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Field Guides Tour Report
Ghana: Window Into West African Birding 2019
Mar 21, 2019 to Apr 9, 2019
Phil Gregory & James Ntakor

A small group of Nkulengu Rails provided one of the highlights of the tour. We first heard some vocalizing, then our local guides were able to track down a group of three close-by for some wonderful views! Participant Gregg Recer got this great image of one of them posing in the spotlight.

This was the tenth Field Guides Ghana tour (my 12th overall), with pretty good weather, quite hot but not too wet this time. Ghana is clearly thriving and seems to be undergoing a building boom, with half-finished buildings all over the country. It makes an ideal portal to West African birding and we once again had a very enjoyable trip.

Sakumono Lagoon late in the afternoon after the morning at rest was quite rewarding, albeit again very green and overgrown this year. A lot of late rainfall made things very verdant here, and few terns, herons or shorebirds were in evidence. Senegal Thick-knees showed very well, an African Hobby zipped over and Little Rush-Warbler was heard and then seen singing well again this year, very far west for this species.

Shai Hills is always a good introduction to Ghanaian birding, with nice looks at the Senegal trio of Batis, Parrot, and Eremomela, our first Blue-bellied Rollers, Vieillot's, Double-toothed and Bearded barbets, and good looks at Violet Turaco. A scramble up to Sayu Cave got a hearing record of what is now Chestnut Owlet on the Clements checklist, but remains as African Barred on other major lists; whatever, it's a very good find. Nearby we flushed a Blue Quail from the track too, a Ghana tick for Phil, and a Plain Nightjar was my first sighting here as it was flushed up from the grassland.

Next we headed west to Nsuta Forest, with lots of Piping Hornbills, White-throated Bee-eaters, Usher's Flycatcher, Tiny Sunbird and a Plain-backed Pipit on a tiny gravel area near the forest. Next morning produced both the rare Brown-cheeked and White-crested Hornbill, a very unexpected Yellow-footed Honeyguide, and lovely looks at Palmnut Vulture and a male African Emerald Cuckoo.

A marsh near Takoradi again turned up Orange Weaver, Allen's Gallinule and African Darter, a curiously rare bird in Ghana. Another later stop at the Ebi River produced a great sighting of Hartlaub's Duck and unexpected Reichenbach's Sunbird. Then it was time for Ankasa where Plain Nightjars awaited us on the drive to dinner from our simple accommodation. A night foray on the way back got us a fine African Wood Owl, then even better, an Akun Eagle Owl called and showed quite well by the bridge, a great start.

Next day the pond gave us the hoped for White-crested Tiger-Heron, a lifer for everyone, and with an immature African Finfoot swimming by it, plus Shining-blue and eventually a fine White-bellied Kingfisher. The rare Yellow-casqued Hornbill flew over, and we got to grips with Western and Yellow-bearded Greenbuls, Icterine Greenbul, Chestnut-breasted Nigrita and Red-vented Malimbe. Yellow-billed Turaco also showed nicely, and Forest Robin sang and showed briefly. Dusk saw us hoping for Spot-breasted Ibis over pond 2, but tonight they most inconsiderately chose to go over pond 1 so all we got was a distant hearing record. However, a wait for Nkulengu Rail paid off brilliantly, when one group began calling quite far off, and when they finished, another much closer group began to call. Our guides literally raced off into the forest, and within a couple of minutes were back with big grins to show us 3 roosting Nkulengu Rails that showed well in the spotlight- the video is on the website and at the IBC. Quite a day.

The final morning gave us Chocolate-backed Kingfisher and Mouse-coloured Sunbird at the river after a bit of a wait. Brenu Beach turned up both Oriole Warbler and Red-winged Prinia for great views, plus a few non-breeding widows and whydahs, then it was on to Rainforest Lodge near Kakum.

Kakum National Park and the surrounding area is an important part of the tour. Star birds from this area included Brown Nightjar, Black-casqued Hornbills, Sabine's and Cassin's spinetails, Rosy Bee-eater, Violet-backed Hyliota, Blue-throated Brown, Tiny, Olive-bellied, and Superb sunbirds, plus Rock Pratincole, an unexpected White-crowned Lapwing and White-throated Blue Swallow at the customary Pra River site.

The Picathartes day was rewarding, as again this year we accessed a new site at a slightly lower and closer location on the same escarpment. The reward took a wait of about 2 hours after a brief initial sighting, with two fine birds hopping in right by us and then sitting on a vine for some minutes, with two more appearing later for fantastic views of this iconic species.

Mole came next and this is a very different part of the tour, coming into the much drier Sudan savanna zone. Star birds included White-throated Francolin, Forbes's Plover, Bruce's Green-Pigeon, Sun Lark, fantastic Standard-winged Nightjar - check out the video of the display on the Smugmug and IBC sites, Grayish Eagle-Owl and African Scops-Owl, Pygmy and Beautiful sunbirds, White-crowned Robin-Chat, Lavender Waxbill, and Fine-spotted and African Gray woodpeckers. Surprises this year included Dorst's Cisticola once more, and a Gambaga Flycatcher was a great find of a very rarely seen bird. Elephants are always a great addition, and this year two teenage males were playing and splashing in the waterhole at very close range, all quite unconcerned by us standing quietly and filming.

Heading north, the stop at Tongo Hills was rewarding, with Gosling's Bunting, Booted Eagle and an obliging Rock Cisticola. The Egyptian Plover requires a several-hour bumpy ride out to the Volga tributaries on the Burkina Faso border, and this year we saw some 4 birds very nicely. Northern Carmine Bee-eater was a pleasing addition, as was Chestnut-bellied Starling, White-billed Buffalo-weavers and Abyssinian Roller. Tono Dam was relatively quiet this year, but always turns up something notable, this year being Black-backed Cisticola and Four-banded Sandgrouse, plus African Silverbill.

Heading south, we made a quick stop by Nasia Pond, seeing Abyssinian Roller and a very nice female Painted Snipe, all from the road. Next day at Bobiri was again overcast and quiet, so birding was tougher than usual. We struggled here, but did salvage Black-winged Oriole, and both Black Dwarf and our only Red-billed Dwarf Hornbill.

The extra time at Atewa was useful, giving us an afternoon and a morning to locate the specials, with Red-cheeked Wattle-eye, and finally Kemp's Longbill.

This was a fun trip, with a congenial group who dealt nicely with the various quirks along the way, though I suspect rice, eggs, chicken and chips may be off the menu for a while; this is not a gourmet meal trip! Mary was revisiting Ghana for the first time since her time in the Peace Corps back in the 1980's, the second year running we have had someone doing this, and she was astonished at the huge changes that have transformed the country.

We had a very good total of bird species despite the unusually hot conditions in the far north. James and Ibrahim from Ashanti African Safaris did their customary excellent job, and Anim was a very good driver over 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 Gregory, Kuranda, Queensland


Fri, 22 Mar -- Morning at rest, birding at Sakumono in the afternoon

Sat, 23 Mar -- Shai Hills & Sayu Cave

Sun, 24 Mar -- Tema-Winneba Plains / Winneba Lagoon/Cape Coast Fosu Lagoon / Nsuta Forest 1500-1745

Mon, 25 Mar -- Nsuta FR 0645-1100/ Bokro swamp near Takoradi/ Ebi River / Ankasa 1730.

Tues, 26 Mar -- Ankasa ponds till 1100/ main track 1445-1745

Wed 27 Mar -- Ankasa River Trail / Brenu Beach 1600-1715 / Rainforest Lodge 1815

Thurs 28 Mar -- Kakum Walkway am and pm

Fri 29 Mar -- Antwikwaa/ Pra River at Twifo Praso/ Stingless Bee Rod at Abrafo pm

Sat 30 -- Mar Ebekawopa farmbush and forest till 1030, then Assin Foso to Bonkro and the Picathartes/ Kumasi by 2130.

Sun 31 Mar -- Kumasi to Mole NP, with a very heavy thunderstorm that night

Mon, 1 Apr -- Mole NP Samole Loop and waterhole in the morning. Brugbani loop till 1930.

Tues 2 Apr -- Airstrip area and Mognori R till 1130, Samole saltlick loop and Larabanga Road pm

Wed 3 Apr -- Larabanga mosque /Tamale / Nasia Pond / Tongo Hills 1600-1715 / Bolgatanga

Thurs 4 Apr -- White Volta at Sapeliga; afternoon at Tono Dam 1530-1800

Fri 5 Apr -- Bolgatanga / Nasia Pond 0730-0800/ Kintampo 1330/Kumasi 1845

Sat 6 Apr -- Bobiri 0630-1015. Atewa farmbush 1600-1900

Sun 7 April -- Atewa foothills/ rain in the afternoon, brief birding at Asiakwa 1630-1730

Mon 8 Apr -- Atewa track reaching 350m till 1000, lunch at Linda Dor then to Accra via craft market. To Airport for departures 1900.

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

We also had an amazing experience with the White-necked Rockfowl. We had to wait for a while, but then two birds came in, and they were joined by two more! Participant Craig Caldwell got a very nice video of one of the birds looking around and listening, then hopping around before flying out of the frame.
Anatidae (Ducks, Geese, and Waterfowl)
WHITE-FACED WHISTLING-DUCK (Dendrocygna viduata) – Small numbers at various wetlands, and a big flock of 1500 or so at Tono Dam.
HARTLAUB'S DUCK (Pteronetta hartlaubii) – Nice looks at 2 birds at the Ebi River, an important trip bird and new for all the participants too.
SPUR-WINGED GOOSE (NORTHERN) (Plectropterus gambensis gambensis) – A single at Mole was a good find, it is strangely scarce in Ghana.
AFRICAN PYGMY-GOOSE (Nettapus auritus) – 10 at Bokro pool near Takoradi were the only ones we saw, it is very local in Ghana.
Numididae (Guineafowl)
HELMETED GUINEAFOWL (WEST AFRICAN) (Numida meleagris galeatus) – Great looks up in Mole, also seen at Shai Hills. [a]
Odontophoridae (New World Quail)
STONE PARTRIDGE (Ptilopachus petrosus) – Heard at Shai Hills and then some lovely views at Mole on a number of occasions, up to 15 in a day. Now discovered to belong with New World Quails and not the traditional Old World Francolins.
Phasianidae (Pheasants, Grouse, and Allies)
DOUBLE-SPURRED FRANCOLIN (Pternistis bicalcaratus) – 5 at Shai Hills, also seen in Mole.
AHANTA FRANCOLIN (Pternistis ahantensis) – Only heard this trip, from Nsuta and Brenu Beach. A very hard bird to actually see. [*]
WHITE-THROATED FRANCOLIN (WHITE-THROATED) (Peliperdix albogularis buckleyi) – We left it late, but eventually got two birds to show well near Larabanga, an oddly confiding bird that can be very responsive to playback.
LATHAM'S FRANCOLIN (Peliperdix lathami) – Heard from the Kakum Walkway, a difficult skulking forest francolin. [*]
Podicipedidae (Grebes)
LITTLE GREBE (LITTLE) (Tachybaptus ruficollis ruficollis) – Just one at the pond near Takoradi.
Columbidae (Pigeons and Doves)
ROCK PIGEON (Columba livia) – Widespread in the towns. [I]
SPECKLED PIGEON (Columba guinea guinea) – A few in the far north.
MOURNING COLLARED-DOVE (Streptopelia decipiens) – Seen well at Sapeliga, a northern special in Ghana.
RED-EYED DOVE (Streptopelia semitorquata) – Widespread and vocal, the distinctive cooing "I am ­a Red-eyed Dove" was commonly heard.

