A Field Guides Birding Tours Report


March 18-April 7, 2023 with Phil Gregory, James Ntakor and Andrew Amankwaa guiding

Field Guides Birding Tours
Bar-breasted Firefinch by participant David Smith

Our Field Guides Ghana 2023 tour was notable for the guide-to-client ratio, with 2 local guides James and Andrew, Phil (Sicklebill), and three legendary Field Guides alumni in Kingfisher (John Coons), Grebe (Rose Ann Rowlett), and Merlin (Richard Webster), making a ratio of one-to-one ebasically as once a guide, always a guide, even on holiday. We had several folks doing their first African trip, which was terrific as it meant a ton of new birds. Ghana reminds me very much of India: it is chaotic, crowded, and vibrant, with friendly people, and the ravages of COVID had not had too bad an effect here on the youthful population. We wore masks at the airport, but that was about it; everywhere else we were able to socially distance, and thankfully we got through the tour with no COVID hiccups. Two folks had delayed luggage, which luckily was able to be collected on the day we left Accra, and it gave those not on collection duty a chance to go to the Legon Botanic Gardens whilst waiting.

The new Ashanti African Safaris lodges at Ankasa and Bonkro were very welcome additions, and our first stay at Zaina Lodge at Mole was also very nice indeed and in a good birding spot.

Logistics worked well with a very competent driver, Eric, apart from one minor bogging in sand at Winneba where brawny fisherman and a fortuitous passing truck soon rescued us. The weather was as usual hot and humid, though drier in the north where they had had some rain, and everything in Mole was very green and fresh. We managed to avoid storms apart from one night at Bonkro, and thankfully Ankasa, Atewa, and the Picathartes hill stayed fine -- these can problematic for weather.

We did well for birds too, despite many things not being terribly responsive. We were able to go out to the Sakumono RAMSAR site our first afternoon and enjoy Senegal Thick-knees, Senegal Coucal, and Senegal Parrot, Black Heron, Western Reef Egret, and some entertaining Red-billed Woodhoopoes.

Shai Hills is also a really good introduction to savanna birds; Swallow-tailed Bee-eater, Vieillot's and Bearded barbeta, Blue-bellied Roller, and Senegal Plover were good additions here, with White-crowned Cliffchat eventually. There is a colony of Egyptian Tomb-bats at the cave, with Chestnut Owlet called in for scope views for some of us at a cultural site nearby.

Nsuta Forest gave us a splendid African Piculet, a pair of Rufous-sided Broadbills, White-crested, Piping, and Black Dwarf hornbills, and Golden Greenbul. We got very lucky at Ankasa with good looks at Akun Eagle-Owl, as well as Nkulengu Rail, a nesting pair of Red-fronted Antpeckers, White-bellied, Chocolate-backed, and Shining-blue kingfishers, and a dusk hearing of Spot-breasted Ibis. Black-Bee-eaters were outstanding at our lodge, also good for Reichenbach's and Splendid sunbirds. Long-tailed Hawk gave brief views on two occasions -- we had the most-ever contacts on this trip but never got a really good view. Both Olive and Dusky Long-tailed cuckoos were quite vocal but very hard to see as ever. Olivaceous Flycatcher was a good find of a bird we rarely see, and Rufous-winged Illadopsis was challenging but everyone got it eventually. Hartlaub’s Ducks were missing in action on our first visit, but thankfully showed very well at the Ebi River as we came out.

Kakum was excellent, and we had a great time with hornbills, with Black-casqued, Yellow-casqued, White-crested, and Brown-cheeked hornbills, an Ayres’s Hawk-Eagle overhead twice, Congo Serpent Eagle, Violet-backed Hyliota, Tiny and Yellow-throated (Green) sunbirds, and Rosy Bee-eater, plus the amazing Pel's Anomalure at dusk and a brief flyby of Brown Nightjar. Antwikwaa produced an unexpected male Yellow-casqued Hornbill, another Ayres's Hawk-Eagle, a marvelous White-spotted Flufftail, perched Rosy Bee-eater, and the rare Preuss's Weaver. Our Rock Pratincole site was rewarding, with White-throated Blue Swallow as well and Preuss's Swallow nesting nearby.

The Picathartes trek was rewarding as ever and we had great close views, but the bird was late coming in, due I suspect to a lurking Long-tailed Hawk nearby. We had the next day to explore this little-known area and turned up Tessmann's Flycatcher, Blue Cuckooshrike, and Sabine's Puffback as well as our only Black Cuckoo and Red-chested Cuckoo.

Some ephemeral ponds en route to the park at Mole gave us Greater Painted-Snipe and Lesser Honeyguide. Mole is always a highlight with its variety of savanna species, and this year Standard-wing Nightjar gave fantastic views, Forbes’s Plover showed well, and the laterite pans had the very scarce and erratic Rusty-rumped Lark, Flappet Lark, and Sun Lark. White-throated Francolin came in very nicely for video, Lavender Waxbill and Black-faced Firefinch showed well, and amongst the more esoteric species were both Rufous and Dorst’s cisticolas and Gambaga Flycatcher. Sadly no sign of a vagrant Emin's Shrike -- I wonder if this is simply overlooked here? Migrants seemed sparse, but a male Eurasian Golden Oriole was a great find, Abyssinian Roller is always a crowd-pleaser, and Oriole Warbler eventually showed well after being unusually quiet.

