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Field Guides Tour Report
Ghana 2016
Apr 1, 2016 to Apr 19, 2016
Phil Gregory, James Ntakor and Andrew Amankwaa

Black-necked Weaver is found across much of sub-Saharan Africa, but the subspecies found in Ghana (brachypterus) is found only in a band from Gambia and Senegal to Cameroon. Photo by participant Greg Griffith.

This was the seventh Field Guides Ghana tour (my eighth overall); this time, we had quite hot, humid weather for much of the trip, with unseasonal rain at a couple of sites. Ghana seems to be undergoing a building boom, with half-finished buildings all over the country. It was truly strange, but the place is clearly thriving and makes an ideal portal to West African birding. The trip worked well, with everyone arriving on time (and bags catching up later for Bob). This year, we went to Sakumono on arrival day, which proved good for Senegal Thick-knee and assorted herons, and freed us up for the long drive to Kakum later, whilst Hans and Ann-Margret made a trip to Atewa for Blue-moustached Bee-eater -- a wise precaution as it turned out!

The morning at Shai Hills is always a nice introduction, and gave us Violet Turaco, Vieillot's Barbet and brief views of Blue-bellied Roller, plus Splendid Sunbird, and a trio of Senegals: Parrot, Batis and Eremomela. We did some birding out in the nearby farm bush that afternoon and got a fantastic perched African Hobby, and an unexpected Oriole Warbler, as well as a scattering of more common bush birds.

Winneba Plains gave us very good Red-winged Prinia, but again no Senegal Lapwing, and a new solar array now covers the entire eastern side of the road, so the site has been badly damaged. We visited Winneba Lagoon at low tide, but it still gave us Royal Terns and assorted shorebirds -- including Sanderlings, and breeding-plumaged Curlew Sandpipers.

Kakum is always interesting, with that incredible rope walkway, but hornbills were very tough: we got two Brown-cheeked this trip, but no sign of the two big casqued species at all for the group, though Dana saw Black-casqued at Ankasa. Other fine birds here were Fire-bellied Woodpecker, Rosy Bee-eater, Blue-throated Roller, Cassin's and Sabine’s spinetails, Sharpe’s Apalis, and Sabine’s Puffback. We heard a Brown Nightjar perched at dusk, and saw a fantastic Akun Eagle-Owl by the park office, the first time I’ve ever seen one perched. Preuss's Weaver was also a welcome find. Rock Pratincole and White-throated Blue Swallow were along the Pra River as usual, and we saw Preuss's Swallow nearby.

Sadly, the road to Aboabo was too dire this year to attempt it with the bus, so we birded some farm bush at Ebekawopa instead. We got rained off one afternoon, but did it en route to Ankasa instead, and it’s still a very good site -- Chocolate-backed Kingfisher, the rare Lagden’s Bush-shrike (my first in Ghana), and Rufous-sided Broadbill all showed well.

Camping in the forest at Ankasa (in decent-sized tents with comfortable beds) saved hours of commuting, but they flooded in the torrential rain one afternoon; we were just so lucky this this didn't happen at night! Stars here included two Hartlaub's Ducks, brief White-bellied Kingfisher, Western and Yellow-bearded greenbuls, plus Reichenbach's and Mouse-brown sunbirds. We heard Nkulengu Rail calling long before dawn (again), unfortunately from too far away to be useful, but a calling Red-chested Goshawk at dawn each day was nice, and a Red-thighed Sparrowhawk was sat on the power lines in the park.

The Picathartes (White-necked Rockfowl) this year was really great -- at a new site which is just a 30-minute walk, and not so steep to get to. We waited about 15 minutes, then had an absolute stunner hop in and pose on a rock for several minutes. We saw four birds in all, coming and going and visiting the two mud nests on the cliff wall, with two actually sitting in a nest for a while. We were also able to get a decent sighting of the ultra-elusive Olive Long-tailed Cuckoo, a lifer for Hans, on the way out.

The north was in good shape with more rainfall and greenery evident, and Mole NP was again quite green, but it was very hot throughout and very humid at Mole on the first day. We did well here, with White-throated Francolin and a nicely showing Sun Lark; unfortunately, we dipped on Forbes's Plover for the first time. We were treated to a fantastic Standard-winged Nightjar show, seeing a male flying with his pennants held erect over his back, and then sitting on the ground with them splayed out to each side. Migrants were very few -- only Whinchat, Pied Flycatcher, and a single Melodious Warbler. Brown-backed, Fine-spotted and Golden-tailed woodpeckers were useful additions; the latter was my first for Ghana! Chestnut-crowned Sparrow-Weaver was another good find, as was Lavender Waxbill, and Brown-rumped Bunting and Rufous Cisticola both showed well. Oriole Warbler gave a great show (accompanied by very loud vocals), and a few of us saw Black-bellied Firefinch. African Elephants were very nice this year, with great views of ten animals bathing and coming by the waterhole, whilst Defassa Waterbuck, Kob, Warthog, Olive Baboons, and Tantalus Monkeys proved diverting.

Nasia Pond was full of water and proved interesting on both our northwards and southwards journeys past it, with Moustached Grass-Warbler, Black-necked (Black-backed) Cisticola, Black-faced Quailfinch, Zebra (Orange-breasted) and Black-rumped waxbills, and a bonus of Cut-throat, only my second in Ghana. We made a very pleasant late-afternoon stop at Tongo Hills, nailing a distant Fox Kestrel, Mocking (White-crowned) Cliff-chat for most, Familiar Chat, and a very good Rock-loving Cisticola, as well as the now-split Gosling's Bunting, and a catch-up Lavender Waxbill for Bill.

We went out to the White Volta at Sapeliga on that rough road early morning, which proved excellent-Four-banded Sandgrouse, White-billed Buffalo-Weaver, Northern Carmine Bee-eater, and Yellow-billed Oxpecker -- and of course the stars of the show, four close Egyptian Plovers on a sand bar in the river, with a recording of them chasing each other around posted to the Internet Bird Collection (IBC).

Tono Dam in the late afternoon of the same day gave us Chestnut-bellied Starling, more Four-banded Sandgrouse, Speckle-fronted Weaver, and an exciting record of the first documented Green Bee-eater for Ghana, with 5 birds seen and the photo now on the IBC; it was a great find by Andrew.

Bobiri Butterfly Sanctuary was fairly quiet this year, and we hit heavy rain for the first 90 minutes, which really knocked things out, but Red-billed Dwarf Hornbill, Least Honeyguide, my first Ghanaian Brown-necked Parrots, and very nice Magpie Mannikin all showed.

Atewa was the coda for late afternoon and early-morning interludes, adding Black-and-white (Vanga) Shrike-Flycatcher, and some things we had missed earlier, like Lemon-bellied Crombec, Violet-backed Hyliota, Blue-headed Wood-Dove, and Black-capped Apalis. Fraser’s Eagle-Owl showed well too; because we were staying much closer (at Linda Dor), we now have time to look for it at dusk.

It was a fun trip, with a very congenial group of mixed nationalities which made things entertaining. Dana reinforced her addiction to mangoes with a new one for avocados, and Henning was out at every stop (generally looking at Gray-headed Sparrows). My thanks to him for loaning me his tripod when mine fell over and was made unusable on day one; I hope he enjoyed his extra few days at Atewa where we left him. Hans managed some 16 lifers -- no mean feat when you're at the dizzying heights of 9000+ species! Just so unfortunate that the weather messed up the Forest Woodhoopoe. Good spotters and good company made for a very fine trip. James and Andrew from Ashanti African Safaris did their customary excellent job, and Ernest was a good, safe driver despite some very long days. Thanks also to Sharon at FG HQ for good logistical support; it all worked nicely. I look forward to sharing future birding trips with you all at some point. Safe travels, good health, and happy birding!

-- Phil (in Accra)


Sat, 2 Apr -- Arrival day for some; birding at Sakumono in the afternoon

Sun, 3 Apr -- Shai Hills

Mon, 4 Apr -- Tema-Winneba Plains / Winneba Lagoon/ Mankessim Pond/ Cape Coast Lagoon / farmbush near Jukwa / Rainforest Lodge

Tue, 5 Apr -- Kakum NP

Wed, 6 Apr -- Antikwaa / Twifo Praso in the morning, Brimsu Reservoir, afternoon through dusk

Thu, 7 Apr -- Abrafo Road in the morning, Takoradi / Ebi River / Ankasa in the afternoon

Fri, 8 Apr -- Ankasa NP, with heavy rain in the afternoon

Sat, 9 Apr -- Ankasa River Trail / Ebi River / Brenu Beach / Rainforest Lodge

Sun, 10 Apr -- Ebekawopa Forest / Assin Foso / Bankro / Kumasi

Mon, 11 Apr -- Kumasi / Kintampo / Mole NP

Tue, 12 Apr -- Mole NP Samole Loop and waterhole in the morning, Brugbani Loop and Haraba pond in the afternoon

Wed, 13 Apr -- Mole Airstrip / Mognori R / Road near Larabanga and airstrip late afternoon and dusk

Thu, 14 Apr -- Mole / Tamale / Nasia Pond / Tongo Hills / Bolgatanga

Fri, 15 Apr -- White Volta at Sapeliga; afternoon at Tono Dam

Sat, 16 Apr -- Bolgatanga / Nasia Pond / Kumasi

Sun, 17 Apr -- Bobiri in the morning with rain early on; afternoon in Atewa farm bush

Mon, 18 Apr -- 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

White-throated Francolin placed highly in the "favorite bird of the trip" rankings. Photograph by participant Greg Griffith.