This lovely Painted Snipe appeared for us when we visited Nasia Pond on our way south. Photo by participant Gregg Recer.

VINACEOUS DOVE (Streptopelia vinacea) – Seen at Shai Hills, and then widespread in Mole and the north.
LAUGHING DOVE (Streptopelia senegalensis) – Widespread and seen almost every day.
BLACK-BILLED WOOD-DOVE (Turtur abyssinicus) – A few sightings from Mole.
BLUE-SPOTTED WOOD-DOVE (Turtur afer) – Some good views at Sakumono, Shai Hills and Atewa.
TAMBOURINE DOVE (Turtur tympanistria) – Glimpsed at Atewa, where it was also heard.
BLUE-HEADED WOOD-DOVE (Turtur brehmeri) – Luckily one came onto the track at Ankasa, with another later; an elusive bird and easily missed.
NAMAQUA DOVE (Oena capensis) – Some saw one in Mole, then a few at Sapeliga and Tono Dam later.
BRUCE'S GREEN-PIGEON (Treron waalia) – Nice looks from Mole waterhole viewpoint, where we saw up to 10.
AFRICAN GREEN-PIGEON (Treron calvus) – Small numbers at all the main forest sites and at Mole.
Pteroclidae (Sandgrouse)
FOUR-BANDED SANDGROUSE (Pterocles quadricinctus) – Vocal at dusk at Brugbani in Mole as they flew by, then some 12 birds seen very nicely at Tono Dam later.
Otididae (Bustards)
BLACK-BELLIED BUSTARD (Lissotis melanogaster) – A single at Winneba Plain was a nice find.
Musophagidae (Turacos)
GUINEA TURACO (Tauraco persa) – Two seen at Shai Hills, a low density West African endemic species. [E]
YELLOW-BILLED TURACO (Tauraco macrorhynchus) – Nice views from Ankasa and heard from the Kakum area sites; another West African endemic. [E]
VIOLET TURACO (Musophaga violacea) – 3 at Shai Hills and a couple of singles from Mole.

Here is the group, birding in the savanna. Photo by participant Mary Scala.

WESTERN PLANTAIN-EATER (Crinifer piscator) – Widespread in the south with small numbers most days, starting at Sakumono.
Cuculidae (Cuckoos)
BLACK-THROATED COUCAL (Centropus leucogaster) – Heard at the forest sites, but very elusive and stayed out of sight this year. [*]
SENEGAL COUCAL (Centropus senegalensis) – Small numbers from Sakumono, Mole and Atewa.
BLUE-HEADED COUCAL (Centropus monachus) – Seen well at Atewa farmbush.
BLACK COUCAL (Centropus grillii) – One non-breeding plumage bird from Shai Hills was a good find.
BLUE MALKOHA (Ceuthmochares aereus) – Oddly sparse again this trip, it was heard at Nsuta and at Stingless Bee Road, and seen at Atewa. The old name of Yellowbill is far more appropriate, I can't see why it isn't simply Blue Yellowbill.
LEVAILLANT'S CUCKOO (Clamator levaillantii) – Singles from Sakumono and Shai Hills.
DIDERIC CUCKOO (Chrysococcyx caprius) – A male at Ebekawopa farmbush and another at Atewa.
KLAAS'S CUCKOO (Chrysococcyx klaas) – A male at Atewa farm bush and heard at a couple of other farmbush sites.
YELLOW-THROATED CUCKOO (Chrysococcyx flavigularis) – Heard in the distance at Atewa but not interested in the playback. [*]
AFRICAN EMERALD CUCKOO (Chrysococcyx cupreus) – A fine male at Nsuta, then a male and female from Atewa later.
OLIVE LONG-TAILED CUCKOO (Cercococcyx olivinus) – Heard at Kakum, Bonkro and Ebekawopa. [*]
RED-CHESTED CUCKOO (Cuculus solitarius) – Heard at Bonkro rockfowl site. [*]

A Shining-Blue Kingfisher posed nicely for us at Ankasa, but it also chased away a White-bellied Kingfisher that we wanted to see! Photo by participant Craig Caldwell.

AFRICAN CUCKOO (Cuculus gularis) – One at Shai Hills and several from Mole. This is really the African Oocuck as that is what it calls!
Caprimulgidae (Nightjars and Allies)
STANDARD-WINGED NIGHTJAR (Caprimulgus longipennis) – An amazing time with them this year in Mole, where a male in display was cruising about at dusk and let us see how the pennants are erect over the back as he flies- see my video on Smugmug and the IBC sites.
BROWN NIGHTJAR (Caprimulgus binotatus) – Calling near dusk and seen from the tower in Kakum; actually not a Caprimulgus at all but the genus Veles instead. [E]
PLAIN NIGHTJAR (Caprimulgus inornatus) – One in daylight from Shai Hills was my first there, and then one on the road at Ankasa later.
LONG-TAILED NIGHTJAR (Caprimulgus climacurus) – Two fine birds in Mole.
Apodidae (Swifts)
MOTTLED SPINETAIL (Telacanthura ussheri) – One at Fosu lagoon, 2 at Ebekawopa and 3 at Atewa farmbush.
BLACK SPINETAIL (Telacanthura melanopygia) – Just a single from the Kakum Walkway, all too brief! [E]
SABINE'S SPINETAIL (Rhaphidura sabini) – 4 at Ankasa and 2 from Antwikwaa.
CASSIN'S SPINETAIL (Neafrapus cassini) – Just one of this unique tailless stealth­-bomber shaped bird from Ankasa.
COMMON SWIFT (Apus apus) – 10 migrants at Ankasa and a couple from Antwikwaa.
LITTLE SWIFT (Apus affinis) – Widespread, they breed in the road culverts.
WHITE-RUMPED SWIFT (Apus caffer) – Just one from Larabanga mosque, a scarce bird in Ghana.
BATES'S SWIFT (Apus batesi) – A small flock over Nsuta, which I managed to catch as a recording, only the second time we have seen this small dark swift in Ghana.

We had a great view of a Red-necked Falcon at Sapeliga. Photo by participant Gregg Recer.

AFRICAN PALM-SWIFT (Cypsiurus parvus) – Small numbers throughout wherever there are palms.
Sarothruridae (Flufftails)
WHITE-SPOTTED FLUFFTAIL (Sarothrura pulchra) – Heard giving the tinkerbird-like tooting at various forest sites, and a fine male seen at a stream near Antwikwaa.
Rallidae (Rails, Gallinules, and Coots)
EURASIAN MOORHEN (Gallinula chloropus) – 2 at the pond near Takoradi.
ALLEN'S GALLINULE (Porphyrio alleni) – Two immatures at the pond near Takoradi; an erratic migrant not seen every trip.
NKULENGU RAIL (Himantornis haematopus) – One of the trip highlights was hearing these calling at Ankasa as it got dark, then waiting for a second closer group to respond, at which point all our guides literally ran into the forest, and emerged with huge grins a couple of minutes later. They had located 3 birds at roost and we got fine views in the spotlight; the video is on Smugmug and the IBC site.
BLACK CRAKE (Zapornia flavirostra) – Just one briefly at the Bokro pond near Takoradi.
Heliornithidae (Finfoots)
AFRICAN FINFOOT (Podica senegalensis) – Great looks at an immature on the pond at Ankasa, swimming right by the White-crested Tiger Heron several times. Another adult briefly later on pond 2.
Burhinidae (Thick-knees)
SENEGAL THICK-KNEE (Burhinus senegalensis) – Noisy birds from Sakumono and vocal at Mole too.
Pluvianidae (Egyptian Plover)
EGYPTIAN PLOVER (Pluvianus aegyptius) – At least 4 birds gave great looks on the White Volta at Sapeliga; the river was rather high this year so there was a only a little sand. Much desired by family collectors, and one of the birds of the trip as usual.
Recurvirostridae (Stilts and Avocets)
BLACK-WINGED STILT (Himantopus himantopus) – 2 at Sakumono and 4 at Fosu.
Charadriidae (Plovers and Lapwings)
BLACK-BELLIED PLOVER (Pluvialis squatarola) – 2 at Winneba saltflats.
SPUR-WINGED LAPWING (Vanellus spinosus) – 15 at Sakumono, a handful in Mole and 50 at Sapeliga.
WHITE-HEADED LAPWING (Vanellus albiceps) – One on the Pra River at Twifo Praso was a nice find, we had not seen it here for some time.
WATTLED LAPWING (Vanellus senegallus) – A scattering of records of one or 2 birds starting at Sakumono, then Winneba and Mole.
COMMON RINGED PLOVER (Charadrius hiaticula) – 5 at Winneba saltflats.
FORBES'S PLOVER (Charadrius forbesi) – Nice looks at one at the laterite pans at Brugbani, feeding along damp edges and allowing us fine scope views. This can be an elusive bird, so good to get it easily again this year.
Rostratulidae (Painted-Snipes)
GREATER PAINTED-SNIPE (Rostratula benghalensis) – A fine female at Nasia Pond was a good pick up for the trip.
Jacanidae (Jacanas)
AFRICAN JACANA (Actophilornis africanus) – 50 at Sakumono and 10 at Nasia pond were the most we saw, with small numbers from Mole.
Scolopacidae (Sandpipers and Allies)
WHIMBREL (Numenius phaeopus) – One at Sakumono, one at Fosu and 2 at Winneba saltflats.
BAR-TAILED GODWIT (Limosa lapponica) – A single from Winneba saltflats.
CURLEW SANDPIPER (Calidris ferruginea) – A single coming into summer plumage at Winneba saltflats.

Red-throated Bee-eaters were common in Mole. Photo by participant Craig Caldwell.