Heading back south we made a stop in the remnants of the largely destroyed Opro Forest, seeing Black-and-white Shrike- Flycatcher but little else on a dull overcast travel day.

Bobiri was very quiet. We had a final glimpse of Long-tailed Hawk, another African Cuckoo-Hawk, Black Dwarf Hornbill at nest, and brief views of Gray-headed Bristlebill. Atewa farmbush gave Maxwell’s Black Weaver, Grosbeak Weaver, an all-too-brief Ahanta Francolin, and a very co-operative Swamp Bulbul. Next day at Atewa did net a very elusive albeit vocal Kemp’s Longbill, good views of Puvel's Illadopsis, a male Yellow-throated Cuckoo, and best of all a great finale with two Blue-moustached Bee-eaters showing very well.

Particular trip highlights were the White-necked Rockfowl amazingly close for a long period, and great close views of Egyptian Plover at an unprepossessing site a couple of hours from Mole. Standard-winged Nightjar was also amazing, flying quite high up several times so you could see the standards waving above the bird. Red-fronted Antpecker was a lifer for yours truly and our first on the tour, and a lucky few got brief looks at the mega-rare White-breasted Guineafowl on the main track.

Our group was up for mammals, odonates and butterflies as well as birds, so we were unusually diverse and spread out, plus we had a couple of folks trying to get recordings in challenging circumstances. I look forward to finding out what was seen with dragonflies and butterflies. We recorded more than 20 species of mammals, with the Pel’s Anomalure at Kakum a big highlight, and a marvelous experience with close Elephants at Mole, though I think the very droll farting elephant video is actually a trunk-clearing exercise...

Ghana is a great destination for Lepidoptera, and we had Andrew the Ashanti butterfly expert along with us to help with that group as well as being a terrific bird-spotter. Ahmet recorded 161+ butterfly species and had some excellent butterfly days, also managing to see most of the birds too, my thanks to him for pointing out various species. Ahmet has prepared a terrific report of what he saw, let me know if you would like a copy.

My thanks to the group for coming, nice to have a group of friends forming the core, and it was one of the best groups for spotting I've ever had, I was made redundant! Kingfisher did sterling service with manning the telescope, and Merlin and Grebe helped with vocalizations. Thanks also to Sharon at Field Guides HQ and staff at Ashanti for setting it all up. It was a very action-packed, fun trip with an extraordinary ratio of both on and off-duty guides to clients, and an ideal introduction to West African or indeed African birds. Accommodations are steadily improving, the meals unexciting but adequate, and the local guides very skilled. We are lucky to have the very best in James and Andrew, and I look forward to 2024 -- it's sure to be an enjoyable adventure with many wonderful sightings!

Itinerary Ghana 2023

* Day 1 Sunday Mar 19 Arrival and pm to Sakumono 15-1730. Overnight Erata Hotel.

* Day 2 Mon Mar 20 Shai Hills, Sayu Cave and Heawoyu Cultural Site. O/n Erata Hotel.

* Day 3 Tues Mar 21 Kotoka Airport and Legon Botanic Gardens plus sewage ponds/ Winneba Lagoon 1130-1230/ Cape Coast/ Fosu Lagoon/ O/n Summerview.

* Day 4 Wed Mar 22 Nsuta till 1000/ Bokoro pond Takoradi/ Ebi River 1600-1615/Ankasa 1800. O/n Ankasa Lodge.

* Day 5 Thurs Mar 23 Ankasa to pond area am/ pm Main track and reserve entrance. O/n Ankasa Lodge

* Day 6 Fri Mar 24 Ankasa main track and Illadopsis loop/ pm main track/ Bamboo cathedral and powerlines at dusk. O/n Ankasa Lodge.

* Day 7 Sat Mar 25 Ankasa main track and river loops/ pm Big Tree trail dusk foray for Nkulengu Rail. O/n Ankasa Lodge

* Day 8 Sun Mar 26 Ankasa Lodge area/ Ebi River 0845-0930/ Brenu Beach 1530-1645/ O/n Rainforest Lodge 1745 on.

* Day 9 Mon Mar 27 Kakum Walkway to 1030/ pm Kakum Walkway 1600-1900. O/n Rainforest Lodge.

* Day 10 Tues Mar 28 Antwikwaa till 1030, hot and sunny/ pm Abrafo Forest new logging track till 1730. O/n Rainforest Lodge.

* Day 11 Wed Mar 29 Stingless Bee Road at Jukwa till 1030/ Twifo Mampong swallow culvert. Pra River at Twifo Praso/ Bonkro Picathartes site 1530-1730. O/n Picathartes Lodge.