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 each day, with 20 there on April 13.
HARTLAUB'S DUCK (Pteronetta hartlaubii) – Two, presumably a pair, dabbling in the brackish water at the Ebi River mangrove site, then a fine single on the second rainforest pond at Ankasa next day Apr 8, a far more usual and classic setting.
AFRICAN PYGMY-GOOSE (Nettapus auritus) – A pair at Mankessim pond on Apr 4, and 6 at Nasia on Apr 16.
Numididae (Guineafowl)
HELMETED GUINEAFOWL (WEST AFRICAN) (Numida meleagris galeatus) – Just a few in Mole NP.
CRESTED GUINEAFOWL (WESTERN) (Guttera pucherani verreauxi) – A very nice look at 9 on the track at Ankasa on Apr 7, though sadly no White-breasted Guineafowl among them.....
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)
DOUBLE-SPURRED FRANCOLIN (Pternistis bicalcaratus) – Seen several times at Shai Hills, Jukwa farmbush and Mole, I think everyone eventually got good views.
WHITE-THROATED FRANCOLIN (WHITE-THROATED) (Peliperdix albogularis buckleyi) – Great views of a calling bird at Mole one afternoon, it responded beautifully and duly walked in, this is such a cooperative species! New for Hans too.
Podicipedidae (Grebes)
LITTLE GREBE (LITTLE) (Tachybaptus ruficollis ruficollis) – A handful at Sakumono.
Phalacrocoracidae (Cormorants and Shags)
LONG-TAILED CORMORANT (Phalacrocorax africanus) – A handful at Sakumono, Ebi River and Nasia Pond.
Scopidae (Hamerkop)
HAMERKOP (Scopus umbretta) – As always very few, just in or near Mole NP with a maximum of 4 birds.
Ardeidae (Herons, Egrets, and Bitterns)
GRAY HERON (Ardea cinerea) – Singles at Sakumono and Nasia, surprisingly scarce here.
BLACK-HEADED HERON (Ardea melanocephala) – Singles at Mole and Nasia only this tour, it is always very scarce..
PURPLE HERON (Ardea purpurea) – Just a single at Sakumono this trip.

We saw Red-necked Buzzard on five different days, including an unusual one at Mole. Photo by guide Phil Gregory.

GREAT EGRET (AFRICAN) (Ardea alba melanorhynchos) – 5 at Sakumono and a single at Ebi River.
INTERMEDIATE EGRET (YELLOW-BILLED) (Mesophoyx intermedia brachyrhyncha) – Just 5 at Sakumono was it for the trip. Split by HBW/BirdLife as Yellow-billed Egret.
LITTLE EGRET (Egretta garzetta) – Just 2 at Sakumono and a single at Ebi River.
WESTERN REEF-HERON (WESTERN) (Egretta gularis gularis) – Four day records, with 1 at Sakumono, 2 at Winneba including a white morph bird, and 2 at Ebi River.
CATTLE EGRET (Bubulcus ibis) – Small numbers on most days, this is the western nominate taxon which is split by IOC and HBW/BirdLife.
SQUACCO HERON (Ardeola ralloides) – 2 at Sakumono, 10 at Cape Coast lagoon and odd singles at Nasia.
STRIATED HERON (Butorides striata) – Five day records of singles, I finally got to see it at Mole!
BLACK-CROWNED NIGHT-HERON (Nycticorax nycticorax) – A single from Mole Lodge and 4 that evening at Haraba pond.
Threskiornithidae (Ibises and Spoonbills)
HADADA IBIS (Bostrychia hagedash) – Very few, only seen (and heard) in Mole this year with 3 birds the most.
Pandionidae (Osprey)
OSPREY (HALIAETUS) (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) – Three day records max 2 birds.
AFRICAN HARRIER-HAWK (Polyboroides typus) – Six day records of singles, starting at Kakum and ending at Bobiri.
PALM-NUT VULTURE (Gypohierax angolensis) – Just a single adult at at Kakum this trip.
EUROPEAN HONEY-BUZZARD (Pernis apivorus) – Two birds at Kakum, seen nicely from the walkway.

We saw Bateleur on only three days -- all in Mole. Photo by participant Greg Griffith.

AFRICAN CUCKOO-HAWK (Aviceda cuculoides) – One at Sakumono was a surprise, then we had one at Jukwa and another at Mole.
WHITE-HEADED VULTURE (Trigonoceps occipitalis) – Just a single female seen at Mole, another species in rapid decline and now a rare bird indeed.
HOODED VULTURE (Necrosyrtes monachus) – Just 6 day records, mostly singles except 5 and then 6 at Mole, a sad decline from years gone by, and one which seems to be accelerating.
WHITE-BACKED VULTURE (Gyps africanus) – Five and then 8 at Mole, another species in sharp decline.
BATELEUR (Terathopius ecaudatus) – 3 day records max 3 birds on Apr 12 which included an immature, then a female next day with a male circling over the lodge on Apr 14. Once again Mole was the only site we see it.
CONGO SERPENT-EAGLE (Dryotriorchis spectabilis) – James had seen one on the river loop at Ankasa, and we managed to tape one in here for pretty good views for most.
LONG-CRESTED EAGLE (Lophaetus occipitalis) – Just one bird in savanna near Kintampo, the only sighting of the trip and a species we do not see every tour, it is amazingly scarce in Ghana!
LIZARD BUZZARD (Kaupifalco monogrammicus) – Seen at Shai Hills and Winneba only.
DARK CHANTING-GOSHAWK (Melierax metabates) – A fine bird on a pylon near Kintampo, and one in Mole.
GABAR GOSHAWK (Micronisus gabar) – A melanistic bird in Mole one afternoon, and then one shot by at Nasia pond.
GRASSHOPPER BUZZARD (Butastur rufipennis) – Nice views from the Mole and Nasia areas, max. 6 birds.
EURASIAN MARSH-HARRIER (Circus aeruginosus) – 3 at Sakumono were the only ones of the trip.
RED-CHESTED GOSHAWK (BANDED) (Accipiter toussenelii macroscelides) – One began calling early morning and was seen flying away at our camp at Ankasa. Oddly enough the West African FG lumps it with African Goshawk.
SHIKRA (Accipiter badius) – Six day records of singles or 2 birds, starting at Sakumono and Shai Hills.
RED-THIGHED SPARROWHAWK (Accipiter erythropus erythropus) – A fine bird sat on the power line to Ivory Coast at Ankasa, the big white throat and red sides were seen nicely. A tough one to get.
BLACK GOSHAWK (Accipiter melanoleucus) – One flew through late one afternoon at Brimsu.
BLACK KITE (YELLOW-BILLED) (Milvus migrans parasitus) – Seen most days, and a 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) – Five day records starting at Winneba, max. 2 birds. The odd raptor with cinnamon tail and bare legs at Mole was this species, not African Hawk Eagle as James initially thought.
Otididae (Bustards)
DENHAM'S BUSTARD (DENHAM'S) (Neotis denhami denhami) – A wonderful sighting from the Brugbani loop, where one flew right over and then landed on the laterite pan for some time before flying back.
Rallidae (Rails, Gallinules, and Coots)
NKULENGU RAIL (Himantornis haematopus) – Only heard really early one morning and way off in the forest at Ankasa. [*]
BLACK CRAKE (Amaurornis flavirostra) – One at Mankessim Pond, and 2 at Mole.
EURASIAN MOORHEN (Gallinula chloropus) – Four at Mankessim Pond were the only sighting, and included a juvenile.
Sarothruridae (Flufftails)
WHITE-SPOTTED FLUFFTAIL (Sarothrura pulchra) – Always a great bird to see, we got a fine responsive male at Antikwaa. Also heard at various forest sites. Now placed in a separate African endemic family, the Sarothruridae.
Burhinidae (Thick-knees)
SENEGAL THICK-KNEE (Burhinus senegalensis) – 5 at Sakumono, then noisy at Mole NP with 2 seen by the waterhole.
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. I taped 3 birds chasing and calling and have posted the cut to XC and IBC, it is not often you get to hear them vocalizing. One of the birds of the trip as ever, and an endemic African family.
Recurvirostridae (Stilts and Avocets)
BLACK-WINGED STILT (Himantopus himantopus) – Fifteen at Sakumono and 10 at Winneba lagoon.
Charadriidae (Plovers and Lapwings)
BLACK-BELLIED PLOVER (Pluvialis squatarola) – Fifteen at Winneba lagoon.

Currently, Yellow-billed Kite is considered to be a subspecies of Black Kite on the Clements list; however, many taxonomists treat it as a separate species. Photo by guide Phil Gregory.

SPUR-WINGED LAPWING (Vanellus spinosus) – Ten at Sakumono, 4 at Winneba lagoon, 1 at Mole and 10 at Sapeliga.
WATTLED LAPWING (Vanellus senegallus) – Eight day records, max. 3 birds.
COMMON RINGED PLOVER (Charadrius hiaticula) – One at Sakumono and 30 at Winneba lagoon.
Jacanidae (Jacanas)
AFRICAN JACANA (Actophilornis africanus) – 30 at Sakumono and 6 at Winneba lagoon, then odd birds in the north.
Scolopacidae (Sandpipers and Allies)
COMMON SANDPIPER (Actitis hypoleucos) – Five day records with15 at Sakumono being a good count.
COMMON GREENSHANK (Tringa nebularia) – Just four day records, the most being 5 at Sakumono, 15 at Winneba lagoon and 6 at Ebi River.
WOOD SANDPIPER (Tringa glareola) – 10 at Sakumono and singles at Winneba Lagoon and Ebi River.
COMMON REDSHANK (Tringa totanus) – Just one bird at Winneba Lagoon, a species we do not see every trip.
WHIMBREL (Numenius phaeopus) – 6 at Winneba lagoon and one at Ebi River.
BAR-TAILED GODWIT (Limosa lapponica) – 2 at Sakumono and 1 at Winneba lagoon.
RUDDY TURNSTONE (Arenaria interpres) – Just 2 at Winneba lagoon.
CURLEW SANDPIPER (Calidris ferruginea) – 8 at Winneba lagoon included some coming into the red summer dress.
SANDERLING (Calidris alba) – 12 at Winneba lagoon was a good count.
DUNLIN (Calidris alpina) – 4 distant birds at Winneba lagoon.

