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Field Guides Tour Report
Ghana 2015
Mar 20, 2015 to Apr 7, 2015
Phil Gregory & James Ntakor

White-necked Rockfowl, or White-necked Picathartes, as it is commonly known, was the most-wanted bird and star of the tour, and it put on a fantastic show for us! (Photo by guide Phil Gregory)

This was the sixth Field Guides Ghana tour and my seventh in total, and once again it proved very successful, albeit with long drives and lots of early mornings and late evenings in quite hot conditions. Our local operator's guides were again fantastic and worked very long hours with great good humor and marvelous field skills; James was once more our guide, and it is just so helpful to have the local knowledge he provides.

This year we had a day to explore Shai Hills, and we made a trip to Sakumono on arrival day, freeing up the next day for the long drive to Kakum. Violet Turaco, a fine Grayish Eagle-Owl, White-crowned Cliff-Chat (Mocking if you lump it), Vieillot's Barbet, and Blue-bellied Roller showed nicely, as did Splendid Sunbird, and Sakumono gave us a scattering of herons and shorebirds but again this year no Black Heron.

Winneba Plains gave us very good Guinea Turaco and Red-winged Prinia, but this year for the first time no Senegal Lapwing--maybe it was just too wet this time? Winneba Lagoon was unfortunately visited at low tide but still gave us Royal Terns and a few shorebirds.

Kakum is always interesting with that incredible rope walkway, but hornbills were very tough: we got 5 Brown-cheeked this trip but no sign of the two big casqued species at all. Other fine birds here in the general area were Fire-bellied Woodpecker, Rosy Bee-eater, Blue-throated Roller, Black-collared Lovebird, Cassin's Spinetail, Violet-backed Hyliota, and a great Brown Nightjar perched at dusk. Rock Pratincole (with a juvenile) and White-throated Blue Swallow were at the Pra River as usual, whilst a White-crowned Lapwing there was the first I'd seen here since 2009, and we saw the rare dark morph of Senegal Coucal plus Preuss's Swallow nearby. We also made a visit to the Stingless Bee research site at Abrafo late one morning, and we sampled some of their honey--apparently sweat bees are also honey bees it seems!

Sadly this year the road to Aboabo was too dire to attempt in the bus, so we birded some farm bush at Ebekawopa. Rufous-sided Broadbill showed well in forest nearby, and we were able to get a decent sighting of the ultra-elusive Olive Long-tailed Cuckoo also.

The innovation of camping in the forest at Ankasa in decent-sized tents with comfortable beds was well worth it and saved hours of commuting. Stars here were an amazing 17 Hartlaub's Ducks, African Pygmy-goose, White-bellied Kingfisher, Chocolate-backed Kingfisher, African Dwarf Kingfisher, Blue-headed Wood-Dove, Swamp and Yellow-bearded greenbuls, plus Reichenbach's, Tiny, and Mouse-brown sunbirds. Hearing Nkulengu Rail calling long before dawn still raises hopes for next year...

The Picathartes this year was great: we waited about 90 minutes, then had an absolute stunner hop in and pose in great light on a rock for several minutes. I finally managed to get some reasonable photos at last, and we had another two come in just as we were leaving. These fossicked about on the mud nests on the cave wall with one actually sitting in a nest for a while, this being very hard to see in the dim light there.

The north was in good shape with more rainfall and greenery evident, and Mole NP was again quite green. We did well here with White-throated Francolin, Forbes's Plover, Standard-wing Nightjar, Pied Flycatchers, and Melodious Warbler. Black-faced Firefinch and Chestnut-crowned Sparrow-Weaver were other good finds, as was Lavender Waxbill, and Brown-rumped Bunting showed well. Rufous Cisticola was found again, as was Red-faced Lovebird and some unexpected sightings were Gray-headed Bush-Shrike, Yellow-bellied Hyliota and Phil's lifer West African Seedeater. Elephants were very nice this year with great views of 4 animals bathing and coming by the waterhole, whilst Olive Baboons, Tantalus, and Patas Monkeys proved diverting.

As we headed northwards, Nasia Pond was full of water and proved interesting on both the northwards and southwards journeys, with Black-necked (Black-backed) Cisticola, (Black-faced) Quailfinch, Zebra (Orange-breasted) Waxbill, Black-rumped Waxbill, African Silverbill, and a bonus of Cut-throat, my first in Ghana.

We made a late-afternoon stop at the Tongo Hills, nailing very nice Fox Kestrel, White-crowned (Mocking) Cliff-chat for some, and brief Rock-loving Cisticola as well as the now split Gosling's (Cinnamon-breasted) Bunting.

We changed our timing this year and went out to the White Volta on that rough road early morning, which proved excellent: Black-headed Lapwing, Four-banded Sandgrouse, White-billed Sparrow-Weaver, Speckle-fronted Weaver, a brief sighting of Rufous Scrub-Robin, Yellow-billed Oxpecker, and of course the star of the show, great looks at 4 Egyptian Plovers on a sandbar in the river. Tono Dam late afternoon that day gave Chestnut-bellied Starling, more Four-banded Sandgrouse, and the hoped for Spotted Thick-knee.

Bobiri Butterfly sanctuary was fairly quiet this year, but we saw very good Forest Woodhoopoe, both Red-billed and Black Dwarf hornbills, Black Cuckoo, Least Honeyguide, had a brief glimpse of Black-throated Coucal, and very nice Magpie Mannikin.

Atewa was the coda for late-afternoon and early-morning interludes, adding Blue-headed Coucal, Black-and-white (Vanga) Shrike-Flycatcher, Little Gray Greenbul, and at last a nice look at Western Nicator.

Favorite birds were many. Highlights of course were the incredible White-necked Picathartes, Egyptian Plover, Hartlaub's Duck, Blue-moustached Bee-eater, Blue-bellied Roller, White-throated Francolin and many amazing butterflies, a strong focus for several of the group and a nice dimension to include.

My thanks to Sharon at Field Guides HQ for good logistics and to our local operator for their excellent service. Local guide James was outstanding, and Appiah was a great driver over rough roads for long periods without mishap or complaint, whilst Andrew was very good as the waterman, bird and butterfly guide, and scope carrier. Thanks also to David & Judy for sharing their scope and to everyone for helping spot and get onto skulking things--we ended up with a good total and some marvelous sightings, and it was fun trip.

Safe travels, and I hope to bird with you all again ere too long.

--Phil in Dubai/Kuranda


Sat 21/3/15 -- Arrival day for some, and birding at Sakumono that afternoon

Sun 22/3 -- Shai Hills

Mon 23/3 -- Tema-Winneba Plains / Winneba lagoon, roadside near Hans Botel / Rainforest Lodge

Tues 24/3 -- Kakum NP

Wed 25/3 -- Antwikwaa / Twifo Praso. Ebekawopa pm

Thurs 26/3 -- Abrafo Road am Takoradi / Ebi River / Ankasa

Fri 27/3 -- Ankasa NP

Sat 28/3 -- Ankasa River Trail / Pygmy Goose Pond / Ebi River / Brenu Beach / Rainforest Lodge

Sun 29/3 -- Ebekawopa farmbush. Assin Foso/Bankro / Kumasi

Mon 30/3 -- Kumasi / Kintampo / Mole NP

Tues 31/3 -- Mole NP Samole Loop and waterhole am. Pm Asibe loop

Wed 1/4 Mole Airstrip/Mognori R/ Samole loop pm

Thurs 2/4 Mole/ Yapei R/ Tamale/Nasia Pond/Tongo Hills. Bolgatanga

Fri 3/4 White Volta at Sapeliga; pm Tono Dam

Sat 4/4 Bolgatanga/Nasia Pond/ Kumasi (heavy rain!)

Sun 5/4 Bobiri am; pm Atewa farmbush

Mon 6/4 Atewa forest trail/ Accra and flights home

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) – Only seen at Sakumono this trip apart from 5 at the waterhole in Mole.
HARTLAUB'S DUCK (Pteronetta hartlaubii) – We saw 5 from the roadside, then a fishermen went through and flushed an amazing count of 17 from the mud around the mangroves, by far the most we have ever seen on the tour!

This Egyptian Plover, a subadult calling to an adult nearby, gave us some wonderful views. (Photo by guide Phil Gregory)

SPUR-WINGED GOOSE (NORTHERN) (Plectropterus gambensis gambensis) – One at the Ebi River delta was very unexpected, the Ghana atlas has no records from the region. Then 9 were at Nasia Pond, also unusual.
AFRICAN PYGMY-GOOSE (Nettapus auritus) – A pond near Ankasa gave us two females and a male of this beautiful little species.
Numididae (Guineafowl)
HELMETED GUINEAFOWL (HELMETED) (Numida meleagris galeatus) – Just a few in Mole NP.
Odontophoridae (New World Quail)
STONE PARTRIDGE (Ptilopachus petrosus) – Heard at Shai Hills, then seen very well at Mole. This distinctive bantam-like species is not closely related to francolins but belongs with an ancient new world gamebird group it seems.
Phasianidae (Pheasants, Grouse, and Allies)
WHITE-THROATED FRANCOLIN (WHITE-THROATED) (Francolinus albogularis buckleyi) – Great views of a calling bird at Mole Airstrip, this is such a co-operative species and the photos are on the web gallery.
AHANTA FRANCOLIN (Francolinus ahantensis) – Yet again heard at Antiwikwaa but not very close, I have yet to see this species, it languishes as a heard only lifer. [*]
DOUBLE-SPURRED FRANCOLIN (Francolinus bicalcaratus) – Seen several times at Shai Hills, Mole and Tono Dam, I think everyone eventually got good views.
Podicipedidae (Grebes)
LITTLE GREBE (LITTLE) (Tachybaptus ruficollis ruficollis) – Just one on a pond near Ankasa.
Ciconiidae (Storks)
WOOLLY-NECKED STORK (Ciconia episcopus) – One flew over at Mole late one afternoon, the only sighting. Split by HBW/BirdLife as African Woolly-necked Stork.
Phalacrocoracidae (Cormorants and Shags)
LONG-TAILED CORMORANT (Phalacrocorax africanus) – A handful at Sakumono and Nasia Pond.
Scopidae (Hamerkop)
HAMERKOP (Scopus umbretta) – As always very few, just in or near Mole NP.
Ardeidae (Herons, Egrets, and Bitterns)
GRAY HERON (Ardea cinerea) – One at Nasia Pond.
BLACK-HEADED HERON (Ardea melanocephala) – A nesting colony in tall trees at Yapei village was a surprise, with about 25 birds seen, and there were singles at Nasia and Tono Dam.
PURPLE HERON (Ardea purpurea) – One at Nasia Pond, then at Ebi River and a pond near Ankasa.
GREAT EGRET (AFRICAN) (Ardea alba melanorhynchos) – 15 at Sakumono and odd singles elsewhere including Ebi River.
INTERMEDIATE EGRET (Mesophoyx intermedia brachyrhyncha) – Just 3 at Sakumono was it for the trips.
LITTLE EGRET (Egretta garzetta) – Four day records, the most being 10 at Sakumono.
WESTERN REEF-HERON (WESTERN) (Egretta gularis gularis) – Also 4 day records, with 2 dark morph at Sakumono, 2 at Winneba Lagoon, 4 at Ebi River and a single there on the second visit.
CATTLE EGRET (Bubulcus ibis) – Small numbers on most days, this is the western nominate taxon.
SQUACCO HERON (Ardeola ralloides) – 11 at Sakumono and odd singles at Mole and Nasia.
STRIATED HERON (Butorides striata) – Four day records, with 2 at Ebi River the most.
BLACK-CROWNED NIGHT-HERON (Nycticorax nycticorax) – One at Ebi River and one in Mole late afternoon.
Threskiornithidae (Ibises and Spoonbills)
HADADA IBIS (Bostrychia hagedash) – Very few, only seen (and heard) in Mole this year with 2 birds the most.
Pandionidae (Osprey)
OSPREY (EURASIAN) (Pandion haliaetus haliaetus) – One at the Ebi River was unexpected, a species we don't usually see on tour. This is the Western Osprey, split by many.
Accipitridae (Hawks, Eagles, and Kites)
BLACK-SHOULDERED KITE (Elanus caeruleus) – Just four day records, max. 2 birds.
AFRICAN HARRIER-HAWK (Polyboroides typus) – Seven day records of singles, starting at Kakum and ending at Atewa.
PALM-NUT VULTURE (Gypohierax angolensis) – Five day records of singles, starting at Kakum.
EUROPEAN HONEY-BUZZARD (Pernis apivorus) – Two birds at Kakum.
AFRICAN CUCKOO-HAWK (Aviceda cuculoides) – A record breaking trip for what is usually a hard to see species- we had 1 at Shai Hills, 1 at Abrafo, 1 at Ebekawopa which may have been nesting, then 3 at Bobiri and 2 at Atewa the same day followed by a single at Atewa on the last day. Quite amazing.
HOODED VULTURE (Necrosyrtes monachus) – Just 7 day records, mostly singles except 3 at Atewa foothills, a sad decline from years gone by, and one which seems to be accelerating.
WHITE-BACKED VULTURE (Gyps africanus) – Just 2 seen at Mole, another species in rapid decline.
BATELEUR (Terathopius ecaudatus) – 3 females and an immature seen during our stay at Mole, the only site we see it as usual.
BEAUDOUIN'S SNAKE-EAGLE (Circaetus beaudouini) – One on a power line north of Tamale, and one carrying a snake in Mole.
CASSIN'S HAWK-EAGLE (Aquila africana) – James was sure the bird at Antwikwaa was this species but i have to say it looked awfully Buteonine to me and I was not at all sure.
LIZARD BUZZARD (Kaupifalco monogrammicus) – Five day records of singles.
DARK CHANTING-GOSHAWK (Melierax metabates) – Seen twice, nice views near Mole and at Tono Dam.
GABAR GOSHAWK (Micronisus gabar) – A good one at Shai Hills and then at Winneba where it was perched up, then one at Tono Dam.
GRASSHOPPER BUZZARD (Butastur rufipennis) – Nice views from the Mole area, max. 3 birds.
EURASIAN MARSH-HARRIER (Circus aeruginosus) – 3 at Sakumono and 2 at Shai Hills, then 3 at Nasia Pond.
RED-CHESTED GOSHAWK (BANDED) (Accipiter toussenelii macroscelides) – One began calling early morning and was seen flying away at our camp at Ankasa, then it or another was seen on the forest nearby. Oddly enough the West African FG lumps it with African Goshawk.
SHIKRA (Accipiter badius) – Four records of singles, starting at Sakumono and Shai Hills.