* Day 12 Thurs Mar 30 Kwabenasam Forest near Bonkro 0630-1100/ pm Kwabenasam Forest 2. O/n Picathartes Lodge.

* Day 13 Fri Mar 31 Bonkro/ Kumasi/ Kintampo/ Ponds near Fufulso/ Mole NP 1900. O/n Zaina Lodge.

* Day 14 Sat Apr 1 Zaina Lodge till 0730/ Samole Loop and waterhole/ pm Brugbani-Asibey Loop area laterite pans, back 1930. O/n Zaina Lodge

* Day 15 Sun Apr 2 Daboya on White Volta/ pm Brugbani -Asibey Loop area 1520-2000. O/n Zaina Lodge.

* Day 16 Mon Apr 3 Mole Motel/ farmbush near airstrip/ Mognori River area till 1100/ pm Samole loop. O/n Zaina Lodge

* Day 17 Tues Apr 4 Zaina lookout 0600-0700/ Larabanga mosque/ Kintampo/ Opro Forest 1500-1545/ Kumasi 1800

O/n Noda Hotel.

* Day 18 Thurs Apr 5 Bobiri till 1030/Linda Dor/ Atewa farmbush 1530-1800. O/n Linda Dor.

* Day 19 Fri Apr 6 Atewa forest track till 1000, then to Accra via Wild Gecko gift shop. Erata Hotel then to airport for flights home 1830 on.

—Phil Gregory / Sicklebill

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

Anatidae (Ducks, Geese, and Waterfowl)

WHITE-FACED WHISTLING-DUCK (Dendrocygna viduata)

120 at Sakumono and 210 at the Legon Sewage Ponds, then small numbers elsewhere, with 80 at Mole the most.

HARTLAUB'S DUCK (Pteronetta hartlaubii)

A no-show on the first visit, but happily a pair flew in on the second check as we were leaving, a great bird to get being a large ungainly and hard to find mainly forest bird.

SPUR-WINGED GOOSE (NORTHERN) (Plectropterus gambensis gambensis)

3 flew by early one morning at Zaina but most folks were not there.

AFRICAN PYGMY-GOOSE (Nettapus auritus)

3 of this attractive small duck on Bokoro Pond, I wonder if the habitat will still be here next year?

Numididae (Guineafowl)

HELMETED GUINEAFOWL (WEST AFRICAN) (Numida meleagris galeatus)

Small numbers in Mole only.

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Black-bellied Bustard by participant Kirsten Tucker

WHITE-BREASTED GUINEAFOWL (Agelastes meleagrides)

This mega-rarity was seen briefly on the track, with a couple of folks seeing the white belly; Phil actually saw it scuttle off the track but only saw a guineafowl with all black rear and mantle. Needless to say it was our first record for the tour, and James had not seen it here for some 10 years.

Odontophoridae (New World Quail)

STONE PARTRIDGE (Ptilopachus petrosus)

Unusually good this year at Mole where we saw them daily. Now reallocated to New World Quail too, not amongst the francolins at all.

Phasianidae (Pheasants, Grouse, and Allies)

WHITE-THROATED FRANCOLIN (WHITE-THROATED) (Campocolinus albogularis buckleyi)

A splendid performance late afternoon at Brugbani where one raced in to check out the recording, Also heard near the airstrip later.

AHANTA FRANCOLIN (Pternistis ahantensis)

One flushed across the track at Atewa late one afternoon, looking remarkably like a scrubfowl! Unfortunately only a couple of folks saw it and we could not lure it back.

DOUBLE-SPURRED FRANCOLIN (Pternistis bicalcaratus)

Good views from Shai Hills and Mole.

Podicipedidae (Grebes)

LITTLE GREBE (LITTLE) (Tachybaptus ruficollis ruficollis)

4 at Bokoro Pond.

Columbidae (Pigeons and Doves)

ROCK PIGEON (Columba livia) [I]

Small numbers of Feral Pigeons inhabit the cities here.

SPECKLED PIGEON (Columba guinea guinea)

Only seen at Daboya, primarily a northern species in Ghana.

RED-EYED DOVE (Streptopelia semitorquata)

Seen and heard most days except in the dense forest habitats.

VINACEOUS DOVE (Streptopelia vinacea)

Common in Mole and seen daily.

LAUGHING DOVE (Streptopelia senegalensis)

Seen most days except in dense forest habitat.

BLACK-BILLED WOOD-DOVE (Turtur abyssinicus)

A couple of sightings from Mole.


Heard at the dense forest sites, but only seen well at Atewa.

TAMBOURINE DOVE (Turtur tympanistria)

Nice looks along the Abrafo-Jukwa (Stingless Bee) Road and flying by at Atewa.

BLUE-HEADED WOOD-DOVE (Turtur brehmeri)

The front vehicle flushed one off the track at Ankasa, this is now a hard species to get.

NAMAQUA DOVE (Oena capensis)

One was seen at the ponds near Fufulso, the only one of the trip!