Senegal Thick-knees are typically found near water. Photo by guide Phil Gregory.

LITTLE STINT (Calidris minuta) – One at Sakumono flying by, and one seen by some at Winneba lagoon.
Turnicidae (Buttonquail)
SMALL BUTTONQUAIL (Turnix sylvaticus) – One flushed up unexpectedly at Winneba Plains, a species we have only seen once before on the tour.
Glareolidae (Pratincoles and Coursers)
COLLARED PRATINCOLE (Glareola pratincola) – A single flew by calling at Winneba lagoon.
ROCK PRATINCOLE (RUFOUS-NAPED) (Glareola nuchalis liberiae) – 3 at the rocks on the Pra River at Twifo Praso as usual.
Laridae (Gulls, Terns, and Skimmers)
ROYAL TERN (AFRICAN) (Thalasseus maximus albididorsalis) – One at Sakumono, and 15 at Winneba lagoon, this is the very white looking West African race.
SANDWICH TERN (Thalasseus sandvicensis) – Four birds flying off Cape Coast lagoon were the only sighting.
Pteroclidae (Sandgrouse)
FOUR-BANDED SANDGROUSE (Pterocles quadricinctus) – One near Sapeliga, then good views of some at Tono Dam where the count was around 15 birds.
Columbidae (Pigeons and Doves)
ROCK PIGEON (Columba livia) – A few in the urban areas. [I]
SPECKLED PIGEON (Columba guinea guinea) – The first was in Tamale, then a few around Bolgatanga.
MOURNING COLLARED-DOVE (Streptopelia decipiens) – Several at the Sapeliga site for Egyptian Plover This is a far northern special in Ghana.
RED-EYED DOVE (Streptopelia semitorquata) – Widespread in small numbers.
VINACEOUS DOVE (Streptopelia vinacea) – Good views at Shai Hills, then common in Mole and 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.

We saw only a handful of Speckled Pigeons -- in Tamale and Bolgatanga. Photo by guide Phil Gregory.

BLUE-SPOTTED WOOD-DOVE (Turtur afer) – Vocal and heard more than seen, we had a couple at Kakum and Ankasa.
TAMBOURINE DOVE (Turtur tympanistria) – Seen well at Kakum and Ankasa, again more often heard than seen.
BLUE-HEADED WOOD-DOVE (Turtur brehmeri) – Calling close by at Ankasa, Ebekawopa and Bobiri, but we finally got one at Atewa on the last morning, flushing by the track and seen perched up in the thicket.
NAMAQUA DOVE (Oena capensis) – Up to 6 around Sapeliga and Tono Dam, as usual only in the very far north except for one unexpectedly flying by near Bobiri.
BRUCE'S GREEN-PIGEON (Treron waalia) – Seen well in Mole NP and also at Nasia where a couple flew by.
AFRICAN GREEN-PIGEON (Treron calvus) – Seen at Kakum Mole and Antikwaa.
Musophagidae (Turacos)
GREAT BLUE TURACO (Corythaeola cristata) – Great views at Ankasa where 2 birds were vocalizing well.
GUINEA TURACO (Tauraco persa) – Heard at Winneba, then seen well at the farmbush near Kakum. [E]
YELLOW-BILLED TURACO (Tauraco macrorhynchus) – Some good views of this West African endemic at Kakum and Ankasa, and it was quite vocal and seen well at Ebekawopa. [E]
VIOLET TURACO (Musophaga violacea) – Two of this beautiful bird showed well at Shai Hills, and a few folks saw it at Mole.
WESTERN PLANTAIN-EATER (Crinifer piscator) – Ten day records, with 3 or 4 each day from Sakumono, Shai Hills and Winneba, and then 8 at Mole.
Cuculidae (Cuckoos)
LEVAILLANT'S CUCKOO (Clamator levaillantii) – Four day records, with 2 at Winneba and singles at Shai Hills, Mole and Atewa. More than usual.
RED-CHESTED CUCKOO (Cuculus solitarius) – Heard as usual at Bankro on the Picathartes trek, then one taped in at Haraba Pool in Mole.
BLACK CUCKOO (Cuculus clamosus) – Heard at Kakum. [*]

Senegal Coucals, on the other hand, were common and widespread. Photo by guide Phil Gregory.

AFRICAN CUCKOO (Cuculus gularis) – Heard at Mole, giving the "oocuck" call, and seen at Nasia. A coupe of indeterminate African/Eurasian Cuckoos also seen at Mole, presumably African.
OLIVE LONG-TAILED CUCKOO (Cercococcyx olivinus) – Heard at Kakum, then one calling at Bankro Picathartes trek came in remarkably well and gave quite good looks, it was a lifer for Hans too.
KLAAS'S CUCKOO (Chrysococcyx klaas) – Vocal this trip, and good males at Shai Hills, Antikwaa, Mole and Bobiri.
AFRICAN EMERALD CUCKOO (Chrysococcyx cupreus) – One male seen at Kakum, then a female at Ebekawopa, and it was heard at Bobiri and Atewa.
DIDERIC CUCKOO (Chrysococcyx caprius) – A male at Antikwaa, and heard at Bobiri and Atewa.
YELLOWBILL (Ceuthmochares aereus) – Seen well at Kakum, at Ankasa and Bobiri, often split these days as Blue Malkoha with the south and eastern African birds as Green Malkoha C. australis.
BLACK-THROATED COUCAL (Centropus leucogaster) – Vocal at Kakum, Ankasa and Atewa, and actually seen at the farmbush at Brimsu, clambering about in a thicket, a very hard bird to see.
BLUE-HEADED COUCAL (Centropus monachus) – Great views in the farmbush near Kakum one morning and also seen at Antikwaa.
SENEGAL COUCAL (Centropus senegalensis) – Widespread, the first was at Sakumono, and an immature was seen at the farmbush near Kakum.
Tytonidae (Barn-Owls)
BARN OWL (AFRICAN) (Tyto alba affinis) – One flying quite high over the road at Larabanga and looking very white below, actually my first record from Ghana!
Strigidae (Owls)
AFRICAN SCOPS-OWL (Otus senegalensis) – A great look at a quite responsive bird at Haraba Pool in Mole, as usual the grayish type with lovely yellow eyes.
GRAYISH EAGLE-OWL (Bubo cinerascens) – Greg saw one flush off he track as we came back at night at Mole.
FRASER'S EAGLE-OWL (Bubo poensis) – James had a site near Atewa, and we played some tape and got one to come in nicely, giving good views and then calling, with another answering with deep hoots. This species has become much harder to find. The dark eyes showed reddish in the spotlight at times.
AKUN EAGLE-OWL (Bubo leucostictus) – This was a great find at Kakum, perched up near the entrance, the underparts very pale with heavy dark streaks and no barring, and yellow eyes, with rather flattened ear tufts. This was just my second sighting and the first of one perched.

It's a bit difficult to see how the male Standard-winged Nightjar can actually FLY with those pennants dragging along behind him. But fly he did -- and we saw him do it! Photo by participant Greg Griffith.

PEARL-SPOTTED OWLET (Glaucidium perlatum) – A great little bird in Mole, being persistently mobbed by an African Golden Oriole.
RED-CHESTED OWLET (WESTERN) (Glaucidium tephronotum tephronotum) – This called back quite well at Bobiri but I don't think anyone saw it, though it might have flown overhead at one point. [*]
AFRICAN WOOD-OWL (Strix woodfordii) – Some folks heard this at night at Ankasa, where we never see it! [*]
Caprimulgidae (Nightjars and Allies)
STANDARD-WINGED NIGHTJAR (Caprimulgus longipennis) – One of the birds of the trip, we saw a couple of females and then a fine male over the road near Larabanga, totally eclipsed later by a male at the airstrip, sat with the standards out at either side, and then in flight with them erect like little pennants over the back. How I'd have liked a flight shot of that!
BROWN NIGHTJAR (Caprimulgus binotatus) – Two birds heard calling at Kakum but sadly neither came in, and they only seem to call very briefly so the window of opportunity is narrow. [E*]
LONG-TAILED NIGHTJAR (Caprimulgus climacurus) – A great view at Brimsu, sat on the road at dusk, and then another in Mole.
Apodidae (Swifts)
MOTTLED SPINETAIL (Telacanthura ussheri) – A very good trip for them, singles seen well at Shai Hills, Jukwa, Winneba Lagoon and Tono Dam
SABINE'S SPINETAIL (Rhaphidura sabini) – Very good looks at 2 at Kakum, they have much more of a tail than the stealth bomber-shaped Cassin's Spinetail.
CASSIN'S SPINETAIL (Neafrapus cassini) – 4 from Kakum walkway, then 2 at Ankasa, this species has an extraordinary tail-less shape like a stealth bomber!
COMMON SWIFT (Apus apus) – 3 over the camp at Ankasa early one morning.
LITTLE SWIFT (Apus affinis) – Widespread, there are often large colonies under road culverts.
WHITE-RUMPED SWIFT (Apus caffer) – 3 at Antikwaa were the only ones we saw, it is uncommon in Ghana.
AFRICAN PALM-SWIFT (Cypsiurus parvus) – Widespread in small numbers.
Phoeniculidae (Woodhoopoes and Scimitar-bills)
GREEN WOODHOOPOE (Phoeniculus purpureus) – Two on the Brugbani loop in Mole, and 2 at Bobiri after the rain.

Two Piping Hornbills near the Ebi River were the only ones we saw. Photo by guide Phil Gregory.

