glad we don't do a butterfly checklist each night!

Mocker Swallowtail, Broad-banded Green Swallowtail, Narrow-banded Green Swallowtail, Apple Green Swallowtail, Citrus Swallowtail, Mimetic Swallowtail, Common Striped Swordtail, Long-tailed Striped Swordtail, African Emigrant, Common Grass Yellow, Forest Grass Yellow, Malagasy Grass Yellow, Small Grass Yellow, Blue Vagrant, Large Orange Tip, Tiny Orange Tip, Forest Caper White, Calypso Caper White, Common Dotted Border, Karsch's Dotted Border, Black-patch Hairstreak, Common Hairstreak, Forest Pied Pierrot, African Beak, Common Tiger, African Blue Tiger, Friar, Scarce Monk, Common Ringlet, Flame-bordered Charaxes, Common Red Charaxes, Common Blue Charaxes, Shining Red Charaxes, Common Green Charaxes, Small Flame-bordered Charaxes, Bush Charaxes, Peter's Demon Charaxes, Usher's Palla, African Leaf Buttterfly, Blue Diadem, Forest Mother-of-Pearl, Clouded Mother-of-Pearl, Soldier Pansy, Blue Pansy, African Map, Commmon Yellow Glider, Blood-red Glider (Atewa), Jodutta Gilder, Western Red Glider, Common Cub-dot Sailer, Common Pink Forester, Edward's Forester, Common Bemastistes, Common Leopard Fritillary, African Leopard Fritillary

Ashanti has a checklist of the Butterflies, which was very helpful, as was Torben Larsen's monumental "Butterflies of West Africa", and of course Andrew who has done lots of research on the local butterflies and has great knowledge.

Jenny had fun amassing a list of some of the bizarre or amusing names which are so frequent in Ghana, here is a selection:

Amazing Queen Wine and Gift Shop

Believer's Cleaning Centre

Be Nice Hotel

Big Brother's Drinking Spot

Divine Providence Cosmetic Shop

Dream High Engineering and Hardwares

Fantasy Breakfast Corner

Fear God Ventures

Fire Car and Carpet Wash

God is Good All the Time Fashion House

God is Great Beauty Salon

God's Power Fitting Shop

God Will Find a Way Super Market

Green Glory Motors

His Grace and Glory Co., Lt.

Immortal Electronics and Computers

In God Everything is Well Hair Clinic

It's the Lord Fitting Shop

Judge Not Enterprise

King of Glory Bakery Co. Ltd.

Meek and Mild Preparatory School

My Hands are Blessed Salon

My Dream Electronic Works Ltd.

Riches of Glory Guest House

o\On-on-Time Enterprise

Stomach Smile Café

The Dependable God Plumbing

The Lord is Good Coffin Workshop

The Lovely Drinking Bar

Thy Will Be Done Barbering Shop

Thy Will Secretarial Aid

Victory Jam Technology Ltd.

World Trade Center (on a tiny, roadside hardware store)

Yours Is Coming Barbering Shop

Phil can add B+ Computer Repairs (for the not really ambitious)

Heaven Gate No Bribe

Time and Chance (sticker on a car window, good motto for a bird tour!)

Sow in Tears and Reap in Joy Welding and Spraying

Repent Barbering Salon ( must be twinned with that one called "Laughter" in Hokkaido)

A persoanl favorite was Fokop Electrical at Bolgatanga, which i am sure is part of a worldwide conglomerate.

For the philiosopical, "Seul le silence est grand" on a huge truck bound for Burkina Faso.

Totals for the tour: 406 bird taxa and 23 mammal taxa