This Abyssinian Roller gave us fine views right from the vehicle. Video clip by guide Phil Gregory

BRUCE'S GREEN-PIGEON (Treron waalia)

Nice looks at 3 of this attractive pigeon from the Mole lookout.


Widespread this trip in small numbers at most sites, some years it can be quite tricky!

Pteroclidae (Sandgrouse)

FOUR-BANDED SANDGROUSE (Pterocles quadricinctus)

Flushed up at dusk at Brugbani on the second visit, after being heard on the first attempt.

Otididae (Bustards)

DENHAM'S BUSTARD (DENHAM'S) (Neotis denhami denhami)

A great find up on the laterite pans at Brugbani, this is a species we rarely see.

BLACK-BELLIED BUSTARD (Lissotis melanogaster)

Two good flight views, from near Daboya and farmbush near the airstrip

Musophagidae (Turacos)

GREAT BLUE TURACO (Corythaeola cristata) [*]

Strangely only heard this trip, we usually see them at Ankasa.

GUINEA TURACO (Tauraco persa) [E]

Very good looks from the Legon Botanic Gardens on luggage delay day, and again at Brenu Beach.

YELLOW-BILLED TURACO (Tauraco macrorhynchus) [E]

Seen nicely at Ankasa and Kakum.

VIOLET TURACO (Musophaga violacea)

5 at Shai Hills and some good looks from Mole.

WESTERN PLANTAIN-EATER (Crinifer piscator)

The common member of this family, starting at Sakumono and seen at all savanna sites.

Cuculidae (Cuckoos)

BLACK-THROATED COUCAL (Centropus leucogaster)

A wonderful view of one right by the bus skulking in shrubbery near Bonkro, there were pale streaks on the head and an orange eye; this is a tough species to see and this was one of my best ever views. We heard it at all the rainforest sites but a good view is quite something.

SENEGAL COUCAL (Centropus senegalensis)

Seen first at Sakumono and then at the Botanic Gardens and Brenu, also heard.

BLUE-HEADED COUCAL (Centropus monachus)

Seen nicely at Stingless Bee Road and then at Atewa.

BLUE MALKOHA (Ceuthmochares aereus)

Seen at Ankasa and Kakum, a skulker in vine tangles. I do wish they had retained the appropriate African name Yellowbill and not put it in with Malkohas!

LEVAILLANT'S CUCKOO (Clamator levaillantii)

One at Shai Hills and one in Mole.

DIDERIC CUCKOO (Chrysococcyx caprius)

Seen nicely at Sakumono and Nsuta, and heard a couple of times.

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Blue-bellied Roller by participant Kirsten Tucker

KLAAS'S CUCKOO (Chrysococcyx klaas)

Quite often heard, first seen a male at Antwikwaa then several sightings from Mole.

YELLOW-THROATED CUCKOO (Chrysococcyx flavigularis)

A good pick-up at Atewa forest track, it eventually responded to my playback then went quiet, but luckily David spotted a fine yellow-throated male sat in a tangle and we got quick views before it vanished. Not seen every trip.

AFRICAN EMERALD CUCKOO (Chrysococcyx cupreus)

Scarce this trip, we heard it at Ankasa and Kwabenasam, and saw a fine male along the Abrafo logging track.

DUSKY LONG-TAILED CUCKOO (Cercococcyx mechowi)

Calling in Ankasa and came by for a quick look at us, the species in this genus are notorious skulkers. BirdLife have this as a split, Guinea Long-tailed Cuckoo as Boesman and Collar (2019) establish Cercococcyx lemaireae as a split from C. mechowi based on voice, a narrow hybrid zone and shorter tail. Pending reaction from the ornithological community to splits based entirely on voice, it appears appropriate to accept the validity of these new species given their meeting of the Tobias criteria.

OLIVE LONG-TAILED CUCKOO (Cercococcyx olivinus)

Another that came by for a look at our playback but was very difficult to see, we got flight views of one on two days at Ankasa, but only Kingfisher who went in solo got a good perched bird.

BLACK CUCKOO (Cuculus clamosus)

Heard at Bonkro and seen at Kwabenasam. This one is the western taxon or morph gabonensis with barred underparts and some rufous on the chest, and by no means common in Ghana.

RED-CHESTED CUCKOO (Cuculus solitarius)

Similarly heard at Bonkro and then seen at Kwabenasam.

AFRICAN CUCKOO (Cuculus gularis)

Calling "oo-cuk" at Zaina and Mole airstrip farmbush where it showed quite well, and also seen near Brugbani. For the second year running a cuckoo that flew through at Bobiri was said by James to be European Cuckoo as that is the only species he's seen there, but we got no field characters.

Caprimulgidae (Nightjars and Allies)

STANDARD-WINGED NIGHTJAR (Caprimulgus longipennis)

Amazing views of a male in flight up at Brugbani, those standards are really extraordinary and this was a major trip highlight.

BROWN NIGHTJAR (Caprimulgus binotatus) [E]

Heard and seen briefly twice, one at Kakum and once on the Abrafo logging track, but in both cases the bird just flew over and did not reappear.