BLACK SCIMITAR-BILL (Rhinopomastus aterrimus) – Great looks at 2 in Mole.
Bucerotidae (Hornbills)
RED-BILLED DWARF HORNBILL (Lophoceros camurus) – Just one single at Bobiri this trip, they have become much harder to find. The mournful descending call is brilliant, one of my favourites.
AFRICAN PIED HORNBILL (Lophoceros fasciatus) – The widespread Ghanaian hornbill, seen on 10 days and very vocal. HBW/BirdLife split this into Eastern and Western species.
AFRICAN GRAY HORNBILL (Lophoceros nasutus) – Also widespread but in the drier areas, we saw 5 at Shai Hills and had a few in Mole and at Tono Dam. We also saw one in Accra flying over the Erata Hotel!
NORTHERN RED-BILLED HORNBILL (Tockus erythrorhynchus) – Seen only in the far north this trip, the most at Tono Dam,
WHITE-CRESTED HORNBILL (Horizocerus albocristatus) – Heard at Kakum, and one shot off from low down beside the track at Atewa, always a hard bird to see well. This is another one that HBW/BirdLife now split into E and W species.
BLACK DWARF HORNBILL (Horizocerus hartlaubi) – 2 at Kakum, sitting up nicely, an elusive species. HBW/BirdLife split this into Eastern and Western species.
BLACK-CASQUED HORNBILL (Ceratogymna atrata) – Dana saw one whilst she was ensconced by the track at Ankasa awaiting our return, these big hornbills have become really hard to see now in Ghana.
BROWN-CHEEKED HORNBILL (Bycanistes cylindricus) – Two fine birds flying over at Kakum late one afternoon, a rare species that has become elusive, good to get it as it's a West African endemic. [E]
PIPING HORNBILL (Bycanistes fistulator) – Great prolonged views of two sat on wires at Ebi River, the only ones we saw! Another one that HBW/BirdLife now split into E and W species.
Alcedinidae (Kingfishers)
SHINING-BLUE KINGFISHER (Alcedo quadribrachys) – One shot down with a silver fish on the river at the Ankasa Park entrance after the heavy rain, and Dana saw it there next day too, whilst another was glimpsed in Mole.
MALACHITE KINGFISHER (Corythornis cristatus) – Five day records of singles, starting at Sakumono, and sightings mostly in Mole.
WHITE-BELLIED KINGFISHER (Corythornis leucogaster) – The pond at Ankasa was dry this year, but we heard one in the forest nearby- tape cut on IBC and XC. Then most folks saw one fly down river at the bridge at the park entrance, and one flew across the road there next day. Tough to see for any length of time.
AFRICAN PYGMY-KINGFISHER (Ispidina picta) – Seen at Shai Hills, then Winneba Plains, Ankasa and Brenu Beach.

Pied Kingfisher was the most common and widespread of the eleven kingfisher species we spotted on the trip. Photo by participant Greg Griffith.

CHOCOLATE-BACKED KINGFISHER (Halcyon badia) – Henning's major target, with 2 seen very well at Ebekawopa as the Lagden's Bush-shrike was still in play, and heard at Atewa. Curiously silent at Ankasa this trIp.
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 at Rainforest Lodge and Ankasa, where the grey ­headed taxon fuscopileus showed well.
BLUE-BREASTED KINGFISHER (Halcyon malimbica) – Most of us saw it in the scope at Mole, and we got one for Greg at Bobiri where they have a very vocal aerial display.
STRIPED KINGFISHER (Halcyon chelicuti) – One at Winneba Plains was a surprise, and it was heard at Tono Dam.
GIANT KINGFISHER (Megaceryle maxima) – One sat on a wire as we came near Takoradi, missed by most and not seen again.
PIED KINGFISHER (Ceryle rudis) – 7 day records, with 10 at Sakumono, 4 at Cape Coast lagoon, and 2 at Nasia and Sapeliga, otherwise singles only.
Meropidae (Bee-eaters)
BLACK BEE-EATER (Merops gularis gularis) – Fantastic looks and photos at Kakum this year, then seen at Antikwaa and Atewa, a great bird.
RED-THROATED BEE-EATER (Merops bulocki) – Common and showy in Mole, and one at Tono Dam.
LITTLE BEE-EATER (Merops pusillus) – Five`day records,, starting with 2 at Sakumono, then Winneba and Jukwa, Brenu Beach, Mole and Tono Dam.
SWALLOW-TAILED BEE-EATER (Merops hirundineus chrysolaimus) – Just 2 at Shai Hills, the only sighting of the trip as usual.
WHITE-THROATED BEE-EATER (Merops albicollis) – Small numbers of this intra­-African migrant were widespread, mostly in the north. We had 9 day records and up to 30 birds.
GREEN BEE-EATER (YELLOW-THROATED) (Merops orientalis viridissimus) – Andrew found 3 immature birds at Tono Dam, where another Ashanti group had seen them recently. It was a lifer for him, then we got 2 adults nearby, see photo on the IBC. These are the first documented records for Ghana, though James tells me he saw them once here 2 years ago. I will write a note for the Bulletin of the African Bird Club. This is the second time we have got a first for Ghana here, with Singing Bushlark back in 2013 being the other.
EUROPEAN BEE-EATER (Merops apiaster) – Migrants groups of 4 and then 8 were seen in Mole, with some good flights views.

The two adult and three immature Green Bee-eaters we found at Tono Dam are the first documented record for Ghana, though there are sight records from a couple of years ago. Photo by guide Phil Gregory.

ROSY BEE-EATER (Merops malimbicus) – Ten over the farmbush at Jukwa one afternoon, then 2 at Kakum Walkway and 2 at Antikwaa, a big priority species for the tour. [E]
NORTHERN CARMINE BEE-EATER (Merops nubicus) – 6 on the back of sheep at Sapeliga, but too far for good photos unfortunately.
Coraciidae (Rollers)
ABYSSINIAN ROLLER (Coracias abyssinicus) – We got some lovely views of this gorgeous species in Mole, then at Nasia and Tono Dam.
RUFOUS-CROWNED ROLLER (Coracias naevius) – A single at Tema and two singles in the north, it is always quite scarce.
BLUE-BELLIED ROLLER (Coracias cyanogaster) – Two at Shai Hills did not linger long, then most of us saw one in Mole, which was a surprise. [E]
BROAD-BILLED ROLLER (Eurystomus glaucurus) – 2 at the Erata Hotel in Accra, and then two day sightings in Mole.
BLUE-THROATED ROLLER (Eurystomus gularis) – One at Kakum, one at Ankasa and one at Bobiri.
Lybiidae (African Barbets)
BRISTLE-NOSED BARBET (Gymnobucco peli) – 4 at Antikwaa, and one at Atewa, sparse again this trip.
NAKED-FACED BARBET (Gymnobucco calvus) – Just a single from Kakum, it was oddly scarce this trip though we heard Gymnobucco sp. at several sites.
SPECKLED TINKERBIRD (Pogoniulus scolopaceus) – Seen nicely at Kakum and Atewa.
RED-RUMPED TINKERBIRD (Pogoniulus atroflavus) – A nice one at Antikwaa and then another at Atewa on the last morning.
YELLOW-THROATED TINKERBIRD (Pogoniulus subsulphureus) – Heard and then seen nicely at Kakum.
YELLOW-RUMPED TINKERBIRD (Pogoniulus bilineatus) – A good view of one at the farmbush near the Rainforest Lodge, one we always hear but don't always see.
YELLOW-FRONTED TINKERBIRD (Pogoniulus chrysoconus) – Seen nicely at Shai Hills and heard a lot on the north.

The Speckled Tinkerbird certainly lives up to its name. Photo by participant Greg Griffith.

YELLOW-SPOTTED BARBET (Buccanodon duchaillui) – Just one at Ankasa this trip.
HAIRY-BREASTED BARBET (Tricholaema hirsuta) – Heard at Kakum, then one seen well at Bobiri after the rain, these Western birds are very different to the Ugandan ones and Sinclair splits them.
VIEILLOT'S BARBET (Lybius vieilloti) – Seen very well at Shai hills, Brimsu, Mole and Tono Dam [E]
DOUBLE-TOOTHED BARBET (Lybius bidentatus) – One at the Erata Hotel was rather strangely the only one we saw.
BEARDED BARBET (Lybius dubius) – Seen very nicely in Mole.
Indicatoridae (Honeyguides)
WILLCOCKS'S HONEYGUIDE (Indicator willcocksi) – One was seen by a few of us from the Kakum Walkway, but it did not hang about for long.
LEAST HONEYGUIDE (Indicator exilis) – We tracked down the calling bird at Bobiri that seems to be be this species, we had scope views of it high in the trees. It has been here since 2009 according to James.
LESSER HONEYGUIDE (Indicator minor) – A good tour for them with one at Shai Hills and 2 in Mole, these dry country birds have paler underparts than the wet forest Thick-­billed Honeyguide but are vocally identical and should I think be lumped.
GREATER HONEYGUIDE (Indicator indicator) – A single bird in Mole.
Picidae (Woodpeckers)
FINE-SPOTTED WOODPECKER (Campethera punctuligera) – A single in Mole at Haraba Pool, this is another quite scarce species.
GOLDEN-TAILED WOODPECKER (Campethera abingoni) – One male in the riparian woodland at the Mognori River in Mole was the first I'd seen in Ghana.
BUFF-SPOTTED WOODPECKER (Campethera nivosa) – Great views in the farmbush at Jukwa and then near Rainforest Lodge.
CARDINAL WOODPECKER (Dendropicos fuscescens) – Heard at Shai Hills. [*]
MELANCHOLY WOODPECKER (Dendropicos lugubris) – A fine bird along the Stingless Bee road at Abrafo, this is another endemic West African woodpecker.. [E]
FIRE-BELLIED WOODPECKER (Dendropicos pyrrhogaster) – Seen well at Kakum and Antikwaa. [E]
AFRICAN GRAY WOODPECKER (Dendropicos goertae) – One near Shai Hills was the only one we saw this time.
BROWN-BACKED WOODPECKER (Dendropicos obsoletus) – A fine bird at Mole airstrip, this is one of the more elusive woodpeckers.
Falconidae (Falcons and Caracaras)
EURASIAN KESTREL (RUFESCENT) (Falco tinnunculus rufescens) – Seen from the Erata Hotel, with one in Mole and one near Nasia, all seemed to be the dark resident race rufescens.
FOX KESTREL (Falco alopex) – A distant bird at Tongo Hills late in the afternoon, always the only site we see it.
GRAY KESTREL (Falco ardosiaceus) – Three day records from Shai Hills, Antikwaa and Mole.
RED-NECKED FALCON (Falco chicquera) – One near Sapeliga which stooped on an Abyssinian Roller that was on the ground, I suspect after the prey the roller had. It then perched up briefly, this is a hard species to see on the tour.
AFRICAN HOBBY (Falco cuvierii) – A fantastic adult bird perched on power lines near Shai Hills, I have posted the pic on the IBC site.
LANNER FALCON (Falco biarmicus) – Singles seen at Prampram road bridge, Antikwaa and then Mole.
Psittaculidae (Old World Parrots)
ROSE-RINGED PARAKEET (Psittacula krameri) – A high-flying flock of 7 at Mole Lodge one morning.
Psittacidae (New World and African Parrots)
GRAY PARROT (GRAY) (Psittacus erithacus erithacus) – The decline continues, once again we only heard it at Ankasa. [*]
BROWN-NECKED PARROT (BROWN-NECKED) (Poicephalus robustus fuscicollis) – One of the highlights of the morning at Bobiri was seeing 2 of these rather rare parrots, which called and then came over twice for fair flight view, the greyish head could just about be made out. Sinclair splits this and it is a distinct form, this was the first time I'd actually seen it in Ghana though we did hear it here in 2013.
RED-FRONTED PARROT (Poicephalus gulielmi) – Seen at Antikwaa and then perched at Bobiri for much better views.
SENEGAL PARROT (Poicephalus senegalus) – 6 at Shai Hills where they are very noisy, and heard in Mole as well as by Accra Airport during our dinner at the cafe there.