Lavender Waxbills at Mole (Photo by guide Phil Gregory)

RED-THIGHED SPARROWHAWK (Accipiter erythropus erythropus) – One perched up by the track at Atewa but most folks missed it before it dropped out. A hard one to see.
BLACK KITE (YELLOW-BILLED) (Milvus migrans parasitus) – Seen most days, and huge tree near Rainforest Lodge had a roost of up to 50 birds which would fly out at dawn and in at dusk. Split by many these days as Yellow-billed Kite.
RED-NECKED BUZZARD (Buteo auguralis) – Six day records starting at Winneba, max. 2 birds.
Otididae (Bustards)
BLACK-BELLIED BUSTARD (Lissotis melanogaster) – One at Winneba Plains was a nice pick-up.
Rallidae (Rails, Gallinules, and Coots)
NKULENGU RAIL (Himantornis haematopus) – Only heard really early one morning and way off in the forest, last year they were much closer. [*]
BLACK CRAKE (Amaurornis flavirostra) – One at Mankessim Pond for Tom and I, then an immature at Mole waterhole.
EURASIAN MOORHEN (Gallinula chloropus) – Two at Mankessim Pond were the only sighting.
Sarothruridae (Flufftails)
WHITE-SPOTTED FLUFFTAIL (Sarothrura pulchra) – Always a great bird to see, a couple of folks got a male at Antwikwaa, then next day I got a nice responsive male to come in at Abrafo, with a female later for some. Often put in a separate African endemic family too, the Sarothruridae.
Burhinidae (Thick-knees)
SENEGAL THICK-KNEE (Burhinus senegalensis) – 5 at Sakumono, then an odd bird on the river at Twifo Praso that I think was this species despite the white line on the wing coverts, then noisy at Mole NP with 7 seen by the waterhole.
SPOTTED THICK-KNEE (Burhinus capensis maculosus) – Again this year we found this at Tono Dam, where I saw one and I think some saw 2 birds.
Pluvianidae (Egyptian Plover)
EGYPTIAN PLOVER (Pluvianus aegyptius) – Terrific this year and worth the bumpy ride, we had 4 fine birds on a sand bar in the White Volta, one a subadult with buffy forehead and bend of wing which kept calling to a nearby adult. I taped it and have posted the cut to XC and IBC, not often you get to hear them vocalizing. Patti and Tom saw another further upriver too. One of the birds of the trip, as ever, and usually treated as an endemic African family.
Recurvirostridae (Stilts and Avocets)
BLACK-WINGED STILT (Himantopus himantopus) – Ten at Sakumono and 10 at Winneba lagoon.
Charadriidae (Plovers and Lapwings)
BLACK-BELLIED PLOVER (Pluvialis squatarola) – A couple at Winneba lagoon.
SPUR-WINGED LAPWING (Vanellus spinosus) – 18 at Sakumono, one at Winneba lagoon and a couple at Sapeliga.
BLACK-HEADED LAPWING (Vanellus tectus tectus) – Appiah found us a pair with a small juvenile in the farmbush near Sapeliga, just after the steel bailey bridge.
WHITE-HEADED LAPWING (Vanellus albiceps) – This was an unexpected find at Twifo Praso where we saw two birds and got one perched on a rock for good scope views. This was just my second Ghana record, I saw them here in 2009 but not subsequently.
WATTLED LAPWING (Vanellus senegallus) – Six day records, and with an amazing 105 on a wet area about 30 min N of Yapei, the biggest flock I have seen.
COMMON RINGED PLOVER (Charadrius hiaticula) – 20 at Sakumono and 30 at Winneba lagoon.
FORBES'S PLOVER (Charadrius forbesi) – Great this year, the best views we have ever had of this prized species, we found 2 on a laterite pan in Mole and were able to watch them from the bus at quite close range. Photos on the website.
Jacanidae (Jacanas)
AFRICAN JACANA (Actophilornis africanus) – 7 day records, the most being 11 at Sakumono.
Scolopacidae (Sandpipers and Allies)
COMMON SANDPIPER (Actitis hypoleucos) – Six day records, all singles bar 5 at Sakumono.
GREEN SANDPIPER (Tringa ochropus) – One distant bird flying high away at Sakumono, and one heard along a creek at Mole late afternoon.
COMMON GREENSHANK (Tringa nebularia) – Just four day records, the most being 5 at Sakumono.
WOOD SANDPIPER (Tringa glareola) – 30 at Sakumono and singles at Winneba Lagoon and Ebi River.
WHIMBREL (Numenius phaeopus) – 5 at Winneba lagoon.
BAR-TAILED GODWIT (Limosa lapponica) – 4 at Winneba lagoon.
CURLEW SANDPIPER (Calidris ferruginea) – One at Sakumono, a good find by Patti, and a couple at Winneba lagoon.
LITTLE STINT (Calidris minuta) – 3 at Sakumono and 3 at Winneba lagoon.
Glareolidae (Pratincoles and Coursers)
COLLARED PRATINCOLE (Glareola pratincola) – Two at Sakumono, and one a roadside wet area N of Yapei.

The canopy walkway at Kakum (Photo by guide Phil Gregory)