LONG-TAILED NIGHTJAR (Caprimulgus climacurus)

Wonderful daylights perched views of one on the Samole Loop, and a couple on the night drive back from Brugbani.

Apodidae (Swifts)

MOTTLED SPINETAIL (Telacanthura ussheri)

3 at Fosu Lagoon, a single at Stingless Bee Road and finally one at Atewa.

SABINE'S SPINETAIL (Rhaphidura sabini)

Seen twice at Ankasa with a single one day and 4 the next.

CASSIN'S SPINETAIL (Neafrapus cassini)

One of my favorites, this one is shaped like a stealth bomber and has almost no tail. We saw 2 at Ankasa powerlines.

COMMON SWIFT (Apus apus)

Small flocks of migrants around at Ankasa, Kakum and Kwabenasam, max. 20 birds.

LITTLE SWIFT (Apus affinis)

Widespread, often nests in road culverts. A big swirling flock of 250 at Ebi River was very unusual and by far the most I've ever seen

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Gray-headed Bushshrike by participant David Smith


Three day records of one or two, far less common than Little Swift

AFRICAN PALM-SWIFT (Cypsiurus parvus)

Surprisingly few, 8-day records at Twifo Praso, Samole, Daboya and Atewa.

Sarothruridae (Flufftails)

WHITE-SPOTTED FLUFFTAIL (Sarothrura pulchra)

Heard a couple of times at Ankasa. A male was a star at Antwikwaa, coming in nicely and allowing very good views, a fantastic little bird.

Rallidae (Rails, Gallinules, and Coots)

EURASIAN MOORHEN (Gallinula chloropus)

Four day records of single birds.

ALLEN'S GALLINULE (Porphyrio alleni)

4 at Bokoro Pond were the only record, it's a scarce irruptive species.

AFRICAN SWAMPHEN (Porphyrio madagascariensis)

This is strangely uncommon Ghana, we saw 2 juveniles at Fosu Lagoon and it is not seen every trip.

NKULENGU RAIL (Himantornis haematopus)

Heard on two evenings at Ankasa but no success in locating them, then Andrew had noted one not too far from the Lodge and the guides were ready at dusk to dash in and locate them whilst they are still calling. This paid off nicely and we got good views of a family group of 4 high in a tree, see the video on Smugmug.

BLACK CRAKE (Zapornia flavirostra)

2 juveniles at Fosu lagoon, and one at Bokoro Pond.

Burhinidae (Thick-knees)

SENEGAL THICK-KNEE (Burhinus senegalensis)

15 at Sakumono, then 40 at the sewage ponds and 15 at the Botanic Gardens, otherwise small numbers daily in Mole.

Pluvianidae (Egyptian Plover)

EGYPTIAN PLOVER (Pluvianus aegyptius)

Two on sandbars at Daboya, in somewhat unprepossessing surroundings but a great bird nonetheless and essential for the family collectors. Nice not to have to drive all the way north to get it.

Recurvirostridae (Stilts and Avocets)

BLACK-WINGED STILT (Himantopus himantopus)

One at Sakumono and 3 at Winneba.

Charadriidae (Plovers and Lapwings)

BLACK-BELLIED PLOVER (Pluvialis squatarola)

Richard saw one at Winneba where the very high tide precluded much else.

SPUR-WINGED LAPWING (Vanellus spinosus)

10 at Sakumono, 6 at Winneba, 6 at Brenu and a pair with juvs in Mole.

SENEGAL LAPWING (Vanellus lugubris)

2 in Shai Hills were a good find of a very local species that we used to see on Winneba Plains before it turned into a solar array.

WATTLED LAPWING (Vanellus senegallus)

Small numbers from Sakumono, Shai Hills and Mole, and 21 at Daboya.

FORBES'S PLOVER (Charadrius forbesi)

Great relief to find 4 on the laterite pans at Brugbani on the second attempt, a very local and elusive species that was new for most.

Field Guides Birding Tours
John Coons enjoying the walkway at Kakum, by guide Phil Gregory
Rostratulidae (Painted-Snipes)

GREATER PAINTED-SNIPE (Rostratula benghalensis)

A female at Bokoro Pond, 2 males at Fufulso and finally a female at the waterhole below Zaina Lodge, a good trip for this species.

Jacanidae (Jacanas)

AFRICAN JACANA (Actophilornis africanus)

Widespread in small numbers starting at Sakumono.

Scolopacidae (Sandpipers and Allies)

WHIMBREL (Numenius phaeopus)

2 at Winneba.

CURLEW SANDPIPER (Calidris ferruginea)

Richard saw one at Winneba.

COMMON SANDPIPER (Actitis hypoleucos)

7 at the sewage ponds, 4 at the Botanic Gardens and singles, and singles in Mole and Atewa farmbush.

GREEN SANDPIPER (Tringa ochropus)

One below the Zaina Lodge viewpoint, sorry not everyone got onto it.

COMMON GREENSHANK (Tringa nebularia)

4 at Sakumono and 5 at the Legon sewage ponds.