The group checks the Winneba Lagoon on a low tide -- there are shorebirds and Royal Terns out there! Photo by participant Greg Griffith.

Calyptomenidae (African and Green Broadbills)
RUFOUS-SIDED BROADBILL (Smithornis rufolateralis) – A fine bird at Ebekawopa one morning, and both seen and heard a few times at Ankasa.
Platysteiridae (Wattle-eyes and Batises)
BROWN-THROATED WATTLE-EYE (Platysteira cyanea) – 5 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 Ebekawopa. A split from Chestnut Wattle-­eye. [E]
RED-CHEEKED WATTLE-EYE (Platysteira blissetti) – Challenging as always, but we got to see a fine male at Antikwaa, flitting through the thicket and perching up briefly, you could hear the wings snapping as well. Some saw the female here too, and we heard another here and then at Atewa. [E]
SENEGAL BATIS (Batis senegalensis) – Two at Shai Hills and 2 at Mole. [E]
Vangidae (Vangas, Helmetshrikes, and Allies)
WHITE HELMETSHRIKE (Prionops plumatus) – 5 at Shai Hills were unexpected, one even sitting up for a photo.
RED-BILLED HELMETSHRIKE (Prionops caniceps) – Seen at Ankasa but elusive this year.
AFRICAN SHRIKE-FLYCATCHER (Megabyas flammulatus) – A male at the Kakum Walkway, and and some folks saw the female there too.
BLACK-AND-WHITE SHRIKE-FLYCATCHER (Bias musicus) – Heard at Bonkro, then a pair on the very last day at Atewa, at the remains of the usual site after the gold diggers had gone through. 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) – A nice view of one at Mole, and heard at Tono Dam.
NORTHERN PUFFBACK (Dryoscopus gambensis) – Seen 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.
MARSH TCHAGRA (MARSH) (Tchagra minutus minutus) – A female showed nicely along the Stingless Bee Track at Abrafo.
BLACK-CROWNED TCHAGRA (Tchagra senegalus) – Three sightings from drier areas and also heard quite often.

We had some fine views of Yellow-billed Shrike in the south. Photo by participant Greg Griffith.

BROWN-CROWNED TCHAGRA (Tchagra australis) – Heard in the farmbush near the Rainforest Lodge. [*]
TROPICAL BOUBOU (Laniarius major) – A bird calling at Shai Hills may have been this species, which seems amazingly scarce in Ghana and where I have no definite records. James thought this was this species but it sounds very odd, I posted the cut to "Mysteries" on xeno-canto and await replies.
YELLOW-CROWNED GONOLEK (Laniarius barbarus) – This amazing looking red and black bush­-shrike with the yellow cap was seen nicely at Shai Hills, 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 and seen at Brenu beach, then a nice view of one in Mole one afternoon.
LAGDEN'S BUSHSHRIKE (LAGDEN'S) (Malaconotus lagdeni lagdeni) – James was able to tape one in at Ebekawopa, with Bob and I being the last ones to get a view of it as it turned out, lucky it was quite vocal and responsive. I had only seen this species once before in Uganda so it was a real surprise to get it here where it is so little known.
Campephagidae (Cuckooshrikes)
WHITE-BREASTED CUCKOOSHRIKE (Coracina pectoralis) – A single in the dry savanna at Mole.
RED-SHOULDERED CUCKOOSHRIKE (Campephaga phoenicea) – 3 single fine males over our 3 days at Mole, the red shoulder was really glowing.
PURPLE-THROATED CUCKOOSHRIKE (Campephaga quiscalina) – Two males and a female at Kakum from the walkway.
BLUE CUCKOOSHRIKE (Cyanograucalus azureus) – One at Kakum walkway, then a really brightly coloured one at Bobiri.
Laniidae (Shrikes)
NORTHERN FISCAL (Lanius humeralis) – 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 one singing well at Mole Airstrip.
Oriolidae (Old World Orioles)
AFRICAN GOLDEN ORIOLE (Oriolus auratus) – A male was mobbing a Pearl-spotted Owlet at Mole, really giving it a very hard time!
WESTERN BLACK-HEADED ORIOLE (Oriolus brachyrhynchus) – Seen at Ankasa and Ebekawopa.

We had fantastic encounters with White-necked Rockfowl this year: two nests and a half hour with lots of coming and going. Photo by participant Greg Griffith.

BLACK-WINGED ORIOLE (Oriolus nigripennis) – Elusive this trip, we finally got to see one at Bobiri and later at Atewa. [E]
Dicruridae (Drongos)
SQUARE-TAILED DRONGO (Dicrurus ludwigii) – One seen nicely along the Mognori River at Mole, a specialist of this kind of habitat.
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) – A few from the drier areas, it was very sparse this trip and the max we saw was 3.
VELVET-MANTLED DRONGO (Dicrurus modestus) – The drongo of the wetter forests, seen well at Kakum, Ankasa, Bobiri and Atewa.
Monarchidae (Monarch Flycatchers)
BLACK-HEADED PARADISE-FLYCATCHER (Terpsiphone rufiventer) – Sparse this trip, but seen nicely at Ankasa and then heard at Bobiri.
AFRICAN PARADISE-FLYCATCHER (Terpsiphone viridis) – Just a couple of sightings from Mole this trip.
Corvidae (Crows, Jays, and Magpies)
PIAPIAC (Ptilostomus afer) – Four day records, the most near Shai Hills and very few in the north this time.
PIED CROW (Corvus albus) – Widespread and seen most days, but no big numbers.
Picathartidae (Rockfowl)
WHITE-NECKED ROCKFOWL (Picathartes gymnocephalus) – We went to a new and more accessible site this year, with two mud nests on the rock overhang, and had to wait just 10 minutes before a Picathartes bounded in and another flew right over us! We had a fantastic show for half an hour of the birds coming and going to the nests, the best experience I have had with the species here. There were some nice photos and videos taken and this was a huge highlight of the trip. I posted one pic to the IBC site. [E]
Nicatoridae (Nicators)
WESTERN NICATOR (Nicator chloris) – Much in demand and heard at several sites before we got a nice view of one at Antikwaa, it's placed in an endemic African family now.
Alaudidae (Larks)
SUN LARK (Galerida modesta) – 3 birds in Mole on the dry laterite pans, the usual areas, with 12 up there next day.
Hirundinidae (Swallows)
ROCK MARTIN (Ptyonoprogne fuligula) – Two at Shai Hills cliffs were unexpected, this is a scarce species in Ghana.
BARN SWALLOW (Hirundo rustica) – The most were about 10 at Sakumono, otherwise just very small numbers.

Lesser Striped Swallow was widespread, though always in small numbers. Photo by guide Phil Gregory.

RED-CHESTED SWALLOW (Hirundo lucida lucida) – About 6 at Larabanga mosque, an easily overlooked species. Photo posted to IBC site. [E]
ETHIOPIAN SWALLOW (Hirundo aethiopica aethiopica) – Just 4 day records of singles only, starting at Sakumono, curiously sparse this year.
WHITE-THROATED BLUE SWALLOW (Hirundo nigrita) – This is one snazzy bird which we only see at the site at the Pra River, where there was just one bird this year.
WIRE-TAILED SWALLOW (Hirundo smithii smithii) – Just a couple of sightings from Mole and then at Nasia.
PIED-WINGED SWALLOW (Hirundo leucosoma) – A single on wires at the Brenu Beach track, they have apparently been here for some weeks now but it was very good find of a very elusive bird, only the second time we have seen it on the tour. It's a real West African special, being very localized.
RED-RUMPED SWALLOW (WEST AFRICAN) (Cecropis daurica domicella) – Seen briefly by some at Tongo Hills, then two great birds on power lines at the White-billed Buffalo-Weaver site near Zebilla, photo now on the IBC site. This pale 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) – 2 near Ebekawopa and a single at Atewa were the only sightings. A low density species, we usually see this (and Mosque Swallow) just a couple of times each trip.
MOSQUE SWALLOW (Cecropis senegalensis) – A single at Tema, 2 at Shai Hills and one at Jukwa farmbush.
PREUSS'S SWALLOW (Petrochelidon preussi) – About 70 at a culvert near the Pra River , and flock of 30 at some wet mud near Bobiri. [E]
SQUARE-TAILED SAWWING (Psalidoprocne nitens) – 6 at Ankasa, with 4 next day, and 2 at Atewa, this is a very localized forest species. [E]
FANTI SAWWING (Psalidoprocne obscura) – Just a couple at Kakum, the short-tailed juvenile was quite confusing! [E]
Stenostiridae (Fairy Flycatchers)
AFRICAN BLUE-FLYCATCHER (Elminia longicauda) – A couple along the Samole loop in Mole, and Bill saw one later. Now placed in Stenosteiridae, an endemic African family.
Paridae (Tits, Chickadees, and Titmice)
WHITE-SHOULDERED BLACK-TIT (Melaniparus guineensis) – Good views a couple of times in Mole, we could see the yellow eye nicely.