SANDERLING (Calidris alba) – 6 at Winneba saltflats.
COMMON SANDPIPER (Actitis hypoleucos) – One at Sakumono, then a scattering at various other wetland sites including Fosu, Ebi River, Mole and Sapeliga.
COMMON GREENSHANK (Tringa nebularia) – 2 at Sakumono, 2 at Winneba and 3 at Brenu saltpans, with one from Sapeliga.
WOOD SANDPIPER (Tringa glareola) – 2 at Sakumono, 2 at Fosu and one in Mole.
COMMON REDSHANK (Tringa totanus) – 3 at Winneba saltflats.
Glareolidae (Pratincoles and Coursers)
ROCK PRATINCOLE (RUFOUS-NAPED) (Glareola nuchalis liberiae) – 4 on the rocks at the Pra River; great to see them in reasonable temperatures as it was nicely overcast today.
Laridae (Gulls, Terns, and Skimmers)
BLACK TERN (EURASIAN) (Chlidonias niger niger) – Four at Fosu lagoon were the only record.
ROYAL TERN (AFRICAN) (Thalasseus maximus albididorsalis) – Twenty at Winneba, and several off the lunch stop at Cape Coast. A split is still imminent, just taking ages to seep through to the checklists, as this taxon is closer to Lesser Crested Tern than it is to Royal.
SANDWICH TERN (Thalasseus sandvicensis) – Ten at Winneba.
Ciconiidae (Storks)
WOOLLY-NECKED STORK (AFRICAN) (Ciconia episcopus microscelis) – Only seen at Mole, where there were 3 at the waterhole. This is split by HBW/BirdLife as African Woollyneck.
Anhingidae (Anhingas)
AFRICAN DARTER (Anhinga rufa) – A fine bird at the swamp near Takoradi was only Phil's second in Ghana, where it seems mostly restricted to the Volta River system. [N]
Phalacrocoracidae (Cormorants and Shags)
LONG-TAILED CORMORANT (Microcarbo africanus) – One at Sakumono and 6 at Fosu, then 2 at Nasia.
Scopidae (Hamerkop)
HAMERKOP (Scopus umbretta) – Seen in the usual haunts at Mole, where we saw a couple of the huge untidy nests as well as up to 8 birds.
Ardeidae (Herons, Egrets, and Bitterns)
WHITE-CRESTED BITTERN (Tigriornis leucolopha) – One of the birds of the trip and apparently here since November, this splendid subadult showed very well at Ankasa Pond. I just wish I'd had the video on when a Marsh Mongoose came by and it raised its white crown feathers. We were able to watch it for ages and it was lifer for everyone including Phil.

Egyptian Plover is one of the stars of this tour, and we saw about 4 of them on the White Volta near Sapeliga. Photo by participant Gregg Recer.

GRAY HERON (Ardea cinerea) – Five day records, small numbers only starting with 2 at Sakumono.
BLACK-HEADED HERON (Ardea melanocephala) – One at Winneba was unexpected, then 4 in Mole and a small nesting colony at the White Volta bridge later with about 15 birds.
PURPLE HERON (Ardea purpurea) – One from Mole and one at Nasia pond.
GREAT EGRET (AFRICAN) (Ardea alba melanorhynchos) – 4 at Sakumono, 2 at Winneba, one at Ebi River and one in Mole, uncommon here in Ghana.
INTERMEDIATE EGRET (YELLOW-BILLED) (Ardea intermedia brachyrhyncha) – One from Sakumono and one from Winneba, split by HBW/BirdLife as Yellow-billed Egret.
LITTLE EGRET (Egretta garzetta) – Just 4 singles from Winneba, Fosu, Ebi River and Tono Dam.
WESTERN REEF-HERON (WESTERN) (Egretta gularis gularis) – 5 and Winneba, 3 at Fosu and 3 at Ebi River.
CATTLE EGRET (Bubulcus ibis) – Small numbers of the western taxon throughout.
SQUACCO HERON (Ardeola ralloides) – 5 at Sakumono, 3 at Mole and a single at Nasia later.
STRIATED HERON (Butorides striata) – Six day records, from Winneba, Fosu, Ankasa and Mole.
BLACK-CROWNED NIGHT-HERON (Nycticorax nycticorax) – Just one from Mole this trip.
Threskiornithidae (Ibises and Spoonbills)
SPOT-BREASTED IBIS (Bostrychia rara) – Damn, we chose to go to pond 2 at Ankasa where they had been seen recently at dusk, and they flew over calling at pond one on this night! [*]
HADADA IBIS (Bostrychia hagedash) – Only in Mole at the waterhole and surrounding; a great loud voice at dawn and dusk.
Accipitridae (Hawks, Eagles, and Kites)
BLACK-WINGED KITE (Elanus caeruleus) – Just one near Shai Hills.

Here's an interesting view of a lakeshore, with some of the local people, and our shadows. Photo by participant Mary Scala.

AFRICAN HARRIER-HAWK (Polyboroides typus) – Four day records, from Shai Hills, Winneba and Kakum.
PALM-NUT VULTURE (Gypohierax angolensis) – A lovely adult at Nsuta, then an immature at Kakum and odd birds from Mole.
EUROPEAN HONEY-BUZZARD (Pernis apivorus) – One from Ankasa and one at Atewa.
AFRICAN CUCKOO-HAWK (Aviceda cuculoides) – Singles from Stingless Bee Road and Antwikwaa. Ghana is a good place to see this uncommon species.
WHITE-HEADED VULTURE (Trigonoceps occipitalis) – Two singles from Mole; another rare bird these days.
HOODED VULTURE (Necrosyrtes monachus) – Two near Sakumono, then 2 and 1 at Mole and then 3 en route to Sapeliga. The population has crashed.
WHITE-BACKED VULTURE (Gyps africanus) – Three day records of one, 4 and 2 from Mole, the decline continues.
BATELEUR (Terathopius ecaudatus) – A handful in Mole, with two adults and an immature one day and 2 the next two days; as ever the only place we saw them.
BEAUDOUIN'S SNAKE-EAGLE (Circaetus beaudouini) – One perched on a pylon as we came south from Tamala.
WAHLBERG'S EAGLE (Hieraaetus wahlbergi) – A single seen in Mole.
BOOTED EAGLE (Hieraaetus pennatus) – A single pale morph bird soaring over a ridgeline at Tongo Hills.
LIZARD BUZZARD (Kaupifalco monogrammicus) – Just two near Winneba was it for the trip; curiously local in Ghana.
DARK CHANTING-GOSHAWK (Melierax metabates) – Just one from near Mole.

White-crested Bittern was one of the birds of the trip. Guide Phil Gregory was shooting a video of this subadult at Ankasa Pond when it was "photo-bombed" by another special bird, an African Finfoot!
GABAR GOSHAWK (Micronisus gabar) – One from near Sapeliga, and one at Tono Dam.
GRASSHOPPER BUZZARD (Butastur rufipennis) – Good views of this attractive bird as we got near to Mole, with a kettle of 12 there one afternoon.
EURASIAN MARSH-HARRIER (Circus aeruginosus) – One from Sakumono and one at Nasia Pond.
RED-CHESTED GOSHAWK (BANDED) (Accipiter toussenelii macroscelides) – Heard at Ankasa. [*]
SHIKRA (Accipiter badius) – Two at Sakumono and a couple of sightings from Shai Hills and Tono Dam.
BLACK KITE (YELLOW-BILLED) (Milvus migrans parasitus) – The default raptor, seen almost every day of the trip. Split by most checklists as Yellow-billed Kite and new genetic works back this up yet again.
AFRICAN FISH-EAGLE (Haliaeetus vocifer) – Hmm, well, I still have nagging doubts about this sighting, wondering if they were 2 Woolly-necked Storks in bad light, which we saw in this area next day......
RED-NECKED BUZZARD (Buteo auguralis) – Seen at Shai Hills, Antwikwaa, Mole and Atewa; quite a a striking bird with a reddish tail.
Strigidae (Owls)
AFRICAN SCOPS-OWL (Otus senegalensis) – Seen very well at Larabanga Road, where one came and sat nicely.
NORTHERN WHITE-FACED OWL (Ptilopsis leucotis) – Heard at Larabanga Road. [*]
GRAYISH EAGLE-OWL (Bubo cinerascens) – A fine bird near Mole airstrip, but none by the lodge this year.
AKUN EAGLE-OWL (Bubo leucostictus) – James got us a fine bird near the Ankasa entrance; a hard species to find.
PEARL-SPOTTED OWLET (Glaucidium perlatum) – Good looks at one in daylight along the Samole loop in Mole.
CHESTNUT OWLET (ETCHECOPAR'S) (Glaucidium castaneum etchecopari) – Calling in daylight by Sayu Cave, but both times we went, we got noisy groups of tourists going by which prevented it coming in. Amazingly enough, split by Clements and HBW/BirdLife from African Barred Owlet, but not the IOC. A heard lifer for Phil.

The walkway at Kakum allowed us to get up close to some canopy species that we may not have seen otherwise, including the Hairy-breasted Barbet. Photo by participant Mary Scala.