WOOD SANDPIPER (Tringa glareola)

5 at Legon sewage ponds.

Glareolidae (Pratincoles and Coursers)

ROCK PRATINCOLE (RUFOUS-NAPED) (Glareola nuchalis liberiae)

6 on the Pra River rocks at Twifo Praso, this being the chestnut-collared West African race.

Laridae (Gulls, Terns, and Skimmers)

BLACK TERN (EURASIAN) (Chlidonias niger niger)

Just one at Sakumono.

COMMON TERN (Sterna hirundo)

10 at Winneba.

SANDWICH TERN (Thalasseus sandvicensis)

10 at Winneba. Sadly no sign of West African Tern today on the very high tide.

Ciconiidae (Storks)

WOOLLY-NECKED STORK (AFRICAN) (Ciconia episcopus microscelis)

2 below Zaina Lodge, now a split as African Woollyneck and a very uncommon bird here.

Phalacrocoracidae (Cormorants and Shags)

LONG-TAILED CORMORANT (Microcarbo africanus)

6 at Sakumono and 30 at Legon ponds and Botanic gardens, otherwise very small numbers at wetland sites.

Scopidae (Hamerkop)

HAMERKOP (Scopus umbretta)

Daily in Mole and the huge untidy nest was seen at Saltlick Loop. One day we had 8 at Zaina waterhole and 9 at Mole waterhole, quite high oounts.

Ardeidae (Herons, Egrets, and Bitterns)

DWARF BITTERN (Ixobrychus sturmii)

Two seen at Ankasa, one flushing off the track and then one at the ponds that showed very well, see the video on Smugmug.

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There were some fantastic lepidoptera on the tour, including this Astute Tiger Moth, photographed by participant David Smith.

WHITE-CRESTED BITTERN (Tigriornis leucolopha)

Aaargh- one flushed up from the track in Ankasa, with both Merlin and I seeing it step off the road whilst we were in the second vehicle. James got it perched up in a tree in the spotlight, then had to turn to rescue Grebe who was stuck in the vehicle with a jammed door, and of course it flew when the light went off. A very hard bird to get!

GRAY HERON (Ardea cinerea)

Two sightings from Mole and some saw one at Ebi River.

BLACK-HEADED HERON (Ardea melanocephala)

2 at Mole waterhole and 2 at Daboya where they nest in a large tree.

PURPLE HERON (Ardea purpurea)

Just one flying distantly at Sakumono.

GREAT EGRET (AFRICAN) (Ardea alba melanorhynchos)

2 at Sakumono, one at Winneba and 3 at Ebi River. Egrets are curiously scarce in Ghana for some reason.

INTERMEDIATE EGRET (YELLOW-BILLED) (Ardea intermedia brachyrhyncha)

2 at Sakumono and one at Winneba, a likely split as Yellow-billed Egret in due course.

LITTLE EGRET (Egretta garzetta)

4 at Sakumono and one seen at Winneba.

WESTERN REEF-HERON (WESTERN) (Egretta gularis gularis)

5 at Sakumono included a single white morph, then 2 at Winneba was it for the trip.

BLACK HERON (Egretta ardesiaca)

3 at Sakumono were the only record.

CATTLE EGRET (Bubulcus ibis)

Widespread in small numbers.

SQUACCO HERON (Ardeola ralloides)

50 at Sakumono, then 6 at Bokoro pond and 2 in Ankasa, before small numbers daily in Mole.

STRIATED HERON (Butorides striata)

Three day records from Mole.

BLACK-CROWNED NIGHT-HERON (Nycticorax nycticorax)

Three day records of singles, the best at Zaina viewpoint waterhole.

Threskiornithidae (Ibises and Spoonbills)

SPOT-BREASTED IBIS (Bostrychia rara) [*]

We heard them coming as we waited at the Ankasa powerline, then sadly they stopped to roost and we got no sighting. Some heard them by the Lodge there on arrival day too, it's a hard species to see.

HADADA IBIS (Bostrychia hagedash)

Only seen in Mole at a couple of waterholes, with great loud vocals as usual.

Accipitridae (Hawks, Eagles, and Kites)

AFRICAN HARRIER-HAWK (Polyboroides typus)

7 day-records, with 3 at Shai hills and 3 at Kakum the most. They come in a bewildering array of plumages.

Field Guides Birding Tours
White-necked Rockfowl in the shady understory near its cave, by participant Kirsten Tucker

PALM-NUT VULTURE (Gypohierax angolensis)

Seen at Ankasa, Kakum, 4 at Mole and singles there later.


A few folks saw one at Ankasa.

AFRICAN CUCKOO-HAWK (Aviceda cuculoides)

Four day records, far more than usual, with 1 at Ankasa, 1 at Brenu Beach, 2 at Kakum and 2 at Bobiri.

WHITE-HEADED VULTURE (Trigonoceps occipitalis)

A good pick-up of a rare bird from Mognori, with one soaring overhead.