ROCK PRATINCOLE (RUFOUS-NAPED) (Glareola nuchalis liberiae) – A pair with a juvenile at Twifo Praso gave great looks.
Laridae (Gulls, Terns, and Skimmers)
ROYAL TERN (AFRICAN) (Thalasseus maximus albididorsalis) – Two at Sakumono, and a single at Winneba lagoon, this is the very white looking West African race.
Pteroclidae (Sandgrouse)
FOUR-BANDED SANDGROUSE (Pterocles quadricinctus) – A male in the road en route to Sapeliga, then 7 at Tono Dam, amazingly well camouflaged even when you knew where they had landed!
Columbidae (Pigeons and Doves)
ROCK PIGEON (Columba livia) – A few in the urban areas. [I]
SPECKLED PIGEON (Columba guinea guinea) – First at Yapei, then a few in the north with a noisy pair on the roof of our hotel at Bolgatanga.
MOURNING COLLARED-DOVE (Streptopelia decipiens) – 3 at Sapeliga, quite easy to see by the river there, and very local in Ghana. The yellow eye is a useful field character.
RED-EYED DOVE (Streptopelia semitorquata) – Widespread in small numbers.
VINACEOUS DOVE (Streptopelia vinacea) – One at Shai Hills then a few at Mole and odd birds in the north.
LAUGHING DOVE (Streptopelia senegalensis) – Widespread and seen most days.
BLACK-BILLED WOOD-DOVE (Turtur abyssinicus) – Good looks at Shai Hills and Winneba, then again in Mole. I photographed an immature at the Mognori River.
BLUE-SPOTTED WOOD-DOVE (Turtur afer) – Vocal and heard more than seen, we had a couple at Ankasa and a good one was in the road at Brenu Beach.
TAMBOURINE DOVE (Turtur tympanistria) – Seen well at Kakum and Ankasa then again at Bobiri, again more often heard than seen.
BLUE-HEADED WOOD-DOVE (Turtur brehmeri) – One heard at Ebekawopa then I was able to tape one in at the Ankasa River Trail and most folks got a nice look at it.
NAMAQUA DOVE (Oena capensis) – Up to 7 around Sapeliga and Tono Dam, as usual only in the very far north.
BRUCE'S GREEN-PIGEON (Treron waalia) – Seen well in Mole NP and a flock of 15 at Tono Dam, a real northern special.
AFRICAN GREEN-PIGEON (Treron calvus) – Seen at Kakum and Antwikwaa.
Musophagidae (Turacos)
GUINEA TURACO (Tauraco persa) – Seen nicely at Winneba, and again at Ebekawopa later. [E]
YELLOW-BILLED TURACO (Tauraco macrorhynchus) – Some good views of this West African endemic at Ankasa, and it was quite vocal at Ebekawopa late one afternoon. [E]
VIOLET TURACO (Musophaga violacea) – 4 at Shai Hills showed nicely, and also seen at Mole.
WESTERN PLANTAIN-EATER (Crinifer piscator) – Nine day records, with 3 or 4 each day from Sakumono, Shai Hills and Winneba, and then 6 at Mole.
Cuculidae (Cuckoos)
LEVAILLANT'S CUCKOO (Clamator levaillantii) – Just one at Kakum this trip.
GREAT SPOTTED CUCKOO (Clamator glandarius) – Two very nice birds near Sapeliga were a good find, and showed well.
THICK-BILLED CUCKOO (AFRICAN) (Pachycoccyx audeberti brazzae) – Heard calling in flight at Atewa but vanished before we could tape it back. [*]
RED-CHESTED CUCKOO (Cuculus solitarius) – Heard briefly at Bankro on the Picathartes trek. [*]
BLACK CUCKOO (Cuculus clamosus) – One fine bird at Bobiri showed well, of the red-chested gabonensis race. This is always the only place we see this species on the tour.
AFRICAN CUCKOO (Cuculus gularis) – One on the wires by Shai Hills, one in Mole and a female with a buffish chest and a reddish base of bill near Sapeliga. Also heard in Mole, where they call "oo-cuk", so this is really the African Oocuck.
OLIVE LONG-TAILED CUCKOO (Cercococcyx olivinus) – Heard at Kakum, then a nice look at one at Ebekawopa which we eventually got in the scope, with about 4 birds calling here. We saw another in flight too, this is always a very hard bird to actually see. I posted the sounds cuts to IBC and XC.
YELLOW-THROATED CUCKOO (Chrysococcyx flavigularis) – Sadly only heard at Atewa, after much prospective tape playing, then not responding when it did start vocalizing! [*]
KLAAS'S CUCKOO (Chrysococcyx klaas) – Vocal this trip, and a good male at Shai Hills.
AFRICAN EMERALD CUCKOO (Chrysococcyx cupreus) – Two seen at Kakum included a female, and it was heard at Atewa.
DIDERIC CUCKOO (Chrysococcyx caprius) – A male at Winneba and heard at Bobiri and Atewa.
YELLOWBILL (Ceuthmochares aereus) – Seen briefly at Ankasa and Bobiri, often split these days as Blue Malkoha with the south and eastern birds as Green Malkoha C. australis.
BLACK-THROATED COUCAL (Centropus leucogaster) – Heard at Kakum and Antwikwaa, then one was clambering about in the bamboo at Bobiri where we could hear it moving, but most of us missed it flying out. However a second bird launched across a gap not long after and some of us got a flight view. This is one tough species to actually see, this was only my second sighting.
BLUE-HEADED COUCAL (Centropus monachus) – Just 2 at Atewa but heard at Kakum.
SENEGAL COUCAL (Centropus senegalensis) – 3 at Shai hills, then a dark morph bird in rank grass near Twifo Praso, with black chin and throat, the first time I have seen this purely West African variety. I put a poor photo on the website, and this form is very little known.
Strigidae (Owls)
AFRICAN SCOPS-OWL (Otus senegalensis) – Calling at Mole by the Lodge and then another late one afternoon, we spent some time chasing it up as it came close, and some folks I think saw it flit by, whilst I eventually got a one second perched view of this tiny greyish owl, my first actual sighting in Ghana!
GRAYISH EAGLE-OWL (Bubo cinerascens) – One flushed and then seen perched at Shai Hills, and another at Mole NP.
AFRICAN WOOD-OWL (Strix woodfordii) – One was heard calling early one morning by the tents at Ankasa, but they are taped out here and showed no interest in playback, I hear it every tour but have yet to see it in Ghana! [*]
Caprimulgidae (Nightjars and Allies)
STANDARD-WINGED NIGHTJAR (Caprimulgus longipennis) – A female was flushed and then found perched along a large tree branch along the Samole loop, see photo on the website. A male that evening was sat in the road, with one of his standards looking like a dung pile beside him, very hard to discern what it really was. Tom found a discarded standard at Mole Airstrip too.
BROWN NIGHTJAR (Caprimulgus binotatus) – We were very lucky and got one perched at dusk at Kakum, they only seem to call for a very short period and if you don't get them quick that's it. It is a small dark brown nightjar that lacks wing and tail spots and is very hard to see, luckily the eyeshine gave it away and we got a scope on it. [E]
LONG-TAILED NIGHTJAR (Caprimulgus climacurus) – A great bird by the road at the track near Hans Botel, then another that had a tiny chick by the road at Brenu Beach, before one at Ebekawopa and another at Mole, a good trip for them.
Apodidae (Swifts)
MOTTLED SPINETAIL (Telacanthura ussheri) – One at Brenu Beach was unexpected, then we saw 2 at the turning for the Ebekawopa track.
CASSIN'S SPINETAIL (Neafrapus cassini) – 4 from Kakum walkway, then one over farmbush at the Ebekawopa turnoff, this species has an extraordinary shape like a stealth bomber!
MOTTLED SWIFT (Apus aequatorialis) – A large and very fast swift went low over us at Antwikwaa, and despite James saying he'd never seen it in Ghana I find there are records from here, and I am staying by my initial diagnosis. A Ghana tick for me though.

The bamboo "cathedral" at Ankasa (Photo by guide Phil Gregory)

COMMON SWIFT (Apus apus) – Just singles at Kakum and Antwikwaa.
LITTLE SWIFT (Apus affinis) – Widespread, there are often large colonies under road culverts.
WHITE-RUMPED SWIFT (Apus caffer) – One at the Mole waterhole, then one at Tongo Hills, an odd location for it.
AFRICAN PALM-SWIFT (Cypsiurus parvus) – Widespread in small numbers.
Alcedinidae (Kingfishers)
MALACHITE KINGFISHER (Corythornis cristatus) – Six day records of singles, including from Winneba, Ebi River and Mole plus Nasia Pond.
WHITE-BELLIED KINGFISHER (Corythornis leucogaster) – I think everyone but me got glimpses of a very intermittent one at the pond in Ankasa, which was very low this year. It was also heard there and several times in the forests here, where it is very difficult to actually see.
AFRICAN PYGMY-KINGFISHER (Ispidina picta) – Five day records, with 2 at Shai Hills and singles in Mole and at Antwikwaa.
AFRICAN DWARF KINGFISHER (Ispidina lecontei) – One at the bamboo cathedral in Ankasa was a nice find of a very elusive species, it sat up for scope views too.
CHOCOLATE-BACKED KINGFISHER (Halcyon badia) – Heard at Ebekawopa, and seen nicely at Ankasa by the main track.
GRAY-HEADED KINGFISHER (Halcyon leucocephala) – Small numbers from Mole, and good views by the Lodge
WOODLAND KINGFISHER (Halcyon senegalensis) – Just a few this trip, the best near Ankasa, where the grey-headed taxon fuscopileus showed well.
BLUE-BREASTED KINGFISHER (Halcyon malimbica) – Great looks at the Ebekawopa farmbush, then also seen nicely at Mole where they have a very vocal aerial display.
PIED KINGFISHER (Ceryle rudis) – Just 4 day records, with 10 at Sakumono, and otherwise of singles only, they seem oddly local here.
Meropidae (Bee-eaters)
BLACK BEE-EATER (Merops gularis gularis) – One at Ebekawopa, then an odd tail-less bird at Abrafo which looked extremely bizarre.
BLUE-MOUSTACHED BEE-EATER (Merops mentalis) – Two fine birds over the main track at Ankasa were a surprise and my first from here, we saw them very well and I got a sound cut which is the first of this species on XC. They are fairly distinct to Blue-headed Bee-eater from which they were recently split, but both these birds lacked the elongated cental feathers. [E]
RED-THROATED BEE-EATER (Merops bulocki) – Nice views of this gorgeous bird from Mole NP with up to 30 on one day. Great to see them dust bathing by their colony on the Samole loop too.
LITTLE BEE-EATER (Merops pusillus) – One by the road near Sakumono was unexpected, and we saw it at Ebekawopa as well, always very local in Ghana.
SWALLOW-TAILED BEE-EATER (Merops hirundineus chrysolaimus) – Just 2 at Shai Hills, the only sighting of the trip.
WHITE-THROATED BEE-EATER (Merops albicollis) – Small numbers of this intra-African migrant were widespread, mostly in the north.
EUROPEAN BEE-EATER (Merops apiaster) – 4 migrants as we came into Mole NP were the only record.
ROSY BEE-EATER (Merops malimbicus) – 10 over Kakum Walkway, and Tom saw one at Abrafo, a much prized species on the tour. [E]
NORTHERN CARMINE BEE-EATER (Merops nubicus) – 3 north of Tamale on April 2, then a single and 2 birds perched on the back of a sheep near Sapeliga, too distant to photograph unfortunately.
Coraciidae (Rollers)
ABYSSINIAN ROLLER (Coracias abyssinicus) – We had records of 3, 3 and 4 on our days in Mole NP, and got some lovely views of this gorgeous species.
RUFOUS-CROWNED ROLLER (Coracias naevius) – One at Shai Hills, and one in Mole were the only records.
BLUE-BELLIED ROLLER (Coracias cyanogaster) – 5 from Shai Hills, our usual site, but none later this time (except for one Tom saw), another big prize from the tour. [E]
BROAD-BILLED ROLLER (Eurystomus glaucurus) – One at Shai Hills, and three day records from Mole NP.
BLUE-THROATED ROLLER (Eurystomus gularis) – 3 at Kakum with one at Antwikwaa, and heard at Bobiri., always a nice species to find.
Phoeniculidae (Woodhoopoes and Scimitar-bills)
GREEN WOODHOOPOE (Phoeniculus purpureus) – Seen nicely and unexpectedly at Sakumono golf club, where 2 birds were busy foraging.
FOREST WOODHOOPOE (Phoeniculus castaneiceps) – One at Kakum gave brief views, then a much better one from Bobiri later, with photo on the website and sound cut at XC.
BLACK SCIMITAR-BILL (Rhinopomastus aterrimus) – Two at Shai Hills were unusual, then we had another up at Tono Dam.
Bucerotidae (Hornbills)
WHITE-CRESTED HORNBILL (Tockus albocristatus) – One shot across the track at Antwikwaa, but my tape playing lured it back across and it sat up briefly as well as vocalizing, a good pick up of a very odd and skulking species, always a hard one. Also another one that HBW/BirdLife now split into E and W species.
BLACK DWARF HORNBILL (Tockus hartlaubi) – A single at Ankasa then another at Bobiri, the latter sitting up nicely, photos on the website and at IBC. HBW/BirdLife split this into Eastern and Western species.
RED-BILLED DWARF HORNBILL (Tockus camurus) – Elusive this trip, we eventually got one to respond at Bobiri and it showed briefly, they have a great mournful call.
NORTHERN RED-BILLED HORNBILL (Tockus erythrorhynchus) – Seen only in the far north this trip, though Phil did see one in Mole where they are uncommon.
AFRICAN PIED HORNBILL (Tockus fasciatus) – The widespread Ghanaian hornbill, seen on 9 days and very vocal. HBW/BirdLife split this into Eastern and Western species.
AFRICAN GRAY HORNBILL (Tockus nasutus) – Also widespread but in the drier areas, we saw 15 at Shai Hills and had a few in Mole.
PIPING HORNBILL (Ceratogymna fistulator) – Tough this trip again, we saw just 2 at the track by Hans Botel and had very good views. Another one that HBW/BirdLife now split into E and W species.