AFRICAN WOOD-OWL (Strix woodfordii) – Great views of one atop a sapling at Ankasa by the camp; the first time I've actually seen one here.
Trogonidae (Trogons)
NARINA TROGON (Apaloderma narina) – Heard at Ebekawopa but far away. [*]
Phoeniculidae (Woodhoopoes and Scimitarbills)
GREEN WOODHOOPOE (Phoeniculus purpureus) – Seen at Sakumono and near the Erata Hotel, also at Shai Hills.
BLACK SCIMITARBILL (Rhinopomastus aterrimus) – Nice views of a couple in Mole, and one at Tono Dam.
Bucerotidae (Hornbills)
RED-BILLED DWARF HORNBILL (Lophoceros camurus) – Just one at Bobiri; this diminutive hornbill with the lovely plaintive voice has got steadily harder each year.
AFRICAN PIED HORNBILL (Lophoceros fasciatus) – The widespread Ghanaian hornbill, seen on 8 days with up to 30 birds, and very vocal. HBW/BirdLife split this into Eastern and Western species.
AFRICAN GRAY HORNBILL (Lophoceros nasutus) – Seen at Sakumono and Shai Hills, then scattered records from Mole and the north.
NORTHERN RED-BILLED HORNBILL (Tockus erythrorhynchus) – Seen in Mole, then a few seen at Tono Dam and Sapeliga.
WHITE-CRESTED HORNBILL (Horizocerus albocristatus) – A great sighting from Nsuta, and another right below us on the canopy walkway at Kakum; often a hard bird to see well. HBW/BirdLife also split this into Eastern and Western species.
BLACK DWARF HORNBILL (Horizocerus hartlaubi) – Showed very well at both Ankasa pond and Bobiri; often an elusive species. HBW/BirdLife split this into Eastern and Western species.
BLACK-CASQUED HORNBILL (Ceratogymna atrata) – Three seen in flight at Kakum was a lucky sighting. This is by no means guaranteed to be seen these days; all the big hornbills are now rare in Ghana.
YELLOW-CASQUED HORNBILL (Ceratogymna elata) – We got lucky at Ankasa and both saw and heard this big rare species; a female was perched up for some while and there were 4 birds in all. [E]
BROWN-CHEEKED HORNBILL (Bycanistes cylindricus) – A great find from Nsuta with 3 birds, then 3 later from Kakum, another rather rare species and endemic to West Africa. [E]
PIPING HORNBILL (Bycanistes fistulator) – Another one that HBW/BirdLife now split into E and W species. We saw 2 of these diminutive birds at Nsuta in the afternoon, then a flock of 11 there next morning.
Alcedinidae (Kingfishers)
SHINING-BLUE KINGFISHER (Alcedo quadribrachys) – Great views from Ankasa pond, where it was a nuisance as it kept the White-bellied Kingfisher away!
MALACHITE KINGFISHER (Corythornis cristatus) – Singles from Sakumono, Ebi River, Mole, Pra River and Nasia pond this trip.
WHITE-BELLIED KINGFISHER (Corythornis leucogaster) – A very nice one eventually from Ankasa pond where it perched nicely and was a lifer for all.
AFRICAN PYGMY-KINGFISHER (Ispidina picta) – 5 day records of this gorgeous tiny kingfisher, starting at Shai Hills.
CHOCOLATE-BACKED KINGFISHER (Halcyon badia) – We got one nicely at Ankasa; an elusive bird that perches high in the canopy.
GRAY-HEADED KINGFISHER (Halcyon leucocephala) – Lovely views from Mole, Sapeliga and Tono Dam.
WOODLAND KINGFISHER (Halcyon senegalensis) – Just a few this trip, with 5 day records starting at Sakumono. The grey headed local taxon fuscopileus showed well on wires at Atewa.
BLUE-BREASTED KINGFISHER (Halcyon malimbica) – 3 day records, heard at Nsuta and Kakum, and seen twice at Mole where it was doing an aerial circling display.
STRIPED KINGFISHER (Halcyon chelicuti) – Only heard at Winneba Plains this trip, scarce in Ghana. [*]
GIANT KINGFISHER (Megaceryle maxima) – Two nice sightings from Mole, with one at the Mognori River then one from the lodge viewpoint waterhole.
PIED KINGFISHER (Ceryle rudis) – 5 day records, with 3 at Sakumono, and singles at Ebi River, Mole and Sapeliga.

These Naked-faced Barbets were seen at Antwikwaa. Photo by guide Phil Gregory.

Meropidae (Bee-eaters)
BLACK BEE-EATER (Merops gularis gularis) – Great views of 2 at Ankasa, then 4 at Atewa on the last day, a beautiful bird.
RED-THROATED BEE-EATER (Merops bulocki) – Common and showy in Mole where it nests in sandy banks.
LITTLE BEE-EATER (Merops pusillus) – Singles at Sakumono, Brenu Beach and Nasia.
SWALLOW-TAILED BEE-EATER (Merops hirundineus chrysolaimus) – One on the Samole loop in Mole.
WHITE-THROATED BEE-EATER (Merops albicollis) – Small numbers of this intra­-African migrant were widespread. We had 9 day records and up to 23 birds in a noisy flock at Nsuta.
EUROPEAN BEE-EATER (Merops apiaster) – 26 en route to Sapeliga were the only ones this trip, they are heading back north now.
ROSY BEE-EATER (Merops malimbicus) – Just a single at Antwikwaa this time, unusually scarce, but people managed to see pink on the underparts! A West African special and new for all. [E]
NORTHERN CARMINE BEE-EATER (Merops nubicus) – 4 at the dry savanna near Sapeliga, with lovely views; this species has Incredible rich colours.
Coraciidae (Rollers)
ABYSSINIAN ROLLER (Coracias abyssinicus) – Small numbers of this beautiful bird from Mole and the far north.
RUFOUS-CROWNED ROLLER (Coracias naevius) – Just a single from Mole this trip, it is always quite scarce.
BLUE-BELLIED ROLLER (Coracias cyanogaster) – Just 2 at Shai Hills, then we drove past 2 near Kintampo, all we saw on the tour; another West African special. [E]
BROAD-BILLED ROLLER (Eurystomus glaucurus) – Two sightings of 2 birds from Mole this trip.
BLUE-THROATED ROLLER (Eurystomus gularis) – 4 at Nsuta, then seen again at Ankasa and Kakum, a real rainforest special.

Senegal Thick-knees posed nicely for participant Gregg Recer at Sakumono Lagoon.

Lybiidae (African Barbets)
YELLOW-BILLED BARBET (Trachyphonus purpuratus) – One from Ankasa and heard at Kakum.
BRISTLE-NOSED BARBET (Gymnobucco peli) – Good views from Nsuta and up to 15 at Atewa. I have serious doubts that this and Naked-faced are really separate species, as the calls sound identical and this year, this was the common one at Atewa, whereas last year they were Naked-faced Barbet here.
NAKED-FACED BARBET (Gymnobucco calvus) – Small numbers from all the rainforest sites and feeding on paw-paws at Antwikwaa, but see my comments above; their nesting tree at Atewa was this year full of Bristle-nosed Barbets.
SPECKLED TINKERBIRD (Pogoniulus scolopaceus) – Seen at Nsuta, Kakum and Bobiri.
RED-RUMPED TINKERBIRD (Pogoniulus atroflavus) – Finally nailed at Atewa after being heard at several sites previously.
YELLOW-THROATED TINKERBIRD (Pogoniulus subsulphureus chrysopygus) – Heard at several sites and one seen at Kakum; this race does not have a yellow­ throat and the song is a 4­-note series repeated.
YELLOW-RUMPED TINKERBIRD (Pogoniulus bilineatus) – Seen nicely at Stingless Bee Road and heard at a couple of other places.
YELLOW-FRONTED TINKERBIRD (Pogoniulus chrysoconus) – Seen nicely at Shai Hills and then at Nasia pond.
YELLOW-SPOTTED BARBET (Buccanodon duchaillui) – One calling well and seen at the walkway at Kakum.
HAIRY-BREASTED BARBET (HAIRY-BREASTED) (Tricholaema hirsuta hirsuta) – Good views from Kakum, and one was nesting in a hole in a breadfruit at Atewa.
VIEILLOT'S BARBET (Lybius vieilloti) – Seen at Shai Hills, Winneba and one at Tono Dam. [E]
DOUBLE-TOOTHED BARBET (Lybius bidentatus) – Lovely views at Shai Hills; the red on the wing coverts helped tell it from Bearded if it was sideways on. Also seen at Atewa.
BEARDED BARBET (Lybius dubius) – Very nice looks at Shai Hills; seeing the black chest band and no red on the wing coverts, then one in Mole and another in a fig at Tongo Hills.

Blue-throated Roller is a rainforest specialty that we saw several times. Photo by participant Gregg Recer.

Indicatoridae (Honeyguides)
CASSIN'S HONEYGUIDE (Prodotiscus insignis) – One seen briefly in Kakum, and another at Atewa. These thin-billed non-parasitic Prodotiscus species are now called Honeybirds to distinguish from the parasitic, thicker billed honeyguides proper.
YELLOW-FOOTED HONEYGUIDE (Melignomon eisentrauti) – A great prize from Nsuta was one of this rare and seldom seen species, giving good views too. [E]
WILLCOCKS'S HONEYGUIDE (Indicator willcocksi) – Two at Kakum, seen much better than the Cassin's Honeybird.
LESSER HONEYGUIDE (Indicator minor) – One at Mole waterhole lookout on the day we left.
GREATER HONEYGUIDE (Indicator indicator) – Heard calling at Shai Hills, but not responsive. [*]
Picidae (Woodpeckers)
AFRICAN PICULET (Verreauxia africana) – One at Antwikwaa was a lucky find, and then another briefly at Ebekawopa next day, not seen on every trip.
MELANCHOLY WOODPECKER (Chloropicus lugubris) – Heard at Kakum, and seen well at Atewa, a split from Gabon Woodpecker. [E]
CARDINAL WOODPECKER (Chloropicus fuscescens lafresnayi) – Nice views of 3 at Shai Hills, and heard in Mole.
FIRE-BELLIED WOODPECKER (Chloropicus pyrrhogaster) – One seen from Kakum walkway. [E]
AFRICAN GRAY WOODPECKER (GRAY) (Chloropicus goertae goertae) – One at Mole waterhole viewpoint.
BUFF-SPOTTED WOODPECKER (Campethera nivosa nivosa) – Heard at Ankasa, and seen at Kakum walkway.
LITTLE GREEN WOODPECKER (Campethera maculosa) – This endemic was seen at Atewa farmbush; a good find as it's a tough one to locate. [E]
FINE-SPOTTED WOODPECKER (Campethera punctuligera) – One along the Brugbani loop track, and heard next day.
Falconidae (Falcons and Caracaras)
EURASIAN KESTREL (RUFESCENT) (Falco tinnunculus rufescens) – 3 birds seen on day 3 around Accra/Winneba; this is a very distinct resident race and a likely split.
FOX KESTREL (Falco alopex) – Strangely enough, we had one on the way into Mole, and saw none at the usual site at Tongo Hills this year.

This female Vieillot's Weaver was working on her nest. We saw this species in a number of locations. Photo by participant Gregg Recer.