HOODED VULTURE (Necrosyrtes monachus)

One from near Accra and two records from Mole, depressingly small numbers with just one or 2 each time, and a single near Accra on departure day.


Two records of 3 birds from Mole, the sad decline continues.

BATELEUR (Terathopius ecaudatus)

Only seen in Mole, with 4 on one day and a single immature later.

CONGO SERPENT-EAGLE (Dryotriorchis spectabilis)

One bird briefly at the Ankasa entrance as we were leaving, very much a BVD, and then a fine one at Kakum next day.

BEAUDOUIN'S SNAKE-EAGLE (Circaetus beaudouini)

One bird perched up for scope views on a distant pylon near the Black Volta crossing, the only area in which we expect to see it.

CROWNED EAGLE (Stephanoaetus coronatus) [*]

Some folks got to hear this at Ankasa Lodge on arrival day.

WAHLBERG'S EAGLE (Hieraaetus wahlbergi)

Just one individual perched up near the Mognori River.

AYRES'S HAWK-EAGLE (Hieraaetus ayresii)

A very good trip for this rarity, we had fine views at Kakum Walkway, Antwikwaa and finally Atewa.

CASSIN'S HAWK-EAGLE (Aquila africana)

A great calling and soaring bird at the Ankasa powerline, not a species we see every trip and I hope our recordists were able to get it.

LIZARD BUZZARD (Kaupifalco monogrammicus)

Four day records of singles, it is not common in Ghana.

DARK CHANTING-GOSHAWK (Melierax metabates)

One seen in Mole and good views of two on the day we went out to Daboya.

GRASSHOPPER BUZZARD (Butastur rufipennis)


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Violet-backed Starling by participant David Smith

EURASIAN MARSH-HARRIER (Circus aeruginosus)

One by the road as we came back from Daboya.

RED-CHESTED GOSHAWK (BANDED) (Accipiter toussenelii macroscelides)

One calling "kvit" at Antwikwaa was the only record, seen in flight and not perched. I expect this to be lumped back with African Goshawk ere long, they sound identical.

SHIKRA (Accipiter badius)

Four day records, seen nicely, the default small accipiter.

LONG-TAILED HAWK (Urotriorchis macrourus)

A frustrating trip for them, we heard them on 5 days and had brief looks twice at Ankasa and one at Bobiri, annoying as we usually get one perched up and I've never had so many records on this tour.

BLACK KITE (YELLOW-BILLED) (Milvus migrans parasitus)

Seen almost every day in small numbers.

AFRICAN FISH-EAGLE (Haliaeetus vocifer)

One flew over on the Samole loop, quite rare in Ghana and not seen every trip.

RED-NECKED BUZZARD (Buteo auguralis)

One at Stingless Bee Road, and a good view of one from Atewa farmbush, atypically few this trip.

Strigidae (Owls)

AFRICAN SCOPS-OWL (Otus senegalensis) [*]

Heard up at Brugbani but none close by.

GRAYISH EAGLE-OWL (Bubo cinerascens)

One was seen only by John and I as we arrived at Mole, and someone else was spotlighting it so we could not intrude, but happily it was back in the same place as we came back from the Standardwing Nightjar.

AKUN EAGLE-OWL (Bubo leucostictus)

A fortunate pick-up as we were coming back from the Spot-breasted ibis foray, with one near the park entrance at Ankasa that sat for great scope views.

PEARL-SPOTTED OWLET (Glaucidium perlatum)

A lovely responsive bird on the Saltlick loop at Mole, it sat out for ages.

RED-CHESTED OWLET (WESTERN) (Glaucidium tephronotum tephronotum) [*]

Heard quite close by at Ankasa but we were unable to pick it up in the dense foliage.

CHESTNUT OWLET (ETCHECOPAR'S) (Glaucidium castaneum etchecopari)

James had a spot for this but was worried about how wet the track might be, but happily it had not rained at Shai Hills and we got into the cultural site where we had an immediate response to the playback. Andrew did really well to locate the bird, and we balanced on the slope trying to get a window to see it and get a scope on it. I had heard this species on several previous trips but never got to see one; it does looks and sound very like African Barred Owlet, but amazingly enough is a Clements but not IOC split!

AFRICAN WOOD-OWL (Strix woodfordii)

Most folks got a look at one perched up as we came out of Abrafo logging track at dusk.

Phoeniculidae (Woodhoopoes and Scimitarbills)

GREEN WOODHOOPOE (Phoeniculus purpureus)

Very entertaining at Sakumono where they were poking about on the roof of a derelict bird hide. Also seen at Shai Hills and the Botanic Gardens, with 3 birds each time.

WHITE-HEADED WOODHOOPOE (Phoeniculus bollei)

Just 3 came through at Kwabenasam forest.

Field Guides Birding Tours
The White Volta at Daboya, where we found Egyptian Plover, by guide Phil Gregory

BLACK SCIMITARBILL (Rhinopomastus aterrimus)

One from the Samole Loop, and one at Zaina Lodge viewpoint.