Woodland Kingfisher of the fuscopileus race (Photo by guide Phil Gregory)

BROWN-CHEEKED HORNBILL (Ceratogymna cylindrica) – This is a rare bird and a West African endemic that we missed last trip, so it was great to get 5 at Kakum on the first day, a couple of which posed for great views. [E]
Lybiidae (African Barbets)
YELLOW-BILLED BARBET (Trachyphonus purpuratus) – Heard and glimpsed at Ebekawopa.
BRISTLE-NOSED BARBET (Gymnobucco peli) – Just 2 at Antwikwaa this trip, unusually scarce.
NAKED-FACED BARBET (Gymnobucco calvus) – Only 4 day records this time, from Kakum and Antwikwaa and then at Atewa, a vocal bird too.
SPECKLED TINKERBIRD (Pogoniulus scolopaceus) – Seen at Kakum and Antwikwaa.
RED-RUMPED TINKERBIRD (Pogoniulus atroflavus) – A very nice one at Ankasa game guard camp, though it took us ages to find it as it called from a huge tree. Heard at Bobiri and Atewa too.
YELLOW-THROATED TINKERBIRD (Pogoniulus subsulphureus) – Heard at Kakum on day one, then 2 seen at Antwikwaa. Best identified by voice here as Yellow-rumped is very similar.
YELLOW-RUMPED TINKERBIRD (Pogoniulus bilineatus) – Frustrating, we heard it close by at Abrafo and Mole, but it stayed out of view despite tape playback [*]
YELLOW-FRONTED TINKERBIRD (Pogoniulus chrysoconus) – This drier country bird was seen at Shai Hills, Mole and Tono Dam.
YELLOW-SPOTTED BARBET (Buccanodon duchaillui) – Heard at Kakum but stayed unseen. [*]
HAIRY-BREASTED BARBET (Tricholaema hirsuta) – One flew over at Kakum.
VIEILLOT'S BARBET (Lybius vieilloti) – Very good looks at Shai Hills, something of a special there, see photo on website, and also a good view of 2 at Tono Dam. [E]
DOUBLE-TOOTHED BARBET (Lybius bidentatus) – Seen at Sakumono and then Shai Hills, just singles.
BEARDED BARBET (Lybius dubius) – This was seen by some folks on some 4 days but I only saw it myself in Mole.
Indicatoridae (Honeyguides)
CASSIN'S HONEYGUIDE (Prodotiscus insignis) – One briefly at Kakum walkway, then a much better look at this small slender billed honeybird at Ankasa.
WILLCOCKS'S HONEYGUIDE (Indicator willcocksi) – One at Atewa on the last day, one of the small stubby billed species.
LEAST HONEYGUIDE (Indicator exilis) – The bird calling at Bobiri that we spent ages tracking down seems to be be this species, we had scope views of it high in the trees. Cut posted on xeno-canto.
THICK-BILLED HONEYGUIDE (Indicator conirostris) – A single at Kakum, a species I expect to lose as the vocals and calls seem identical to Lesser Honeyguide, and I anticipate a lump in the offing.
LESSER HONEYGUIDE (Indicator minor) – One in Mole, these dry country birds have paler underparts than the wet forest Thick-billed Honeyguide but are vocally identical.
GREATER HONEYGUIDE (Indicator indicator) – A couple of sightings from Mole, where they were calling. This is the classic honeyguide that lures people to bees nests.
Picidae (Woodpeckers)
AFRICAN PICULET (Sasia africana) – One of this diminutive species at Bobiri was very elusive, it kept flying as soon as soon as we got onto it and only a couple of folks got anything like a decent view. It's a species we usually see at Aboabo, which we couldn't access this year.
FINE-SPOTTED WOODPECKER (Campethera punctuligera) – A single in Mole en route to the Mognori River, another quite scarce species.
LITTLE GREEN WOODPECKER (Campethera maculosa) – One from the Kakum Walkway, a West African endemic too. [E]
BUFF-SPOTTED WOODPECKER (Campethera nivosa) – Two engaging birds kept flying back and forth at the track near Hans Botel, and one was seen at Ebekawopa.
CARDINAL WOODPECKER (Dendropicos fuscescens) – A few folks saw it at Shai Hills, then we had a good look at a female in Mole one afternoon.
MELANCHOLY WOODPECKER (Dendropicos lugubris) – Seen at Antwikwaa, another endemic West African woodpecker. [E]
FIRE-BELLIED WOODPECKER (Dendropicos pyrrhogaster) – Seen well at Kakum and Antwikwaa, where it was drumming. [E]
AFRICAN GRAY WOODPECKER (Dendropicos goertae) – A very nice look at a pair from the lookout at Mole Lodge.
BROWN-BACKED WOODPECKER (Dendropicos obsoletus) – A single at Mole was a good find of an uncommon bird.
Falconidae (Falcons and Caracaras)
EURASIAN KESTREL (EURASIAN) (Falco tinnunculus rufescens) – A couple of sightings around Tema and Accra, then a couple briefly in the north.
FOX KESTREL (Falco alopex) – Great looks at a perched bird at Tongo Hills as we arrived, amd seen flying over later too, the only site on the tour for this specialist of rocky area species.
GRAY KESTREL (Falco ardosiaceus) – 2 at Shai Hills, and one later near Twifo Praso.
AFRICAN HOBBY (Falco cuvierii) – A single shot over at Shai Hills, a hard species to get on the tour.
LANNER FALCON (Falco biarmicus) – Five day records of singles, the first at Shai Hills.
Psittaculidae (Old World Parrots)
ROSE-RINGED PARAKEET (Psittacula krameri) – Just 3 flying over near Sapeliga.
BLACK-COLLARED LOVEBIRD (Agapornis swindernianus) – 5 flew by calling whilst we were on the walkway at Kakum, a lucky find as this is a pretty difficult species, and it was not a bad flight view.
RED-HEADED LOVEBIRD (Agapornis pullarius pullarius) – Great looks at 1 by the Mognori River, this seems a good site for this species.
Psittacidae (New World and African Parrots)
GRAY PARROT (GRAY) (Psittacus erithacus erithacus) – Only heard this trip, at Ankasa. Declining due to the cage bird trade. [*]

A village on the way to the White Volta, a typical Sahel scene (Photo by guide Phil Gregory)

RED-FRONTED PARROT (Poicephalus gulielmi) – Seen very nicely at Antwikwaa, with perched views for once, then again at Atewa.
SENEGAL PARROT (Poicephalus senegalus) – Very good at Shai Hills this year, very vocal and showed off very nicely, sound cut on XC. Also seen at Mole.
Calyptomenidae (African and Green Broadbills)
RUFOUS-SIDED BROADBILL (Smithornis rufolateralis) – A fine bird at Ebekawopa one afternoon, and heard a few times at Ankasa.
Platysteiridae (Wattle-eyes and Batises)
BROWN-THROATED WATTLE-EYE (Platysteira cyanea) – 7 day records starting at Shai Hills, and some nice views. Named after the brown throated female plumage.
WEST AFRICAN WATTLE-EYE (Platysteira hormophora) – Sparse this year, we saw it at Ankasa where I taped the curiously tinkerbird-like song. A split from Chestnut Wattle-eye. [E]
RED-CHEEKED WATTLE-EYE (Platysteira blissetti) – Heard at Ebekawopa and Antwikwaa but impossible to get into view and not much interest in my playback. [E]
SENEGAL BATIS (Batis senegalensis) – 3 at Shai Hills than a fine pair at Tono Dam that showed very well. [E]
Vangidae (Vangas, Helmetshrikes, and Allies)
WHITE HELMETSHRIKE (Prionops plumatus) – This was a lucky find as we came out of Mole NP, with one sat right by the road, a species we only see occasionally.
RED-BILLED HELMETSHRIKE (Prionops caniceps) – Three day records of this attractive bird, from Antwikwaa, Ebekawopa then at Bobiri.
BLACK-AND-WHITE SHRIKE-FLYCATCHER (Bias musicus) – Just a single male on the very last day at Atewa, at the usual site and the last addition to the triplist. It used to be called the much less cumbersome Vanga Flycatcher, and the family has now been suggested to be moved into Vangidae!
Malaconotidae (Bushshrikes and Allies)
BRUBRU (Nilaus afer afer) – Two good views of calling birds at Mole.
NORTHERN PUFFBACK (Dryoscopus gambensis) – Seem at Shai Hills then in Mole.
SABINE'S PUFFBACK (Dryoscopus sabini) – A pair at Kakum walkway showed nicely, a West African special that it's always good to get.
BLACK-CROWNED TCHAGRA (Tchagra senegalus) – Four sightings from drier areas and also heard quite often.
BROWN-CROWNED TCHAGRA (Tchagra australis) – Singing at Shai Hills and Winneba, actually right by Black-crowned at one time at Shai Hills, but as ever hard to see. [*]
YELLOW-CROWNED GONOLEK (Laniarius barbarus) – This amazing looking red and black bush-shrike with the yellow cap was seen nicely at Tema, Winneba, Brenu Beach and Mole. Their duets are a common sound of the dry country.
LOWLAND SOOTY BOUBOU (Laniarius leucorhynchus) – Heard at Abrafo and Ebekawopa, but not interested in my playback. [*]
SULPHUR-BREASTED BUSHSHRIKE (Telophorus sulfureopectus) – Heard at Brenu beach, then a nice view of one in Mole one afternoon.
GRAY-HEADED BUSHSHRIKE (Malaconotus blanchoti) – One calling by Mole airstrip was lured into view, and may have been my first in Ghana I suspect.
Campephagidae (Cuckooshrikes)
WHITE-BREASTED CUCKOOSHRIKE (Coracina pectoralis) – A single in the dry savanna at Mole.
RED-SHOULDERED CUCKOOSHRIKE (Campephaga phoenicea) – A fine male at Shai Hills then again at Mole where 3 males were together at one point.
BLUE CUCKOOSHRIKE (Cyanograucalus azureus) – Heard close by from the Kakum walkway but stayed out of sight. [*]
Laniidae (Shrikes)
NORTHERN FISCAL (Lanius humeralis smithii) – A few sightings from the coastal areas starting at Brenu Beach, strangely localized in Ghana. Note Borrow does not split this in his WA FG and lists it as Southern Fiscal, it was a subsequent split.
YELLOW-BILLED SHRIKE (Corvinella corvina) – Some good views in the south starting at Sakumono, with 7 at Mole Airstrip showing off well.
Oriolidae (Old World Orioles)
AFRICAN GOLDEN ORIOLE (Oriolus auratus) – 2 fine males in the dry savanna at Mole.
WESTERN BLACK-HEADED ORIOLE (Oriolus brachyrhynchus) – Seen at Kakum and Ankasa.
BLACK-WINGED ORIOLE (Oriolus nigripennis) – A single from Kakum and one from Bobiri, a West African endemic. [E]
Dicruridae (Drongos)
SHINING DRONGO (Dicrurus atripennis) – Good looks at one in Ankasa, often hard to see well and a West African endemic. [E]
FORK-TAILED DRONGO (Dicrurus adsimilis) – Five day records of small numbers in the drier areas.
VELVET-MANTLED DRONGO (Dicrurus modestus) – The drongo of the wetter forests, seen well at Ankasa and Atewa.
Monarchidae (Monarch Flycatchers)
BLUE-HEADED CRESTED-FLYCATCHER (Trochocercus nitens) – Heard at Ankasa but it stayed well back. [*]

Rock Pratincole of the chestnut-collared liberiae race (Photo by guide Phil Gregory)