GRAY KESTREL (Falco ardosiaceus) – One at Antwikwaa, and one in Mole.
RED-NECKED FALCON (AFRICAN) (Falco chicquera ruficollis) – A very good find at Sapeliga, where a pair were probably nesting in a palm near the plover site, and we had one at Tono Dam later.
AFRICAN HOBBY (Falco cuvierii) – One over at Sakumono, then 2 as we came into Mole NP.
LANNER FALCON (Falco biarmicus) – Two at Shai Hills, then one in Mole and one at Tongo Hills.
Psittaculidae (Old World Parrots)
ROSE-RINGED PARAKEET (Psittacula krameri) – James saw two fly high over the bus near Sapeliga, but most of us had already got on board.
Psittacidae (New World and African Parrots)
RED-FRONTED PARROT (Poicephalus gulielmi) – Just 2 at Kakum, which disappeared all too quickly.
SENEGAL PARROT (Poicephalus senegalus) – Great views from Sakumono and Shai Hills, and 4 from Mole too.
Calyptomenidae (African and Green Broadbills)
RUFOUS-SIDED BROADBILL (Smithornis rufolateralis) – Quite good looks at one in Ankasa where they were also quite audible on several days.
Platysteiridae (Wattle-eyes and Batises)
BROWN-THROATED WATTLE-EYE (Platysteira cyanea) – Heard at Shai Hills and Mole, and seen at Kakum.
WEST AFRICAN WATTLE-EYE (Platysteira hormophora) – A male briefly at Ankasa, then another at Atewa; this is a split from what was Chestnut Wattle­-eye. [E]
RED-CHEEKED WATTLE-EYE (Platysteira blissetti) – Heard at Ebekawopa, then came good at Atewa, where a flighty bird kept zipping past and "brrting" the wings, with its mate nearby. [E]
SENEGAL BATIS (Batis senegalensis) – Seen at Shai Hills and then Mole. [E]
Vangidae (Vangas, Helmetshrikes, and Allies)
WHITE HELMETSHRIKE (LONG-CRESTED) (Prionops plumatus plumatus) – Two at Shai Hills, and 6 from Mole, uncommon in Ghana.

We spent time birding in some wonderful places. Participant Mary Scala got this image of the group on a jungle trail.

RED-BILLED HELMETSHRIKE (Prionops caniceps) – Nice views of 3 at Nsuta, and heard at Ankasa.
BLACK-AND-WHITE SHRIKE-FLYCATCHER (Bias musicus musicus) – A terrific pair at Stingless Bee Road, then a female at Atewa farmbush, a very striking species. I'd like to revert to the old name of Vanga Flycatcher, especially as the bird has now been reclassified amongst the Vangidae.
Malaconotidae (Bushshrikes and Allies)
BRUBRU (Nilaus afer afer) – Seen nicely in Mole at the waterhole viewpoint and Mognori River, best found by the purring call.
NORTHERN PUFFBACK (Dryoscopus gambensis gambensis) – Seen at Shai Hills, Brenu Beach and in Mole.
SABINE'S PUFFBACK (Dryoscopus sabini) – A fine pair at Nsuta, and then one later at Kakum, endemic to West Africa,
BLACK-CROWNED TCHAGRA (BLACK-CROWNED) (Tchagra senegalus senegalus) – A frequent voice, and seen well at Shai Hills and Mole.
BROWN-CROWNED TCHAGRA (Tchagra australis ussheri) – A good view of this uncommon species at Brenu Beach, and heard at Shai Hills.
YELLOW-CROWNED GONOLEK (Laniarius barbarus) – Spectacular and vocal, heard on many days starting at Sakumono, and seen nicely in Mole.
SULPHUR-BREASTED BUSHSHRIKE (Telophorus sulfureopectus) – Heard at Shai Hills and Mole, and one was seen at Nsuta.
GRAY-HEADED BUSHSHRIKE (Malaconotus blanchoti) – One heard along the Samole loop, but stayed out of sight. [*]
Campephagidae (Cuckooshrikes)
RED-SHOULDERED CUCKOOSHRIKE (Campephaga phoenicea) – 2 sightings of males, the first at Shai Hills then another male from Mole.
PURPLE-THROATED CUCKOOSHRIKE (Campephaga quiscalina) – Glimpsed at Bobiri, then seen much better at Atewa farmbush.
BLUE CUCKOOSHRIKE (Cyanograucalus azureus) – A really good sighting of a lovely blue one at Kakum; it is seldom you get to see the colour so well.
Laniidae (Shrikes)
NORTHERN FISCAL (Lanius humeralis) – Small numbers in the south, curiously local in Ghana
YELLOW-BILLED SHRIKE (Corvinella corvina) – 3 at Sakumono and a couple of sightings in the north.
Oriolidae (Old World Orioles)
AFRICAN GOLDEN ORIOLE (Oriolus auratus) – Two at Brugbani, and later 2 along the Mognori Road, very bright yellow in colour.
WESTERN BLACK-HEADED ORIOLE (Oriolus brachyrynchus) – Vocal and seen well at Ankasa, Kakum and Atewa. A juvenile was seen at Ankasa.
BLACK-WINGED ORIOLE (Oriolus nigripennis) – Seen at Ankasa and Kakum and heard at Bobiri, this oriole lacks the white patch on the wings of Western Black-headed. [E]
Dicruridae (Drongos)
SQUARE-TAILED DRONGO (Dicrurus ludwigii) – 3 vocal but quite elusive birds along the Mognori River, now a split as an entirely new and previously unrecognized species, the Western Square-tailed Drongo, D. occidentalis, after a comprehensive review of the African members of this genus. This species is now reallocated into 3 new ones.
SHINING DRONGO (Dicrurus atripennis) – Seen and heard at Ankasa and no taxonomic changes for this one! [E]
FORK-TAILED DRONGO (GLOSSY-BACKED) (Dicrurus adsimilis divaricatus) – 5 at S Shai Hills, 2 juvs. at Mole and a single at Tono Dam, scarce this trip. This is now Northern Fork­-tailed or Glossy-backed Drongo, D. divaricatus, when Fork-tailed is split into 4 species.
VELVET-MANTLED DRONGO (FANTI) (Dicrurus modestus atactus) – Widespread in the forest areas and nesting at Kakum. Now a split as D. atactus, the Fanti or Western Velvet-mantled Drongo.

A male Pin-tailed Whydah put on a nice show for us as he displayed at Atewa. Photo by participant Gregg Recer.

Monarchidae (Monarch Flycatchers)
BLUE-HEADED CRESTED-FLYCATCHER (Trochocercus nitens) – Heard at Ankasa and Atewa, and some of us saw one briefly at the latter site.
BLACK-HEADED PARADISE-FLYCATCHER (RED-BELLIED) (Terpsiphone rufiventer nigriceps) – Seen nicely at Kakum and later at Atewa.
AFRICAN PARADISE-FLYCATCHER (Terpsiphone viridis ferreti) – Seen at Shai Hills then a gorgeous white morph male from Mole.
Corvidae (Crows, Jays, and Magpies)
PIAPIAC (Ptilostomus afer) – A few sightings of this odd long-tailed corvid from Sakumono, Mole, Sapeliga and Nasia.
PIED CROW (Corvus albus) – Widespread throughout, a very large corvid.
Picathartidae (Rockfowl)
WHITE-NECKED ROCKFOWL (Picathartes gymnocephalus) – Great this year; we saw one almost immediately but it vanished fast, then after a two hour wait, two birds hopped in right past us and sat around for ages, joined by two more later. They were flying up to check on the mud nests on the rock wall as the breeding season is beginning. One of the great African charisma birds and a trip highlight; a fine experience this year. [E]
Nicatoridae (Nicators)
WESTERN NICATOR (Nicator chloris) – One quite nicely at Nsuta, and heard at all the forest sites.
Alaudidae (Larks)
FLAPPET LARK (Mirafra rufocinnamomea) – One from Shai Hills.
SUN LARK (Galerida modesta) – Good looks along the Brugbani loop on the laterite pans as usual.
Hirundinidae (Swallows)
BARN SWALLOW (Hirundo rustica) – Widespread, with flocks of 90 at Kakum and big flocks at Atewa with 300 one day and 100 the next.
RED-CHESTED SWALLOW (Hirundo lucida lucida) – Seen well at Larabanga mosque, much bluer above than Barn Swallow. [E]
ETHIOPIAN SWALLOW (Hirundo aethiopica aethiopica) – Just one near Kakum this trip.
WHITE-THROATED BLUE SWALLOW (Hirundo nigrita) – Nice views of 4 birds on the Pra River, our only locality for it,
WIRE-TAILED SWALLOW (Hirundo smithii smithii) – Singles on 3 days from Mole.
RED-RUMPED SWALLOW (WEST AFRICAN) (Cecropis daurica domicella) – Just 4 at Tongo Hills, this is split by many authorities as West African Swallow.

Another favorite bird of the trip was a Standard-winged Nightjar that we watched as he flew in a display flight. It is quite a sight to see, and guide Phil Gregory got a nice video showing how the pennants are held up over the bird's back as he flies.
LESSER STRIPED SWALLOW (Cecropis abyssinica) – A rather lovely species, seen on 6 days with great views from Nsuta and Mole.
RUFOUS-CHESTED SWALLOW (Cecropis semirufa gordoni) – Two at Antwikwaa, and one from Atewa, a large and uncommon species.
MOSQUE SWALLOW (Cecropis senegalensis) – Two at Nsuta were the only ones we saw.
PREUSS'S SWALLOW (Petrochelidon preussi) – These like to nest in road culverts, and we had good looks at them mixed with Little Swifts at a site near Twifo Praso. [E]
COMMON HOUSE-MARTIN (Delichon urbicum) – Two at the Mole waterhole.
SQUARE-TAILED SAWWING (Psalidoprocne nitens) – 3 at Ankasa with a single next day, and one from Atewa; this is a tiny dark forest swallow. [E]
FANTI SAWWING (Psalidoprocne obscura) – Just one this trip, seen briefly at the Samole saltlick. [E]
Stenostiridae (Fairy Flycatchers)
AFRICAN BLUE FLYCATCHER (Elminia longicauda) – Great views at the Samole loop; a very attractive bird and part of an endemic African family.
Paridae (Tits, Chickadees, and Titmice)
WHITE-SHOULDERED BLACK-TIT (Melaniparus guineensis) – Good views from Mole, seeing the distinctive yellow eye, but all singles this trip.
Remizidae (Penduline-Tits)
FOREST PENDULINE-TIT (Anthoscopus flavifrons) – One was seen by some at Nsuta but I missed it.
Pycnonotidae (Bulbuls)
SLENDER-BILLED GREENBUL (Stelgidillas gracilirostris) – One of the common forest greenbuls, seen at Ankasa, Kakum, Bobiri and Atewa.
GOLDEN GREENBUL (Calyptocichla serinus) – Good looks from Kakum on two days, a West African endemic. [E]
RED-TAILED BRISTLEBILL (Bleda syndactylus) – Another hard one to see; it was vocal at Ankasa and Kakum. [*]
GREEN-TAILED BRISTLEBILL (Bleda eximius) – Heard at Ankasa, a tough one to get to see. [E*]
GRAY-HEADED BRISTLEBILL (Bleda canicapillus) – One briefly at Shai Hills, and heard at Ankasa, Kakum and Atewa. [E]

The interesting Oriole Warbler was seen in a couple of locations. Photo by participant Gregg Recer.