Dana on the incredible rope walkway at Kakum. Photo by guide Phil Gregory.

Pycnonotidae (Bulbuls)
SLENDER-BILLED GREENBUL (Stelgidillas gracilirostris) – A couple at Kakum and one at Bobiri, oddly scarce this trip.
GOLDEN GREENBUL (Calyptocichla serinus) – Two sightings from Kakum of this uncommon endemic with the pinkish bill. [E]
RED-TAILED BRISTLEBILL (Bleda syndactylus) – One seen quite well at Ankasa, where it had a nest.
GRAY-HEADED BRISTLEBILL (Bleda canicapillus) – Dana saw this along the Stingless Bee Road at Abrafo, and we heard it at Atewa. [E]
SIMPLE GREENBUL (Chlorocichla simplex) – Seen at Shai Hills, Brenu Beach and Atewa.
HONEYGUIDE GREENBUL (Baeopogon indicator) – Heard at Bobiri. [*]
YELLOW-THROATED GREENBUL (Atimastillas flavicollis) – Two at Shai Hills were the only sighting.
SWAMP GREENBUL (Thescelocichla leucopleura) – Vocal at Ankasa, and seen quite well at Bobiri.
RED-TAILED GREENBUL (Criniger calurus) – This striking white throated bird with the red tail was seen at Kakum and Ankasa.
WESTERN BEARDED-GREENBUL (Criniger barbatus) – One at Ebekawopa, and then seen well at Ankasa. [E]
YELLOW-BEARDED GREENBUL (Criniger olivaceus) – 3 at Ankasa were as always quite high in the trees, but gave good views eventually. [E]
GRAY GREENBUL (Eurillas gracilis) – Seen at Kakum and Bobiri.
ANSORGE'S GREENBUL (Eurillas ansorgei) – Two seen well at Kakum.
PLAIN GREENBUL (Eurillas curvirostris) – Heard at Atewa. [*]
YELLOW-WHISKERED GREENBUL (Eurillas latirostris) – Elusive, we heard it at each of the wet forest sites but it stayed unseen. [*]
LITTLE GREENBUL (Eurillas virens) – Common by voice in the wet forests, and seen at Antikwaa and Ankasa.
ICTERINE GREENBUL (Phyllastrephus icterinus) – Two at Ankasa showed quite well.
WHITE-THROATED GREENBUL (Phyllastrephus albigularis) – Heard at Atewa, this is always hard to see and this year proved no exception. [*]
COMMON BULBUL (Pycnonotus barbatus) – Seen on every day of the trip bar one.
Macrosphenidae (African Warblers)
GREEN CROMBEC (Sylvietta virens flaviventris) – Heard at Kakum and seen very nicely at Abrafo.
LEMON-BELLIED CROMBEC (Sylvietta denti hardyi) – Great views of 2 at Atewa on the last morning.
NORTHERN CROMBEC (Sylvietta brachyura brachyura) – 3 at Shai Hills, one in Mole and one at Nasia Pond.
MOUSTACHED GRASS-WARBLER (Melocichla mentalis mentalis) – Seen very nicely in Mole and then at Nasia Pond.
KEMP'S LONGBILL (Macrosphenus kempi) – One seen briefly at Antikwaa, and heard at Bobiri. [E]
GRAY LONGBILL (Macrosphenus concolor) – Commonly heard, and finally seen at Bobiri and Atewa.
GREEN HYLIA (Hylia prasina) – A frequent sound of the rainforests and seen well at Antikwaa and Ankasa.
TIT-HYLIA (Pholidornis rushiae) – A couple of folks got onto this at Abrafo in the farmbush there.
Cettiidae (Bush-Warblers and Allies)
CHESTNUT-CAPPED FLYCATCHER (Erythrocercus mccallii) – Seen twice but neither very obliging, at Ankasa and then Ebekawopa
Phylloscopidae (Leaf Warblers)
WOOD WARBLER (Phylloscopus sibilatrix) – Seen at Shai Hills, Kakum and then in Mole.
Acrocephalidae (Reed-Warblers and Allies)
MELODIOUS WARBLER (Hippolais polyglotta) – A singing bird by the Mognori River in Mole was a good find of a scarce migrant.
EURASIAN REED-WARBLER (Acrocephalus scirpaceus) – One Acrocephalus in the reeds at Sakumono was presumably this species, it seemed too small and rufous for Greater Swamp Warbler. A new Ghana species for Phil.
Cisticolidae (Cisticolas and Allies)
BLACK-CAPPED APALIS (BLACK-CAPPED) (Apalis nigriceps nigriceps) – Heard at Ankasa calling high in the canopy, and then seen well at Atewa on the final morning.
YELLOW-BREASTED APALIS (YELLOW-BREASTED) (Apalis flavida caniceps) – This was heard by the Mognori River at Mole. [*]
SHARPE'S APALIS (Apalis sharpii) – Great views from the Kakum walkway, I think it was a pair and a juv. Heard at Ankasa and Bobiri too. [E]

An African Hobby perched on wires at Shai Hills certainly qualified as cooperative! Photo by guide Phil Gregory.

GREEN-BACKED CAMAROPTERA (GRAY-BACKED) (Camaroptera brachyura brevicaudata) – Grey­-backed Camaroptera was very noisy at all the drier areas, and seen well at Antikwaa and Mole.
YELLOW-BROWED CAMAROPTERA (Camaroptera superciliaris) – A good trip for this one, we saw it very nicely at Abrafo and then again at Bobiri, 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 this is a rather nondescript skulker. [*]
RED-FACED CISTICOLA (RED-FACED) (Cisticola erythrops erythrops) – Heard at Winneba and Atewa and seen at Jukwa farmbush.
SINGING CISTICOLA (Cisticola cantans swanzii) – One at Winneba and another at Nasia Pond.
WHISTLING CISTICOLA (Cisticola lateralis lateralis) – One singing at Jukwa farmbush, then again at Abrafo and finally Atewa.
ROCK-LOVING CISTICOLA (ROCK-LOVING) (Cisticola aberrans admiralis) – Seen very nicely at Tongo Hills in good light late afternoon, the only site we have for it.
WINDING CISTICOLA (WINDING) (Cisticola galactotes amphilectus) – Seen at Winneba and Nasia Pond.
CROAKING CISTICOLA (Cisticola natalensis strangei) – Two at Shai Hills showed well.
SIFFLING CISTICOLA (Cisticola brachypterus brachypterus) – Two at Shai Hills and one at Brenu Beach.
RUFOUS CISTICOLA (Cisticola rufus) – This new bird for Hans was seen well at Mole airstrip, a good site for it.
ZITTING CISTICOLA (AFRICAN) (Cisticola juncidis uropygialis) – Seen and heard at Sakumono, and heard at Winneba lagoon.
BLACK-BACKED CISTICOLA (Cisticola eximius) – Great looks at Nasia Pond, a good site for this uncommon bird.
ORIOLE WARBLER (Hypergerus atriceps) – Calling well along the road to Pram-pram but only glimpsed there, then seen very well at Mole and then at Mognori.

The handsome Red-headed Rock Agama is widespread in sub-Saharan Africa. Photo by participant Greg Griffith.

TAWNY-FLANKED PRINIA (Prinia subflava) – Commonly heard in the drier country, and seen well at Abrafo.
RED-WINGED PRINIA (Prinia erythroptera erythroptera) – 2 at Winneba proved quite flighty but eventually showed fairly well, and there was one at Mole airstrip. Now a Prinia not a warbler, so we lose Heliolais as a genus.
SENEGAL EREMOMELA (Eremomela pusilla) – Great looks from Shai Hills and Mole.
RUFOUS-CROWNED EREMOMELA (Eremomela badiceps fantiensis) – Two from the Kakum Walkway showed well.
Zosteropidae (White-eyes, Yuhinas, and Allies)
AFRICAN YELLOW WHITE-EYE (Zosterops senegalensis) – Sparse as ever, we saw it at Rainforest Lodge and in Mole.
Pellorneidae (Ground Babblers and Allies)
BROWN ILLADOPSIS (BROWN) (Illadopsis fulvescens gularis) – One glimpsed at Kakum as it flew across the track, and heard at Bobiri and Atewa.
PALE-BREASTED ILLADOPSIS (Illadopsis rufipennis extrema) – Heard at Ankasa. [*]
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! One was very close at Ebekawopa, but only a couple of folks saw it fly across the trail. [E]
PUVEL'S ILLADOPSIS (Illadopsis puveli puveli) – A glimpse from Antikwaa was it for the trip.
Leiothrichidae (Laughingthrushes and Allies)
BROWN BABBLER (Turdoides plebejus) – Tow at Sakumono were the only sighting, but it was heard at Shai Hills.
Hyliotidae (Hyliotas)
VIOLET-BACKED HYLIOTA (Hyliota violacea nehrkorni) – A very late save, we saw 2 at Atewa on the last morning, now an endemic African family too so an important bird for the trip.
Muscicapidae (Old World Flycatchers)
PALE FLYCATCHER (Bradornis pallidus) – Two sightings from Mole.
NORTHERN BLACK-FLYCATCHER (Melaenornis edolioides edolioides) – Seen several times in Mole NP.
AFRICAN FOREST-FLYCATCHER (WESTERN) (Fraseria ocreata prosphora) – One at Kakum and then again at Bobiri.