BLACK-HEADED PARADISE-FLYCATCHER (Terpsiphone rufiventer) – Sparse this trip, seen nicely at Ankasa and then heard at Bobiri.
AFRICAN PARADISE-FLYCATCHER (Terpsiphone viridis) – A couple of sightings from Mole, with some seeing a striking white morph male.
Corvidae (Crows, Jays, and Magpies)
PIAPIAC (Ptilostomus afer) – 7 day records of small numbers starting at Sakumono.
PIED CROW (Corvus albus) – Widespread and seen most days, but no big numbers.
Picathartidae (Rockfowl)
WHITE-NECKED ROCKFOWL (Picathartes gymnocephalus) – Great this year, we waited about 90 minutes, then one came bounding in and posed for several minutes on a boulder, I finally managed to get some photos! Then two more appeared just after some folks had started down, and began foraging in the shadows, with one actually going up and sitting in one of the mud nests on the cave wall. Great to see this bizarre bird so well, as ever one of the trip highlights. [E]
Nicatoridae (Nicators)
WESTERN NICATOR (Nicator chloris) – Much in demand and heard at several sites before we got a nice view of one at Atewa, it's placed in an endemic African family now.
Alaudidae (Larks)
SUN LARK (Galerida modesta) – 7 birds in Mole on the dry laterite pans, the usual areas.
Hirundinidae (Swallows)
BANDED MARTIN (Riparia cincta) – A single over the lookout at Mole was a great surprise, and was seen by Tom later, a new Ghana bird for me and I don't think it is known from this far north.
BARN SWALLOW (Hirundo rustica) – The most were about 10 at Winneba, otherwise just very small numbers.
RED-CHESTED SWALLOW (Hirundo lucida lucida) – Two on wires near Techiman and a couple at Larabanga mosque, easily overlooked. The birds at Twifo Praso also look like this to me, they have red throats, are very blue above, and seem to have narrow black borders to the throat. [E]
ETHIOPIAN SWALLOW (Hirundo aethiopica aethiopica) – 7 day records, with 30 at Sakumono the most.
WHITE-THROATED BLUE SWALLOW (Hirundo nigrita) – This is one snazzy bird which we only see at the one site at the Pra River, where there were 3 birds this year.
WIRE-TAILED SWALLOW (Hirundo smithii smithii) – Just a couple of sightings from Mole.
PIED-WINGED SWALLOW (Hirundo leucosoma) – An unexpected find in Mole by the Mognori River, where we had 4 flying over and around, and one sat on a branch in the creek. These were my first from Ghana and it's a real West African special, very localized.
RED-RUMPED SWALLOW (WEST AFRICAN) (Cecropis daurica domicella) – One over at Kakum and and a handful at the Tongo Hills, this form is split by the IOC as West African Swallow.
LESSER STRIPED-SWALLOW (Cecropis abyssinica) – Widespread in small numbers, a very attractive swallow with its stripy underparts and red rump.
RUFOUS-CHESTED SWALLOW (Cecropis semirufa gordoni) – 3 at Abrafo and a couple at Atewa were the only sightings. A low density species, we usually see this (and Mosque Swallow) just a couple of times each trip.
PREUSS'S SWALLOW (Petrochelidon preussi) – We had 2 unexpectedly at Sakumono, then about 70 at a culvert near the Pra River and a couple of singles at Ebekawopa. [E]
COMMON HOUSE-MARTIN (Delichon urbicum) – 3 flying high north over Larabanga mosque.
SQUARE-TAILED SAWWING (Psalidoprocne nitens) – Quite a good total of 10 at Ankasa, a very localized forest species. [E]
FANTI SAWWING (Psalidoprocne obscura) – 3 at Kakum and a single at Ebekawopa. [E]
Stenostiridae (Fairy Flycatchers)
AFRICAN BLUE-FLYCATCHER (Elminia longicauda) – Just one by the Mognori River in Mole. Now placed in Stenosteiridae, an endemic African family.
Paridae (Tits, Chickadees, and Titmice)
WHITE-SHOULDERED BLACK-TIT (Melaniparus guineensis) – Two at Shai Hills and then again at Mole, the yellow eye was seen well.
Remizidae (Penduline-Tits)
FOREST PENDULINE-TIT (Anthoscopus flavifrons) – A lucky find at Antwikwaa, this little group of 4 showed very well. They seem to favour one particular type of open tree as we usually see them in this species.
Certhiidae (Treecreepers)
AFRICAN SPOTTED-CREEPER (Salpornis salvadori emini) – We did well for this elusive species in Mole, seeing two on the Samole loop one morning then another in a different section the next afternoon, an easily missed species.
Pycnonotidae (Bulbuls)
SLENDER-BILLED GREENBUL (Stelgidillas gracilirostris) – Seen best at Bobiri and Atewa, some saw it at Kakum too.

The mosque at Larabanga (Photo by guide Phil Gregory)

RED-TAILED BRISTLEBILL (Bleda syndactylus) – The first of what was basically the trifecta of calling but unseen Bristlebills, some folks may got a glimpse at Kakum by the antswarm? [*]
GREEN-TAILED BRISTLEBILL (Bleda eximius) – Heard at Ankasa but as ever very secretive. [E]
GRAY-HEADED BRISTLEBILL (Bleda canicapillus) – Also heard at Ankasa. [E]
SIMPLE GREENBUL (Chlorocichla simplex) – Quite vocal, and we saw singles from Winneba and near Kakum, also called Simple Leaflove, a nicer name.
HONEYGUIDE GREENBUL (Baeopogon indicator) – Heard at Bankro as we were going in for the Picathartes. [*]
SPOTTED GREENBUL (Ixonotus guttatus) – A small group at Ankasa this trip, keeping quite high in the canopy.
SWAMP GREENBUL (Thescelocichla leucopleura) – Noisy and showed well at Abrafo, Ankasa and then at Atewa. Swamp Palm Bulbul of the Field Guide.
RED-TAILED GREENBUL (Criniger calurus) – This quite smart looking guy with the big white throat and yellow underparts showed well at Ankasa and Kakum.
WESTERN BEARDED-GREENBUL (Criniger barbatus) – Heard at Ebekawopa and Ankasa but none seen this time, which was a shame. [E*]
YELLOW-BEARDED GREENBUL (Criniger olivaceus) – A good look at one foraging high in a tree at Ankasa, this was always an Ankasa special. [E]
GRAY GREENBUL (Eurillas gracilis) – Just one at Atewa one afternoon.
ANSORGE'S GREENBUL (Eurillas ansorgei) – We saw this tiny one at Ankasa.
PLAIN GREENBUL (Eurillas curvirostris) – Another one we saw at Ankasa, a very nondescript species.
YELLOW-WHISKERED GREENBUL (Eurillas latirostris) – These are quite vocal in the rainforests, but hard to see well, it was seen at Kakum and Ankasa.
LITTLE GREENBUL (Eurillas virens) – Vocal but hard to see in the forest areas, we got one well at Ebekawopa.
ICTERINE GREENBUL (Phyllastrephus icterinus) – Seen quite well at Ankasa in a feeding flock there.
WHITE-THROATED GREENBUL (Phyllastrephus albigularis) – Just one at Atewa this trip, on the last morning and not very forthcoming!
COMMON BULBUL (Pycnonotus barbatus) – Seen every day except in the rainforest areas.
Macrosphenidae (African Warblers)
GREEN CROMBEC (Sylvietta virens flaviventris) – Seen at Kakum and Ebekawopa.
LEMON-BELLIED CROMBEC (Sylvietta denti hardyi) – Great looks from the Kakum walkway. They call different to the Uganda birds.
NORTHERN CROMBEC (Sylvietta brachyura brachyura) – One at Shai Hills, then a singing bird at Mole lookout, sound cut posted on xenocanto.
KEMP'S LONGBILL (Macrosphenus kempi) – Elusive, one close by but unseen at Abrafo, then one at Ebekawopa that came in and only showed briefly in the depths of a thicket, then finally heard again at Bobiri. [E]
GRAY LONGBILL (Macrosphenus concolor) – Seen well at Kakum and Ebekawopa, and singing strongly at Ankasa where something had got 2 of them really stirred up, cut posted to XC.
GREEN HYLIA (Hylia prasina) – A frequent sound of the rainforests and seen well by some at Ankasa, and again at Bobiri.
TIT-HYLIA (Pholidornis rushiae) – A pretty good look at 2 of Africa's smallest bird at Antwikwaa and then a pair with juvenile at Atewa, they are pretty distinct to the central African ones too. Pix on IBC and website.
Cettiidae (Bush-Warblers and Allies)
CHESTNUT-CAPPED FLYCATCHER (Erythrocercus mccallii) – Seen twice but neither group very obliging, at Ankasa and then Bobiri.
Phylloscopidae (Leaf-Warblers)
WILLOW WARBLER (Phylloscopus trochilus) – Small numbers in the north, they were singing at Mole.
WOOD WARBLER (Phylloscopus sibilatrix) – Only seen once at Kakum, and much in decline in Europe.
Acrocephalidae (Reed-Warblers and Allies)
MELODIOUS WARBLER (Hippolais polyglotta) – One at Shai Hills then one at Mole were a nice find of a scarce European migrant.
Cisticolidae (Cisticolas and Allies)
BLACK-CAPPED APALIS (BLACK-CAPPED) (Apalis nigriceps nigriceps) – Heard at all the rainforest sites, and seen quite well at Kakum.
YELLOW-BREASTED APALIS (YELLOW-BREASTED) (Apalis flavida caniceps) – Two birds by the Mognori River in Mole NP.
SHARPE'S APALIS (Apalis sharpii) – Vocal at the rainforest sites, and seen at Kakum. A West African endemic. [E]
GREEN-BACKED CAMAROPTERA (GRAY-BACKED) (Camaroptera brachyura brevicaudata) – Grey-backed Camaroptera was very noisy at all the drier areas, and seen well at Mole.
YELLOW-BROWED CAMAROPTERA (Camaroptera superciliaris) – A good trip for this one, we saw it very nicely at Antwikwaa and then again at Ebekawopa for some of us, and it was heard at all the rainforest sites.
OLIVE-GREEN CAMAROPTERA (Camaroptera chloronota) – The repetitive ringing call was heard at Kakum, Ankasa and Bobiri and we managed a very brief look at this rather nondescript skulker at Bobiri.
RED-FACED CISTICOLA (RED-FACED) (Cisticola erythrops erythrops) – One singing along the road to Ebekawopa.
SINGING CISTICOLA (Cisticola cantans swanzii) – Two along the Brenu beach road were the only ones of the trip.
WHISTLING CISTICOLA (Cisticola lateralis lateralis) – One singing along the road to Ebekawopa, then again at Abrafo and finally Atewa. Song cut now on XC.
ROCK-LOVING CISTICOLA (ROCK-LOVING) (Cisticola aberrans admiralis) – This was hard this year as we had a harmattan influenced very hazy and dull late afternoon, but I think everyone got looks at this distinctive Cisticola on rocks at Tongo Hills.
WINDING CISTICOLA (WINDING) (Cisticola galactotes amphilectus) – Seen and heard at Sakumono and Nasia Pond.
CROAKING CISTICOLA (Cisticola natalensis strangei) – Singles from Shai Hills and Tono Dam, I got a pretty good shot of one- see the gallery.
RUFOUS CISTICOLA (Cisticola rufus) – Quite good looks at 2 of these along the track at Mole, only the second time we have seen this on the tour.
ZITTING CISTICOLA (AFRICAN) (Cisticola juncidis uropygialis) – Heard at Sakumono and seen very well at Tono Dam, the streaky crown was quite obvious.
BLACK-NECKED CISTICOLA (Cisticola eximius) – One of my best ever looks at this local species at Nasia Pond where 2 birds showed well in low and burned grass, the heavily streaked dark back and crown, dark tail and orange-rufous rump and flanks were quite distinctive, Quite why Clements does not call it Black-backed Cisticola like everyone else is beyond me.
ORIOLE WARBLER (Hypergerus atriceps) – A nice look at a couple in Mole where it was singing very well, a very odd species and a bit of a West African special. Also seen late afternoon on the Samole loop, clambering about quite high in a tree.
TAWNY-FLANKED PRINIA (Prinia subflava) – The northern dry country nominate birds have a dry season plumage which is very drab and buffish, and they seem to call a bit different to the better marked southern birds. I posted a cut made at Nasia Pond on XC.
RED-WINGED PRINIA (Prinia erythroptera erythroptera) – 3 at Winneba proved quite flighty but eventually showed well, and there was one at Ebekawopa farmbush. Also heard at Mole airstrip. Now a Prinia not a warbler, so we lose Heliolais as a genus.
SENEGAL EREMOMELA (Eremomela pusilla) – A nice look at Shai Hills and then at Mole and at Tono Dam.
Zosteropidae (White-eyes, Yuhinas, and Allies)
AFRICAN YELLOW WHITE-EYE (Zosterops senegalensis) – Heard close by several times, but oddly the only one we saw was by Mole Lodge!
Pellorneidae (Ground Babblers and Allies)
BROWN ILLADOPSIS (Illadopsis fulvescens gularis) – Heard at Ebekawopa farmbush and I think Leslie may have glimpsed this inveterate skulker.
PALE-BREASTED ILLADOPSIS (Illadopsis rufipennis extrema) – Quite a decent look for most of us at Ankasa as they skulked in the undergrowth.
BLACKCAP ILLADOPSIS (WESTERN) (Illadopsis cleaveri cleaveri) – As usual, heard close by at Ankasa but these things are really hard to see, i still have only one sighting! [E*]
RUFOUS-WINGED ILLADOPSIS (Illadopsis rufescens) – This one came good at Ankasa, it took a while but eventually we got one perched up back in the forest and got everyone on to it, with its repetitive "doctor pepper" call. A West African endemic. [E]
PUVEL'S ILLADOPSIS (Illadopsis puveli puveli) – Heard at Antwikwaa but stayed out of sight. [*]
Leiothrichidae (Laughingthrushes and Allies)
BLACKCAP BABBLER (Turdoides reinwardtii) – Calling at Mole and one came in to mob the Grayish Eagle Owl. Then 2 next day along the Samole loop, where it was a catch up for Patti. [E]
BROWN BABBLER (Turdoides plebejus) – A small and noisy group showed quite well at the airstrip, I posted a recording on XC.
Hyliotidae (Hyliotas)
YELLOW-BELLIED HYLIOTA (Hyliota flavigaster flavigaster) – I found this in the dry savanna en route to the Mognori River, and we saw a pair plus a single here, my first Ghana record! An endemic African family now too.
VIOLET-BACKED HYLIOTA (Hyliota violacea nehrkorni) – Seen very nicely at the Kakum walkway after an initial troublesome distant bird, they were right by the platform later!
Muscicapidae (Old World Flycatchers)
PALE FLYCATCHER (Bradornis pallidus) – One at Ebekawopa.
NORTHERN BLACK-FLYCATCHER (Melaenornis edolioides edolioides) – Seen at Shai Hills and in Mole NP.
AFRICAN FOREST-FLYCATCHER (WESTERN) (Fraseria ocreata prosphora) – One was singing at Ankasa and was basically a flyby only.
SPOTTED FLYCATCHER (Muscicapa striata) – 2 at Shai Hills and one from near Ebekawopa, also seen in Mole.
USSHER'S FLYCATCHER (Muscicapa ussheri) – A couple from the Kakum walkway, they seem to have paler underparts than shown in the field guide. [E]
SWAMP FLYCATCHER (Muscicapa aquatica aquatica) – Two in Mole NP, this nominate race lacks the distinct breast band of Ugandan birds.
LITTLE FLYCATCHER (Muscicapa epulata) – One at Kakum walkway was a good find of a very easily missed species, usually called Little Grey Flycatcher.
DUSKY-BLUE FLYCATCHER (Muscicapa comitata aximensis) – Seen at Antwikwaa and Atewa.
CASSIN'S FLYCATCHER (Muscicapa cassini) – Nice views at the usual spot at the river at Ankasa.
ASHY FLYCATCHER (Muscicapa caerulescens nigrorum) – One from the Kakum walkway, strange to see this species in rainforest, in east-central Africa it is a savanna species.
GRAY-THROATED TIT-FLYCATCHER (Myioparus griseigularis) – Heard at the Ebi River in mangroves, a very odd habitat for what is usually a rainforest species. [*]
GRAY TIT-FLYCATCHER (Myioparus plumbeus) – One at Shai Hills showed nicely. Also called Lead-coloured Flycatcher.
FIRE-CRESTED ALETHE (WHITE-TAILED) (Alethe diademata diademata) – One at an ant swarm on the approach steps at Kakum gave very good looks, photo on the website; often split as White-tailed Alethe too. [E]