SIMPLE GREENBUL (Chlorocichla simplex) – Seen at Shai Hulls, Brenu Beach, Ebekawopa and Atewa.
HONEYGUIDE GREENBUL (Baeopogon indicator) – Strangely only heard this year, at Kakum and Atewa. [*]
SPOTTED GREENBUL (Ixonotus guttatus) – A fine pick-up of 5 of this striking species from Kakum Walkway.
SWAMP GREENBUL (Thescelocichla leucopleura) – Seen at Nsuta, Kakum and Bobiri; better known as Swamp Palm Greenbul, which suits it exactly.
RED-TAILED GREENBUL (Criniger calurus) – Astonishingly again this year, I think we only saw it at Ankasa. Usually it's one of the common forest greenbuls.
WESTERN BEARDED-GREENBUL (Criniger barbatus) – Seen at Ankasa; quite a striking and vocal bird. [E]
YELLOW-BEARDED GREENBUL (Criniger olivaceus) – One at Ankasa; a good pick­up of a tricky species. [E]
GRAY GREENBUL (Eurillas gracilis) – Singles from Kakum, Bobiri and Atewa; more usually called Little Grey Greenbul.
ANSORGE'S GREENBUL (Eurillas ansorgei) – 2 from Ankasa; a small species.
PLAIN GREENBUL (Eurillas curvirostris) – One from Kakum this trip.
YELLOW-WHISKERED GREENBUL (Eurillas latirostris) – Seen at Nsuta and Ankasa.
LITTLE GREENBUL (Eurillas virens) – Heard at the tall forest sites but always hard to see well; we saw them at most this trip.
ICTERINE GREENBUL (Phyllastrephus icterinus) – Good views from Ankasa; one of the more distinctive species.
COMMON BULBUL (Pycnonotus barbatus) – Seen almost every day of the trip.
Macrosphenidae (African Warblers)
GREEN CROMBEC (Sylvietta virens flaviventris) – Heard at Ankasa, and one at Kakum.

The Beautiful Sunbird is aptly named! We saw these beauties in Mole. Photo by participant Gregg Recer.

LEMON-BELLIED CROMBEC (Sylvietta denti hardyi) – One from Kakum and 4 at Atewa, this taxon has a very different call to the eastern birds in Uganda.
NORTHERN CROMBEC (NORTHERN) (Sylvietta brachyura brachyura) – Great looks from Shai Hills, Mole and Tono Dam.
MOUSTACHED GRASS-WARBLER (Melocichla mentalis mentalis) – One seen nicely on the Samole loop in Mole NP, and two at Nasia.
KEMP'S LONGBILL (Macrosphenus kempi) – Heard at Atewa, and finally nailed on the last morning, very tricky but eventually showed nicely. [E]
GRAY LONGBILL (Macrosphenus concolor) – Common by voice in the forest zones, and seen at Bobiri and Atewa.
GREEN HYLIA (Hylia prasina) – Also common by voice in the forests and seen at Kakum and Bobiri. Long uncertain quite where this species belongs, it is now part of a new family, the Hyliidae.
TIT-HYLIA (Pholidornis rushiae ussheri) – Two from Nsuta, and Greg found us a fine bird at Atewa, long of uncertain taxonomic affiliation but now part of a new endemic family, the Hyliidae.
Scotocercidae (Bush Warblers and Allies)
CHESTNUT-CAPPED FLYCATCHER (Erythrocercus mccallii) – Two seen in Kakum and heard at Bobiri.
Phylloscopidae (Leaf Warblers)
WOOD WARBLER (Phylloscopus sibilatrix) – Two singles from Kakum and Antwikwaa, another declining Palaearctic migrant that overwinters here.
WILLOW WARBLER (Phylloscopus trochilus) – 3 at Shai Hills and one in Mole, another Palaearctic migrant heading north.
Acrocephalidae (Reed Warblers and Allies)
MELODIOUS WARBLER (Hippolais polyglotta) – Two seen in Mole, now heading north to the Mediterranean.
Locustellidae (Grassbirds and Allies)
LITTLE RUSH-WARBLER (Bradypterus baboecala) – At least 5 calling at Sakumono where the grass was very lush this year, and we finally got to see one reasonably well, my first sighting from Ghana. This is about as far west as this species goes.
Cisticolidae (Cisticolas and Allies)
SENEGAL EREMOMELA (Eremomela pusilla) – One at Shai Hills, and seen again in Mole.
RUFOUS-CROWNED EREMOMELA (Eremomela badiceps fantiensis) – Nice views from Kakum Walkway, and then again at Atewa.
GREEN-BACKED CAMAROPTERA (GRAY-BACKED) (Camaroptera brachyura brevicaudata) – Commonly heard and seen at Shai Hills and Mole, also at Atewa

Senegal Coucal was seen at several sites, including Mole and Atewa. Photo by guide Phil Gregory.

YELLOW-BROWED CAMAROPTERA (Camaroptera superciliaris) – A striking and vocal bird, we saw it at Nsuta and then again at Kakum.
OLIVE-GREEN CAMAROPTERA (Camaroptera chloronota) – Heard at all the tall forest sites, it has a remarkable long piping song that can go on for minutes, and we again got one to show at Atewa on the last day.
BLACK-CAPPED APALIS (BLACK-CAPPED) (Apalis nigriceps nigriceps) – A good view of one at Ankasa.
YELLOW-BREASTED APALIS (YELLOW-BREASTED) (Apalis flavida caniceps) – One seen along the Samole loop, and heard at Mognori River in Mole.
SHARPE'S APALIS (Apalis sharpii) – Heard at all the tall forest sites but hard to see, most got views in Kakum and at Bobiri. [E]
TAWNY-FLANKED PRINIA (Prinia subflava) – Ones and twos at various drier sites starting at Winneba.
RED-WINGED PRINIA (Prinia erythroptera erythroptera) – Two from Brenu Beach, and heard in Mole.
ORIOLE WARBLER (Hypergerus atriceps) – A good trip for this showy special, seen at Shai Hills, Brenu Beach then in Mole.
RED-FACED CISTICOLA (RED-FACED) (Cisticola erythrops erythrops) – This vocal species was seen at Stingless Bee Road, Ebekawopa and Atewa.
SINGING CISTICOLA (Cisticola cantans swanzii) – One at Brenu Beach, and one from Atewa farmbush.
WHISTLING CISTICOLA (Cisticola lateralis lateralis) – One from Nsuta and one at Atewa.
ROCK-LOVING CISTICOLA (ROCK-LOVING) (Cisticola aberrans emini) – A fine bird at Tongo Hills, perched up for scope views in a bush, and quite atypical!
DORST'S CISTICOLA (Cisticola guinea) – For some years I'd been nagging James about this elusive and cryptic species which I thought should be in Mole, and sure enough, again this year he produced a singing one in the now sadly damaged farmbush near the airstrip.
WINDING CISTICOLA (WINDING) (Cisticola galactotes amphilectus) – Heard at Sakumono, and one seen at Fosu lagoon.
CROAKING CISTICOLA (Cisticola natalensis strangei) – Three from Shai Hills and one from Winneba.

We saw some interesting mammals as well, including Olive Baboons. Photo by participant Craig Caldwell.

SIFFLING CISTICOLA (Cisticola brachypterus brachypterus) – Seen at Shai Hills and then at Nasia Pond, also known as Shortwing Cisticola.
RUFOUS CISTICOLA (Cisticola rufus) – Good looks near the airstrip in Mole, an uncommon and easily missed species.
ZITTING CISTICOLA (AFRICAN) (Cisticola juncidis uropygialis) – Some saw it at Sakumono and it was heard at Winneba.
BLACK-BACKED CISTICOLA (Cisticola eximius) – Great views from Tono Dam this year.
Sylviidae (Sylviid Warblers)
GARDEN WARBLER (Sylvia borin) – One at Atewa was a Ghana tick for Phil.
Zosteropidae (White-eyes, Yuhinas, and Allies)
AFRICAN YELLOW WHITE-EYE (AFRICAN YELLOW) (Zosterops senegalensis senegalensis) – Now a split as Northern Yellow White-eye following a big split of the African Zosterops species, we got them at Tono Dam and then at Atewa.
Pellorneidae (Ground Babblers and Allies)
BROWN ILLADOPSIS (BROWN) (Illadopsis fulvescens gularis) – Heard at Nsuta and then at Atewa, but as ever hard to see.
PALE-BREASTED ILLADOPSIS (PALE-BREASTED) (Illadopsis rufipennis extrema) – Heard at Ebekawopa. [*]
BLACKCAP ILLADOPSIS (WESTERN) (Illadopsis cleaveri cleaveri) – A major triumph here, I had only seen this very briefly before, and a calling bird at Ebekawopa Forest was definitely worth a shot. James amazingly spotted it, and we managed to get a scope on it through a minute window, so everyone got to see this elusive West African endemic calling! One of my birds of the trip. [E]
PUVEL'S ILLADOPSIS (Illadopsis puveli puveli) – One at Shai Hills was hard to see, then heard at Kakum and seen later quite nicely at Atewa where a bird was very vocal.
Leiothrichidae (Laughingthrushes and Allies)
BLACKCAP BABBLER (Turdoides reinwardtii) – Three at Shai Hills were very trying to see well, then heard and one seen in Mole later. [E]
BROWN BABBLER (Turdoides plebejus) – Heard at Sakumono, and seen in Mole.
Hyliotidae (Hyliotas)
VIOLET-BACKED HYLIOTA (Hyliota violacea nehrkorni) – 2 at Kakum showed quite well, and there was one at Antwikwaa next day, an important bird now this is an endemic African family.
Muscicapidae (Old World Flycatchers)
SPOTTED FLYCATCHER (Muscicapa striata) – Just one in Mole this trip; a sadly declining Palearctic migrant species.
GAMBAGA FLYCATCHER (Muscicapa gambagae) – A great find of this classic, but distinctive LBJ in Mole as we went up to Brugbani, and I managed to get a recording of it too. I had not seen this species since 1980 in Nigeria!
SWAMP FLYCATCHER (Muscicapa aquatica aquatica) – One at Mole waterhole, this nominate race lacks the clear breast band of the Uganda birds.
CASSIN'S FLYCATCHER (Muscicapa cassini) – Two along the creek by the Ankasa entrance as usual.
USSHER'S FLYCATCHER (Bradornis ussheri) – 2 at Nsuta and then 1 from Atewa, a West African endemic too. [E]
DUSKY-BLUE FLYCATCHER (Bradornis comitatus aximensis) – Seen at Nsuta, Ankasa, Ebekawopa and then from Atewa.
PALE FLYCATCHER (Agricola pallidus) – A couple of this Palaearctic migrant from Brenu Beach, and singles from Mole.
AFRICAN FOREST-FLYCATCHER (WESTERN) (Fraseria ocreata prosphora) – One from Nsuta, and heard at Kakum.
GRAY-THROATED TIT-FLYCATCHER (Fraseria griseigularis) – Seen well at Nsuta; a difficult species to see, and heard from Ankasa and Atewa.
GRAY TIT-FLYCATCHER (Fraseria plumbea) – Two at Shai Hills.