Tongo Hills provided the scenic backdrop for a splendid late-afternoon stop. Photo by guide Phil Gregory.

SPOTTED FLYCATCHER (Muscicapa striata) – Singles at Shai Hills and Mole.
USSHER'S FLYCATCHER (Muscicapa ussheri) – A couple from Antikwaa, they seem to have paler underparts than shown in the field guide. [E]
SWAMP FLYCATCHER (Muscicapa aquatica aquatica) – One 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.
GRAY-THROATED TIT-FLYCATCHER (Myioparus griseigularis) – Heard at Kakum and Atewa, I have not seen this species for several trips now! [*]
GRAY TIT-FLYCATCHER (Myioparus plumbeus) – Heard and then seen well next day at Mole. Better known as Lead-coloured Flycatcher.
FIRE-CRESTED ALETHE (WHITE-TAILED) (Alethe diademata diademata) – Heard at Ankasa but stayed out of sight. [E]
SNOWY-CROWNED ROBIN-CHAT (Cossypha niveicapilla) – Two seen at Shai Hills and heard in Mole.
WHITE-CROWNED ROBIN-CHAT (Cossypha albicapillus) – A few folks got this skulker at the Mognori River in Mole.
FOREST ROBIN (WESTERN) (Stiphrornis erythrothorax erythrothorax) – Heard at Ankasa but frustratingly hard to see once again, it is quite common here! [*]
EUROPEAN PIED FLYCATCHER (Ficedula hypoleuca) – Seen at Shai Hills and in Mole, with one smart pied male as well as the brown and white females.
WHINCHAT (Saxicola rubetra) – A couple on Mole NP.

A group of ten African Elephants (including a youngster) bathing in the waterhole were a bonus on the day we left Mole. Photo by participant Greg Griffith.

MOCKING CLIFF-CHAT (Thamnolaea cinnamomeiventris coronata) – We spent some time watching the cliffs at Shai Hills without success, but most saw it at Tongo Hills where a male showed briefly. Formerly split as White­-crowned Cliff­ Chat and looks pretty different to the eastern birds.
FAMILIAR CHAT (Cercomela familiaris) – One at Tongo Hills was a good trip bird.
Turdidae (Thrushes and Allies)
FINSCH'S FLYCATCHER-THRUSH (Neocossyphus finschii) – Heard at Kakum, and seen at Ankasa. [E]
AFRICAN THRUSH (Turdus pelios) – Seen at the Erata Hotel where one serenaded us at dawn, and again at Mole.
Sturnidae (Starlings)
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) – Two seen at Bobiri and then at Atewa, an elusive forest species.
COPPER-TAILED STARLING (Hylopsar cupreocauda) – Two from Kakum Walkway, then 2 at Bobiri, another uncommon forest starling. [E]
LONG-TAILED GLOSSY STARLING (Lamprotornis caudatus) – Two by the bridge along the road to Pram-Pram were unexpected and way out of range, hundreds of km south, then a few from Mole and near Sapeliga.
SPLENDID STARLING (Lamprotornis splendidus) – Very few again this trip, just 5 at Shai Hills and singles from Winneba and Abrafo, usually much more frequent.
CHESTNUT-BELLIED STARLING (Lamprotornis pulcher) – A northern special, seen nicely at Tono Dam, always a good site for them.
PURPLE 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.
BRONZE-TAILED STARLING (Lamprotornis chalcurus chalcurus) – Just two records of two birds in the far north this trip, from Nasia Pond and then Tongo Hills.
Buphagidae (Oxpeckers)
YELLOW-BILLED OXPECKER (Buphagus africanus africanus) – One on livestock at Nasia Pond, then 7 and then a flock of 15 at Tono Dam. An endemic African family too, and declining as livestock dipping becomes commoner.
Nectariniidae (Sunbirds and Spiderhunters)
FRASER'S SUNBIRD (Deleornis fraseri) – Seen at Kakum and then Ankasa, an odd rather straight billed species.

Somehow, it seems wrong to focus on the rather drab belly of a bird as splendid as the Olive-bellied Sunbird! Photo by participant Greg Griffith.

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 and then at Atewa, a very unobtrusive nondescript bird.
GREEN SUNBIRD (Anthreptes rectirostris) – A female at Antikwaa, and then a male at Atewa on the last morning, also seen the day before there.
COLLARED SUNBIRD (Hedydipna collaris) – Six day records from Kakum, Ankasa and Bobiri/Atewa.
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 coconuts near Ankasa entrance gate, a SW special and a very odd little sunbird. Also one at a nest in mangroves at the Ebi River, low over the water but well hidden. [E]
GREEN-HEADED SUNBIRD (Cyanomitra verticalis) – Seen at Abrafo and then in Mole, a rather local bird.
BLUE-THROATED BROWN SUNBIRD (Cyanomitra cyanolaema) – Two at Kakum and one at Bobiri, a quite big long-billed species.
WESTERN OLIVE SUNBIRD (Cyanomitra obscura) – Quite often heard in the rainforest zone, and seen at Ankasa and Bobiri. Common but hard to see!
BUFF-THROATED SUNBIRD (Chalcomitra adelberti) – We finally got this striking West African special at Bobiri for some, and then at Atewa on the final morning. [E]
SCARLET-CHESTED SUNBIRD (Chalcomitra senegalensis) – Seen in Mole and at Tono Dam, with a fine male at the former site.
OLIVE-BELLIED SUNBIRD (Cinnyris chloropygius) – Seen well at Kakum, Ankasa and Ebekawopa.
BEAUTIFUL SUNBIRD (Cinnyris pulchellus) – Seen very nicely in Mole, but only very small numbers, also at Tono Dam.
SPLENDID SUNBIRD (Cinnyris coccinigastrus) – A male at Shai Hills, a female in Mole and a male at Bobiri. [E]

A Black Bee-eater at Kakum appears to be looking down its nose at us! Photo by guide Phil Gregory.

JOHANNA'S SUNBIRD (Cinnyris johannae) – This West African special showed well at Kakum and also at Ankasa, always quite a low density species. [E]
SUPERB SUNBIRD (Cinnyris superbus) – A male at Shai Hills and some saw one at Bobiri.
COPPER SUNBIRD (Cinnyris cupreus) – Seen at Shai Hills and Winneba, then again in Mole.
Motacillidae (Wagtails and Pipits)
WESTERN YELLOW WAGTAIL (Motacilla flava) – One at Jukwa farmbush one afternoon was of uncertain taxon.
WESTERN YELLOW WAGTAIL (GRAY-HEADED) (Motacilla flava thunbergi) – One at Sakumono was of this taxon, as was a bird under oil palms at Jukwa.
WESTERN YELLOW WAGTAIL (BLUE-HEADED) (Motacilla flava flava) – One at Sakumono was a Blue-headed Wagtail with a nice white supercilium.
AFRICAN PIED WAGTAIL (Motacilla aguimp) – Six day records of ones and twos in towns, they always seem very local in Ghana.
YELLOW-THROATED LONGCLAW (Macronyx croceus) – A couple were at Sakumono, the only ones of the tour.
Emberizidae (Buntings and New World Sparrows)
GOSLING'S BUNTING (Emberiza goslingi) – A couple of folks saw this at Mole where it was a lifer for Hans, and we also got it at Tongo Hills with up to 10 birds. It is a split from Cinnamon­-breasted Bunting. [E]
BROWN-RUMPED BUNTING (Emberiza affinis) – A quick look at a singing male at Mole airstrip, the resemblance in head pattern­, small crest, and black and white striped face­ to a Shrike­-tit is uncanny! Then a much nicer look at one that afternoon in the Brugbani area, another new birds for Hans here, it can't be too often you get 3 lifers in one day when over 9000!
Fringillidae (Finches, Euphonias, and Allies)
WHITE-RUMPED SEEDEATER (Serinus leucopygius) – A couple at Nasia on the way south on Apr 16, an uncommon bird that was new for many.
YELLOW-FRONTED CANARY (Serinus mozambicus) – A few in Mole by the Lodge, then a scattering from the north starting at Nasia Pond.
Passeridae (Old World Sparrows)
HOUSE SPARROW (Passer domesticus) – A pair in a building at town near Ebi River were my first in Ghana, where it seems to be colonizing. Greg refused to look at them! [I]
NORTHERN GRAY-HEADED SPARROW (Passer griseus) – Widespread in small numbers in the drier country.
BUSH PETRONIA (Petronia dentata) – Seen in Mole and at Nasia Pond in small numbers.
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 nearby, it seems to be colonizing the north.
SPECKLE-FRONTED WEAVER (Sporopipes frontalis frontalis) – Seen at Tono Dam, this is one of the scarcer weavers and only in the far north.
CHESTNUT-CROWNED SPARROW-WEAVER (Plocepasser superciliosus) – Seen nicely as we came down from the Brugbani loop, then a couple calling by the lodge next day, an uncommon species.
BLUE-BILLED MALIMBE (Malimbus nitens) – A couple seen at Antikwaa was the only record.
CRESTED MALIMBE (Malimbus malimbicus) – One at Bobiri for most. with a single also seen at Ankasa.
RED-HEADED MALIMBE (Malimbus rubricollis) – Three day records from Kakum and Bobiri, max. 2 birds.
LITTLE WEAVER (Ploceus luteolus) – One male near Mole Lodge was the only sighting.
BLACK-NECKED WEAVER (OLIVE-BACKED) (Ploceus nigricollis brachypterus) – Four day records of very small numbers, starting at Shai Hills and with 4 at Atewa farmbush the most.
ORANGE WEAVER (Ploceus aurantius aurantius) – James knew a site near Axim and we saw 3 nicely in a bushy creek there, then 4 on the way back from Ankasa at a large mixed Village and Vieillot's Weaver colony in wetland near Takoradi.
VIEILLOT'S WEAVER (CHESTNUT-AND-BLACK) (Ploceus nigerrimus castaneofuscus) – Five day records, this very distinctive West African race was seen at Kakum, Antikwaa, Ankasa, Bobiri and Atewa, with several large nesting colonies. I am surprised this has not yet been split as it's so unlike the East African black birds.