African Elephant bulls at Mole (Photo by guide Phil Gregory)

RUFOUS-TAILED SCRUB-ROBIN (Cercotrichas galactotes) – One in some dry savanna scrub en route to Sapeliga was unexpected but sadly vanished very quickly, a vagrant to Ghana, though probably overlooked, and my first record here.
BLUE-SHOULDERED ROBIN-CHAT (Cossypha cyanocampter) – Heard at Abrafo, always a very hard one to get to see. [*]
SNOWY-CROWNED ROBIN-CHAT (Cossypha niveicapilla) – Seen well at Shai Hills out on the trail, then at Winneba and Mole.
WHITE-CROWNED ROBIN-CHAT (Cossypha albicapillus) – This is a Mole special and we got one very late one afternoon along the Samole loop, another quite tricky species.
FOREST ROBIN (WESTERN) (Stiphrornis erythrothorax erythrothorax) – Heard at Ankasa but frustratingly hard to see once again. [*]
EUROPEAN PIED FLYCATCHER (Ficedula hypoleuca) – Seen at Shai Hills and in Mole, with a couple of smart pied males as well as the brown and white females.
WHINCHAT (Saxicola rubetra) – Singles from Winneba and Brenu Beach, a European migrant now heading north.
MOCKING CLIFF-CHAT (Thamnolaea cinnamomeiventris coronata) – We spent some time watching the cliffs, and eventually got a fine male to show at Shai Hills, whilst some saw it at Tongo Hills as well. Formerly split as White-crowned Cliff-Chat and looks pretty different to the eastern birds which lack the white crown.
Turdidae (Thrushes and Allies)
FINSCH'S FLYCATCHER-THRUSH (Neocossyphus finschii) – Two very obliging birds at the bamboo cathedral in Ankasa. [E]
WHITE-TAILED ANT-THRUSH (Neocossyphus poensis) – Another good bird from the ant swarm on the steps at Kakum, it came in several times and we got very good looks.
AFRICAN THRUSH (Turdus pelios) – Seen at the Alexis Hotel and then one at Mole Lodge.
Sturnidae (Starlings)
LESSER BLUE-EARED GLOSSY-STARLING (LESSER) (Lamprotornis chloropterus chloropterus) – Hmm, well I still think the birds we saw in Mole are this species, the upper tail looked distinctly blue not purple to me.
BRONZE-TAILED GLOSSY-STARLING (Lamprotornis chalcurus chalcurus) – The birds at the Alexis Hotel are this species, but we only got them in bad light really so things like upper tail colour were hard to judge.
SPLENDID GLOSSY-STARLING (Lamprotornis splendidus) – Very few this trip, just 4 at Winneba and a single from Abrafo, usually much more frequent.
PURPLE GLOSSY-STARLING (Lamprotornis purpureus) – Nice looks at Sakumono and Shai Hills and then again at Mole, but very small numbers. The flat head and large eye are quite distinctive.
LONG-TAILED GLOSSY-STARLING (Lamprotornis caudatus) – This is a Mole special and we saw it several times with a max. of 11 in one day, though I still need a good photo! Also seen near Sapeliga.
CHESTNUT-BELLIED STARLING (Lamprotornis pulcher) – A northern special, seen nicely near Sapeliga and at Tono Dam.
COPPER-TAILED GLOSSY-STARLING (Lamprotornis cupreocauda) – Just 2 flying over calling at Bobiri, distinctly short tailed, quite a rare and poorly known species. [E]
VIOLET-BACKED STARLING (Cinnyricinclus leucogaster leucogaster) – Seen very nicely in Mole, I always liked the alternate names of Amethyst or Plum-coloured Starling.
CHESTNUT-WINGED STARLING (Onychognathus fulgidus) – 4 flying by from the Kakum walkway, the site where we usually get to see this quite long tailed forest species.
Buphagidae (Oxpeckers)
YELLOW-BILLED OXPECKER (Buphagus africanus africanus) – Great looks at a couple on livestock near Sapeliga, one eminently photographable but my battery had just gone flat! Now an endemic African family too, and declining as livestock dipping becomes commoner.
Nectariniidae (Sunbirds and Spiderhunters)
FRASER'S SUNBIRD (Deleornis fraseri) – Just a single briefly from Kakum this trip.
MOUSE-BROWN SUNBIRD (Anthreptes gabonicus) – Good looks in the mangroves at the Ebi River after some searching.
SEIMUND'S SUNBIRD (Anthreptes seimundi) – Usually called Little Green Sunbird, we saw it well at Kakum on two days.
GREEN SUNBIRD (Anthreptes rectirostris) – Just one at Ankasa on our long walk.
COLLARED SUNBIRD (Hedydipna collaris) – Four day records from Kakum and Ankasa only.
PYGMY SUNBIRD (Hedydipna platura) – Two day records from Mole included a fine long tailed male near the Mognori River.
REICHENBACH'S SUNBIRD (Anabathmis reichenbachii) – Seen very well at the Ebi River, a SW special and a very odd little sunbird. [E]
GREEN-HEADED SUNBIRD (Cyanomitra verticalis) – Three day records, with a confiding male at the track by Hans Botel, a female at Abrafo and one at Brenu Beach.
BLUE-THROATED BROWN SUNBIRD (Cyanomitra cyanolaema) – Seen briefly at Ankasa and heard at Ebekawopa, before we all got a nice one at Atewa on the last day.
WESTERN OLIVE SUNBIRD (Cyanomitra obscura) – Quite often heard in the rainforest zone, and seen at Ankasa and Bobiri. Common but hard to see!

Chestnut-crowned Sparrow-Weaver at Mole (Photo by guide Phil Gregory)