Participant Craig Caldwell got this still portrait of the White-crested Bittern at Ankasa.

NORTHERN BLACK-FLYCATCHER (Melaenornis edolioides edolioides) – Small numbers from Mole.
FIRE-CRESTED ALETHE (WHITE-TAILED) (Alethe diademata diademata) – This skulker was heard at Nsuta and Atewa, and seen briefly at Ankasa and Kakum. Usually split as White-tailed Alethe. [E]
BLUE-SHOULDERED ROBIN-CHAT (Cossypha cyanocampter) – Heard along Stingless Bee Road, but as ever an arch­-skulker. [*]
SNOWY-CROWNED ROBIN-CHAT (Cossypha niveicapilla) – Just one from Shai Hills.
WHITE-CROWNED ROBIN-CHAT (Cossypha albicapillus) – Seen well on the Samole loop and at Mognori this year.
FOREST ROBIN (WESTERN) (Stiphrornis erythrothorax erythrothorax) – Singing well and seen briefly by a few after various efforts at Ankasa. The taxonomy of this group is debatable and up to 5 species have been recognized, the PSC people claiming 3 from Ghana alone.
EUROPEAN PIED FLYCATCHER (Ficedula hypoleuca) – A female of this Palaearctic migrant at Shai Hills, then a couple from Mole.
WHINCHAT (Saxicola rubetra) – A fine male at Winneba, heading north no doubt.
WHITE-FRONTED BLACK-CHAT (Myrmecocichla albifrons) – A terrific bird in Mole at the Gambaga Flycatcher site, one we often fail to find.
MOCKING CLIFF-CHAT (Thamnolaea cinnamomeiventris coronata) – Great views of two males and female at Shai Hills, quite obliging for once. The pale lower breast-belly band is quite striking and this taxon is split by some authorities as White-crowned Cliff-Chat.
FAMILIAR CHAT (Cercomela familiaris) – One very nicely at the Mole Lodge waterhole viewpoint, an uncommon species.
Turdidae (Thrushes and Allies)
FINSCH'S FLYCATCHER-THRUSH (Neocossyphus finschi) – One seen in Ankasa and heard at Kakum. [E]
WHITE-TAILED ANT-THRUSH (Neocossyphus poensis) – Heard at Ankasa but stayed out of view. [*]
AFRICAN THRUSH (Turdus pelios) – Singing at the Erata Hotel then seen at Winneba and Atewa.

About 20 Kob were seen at Shai Hills, and we also saw a few at Mole. Photo by participant Gregg Recer.

Sturnidae (Starlings)
VIOLET-BACKED STARLING (Cinnyricinclus leucogaster leucogaster) – Small numbers in Mole; the male is a lovely amethyst colour above, hence the alternate name Amethyst Starling.
CHESTNUT-WINGED STARLING (Onychognathus fulgidus) – Two from Ankasa which most of us missed, then 2 nicely at Kakum Walkway.
LONG-TAILED GLOSSY STARLING (Lamprotornis caudatus) – One at the wetland near Takoradi was unexpected, then up to 9 in Mole NP, a really spectacular bird.
SPLENDID STARLING (Lamprotornis splendidus) – Very scarce again this trip, we saw it briefly near Accra and again at Bobiri.
CHESTNUT-BELLIED STARLING (Lamprotornis pulcher) – A northern special, seen nicely at Sapeliga where there was a nest, then 4 at Tono Dam, always a good site for them.
PURPLE STARLING (Lamprotornis purpureus) – Seen well at Sakumono and Mole. This is the big flat-headed species with very large yellow eye.
BRONZE-TAILED STARLING (Lamprotornis chalcurus chalcurus) – Three near Sapeliga.
Buphagidae (Oxpeckers)
YELLOW-BILLED OXPECKER (Buphagus africanus africanus) – Just one bird as we were coming into Mole NP, dipping of livestock is wiping them out as the food sources vanish. An endemic African family.
Nectariniidae (Sunbirds and Spiderhunters)
FRASER'S SUNBIRD (Deleornis fraseri) – Seen a couple of times at Ankasa; an odd straight-billed species.
MOUSE-BROWN SUNBIRD (Anthreptes gabonicus) – Hard to get this year, but we eventually saw one at the Ebi river en route to Ankasa, our usual site for it.
WESTERN VIOLET-BACKED SUNBIRD (NORTHERN) (Anthreptes longuemarei longuemarei) – One at Mognori in Mole was a surprise, not a species we often see on the tour.
LITTLE GREEN SUNBIRD (Anthreptes seimundi kruensis) – A small rather nondescript species formerly called Little Green Sunbird, now Seimund's Sunbird, we saw it at Kakum, Nsuta and Bobiri.
GREEN SUNBIRD (YELLOW-THROATED) (Anthreptes rectirostris rectirostris) – A fine male at Nsuta, then one from Kakum and again at Bobiri and Atewa. This race is split by HBW/BirdLife as Yellow-throated Sunbird.
COLLARED SUNBIRD (Hedydipna collaris subcollaris) – The common small sunbird, with four day records from Nsuta (with a juv.), Kakum and Atewa.
PYGMY SUNBIRD (Hedydipna platura) – Two seen in Mole, then singles near Sapeliga and Tono Dam.

We saw 13 species of barbet, including this Hairy-breasted Barbet. Photo by participant Craig Caldwell.

REICHENBACH'S SUNBIRD (Anabathmis reichenbachii) – Nice views from Ebi River this trip, where it seems to have displaced the Mouse-brown Sunbird. [E]
GREEN-HEADED SUNBIRD (GREEN-HEADED) (Cyanomitra verticalis verticalis) – Just a single from Ebekawopa farmbush.
BLUE-THROATED BROWN SUNBIRD (Cyanomitra cyanolaema magnirostrata) – A large quite vocal species that calls like a Mountain Peltops; we saw them at Kakum, Ebekawopa and Atewa.
OLIVE SUNBIRD (Cyanomitra olivacea guineensis) – Quite often heard in the rainforest zone, and seen at Ankasa, Ebekawopa and Bobiri. Common but hard to see!
BUFF-THROATED SUNBIRD (Chalcomitra adelberti adelberti) – Seen at Kakum, then nicely at Bobiri and Atewa.
SCARLET-CHESTED SUNBIRD (Chalcomitra senegalensis senegalensis) – Seen in Mole NP, a beautiful bird.
OLIVE-BELLIED SUNBIRD (Cinnyris chloropygius kempi) – Seen a couple of times near Kakum, as at Ebekawopa.
TINY SUNBIRD (Cinnyris minullus) – One from Nsuta, then singles at Ankasa later.
BEAUTIFUL SUNBIRD (Cinnyris pulchellus) – Seen very nicely in Mole, but only small numbers.
SPLENDID SUNBIRD (Cinnyris coccinigastrus) – This gorgeous bird was seen at Shai Hills, Ankasa and Atewa. [E]
JOHANNA'S SUNBIRD (Cinnyris johannae fasciatus) – Elusive this trip but luckily we found a pair nest-building at Bobiri; one that Joanna particularly wanted, too.
SUPERB SUNBIRD (Cinnyris superbus ashantiensis) – A pair at Rainforest Lodge near Kakum, then a female at nest at Bobiri and also seen at Atewa next day. A large long-billed species.
COPPER SUNBIRD (Cinnyris cupreus cupreus) – Four day records starting at Shai Hills, then at Winneba and Mole.
Motacillidae (Wagtails and Pipits)
WESTERN YELLOW WAGTAIL (Motacilla flava) – 6 at Sakumono, flying over, and one from Winneba.
WESTERN YELLOW WAGTAIL (FLAVA) (Motacilla flava flava) – One from Winneba, the Blue-headed Wagtail.

We had a great time watching some young male African Elephants wrestling in the river at Mole. Video by participant Mary Scala.
AFRICAN PIED WAGTAIL (Motacilla aguimp) – Very few, just from Nsuta and then Linda Dor.
PLAIN-BACKED PIPIT (Anthus leucophrys) – One at Nsuta on a small gravel patch by the forest, then again from Mole and Atewa.
TREE PIPIT (Anthus trivialis) – One from Shai Hills was an unexpected addition.
YELLOW-THROATED LONGCLAW (Macronyx croceus) – Just two at Brenu Beach.
Fringillidae (Finches, Euphonias, and Allies)
WHITE-RUMPED SEEDEATER (Crithagra leucopygia) – Brief view en route to Sapeliga, they flew off as we got off the bus.
YELLOW-FRONTED CANARY (Crithagra mozambica) – Just two in Mole, sparse this trip.
STREAKY-HEADED SEEDEATER (WEST AFRICAN) (Crithagra gularis canicapilla) – Two near the airstrip in Mole, a good find of an uncommon species; split as West African Seedeater by the IOC.
Emberizidae (Old World Buntings)
BROWN-RUMPED BUNTING (Emberiza affinis) – A fine singing male at Mole airstrip, a good site for this local species.
GOSLING'S BUNTING (Emberiza goslingi) – Two seen well at Tongo Hills, a split from Cinnamon­-breasted Bunting. [E]
Passeridae (Old World Sparrows)
NORTHERN GRAY-HEADED SPARROW (Passer griseus) – Widespread in small numbers in the drier country and seen most days of the tour.
BUSH PETRONIA (Gymnornis dentata) – Seen in Mole with up to 15 birds, and also at Tono Dam.
Ploceidae (Weavers and Allies)
WHITE-BILLED BUFFALO-WEAVER (Bubalornis albirostris) – This seems to be colonizing the north as we had 6 near Sapeliga and saw a nest colony there; it used to be hard to find.
CHESTNUT-CROWNED SPARROW-WEAVER (Plocepasser superciliosus) – Seen very well by Mole Lodge and on the Samole loop, an uncommon species.
RED-VENTED MALIMBE (Malimbus scutatus) – A female at Nsuta, then singles from Ankasa and Kakum. [E]
BLUE-BILLED MALIMBE (Malimbus nitens) – Seen at Ankasa.

Participant Gregg Recer captured this lovely view of sunset at the water-hole at Mole.