Western Gray Plantain-eaters were common throughout much of the tour. Photo by guide Phil Gregory.

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) – Great looks at 6 at Kakum walkway where they were nest building, we got some nice photos, and then one at Antikwaa. One of the scarcer weavers and very much a forest bird.
MAXWELL'S BLACK WEAVER (WHITE-NAPED) (Ploceus albinucha albinucha) – A noisy flock of 20 or so came through at Kakum walkway after we had seen one earlier, then a great look at one at Atewa on the last day.
PREUSS'S WEAVER (Ploceus preussi) – Nice looks at 2 singles of this scarce endemic at Kakum, it creeps along branches like a nuthatch. [E]
RED-HEADED QUELEA (Quelea erythrops) – James pointed out a couple in the farmbush near Kakum, sadly not yet in breeding dress though with a hint of pink on the face.
RED-BILLED QUELEA (Quelea quelea) – Just a couple at Nasia and some flyby flocks from the bus.
NORTHERN RED BISHOP (Euplectes franciscanus) – Some of the small non-breeding dress bishops with the small bills at Nasia and Tono were this species.
BLACK-WINGED BISHOP (Euplectes hordeaceus) – A few non-breeding birds around, and one partly coloured male near Kakum.
YELLOW-CROWNED BISHOP (Euplectes afer afer) – 5 or 6 at Sakumono were a good find, including a couple of males coming into breeding plumage.
YELLOW-SHOULDERED WIDOWBIRD (Euplectes macroura macroura) – Seen at Brenu Beach and near Atewa, all non­breeding.
GROSBEAK WEAVER (Amblyospiza albifrons capitalba) – 5 birds at Atewa farmbush.
Estrildidae (Waxbills and Allies)
GRAY-HEADED NIGRITA (Nigrita canicapillus) – Small numbers from Kakum, Ankasa and Atewa.
CHESTNUT-BREASTED NIGRITA (Nigrita bicolor) – A fine scope view of one at Atewa on the last morning, after we'd missed one at Bobiri the day before.

The Red-cheeked Cordonbleu is certainly well-named. Photo by participant Greg Griffith.

WHITE-BREASTED NIGRITA (Nigrita fusconotus) – Seen at Kakum and Antikwaa and heard at all the forest sites
LAVENDER WAXBILL (Estrilda caerulescens) – Two seen in the thickets on the Samole Loop at Mole, then one at Tongo Hills which was a good catch up for Bill.
ORANGE-CHEEKED WAXBILL (Estrilda melpoda) – Five day records starting at Winneba, then in Mole and at Nasia Pond as well, max 5 birds.
BLACK-RUMPED WAXBILL (Estrilda troglodytes) – The first were at Brenu Beach, then up to 15 at Nasia Pond and a few small flocks flying by at Tongo Hills.
WESTERN BLUEBILL (Spermophaga haematina) – A fine male at Brimsu farmbush late one afternoon, such a pity I missed taping the song. [E]
RED-CHEEKED CORDONBLEU (Uraeginthus bengalus) – Small numbers at Mole and Tono Dam.
RED-BILLED FIREFINCH (Lagonosticta senegala) – A widespread firefinch, first near Rainforest Lodge, then a few at Nasia and Mole.
BAR-BREASTED FIREFINCH (Lagonosticta rufopicta) – Seen at Brenu Beach and Mole.
BLACK-FACED FIREFINCH (Lagonosticta larvata) – A single male at Nasia pond took off before most people could get across the road to see it.
BLACK-BELLIED FIREFINCH (Lagonosticta rara) – Brief views of a female in the riparian forest at the Mognori River, a scarce species we seldom see.
AFRICAN FIREFINCH (Lagonosticta rubricata) – Just two at Brimsu farmbush, always uncommon.
CUT-THROAT (Amadina fasciata) – One scaly immature at Nasia pond was only my second sighting from Ghana.
ZEBRA WAXBILL (Sporaeginthus subflavus) – About 10 at Nasia Pond on both visits, with some very nice views. More often called Orange or Orange-breasted Waxbill as it's bright orange below.
BLACK-FACED QUAILFINCH (Ortygospiza atricollis atricollis) – Seen at Nasia on both visits, where very vocal, and most 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 by the IOC.

We spotted a couple of Mona Monkeys from the Kakum Walkway. Photo by guide Phil Gregory.

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.
MAGPIE MANNIKIN (Spermestes fringilloides) – This species is a regular in the bamboo at Bobiri and we got nice looks again this year, with about 30 birds.
Viduidae (Indigobirds)
PIN-TAILED WHYDAH (Vidua macroura) – Widespread, with a few nice plumaged males seen.

GAMBIAN EPAULETED FRUIT BAT (Epomophorus gambianus) – The little colony is still in the shady trees at the lunch time hotel in Tamale, one strange looking beast.
PRINCE DEMIDOFF'S BUSHBABY (Galago demidoff) – Vocal at Kakum after dark, and we got a nice look at one not long after dusk.
LESSER WHITE-NOSED GUENON (Cercopithecus petaurista) – A couple showed well at Kakum, and it was seen again at Brimsu Reservoir. [E]
GUENON SP. (Cercopithecus campbelli) – Known as Lowes Monkey, this was seen well at Kakum.
MONA MONKEY (Cercopithecus mona) – Two seen from the walkway at Kakum.
GREEN MONKEY (Cercopithecus sabaeus) – This is the vervet-type monkey some folks saw at Shai Hills, also known as Callitrix Monkey.
GUENON SP. (Cercopithecus tantalus) – The pale Vervets we see at Mole are this one, called the Tantalus Monkey.
OLIVE BABOON (Papio anubis) – Seen nicely at Shai Hills and Mole.
SCRUB HARE (Lepus saxatalis) – One in the track one dusk at the airstrip at Mole.
KINTAMBO ROPE SQUIRREL (Funisciurus substriatus) – The squirrel in the riparian at the Mognori River is this localized endemic. [E]

The Maxwell's Diukur we found in Shai Hills was even a lifer for your guide! Photo by participant Greg Griffith.

FIRE-FOOTED ROPE SQUIRREL (Funisciurus pyrrhopus) – Heard at Ebekawopa. [*]
RED-LEGGED SUN SQUIRREL (Heliosciurus rufobrachium) – Seen nicely at Kakum where two animals were lining a nest hole with leaves.
GIANT POUCHED RAT (Cricetomys emini) – One of this amazingly ugly species was at Kakum as we walked out after dark. Frequently smoked as bush meat, along with Brush-tailed porcupines.
COMMON (SMALL-SPOTTED) GENET (Genetta genetta) – Henning and Tom saw this at Mole by their cabins.
SLENDER MONGOOSE (Herpestes sanguineus) – A single briefly across the track at Antikwaa.
GAMBIAN MONGOOSE (Mungos gambianus) – Some loud rustling in a creek bed at Mole proved to be made by 2 of this uncommon species, which ran across the track as we came nearby. [E]
AFRICAN ELEPHANT (Loxodonta africana) – Great animals at Mole, with two single animals, one of whom was visiting the new tented camp whilst the other came to our own campground area next day before turning off to feed. Also a group of 10 including a youngster bathing in the waterhole the day we left.
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 across the track one afternoon.
MAXWELL'S DUIKER (Cephalophus maxwelli) – A great look at one at Shai Hills, rather greyish with a dark face, and a new species of mammal for me.
BUSH (GRAY) DUIKER (Sylvicapra grimmia) – A couple of folks saw one one afternoon from the bus in Mole.
DEFASSA WATERBUCK (Kobus defassa) – A handful at Mole. The black stockings are quite striking and it's a big greyish antelope.
KOB (Kobus kob) – A few Buffon's Kob at Mole only this year.

Other than its white eye-ring, the Gray Greenbul doesn't certainly show much in the way of field marks! Photo by participant Greg Griffith.

NILE CROCODILE (Crocodylus niloticus) – Three seen in the waterholes at Mole.


Favorite birds: varied as might be expected, but Picathartes and Egyptian Plover came out on top as always, with White-throated Francolin, Standard-winged Nightjar, Black Bee-eater, Chestnut-bellied Kingfisher, Violet Turaco, Akun Eagle Owl, Denham's Bustard and Preuss's Waver also scoring highly; some difficult choices amongst so many great birds!


This list covers a few 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.

CITRUS SWALLOWTAIL (Papilio demodecus)—Kakum

MOCKER SWALLOWTAIL (Papilio dardanus)

BROAD-BANDED GREEN SWALLOWTAIL (Papilio chrapkowskoides)

WESTERN EMPEROR SWALLOWTAIL (Papilio horribilis )—A large pale swallowtail seen at Atewa.

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

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.

BLUE TIGER (Tirumala petiverana) Seen at Antikwaa.

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.

UNIFORM BUSH BROWN (Bicyclis uniformis)

FOREST MOTHER-OF-PEARL (Protogoniomorpha parhassus)—I think this butterfly wins the longest name contest. It is another spectacular species, a 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) Seen at Mole

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

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

GUINEAFOWL (Hamanumida daedalus) Just like it's avian namesake, spotted with white.

UNMARKED COSTUS SKIPPER (Hypoleucis tripunctata)


I recommend the xeno-canto (XC) website which is a fantastic archive of bird sounds of most of the species in the world, freely downloadable. 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: 412 bird taxa and 24 mammal taxa