BUFF-THROATED SUNBIRD (Chalcomitra adelberti) – Seen nicely at Kakum, with pair from the walkway on the first day, and a single next day at Antwikwaa. A West African special. [E]
SCARLET-CHESTED SUNBIRD (Chalcomitra senegalensis) – This proved very elusive in Mole, I personally only saw females but I know a few folks got a fine male.
OLIVE-BELLIED SUNBIRD (Cinnyris chloropygius) – Seen well at Ankasa and Ebekawopa, then some saw it at Bobiri and Atewa.
TINY SUNBIRD (Cinnyris minullus) – A great look at a male from the Kakum walkway, always a hard one to get.
BEAUTIFUL SUNBIRD (Cinnyris pulchellus) – Seen very nicely in Mole, but only very small numbers.
SPLENDID SUNBIRD (Cinnyris coccinigastrus) – Good views of 5 at Shai Hills where we did well for them, tape posted to XC and photo on the website. [E]
JOHANNA'S SUNBIRD (Cinnyris johannae) – 3 seen from the Kakum walkway, then a fine male at Antwikwaa, a West African special. [E]
SUPERB SUNBIRD (Cinnyris superbus) – A good view of pair of this large long-billed species at Kakum, then again at Ankasa.
COPPER SUNBIRD (Cinnyris cupreus) – Seen at Tema, Shai Hills and Winneba, then again in Mole.
Motacillidae (Wagtails and Pipits)
WESTERN YELLOW WAGTAIL (Motacilla flava) – Two at Sakumono and one at Winneba, of uncertain subspecies.
AFRICAN PIED WAGTAIL (Motacilla aguimp) – Eight day records of ones and twos, they always seem very local in Ghana. I recorded the dawn song at Rainforest Lodge and have posted it on the IBC site.
TREE PIPIT (Anthus trivialis) – One in the dry savanna en route to the Mognori River, an uncommon bird here.
Emberizidae (Buntings and New World Sparrows)
GOSLING'S BUNTING (Emberiza goslingi) – A couple of folks saw this at Mole, and we also got it at Tongo Hills, a split from Cinnamon-breasted Bunting. [E]
BROWN-RUMPED BUNTING (Emberiza affinis) – A very nice look at a singing male at Mole airstrip, the resemblance in head pattern- small crest, black and white striped face- to a Shrike-tit is uncanny! Another was heard nearby.
Fringillidae (Finches, Euphonias, and Allies)
YELLOW-FRONTED CANARY (Serinus mozambicus) – 15 in Mole by the Lodge, then a scattering from the north starting at Nasia Pond.
STREAKY-HEADED SEEDEATER (WEST AFRICAN) (Serinus gularis canicapilla) – I found at least 2 of these very uncommon and poorly known birds in the dry savanna en route to the Mognori River. Split by the IOC as West African Seedeater and as such a lifer for me, not unexpectedly after 7 tours the only one of the trip.
Passeridae (Old World Sparrows)
NORTHERN GRAY-HEADED SPARROW (Passer griseus) – Widespread in small numbers in the drier country.
BUSH PETRONIA (Petronia dentata) – Seen a couple of times in Mole on one day, with a count of 12 birds.
Ploceidae (Weavers and Allies)
WHITE-BILLED BUFFALO-WEAVER (Bubalornis albirostris) – About 10 were very noisy in some big trees en route to Sapeliga, cut posted to XC and IBC, and there were 5 in some bush nearer there too, it seems to be colonizing the north.
SPECKLE-FRONTED WEAVER (Sporopipes frontalis frontalis) – 10 in some dry bush near the White Volta, one of the scarcer weavers and only in the far north.
CHESTNUT-CROWNED SPARROW-WEAVER (Plocepasser superciliosus) – Great looks at Mole NP Lodge, where there were several nests being built below the lookout, we saw 4 birds there. Pic on IBC and sounds at XC.
RED-VENTED MALIMBE (Malimbus scutatus) – Just a single from Ankasa this trip. [E]
BLUE-BILLED MALIMBE (Malimbus nitens) – Also just a single from Ankasa.
CRESTED MALIMBE (Malimbus malimbicus) – One at Ankasa, 2 at Ebekawopa farmbush and then 3 at Atewa where they were building a typical spouted Malimbe nest, this one quite short.
RED-HEADED MALIMBE (Malimbus rubricollis) – Nice looks at Kakum and Antwikwaa and some saw it at Bobiri, a striking species.
RED-HEADED WEAVER (Anaplectes rubriceps) – A single non-breeding bird at Mole, only the second time we have seen it on this tour.
LITTLE WEAVER (Ploceus luteolus) – A pair at Mole and a male later.
BLACK-NECKED WEAVER (OLIVE-BACKED) (Ploceus nigricollis brachypterus) – 6 day records of very small numbers, starting at Tema and Shai Hills and with 4 at Ebekawopa farmbush the most.
ORANGE WEAVER (Ploceus aurantius aurantius) – None at the weaver colony near Ebi River where it used to be regular, but James knew a site near Axim and we saw 5 nicely in a bushy creek there.
VIEILLOT'S WEAVER (Ploceus nigerrimus castaneofuscus) – Six day records, this very distinctive West African race was seen at Kakum, Antwikwaa, Ankasa, Bobiri, Abrafo and Atewa, with several nesting colonies. I am surprised this has not yet been split as it's so unlike the East African black birds.
VILLAGE WEAVER (BLACK-HEADED) (Ploceus cucullatus cucullatus) – The default weaver, widespread in small numbers even in the north.
BLACK-HEADED WEAVER (Ploceus melanocephalus capitalis) – A couple of non-breeding birds were seen in Mole, the rather rusty-buff chest is a useful character.
YELLOW-MANTLED WEAVER (Ploceus tricolor) – Very nice looks at Kakum, and again at Bobiri, but only singles each time.
MAXWELL'S BLACK WEAVER (WHITE-NAPED) (Ploceus albinucha albinucha) – Just one from the Kakum walkway, a small black weaver, this race having a dark eye.
RED-HEADED QUELEA (Quelea erythrops) – 6 at Ebekawopa, a few beginning to show some red on the face, and again at Atewa.
RED-BILLED QUELEA (Quelea quelea) – 20 at Mole and 6 at Tono Dam.
BLACK-WINGED BISHOP (Euplectes hordeaceus) – A couple of breeding dress males at Atewa on the last morning, as in previous years.
YELLOW-SHOULDERED WIDOWBIRD (Euplectes macroura macroura) – Seen at Brenu Beach and near Atewa, all non-breeding.
Estrildidae (Waxbills and Allies)
GRAY-HEADED NIGRITA (Nigrita canicapillus) – Small numbers from Kakum, oddly scarce this trip.
CHESTNUT-BREASTED NIGRITA (Nigrita bicolor) – Seen at Antwikwaa and some saw one at Ankasa.
WHITE-BREASTED NIGRITA (Nigrita fusconotus) – Seen at Kakum and Antwikwaa and heard at Bobiri and Atewa.
LAVENDER WAXBILL (Estrilda caerulescens) – Up to 8 feeding in the gravel area by the Mole Lodge, and a couple seen out in the park, an uncommon species.

African Pygmy-goose at Ankasa (Photo by guide Phil Gregory)

ORANGE-CHEEKED WAXBILL (Estrilda melpoda) – A few at Antwikwaa and Abrafo, and again at Atewa.
BLACK-RUMPED WAXBILL (Estrilda troglodytes) – The first were at Brenu Beach, then up to 50 at Nasia Pond and a few small flocks flying by at Tongo Hills.
WESTERN BLUEBILL (Spermophaga haematina) – I think Leslie got a flyby glimpse along the Ebekawopa Road? Always scarce. [E]
RED-CHEEKED CORDONBLEU (Uraeginthus bengalus) – Small numbers at Mole and Tono Dam.
RED-BILLED FIREFINCH (Lagonosticta senegala) – Patti saw one at the Alexis Hotel, then we had three day records from Mole.
BAR-BREASTED FIREFINCH (Lagonosticta rufopicta) – The default firefinch, first near Rainforest Lodge at that roadside stop we made, then a few at Brenu Beach and Mole.
BLACK-FACED FIREFINCH (Lagonosticta larvata) – Good views of a male and a female at Mole, and unexpectedly a male at Nasia Pond.
CUT-THROAT (Amadina fasciata) – There were at least 3 males and a female in with the silverbills at Nasia Pond, an unexpected find of what is a rare bird in Ghana, and my first here.
ZEBRA WAXBILL (Sporaeginthus subflavus) – About 15 at Nasia Pond on the second visit, with some very nice views. Tape cut posted on IBC and XC.
BLACK-FACED QUAILFINCH (Ortygospiza atricollis atricollis) – Seen at Nasia on both visits, I posted a cut of the flight call on XC and IBC, and a few folks got a scope look at one on the ground where they are amazingly hard to see. Sadly all 3 quailfinch species have been lumped......
BRONZE MANNIKIN (Spermestes cucullata) – Widespread in the more open country.
BLACK-AND-WHITE MANNIKIN (Spermestes bicolor) – A few at Kakum, Ebekawopa and Atewa, with all 3 species of Mannikin at Bobiri and Ebekawopa.
MAGPIE MANNIKIN (Spermestes fringilloides) – Nice looks at the Ebekawopa turning again, and still in the Chinese bamboo at Bobiri. An uncommon species.
AFRICAN SILVERBILL (Euodice cantans) – Up to 50 at Nasia, very vocal and cut posted on IBC and XC, and 4 at Tono Dam.
Viduidae (Indigobirds)
PIN-TAILED WHYDAH (Vidua macroura) – Widespread, with a few nice plumaged males seen.

STRAW-COLORED FRUIT BAT (Eidolon helvum) – Noisy at a Norfolk Pine at our lodge in Kumasi, and hundreds at some forlorn dead trees in a forest remnant near Atewa, streaming out at dusk and making for an impressive sight.
GAMBIAN EPAULETED FRUIT BAT (Epomophorus gambianus) – The little colony is still in the shady trees at the lunch time hotel in Tamale.
YELLOW-WINGED BAT (Lavia frons) – A great look at one of these amazing yellowish bats at the Mognori River, see photo on the web page.
PRINCE DEMIDOFF'S BUSHBABY (Galago demidoff) – Heard at Kakum. [*]
GUENON SP. (Cercopithecus campbelli) – A nice look at a small group of 5 late afternoon at Kakum, this is called Lowes Monkey.
GREEN MONKEY (Cercopithecus sabaeus) – Ths Vervet type we see at Shai Hills is apparently this one, also called the Callitrix Monkey.
GUENON SP. (Cercopithecus tantalus) – The pale Vervets we see at Mole are this one, called the Tantalus Monkey.
PATAS MONKEY (Erythrocebus patas) – A group of about 8 by the track at Mole one afternoon.
OLIVE BABOON (Papio anubis) – Seen nicely at Shai Hills and Mole.
SCRUB HARE (Lepus saxatalis) – One in the track one dusk at Mole.
STRIPED GROUND SQUIRREL (Xerus erythropus) – One seen briefly at Mole, with its head poking up out of a hole from time to time.
KINTAMBO ROPE SQUIRREL (Funisciurus substriatus) – Seen in Mole by some, a very local endemic too [E]
FIRE-FOOTED ROPE SQUIRREL (Funisciurus pyrrhopus) – Seen at Ebekawopa by a few.
GAMBIAN SUN SQUIRREL (Heliosciurus gambianus) – Seen at Bobiri and Ankasa.
RED-LEGGED SUN SQUIRREL (Heliosciurus rufobrachium) – Seen nicely at Kakum.
GIANT POUCHED RAT (Cricetomys emini) – Many smoked ones on sale at the roadside, and several recently deceased held up for sale.
AFRICAN CIVET (Civettictis civetta) – Some of us saw one at dusk in Mole, briefly right by the track at the game guard's camp.
COMMON (SMALL-SPOTTED) GENET (Genetta genetta) – I think a couple of folks saw this briefly at Mole.
AFRICAN ELEPHANT (Loxodonta africana) – Great animals at Mole, with two fine bulls one day and a group of 4 including a youngster bathing in the waterhole next day.
WESTERN TREE HYRAX (Dendrohyrax dorsalis) – As ever, heard but unseen at Kakum and Ankasa, I really would like to catch up with one sometime! [*]
WARTHOG (Phacochoerus aethiopicus) – A few in Mole, scarce this year.
BUSHBUCK (Tragelaphus scriptus) – A few nice sightings in Mole, with a mother and baby right at the overlook one morning.
DEFASSA WATERBUCK (Kobus defassa) – A handful at Mole. The black stockings are quite striking and it's a big antelope.
KOB (Kobus kob) – A few Buffon's Kob at Mole and Shai Hills.
NILE CROCODILE (Crocodylus niloticus) – A good size one at Mole waterhole.


This list covers some of the butterflies seen on our Ghana tour. They were identified mainly by Andrew, our local butterfly expert, and also by using Torben Larsen's excellent two volume book, "Butterflies of West Africa" (Apollo Books, 2005). The Ghana butterfly list is over 1000 species (many with wonderful names too, see below!), Bobiri alone has 423+, so this is a great tour if you like butterflies as well as birds. This list is based on my own notes and incorporates some from Bill Benner (a client on our 2012 tour), and is very far from complete. Tom and Kristine would have a far more extensive selection and indeed stayed on after the tour for more butterflies and some birding.

Papilionidae (Swallowtails)

MOCKER SWALLOWTAIL (Papilio dardanus)

BROAD-BANDED GREEN SWALLOWTAIL (Papilio chrapkowskoides)

WESTERN EMPEROR SWALLOWTAIL (Papilio horribilis)—This was the large swallowtail with the broad pale bands, Atewa.



CITRUS SWALLOWTAIL (Papilio demodecus)—Kakum

VEINED SWALLOWTAIL (Graphium leonidas)—First encountered at Ankasa.

WHITE LADY (Graphium angolanus baronis) Common at Mognori River in Mole.

ELECTRIC GREEN SWALLOWTAIL (G. tyderaeus) Seen by the guard post at Ankasa.