CRESTED MALIMBE (Malimbus malimbicus) – There was a nest at Ankasa with one bird nearby, and it was also seen at Bobiri.
RED-HEADED MALIMBE (Malimbus rubricollis) – The most widespread Malimbe, with four day records from Nsuta, Kakum, Bobiri and Atewa, max. 3 birds.
RED-HEADED WEAVER (NORTHERN) (Anaplectes rubriceps leuconotos) – A female in Mole on the Brugbani loop was a good find of a species we seldom see on the tour. I think some folks saw the male here too. Split by HBW/BirdLife from southern African birds too, it is very different.
LITTLE WEAVER (Ploceus luteolus) – Small numbers from Mole as usual.
BLACK-NECKED WEAVER (OLIVE-BACKED) (Ploceus nigricollis brachypterus) – Seen at Ebekawopa and Stingless Bee Road, this West African race is now split by HBW/BirdLife as Olive­-backed Weaver.
ORANGE WEAVER (Ploceus aurantius aurantius) – 2 males at the swamp near Takoradi, and 3 at Ebi River.
HEUGLIN'S MASKED-WEAVER (Ploceus heuglini) – 3 seen well in Mole when we were watching Gambaga Flycatcher, an uncommon and elusive species. The pale eye and pinkish legs give the non-breeding birds away.
VIEILLOT'S WEAVER (CHESTNUT-AND-BLACK) (Ploceus nigerrimus castaneofuscus) – Six day records, this very distinctive West African race was seen at Takoradi swamp, Kakum, Ankasa, Bobiri and Atewa, with several large nesting colonies. I am surprised this has not yet been split, as it's so unlike the all black East African birds. HBW/Birdlife do already split it.
VILLAGE WEAVER (BLACK-HEADED) (Ploceus cucullatus cucullatus) – The default weaver, widespread in small numbers even in the north. This race has a quite distinctive male plumage with chestnut on the back, and I am sure several species will be split out eventually.
BLACK-HEADED WEAVER (Ploceus melanocephalus capitalis) – A single male in Mole, then 4 female-types with the buffy chest at Nasia.
YELLOW-MANTLED WEAVER (Ploceus tricolor) – Two singles from Kakum, a subtle and attractive species.
MAXWELL'S BLACK WEAVER (WHITE-NAPED) (Ploceus albinucha albinucha) – Just four day records of singles or two birds, from Ankasa, Kakum, then at Atewa, seeing the white eye and even the pale nape on that one.
RED-HEADED QUELEA (Quelea erythrops) – Just 4 along the road at Ebekawopa.
RED-BILLED QUELEA (Quelea quelea) – 40 at Mole and again at Tono Dam, then an astonishing swirling dust-like flock just south of Nasia which I estimated at around 250,000 birds, the biggest flock of passerines I have ever seen and one of the sights of the trip.
NORTHERN RED BISHOP (Euplectes franciscanus) – 4 at Brenu Beach, small size with a small bill but not yet in breeding dress.

Violet-backed Hyliota is now an African endemic family; we saw a few at Kakum, and one at Antwikwaa. Photo by participant Gregg Recer.

BLACK-WINGED BISHOP (Euplectes hordeaceus) – Up to 6 non­breeding birds in Mole, then a nearly full dress male at Atewa along with some non­breeders too.
YELLOW-MANTLED WIDOWBIRD (YELLOW-MANTLED) (Euplectes macroura macroura) – Seen at Winneba and Brenu Beach, none in full breeding dress yet.
GROSBEAK WEAVER (Amblyospiza albifrons capitalba) – Up to 80 from Atewa on just the one afternoon, the only place we saw it.
Estrildidae (Waxbills and Allies)
GRAY-HEADED NIGRITA (Nigrita canicapillus) – Very vocal at all the forest sites, and seen well at Kakum and Atewa.
CHESTNUT-BREASTED NIGRITA (Nigrita bicolor) – 3 at Ankasa, 2 from Kakum and one at Bobiri.
WHITE-BREASTED NIGRITA (Nigrita fusconotus) – Heard more than seen, the best view came from Antwikwaa.
LAVENDER WAXBILL (Estrilda caerulescens) – 3 along the Samole loop, a Mole special and quite scarce.
ORANGE-CHEEKED WAXBILL (Estrilda melpoda) – One at Antwikwaa, 5 in Mole and 4 at Atewa.
BLACK-RUMPED WAXBILL (Estrilda troglodytes) – 5 at Brenu Beach, one in Mole and flocks totaling 40 at Tongo Hills.
RED-CHEEKED CORDONBLEU (Uraeginthus bengalus) – Small numbers at Mole and Tono Dam.
RED-WINGED PYTILIA (Pytilia phoenicoptera) – An all too brief, bad view of one by Mole airstrip, probably not countable for most.
RED-BILLED FIREFINCH (Lagonosticta senegala) – Small numbers from Mole and Sapeliga/Tono Dam.
BAR-BREASTED FIREFINCH (Lagonosticta rufopicta) – One from Ebekawopa, and one at Mole.
BLACK-FACED FIREFINCH (Lagonosticta larvata) – We did well for the uncommon bird in Mole, with a female at Samole loop, then 2 birds next day and finally a pair at saltlick loop.
AFRICAN FIREFINCH (Lagonosticta rubricata) – Just a single at Atewa farmbush.
BLACK-FACED QUAILFINCH (Ortygospiza atricollis atricollis) – None at Nasia this year, but two flocks totaling about 20 birds flew over high up at Tono Dam.
BRONZE MANNIKIN (Spermestes cucullata) – Widespread in the more open country.

Participant Mary Scala captured some of our group watching a couple of teenage African Elephants playing in the river at Mole.

BLACK-AND-WHITE MANNIKIN (Spermestes bicolor) – Four day records of a few from Antwikwaa, Ebekawopa, Stingless Bee Road and Atewa.
MAGPIE MANNIKIN (Spermestes fringilloides) – A couple of sightings from Atewa, with 3 then 1 bird next day, an uncommon bird.
AFRICAN SILVERBILL (Euodice cantans) – Just 4 en route to Sapeliga, it seemed scarce this year.
Viduidae (Indigobirds)
PIN-TAILED WHYDAH (Vidua macroura) – Best views were of a male in dancing flight repeatedly coming back to the track at Atewa; video on Smugmug.
WILSON'S INDIGOBIRD (Vidua wilsoni) – Indigobird sp. in non breeding dress at Mole are most likely this species, but unidentifiable in this plumage.

GAMBIAN EPAULETED FRUIT BAT (Epomophorus gambianus) – The lovely little colony is still in the big shady trees at the hotel in Tamale.
PRINCE DEMIDOFF'S BUSHBABY (Galago demidoff) – Heard at Ankasa, then a nice view of one as we came off the walkway after seeing the Anomalures at Kakum.
LESSER WHITE-NOSED GUENON (Cercopithecus petaurista) – One seen from the walkway in Kakum late afternoon, with the Lowes Monkey. [E]
GUENON SP. (Cercopithecus campbelli) – This is Lowes Monkey, and we saw one in Kakum from the walkway.
GREEN MONKEY (Cercopithecus sabaeus) – This is the former Vervet from Mole, now known as Green Monkey.
GUENON SP. (Cercopithecus tantalus) – The Tantalus Monkey is the one at Shai Hills, formerly part of Vervet Monkey.
OLIVE BABOON (Papio anubis) – 20 at Shai Hills where they come to the roadside to get food, and then a few in Mole.
STRIPED GROUND SQUIRREL (Xerus erythropus) – One from Mole and one at Atewa.
KINTAMBO ROPE SQUIRREL (Funisciurus substriatus) – Some folks saw this at the Mognori River in Mole. [E]
GREEN BUSH SQUIRREL (Paraxerus poensis) – One from Nsuta.

A colony of Gambian Epauletted Fruit Bats were roosting at our hotel in Tamale, where participant Gregg Recer got this portrait of an individual.

SMALL SUN SQUIRREL (Heliosciurus punctatus) – One seen at Kakum; this species, and not Gambian Sun Squirrel.
PEL'S FLYING SQUIRREL (Anomalurus peli) – I thought we'd got there too late, but luck was with us and one sailed overhead to land on a tree trunk, with another seen briefly. My video is on the Smugmug site. They are Anomalures, a quite different family to squirrels. [E]
MARSH MONGOOSE (Atilax paludinosus) – One splendid animal at Ankasa pond; it scared the Tiger Heron which raised its crest as it got too near. Seldom seen and a lucky find, sorry I missed the video.
AFRICAN ELEPHANT (Loxodonta africana) – A wonderful experience with 3 teenage bulls in Mole, playing and splashing about in the waterhole and with us surprisingly close by. See my video on the Smugmug site. A single adult later also, just such wonderful creatures.
WESTERN TREE HYRAX (Dendrohyrax dorsalis) – Heard at Ankasa, Kakum and Atewa, but still no sighting, i have yet to actually see one of these very vocal creatures. [*]
WARTHOG (Phacochoerus aethiopicus) – Small numbers of these rather endearing beasts from Mole.
BUSHBUCK (Tragelaphus scriptus) – Small numbers in Mole, with 5 or 6 on some days, a beautiful graceful antelope.
DEFASSA WATERBUCK (Kobus defassa) – Astonishingly enough just one animal from Mole this year, usually much more widespread there.
KOB (Kobus kob) – 20 at Shai Hills and then small numbers daily in Mole.
RED-HEADED ROCK AGAMA (Agama agama) – Widespread throughout the drier areas.
NILE CROCODILE (Crocodylus niloticus) – Up to 5 in the waterhole at Mole, gathering at one spot where there must have been some kind of food available as there was much splashing and wiggling about.


Birds of the trip were as ever the Picathartes and the Egyptian Plover, but White-crested Tiger Heron made a decent showing and was Phil's number one, and Northern Carmine Bee-eater and Abyssinian Roller were up there, along with that incredible Standardwing Nightjar display. That immense flock of Red-billed Quelea was also memorable, and Phil was really pleased with the Blackcap Illadopsis sighting.


A couple of fine snakes included an amazing Puffadder (Bitis arietans) on the track as we came back from Brugbani, and a Spitting Cobra (Naja ?nigricollis) at Kakum.

Splitting has now reached the herps, so we have as well as Nile Monitor (Varanus niloticus) seen at Mole, also West African Monitor (V. stellatus) from Ankasa and something called a Pygmy Monitor from Shai Hills.

Other beasts

A large dead scorpion (?Pandinus sp.) was seen in Mole

A dead hedgehog at Larabanga was unexpected, the only one here seems to be the Four-toed Hedgehog (Atelerix albiventris), and they are seldom seen.

Totals for the tour: 426 bird taxa and 19 mammal taxa