Pieridae (Whites and Sulphurs)

AFRICAN EMIGRANT (Catopsilia florella)—This common species is the only large, completely white butterfly in Ghana, and we saw it from Accra to Bolgatonga, though it was never numerous.

COMMON GRASS YELLOW (Eurema hecabe)—Another widespread species, this was the small, low-flying yellow with the black forewing tips.

ROUND-WINGED ORANGE TIP (Colotis euippe)—Seen our first full morning, at Shai Hills. Both John and I noted the orange forewing tips completely surrounded by black. (S)

TINY ORANGE TIP (Colotis evagore)—Seen at Mole.

CALYPSO CAPER WHITE (Belanois calypso)—One of the many beautiful butterflies at Bobiri. The underside is beautifully patterned.

AFRICAN SPIRIT (Leptosia alcesta)—A small white with black forewing spot, also at Bobiri.

Lycaenidae (Hairstreaks, Blues, Coppers, Liptenids, and Carnivorous Butterflies)

COMMON FALSE HEAD (Oxylides faunus)—One of a suite of small, whitish hairstreak species with fantastically long tails with the colorful local name of “Playboy”.

COMMON HAIRSTREAK (Hypolycaena philippus)—This “Playboy” was first photographed at the Winneba Grasslands, and then again at Mole, but we probably encountered it elsewhere as well. Without a photo, it was difficult to identify the “Playboys” to species in the field.

COMMON FAIRY HAIRSTREAK (Hypolycaena hatita)—A “Playboy” first encountered at Ankasa. Note that “common” seems to be a theme throughout this butterfly list. We joked throughout the trip about how many times we would ID a butterfly and go to read about it, always hoping for something rare and exciting, only to read some variation on, “the most common butterfly in Ghana”! Just like with the birds, common species are common, and they turn out to be the ones most likely to be seen on a regular basis.

WESTERN FAIRY PLAYBOY (Paradeudorix eleala)—This was the “Playboy” on the road at Bobiri, with the brilliant blue upperside.

COMMON CILIATE BLUE (Anthene larydas)—This was the extremely abundant blue that we saw everywhere, with the dark, scribbled-looking underside. There were hundreds flying along the track at Bobiri, for example. Occasionally we saw a male basking with wings open on a road, revealing gorgeous velvety purple upper wings.

LOWLAND BRANDED BLUE (Uranothauma falkensteini)—A small blue identified in a photo of one of the massive “puddle party” swarms along the roadside at Bobiri.

COMMON GINGER WHITE(Oboronia punctatus)—This wonderful little blue looks more like a white.

AFRICAN BABUL BLUE (Azanus jesous)—Another commonly encountered little blue, at several forest sites.


AFRICAN BEAK (Libythea labdaca)—Probably the most abundant butterfly on our trip, at least in certain places. For example, most of the medium-sized butterflies that were swarming along the roads at Bobiri were this species, This species is both irruptive and at least somewhat migratory.

COMMON TIGER (Danaus chrysippus)—This common butterfly is the West African equivalent of our Monarch. Seen in most places, most days, though never in large numbers.

UNIFORM BUSH BROWN (Bicyclus uniformis)—This common species was seen in multiple spots, except open savannah.

FLAME-BORDERED CHARAXES (Charaxes protoclea)

BAMBOO CHARAXES (C. boueti) Feeds on bamboo like many of this genus.

WESTERN RED CHARAXES (Charaxes cynthia)

Blue-patch Charxes (C. lactetinctus)



USSHER’S PALLA (Palla ussheri)—Seen and photographed at Ankasa.

FOREST ADMIRAL (Antanartia delius)

GAUDY COMMODORE (Precis octavia)

COMMON COMMODORE (Precis ceryne)

VARIABLE EGGFLY (Hypolimnas antedon)

DIADEM or FALSE TIGER (Hypolimnas misippus)—One of the most widely distributed butterflies in the world, this species is a mimic of the Common Tiger (Danaus chrysippus), much as the Viceroy imitates the Monarch in North America. In most of the Common Tiger’s range, however, it has orange hindwings, but in West Africa, the hindwings are white. The False Tiger retains the orange hindwings, however, so in Ghana, it’s not such a great mimic. Common on our first day in the Shai Hills.

BLUE DIADEM (Hypolimnas salmacis)—A large, beautiful butterfly seen in multiple locations.

LILAC BEAUTY (Salamis cacta)—Another large, handsome butterfly, encountered multiple times during our last couple of days at Bobiri and the Atewa Hills. Larsen considers the Atewa Hills the richest area of butterfly diversity in Ghana.

WESTERN BLUE BEAUTY (Salamis cytora)—This gorgeous butterfly was also seen elsewhere. I think several folks got to enjoy the beautiful shading from purple to orange on the upper forewing.

AFRICAN BLUE TIGER (Tirumala petiverana)—In contrast to most of the butterflies we encountered, this danaid is actually more likely in the savannah, though we found it at Antwikwaa.

FOREST MOTHER-OF-PEARL (Protogoniomorpha parhassus)—I think this butterfly wins the longest name contest. It is another spectacular species that we saw multiple times. This is the large, whitish butterfly with the angular wings that would perch up about eye-level or above along the forest trails. Larsen says that wrapping a white handkerchief around a pebble and tossing it up in the air can lure them down to investigate.

DARK BLUE PANSY (Junonia oenone)—I think everyone got a look at this handsome butterfly with the bold purplish blue patches in the hindwing that perched for us in multiple roadside locales. This genus of butterflies is closely related to our Buckeyes.

YELLOW PANSY (Junonia hierta)—A butterfly of the Guinea savannah. Some of you may have noticed this butterfly flying around low to the ground as we wandered the bush at Mole; its pale tan underside blended with the savannah when its wings were closed, but when it landed with wings open, the bright orange and yellow patches were very pretty.

LITTLE COMMODORE (Junonia sophia)—Seen and photographed at Antikwaa, and also at Ankasa.

BROWN PANSY (Junonia stygia)—Another of the fascinating collection of butterflies at Bobiri.

SOLDIER PANSY (Junonia terea)—Per Larsen, “one of the most common and widespread African butterflies.” We certainly encountered it at many sites, everywhere except in the far north, and it accompanied us on many trails.

AFRICAN MAP BUTTERFLY (Cyrestis camillus)—This medium to largish butterfly strongly resembles our Zebra Swallowtail, but is a nymphalid, not a swallowtail. The only map butterfly in Africa; the genus is more diverse in the Orient. Seen our last couple of days at Bobiri (where it was common) and the Atewa Hills.

AFRICAN JOKER (Byblia anvatara)—Another widespread African butterfly, photographed at Kakum.

COMMON YELLOW GLIDER (Cymothoe egesta)—The big, bold butterflies in the genus Cymothoe are widespread and diverse in Ghana. We undoubtedly encountered others that I failed to identify. This species was photographed at Kakum

COMMON GLIDER (Cymothoe caenis)—Seen beautifully at Bobiri, this large glider is mostly white, with black penciling near the wing margins.

JODUTTA GLIDER (Cymothoe jodutta)—Another species restricted to forest, seen at Ankasa.

COMMON RED GLIDER (Cymothoe coccinata)—This is the medium sized all-red butterfly that Phil was excited to see again in the Atewa Hills. Quite wary, and difficult to get a good photograph, so my ID is slightly tentative, but this is the most common Red Glider and the one most likely to be expected. A gorgeous butterfly.

BLOOD RED GLIDER (C. sangaris) I think this was the red butterfly at the Picathartes site

COMMON FALSE ACRAEA (Pseudacraea eurytus)

The Sailers (NEMETES) are a large genus of almost identical-appearing black-and-white butterflies with elongated heliconia-like wings that sail along and then land with spread wings on leaf tips along the trails— hence, “sailer”, not “sailor”. It was impossible to identify them without a photo, and even then, ID’s involved lots of sorting through 39 different species!

REGULAR CLUB-DOT SAILER (Neptis trigonophora)

COMMON PATHFINDER (Catuna crithea)—There are four species of Pathfinders in Ghana; they are the marbled-looking brown and cream butterflies that fly low along the ground up and down the forested paths, and we saw them commonly. It requires a photo to ID them, at least for me.

GUINEAFOWL (Hamanumida daedalus)—This delightful butterfly looks just like its name! spangled all over with small white spots. I saw it amongst the crowd of butterflies from the bridge overlooking the Mognori River during our morning stop there, and managed to get a couple of photos.

BRILLIANT NYMPH (Cynandra opis) The metallic blue one from Ankasa

FOREST GLADE NYMPH (Aterica galena)—Multiple individuals seen of this medium sized dark butterfly with the large white wing spots, at Bobiri.

COMMON NYMPH (Euriphene barombina)

SIMPLE NYMPH (E. simplex)

COMMON PALM FORESTER (Bebearia cocalia)—Seen at Ankasa. Palms are its host plant.


COMMON PINK FORESTER (E. hewitsoni) Bobiri

COMMON BLUE-BANDED FORESTER (Euphaedra harpalyce)—This is one of the more widespread of the genus.

LARGE SPOTTED ACRAEA (Acraea zetes)—This is the largest genus of African butterflies, and about 60 species live in West Africa, though their center of diversity and radiation is in East Africa. All are toxic, containing cyanide chemicals, and they often act as models for various mimetic species. They are closely related to the Heliconias of the Neotropics. This species was the one we saw commonly (some even copulating) in the Shai Hills on our first full day of birding.

COMMON LEOPARD FRITILLARY (Phalanta phalanta)—This is a savannah butterfly, supposedly somewhat common.

Hesperidae (Skippers)

STRIPED POLICEMAN (Coeliades forestan)—This large dark skipper with the big white spot in the hindwing, that looked so much like our Silver-spotted Skipper, is apparently one of the most widespread butterflies in West Africa.

TWO PIP POLICEMAN (C. pisistratus)

WESTERN BLUE POLICEMAN (Pyrrhiades lucagus) Shai Hills

AFRICAN GIANT SKIPPER (Pyrrhochalcia iphis) Shai Hills and Kakum, a huge great dark skipper!

CLOUDED FLAT (Tagiades flesus)—Seen and photographed at Antikwaa. This is a spread-winged skipper. Skippers in general seemed very scarce on this trip, and maybe they are not as common in West Africa in general. It is the nymphalids that seem to have radiated wildly in Ghana, versus the large hesperid radiation we have in the eastern U.S.

COMMON PATHFINDER SKIPPER (Pardaleodes edipus)—“The most common skipper in the West African forest zone”, says Larsen.

Some of the trip photos are posted on the Internet Bird Collection (IBC), a free access site from Lynx Edicions, publishers of the classic Handbook of the Birds of the World and now the website Birds Alive. It is a superb collection of videos, photos and sound cuts and I usually post items from my tours here, as well as on the Field Guides photogallery.


The curious spiky rounded tennis ball size scented flower from one of the savanna trees is Naucleya latifolia, apparently much liked by sunbirds and fruit bats.

A strange wild arum type plant was by the Mognori river, just coming into the odd kind of flower, and some lovely fireball lillies were nearby.


I recommend the xenocanto (XC) website which is a fantastic archive of bird sounds of most of the species in the world, freely downloadbable. I usually publish significant cuts from my tours here as it is a valuable research tool for anyone interested.

The Internet Bird Collection (IBC) run by Lynx Edicions (of Handbook of Birds of the World) is another wonderful free access site, you just have to register, and can then view thousands of videos, photos and sound recordings, with many of them from my tours. Again, it is an invaluable research site.

Some folks also asked about the IOC World Checklist of Birds, a free access downloadable Excel file of all the world's species which is updated every 4 months or so. This is the one I use for my own checklists as it is the most current and has a progressive outlook on taxonomy and names. You can find them at or google IOC (but NOT the olympics stuff!)

Totals for the tour: 407 bird taxa and 24 mammal taxa