Bucerotidae (Hornbills)

RED-BILLED DWARF HORNBILL (Lophoceros camurus)

Heard at Nsuta, giving the wonderful descending mournful call, then called in for nice looks at Ankasa. This species has become much harder in recent years.

AFRICAN PIED HORNBILL (Lophoceros fasciatus)

The most widespread trip hornbill, seen at all the savanna sites starting at Shai Hills. Now an IOC and BirdLife split as West African Pied Hornbill too, from Congo :Pied Hornbill.

AFRICAN GRAY HORNBILL (Lophoceros nasutus)

The default savanna hornbill, first at Sakumono.

NORTHERN RED-BILLED HORNBILL (Tockus erythrorhynchus)

Very few, seen at Shai Hills, Legon Botanic Gardens and Mole.

WHITE-CRESTED HORNBILL (Horizocerus albocristatus)

Elusive as ever as this species is very shy, but we got 2 at Ankasa and one from Kakum.

BLACK DWARF HORNBILL (Horizocerus hartlaubi)

A good trip for them with singles at Ankasa, Abrafo logging track and finally at a nest at Bobiri. It is possible to miss this one!

BLACK-CASQUED HORNBILL (Ceratogymna atrata)

Heard distantly at Ankasa, then an astonishing flock of 18 at Kakum, by far the most I've ever seen here.

YELLOW-CASQUED HORNBILL (Ceratogymna elata) [E]

Nice views from Kakum with a female one day and then a male at Antwikwaa the next, another rare one that we don't always see.

BROWN-CHEEKED HORNBILL (Bycanistes cylindricus) [E]

A lucky pick-up of 3 at Kakum, a rare species endemic to West Africa.

PIPING HORNBILL (Bycanistes fistulator)

Great looks at this uncommon bird at Nsuta.

Alcedinidae (Kingfishers)

SHINING-BLUE KINGFISHER (Alcedo quadribrachys)

One from the bridge at Ankasa entry showed very well, and there was another at the Mognori River.

MALACHITE KINGFISHER (Corythornis cristatus)

Four day records of singles, the first at Bokoro Pond.

WHITE-BELLIED KINGFISHER (Corythornis leucogaster)

A fine bird at the first pond at Ankasa, thankfully with no Shining-blue Kingfisher there this year to scare it away. Also heard a couple of times in the forest along small streams.


7 day records of this diminutive kingfisher, the first at the Botanic Gardens.

AFRICAN DWARF KINGFISHER (Ispidina lecontei) [*]

Heard at a couple of spots in Ankasa but stayed unseen, always a tricky species.

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White-throated Bee-eater by participant Kirsten Tucker


A fine view of one high in a tall tree at Ankasa, luckily it responded to my playback and we were able to locate it.

GRAY-HEADED KINGFISHER (Halcyon leucocephala)

Striking and showy at Mole.

WOODLAND KINGFISHER (Halcyon senegalensis)

One or two most days in drier country, with a nest in Ankasa.


Seen at the Legon Botanic Gardens, then Nsuta, Ankasa and Mole, quite a vocal species with a great mournful musical call.

STRIPED KINGFISHER (Halcyon chelicuti) [*]

Heard only on the first visit to Brugbani.

GIANT KINGFISHER (Megaceryle maxima)

One in Ankasa, then seen below Zaina most days. A striking and very large bird that resembles Striated Heron in flight.

PIED KINGFISHER (Ceryle rudis)

5 at Sakumono, 5 at Winneba and a couple at Bokoro and Ebi River.

Meropidae (Bee-eaters)

BLACK BEE-EATER (Merops gularis gularis)

Wonderful at Ankasa Lodge where two pairs had nests in a sand mound near the dining area and allowed tremendous views. We had 8 day records this trip, a record, seen at each rainforest area.


The star of our last day, James took us to his spot on the Atewa track and we had great views of two birds, a very uncommon species. Heaven knows if the habitat will be intact for next year though, the new logging track is very ominous.


Lovely views in Mole, a very striking bird.

LITTLE BEE-EATER (Merops pusillus)

First at Sakumono, then from Bokoro pond, Mole and Atewa.

SWALLOW-TAILED BEE-EATER (Merops hirundineus chrysolaimus)

Just a single from Shai Hills, a very distinctive member of this beautiful family.

WHITE-THROATED BEE-EATER (Merops albicollis)

This intra-African migrant was common in Ankasa, Kakum, Mole and also at Bobiri and Atewa.

EUROPEAN BEE-EATER (Merops apiaster)

8 flying over calling in Mole, we rarely see them perched on this trip.

ROSY BEE-EATER (Merops malimbicus) [E]

Flyovers in bad light from Kakum Walkway of this much desired species, then James had a spot staked out at Antwikwaa and we had splendid perched views.

Coraciidae (Rollers)

ABYSSINIAN ROLLER (Coracias abyssinicus)

Some lovely views of this dazzler from Mole, with one sat right by the bus on the day we left, video on Smugmug.

Field Guides Birding Tours
Another fine view of the White-necked Rockfowl we saw, by participant David Smith

RUFOUS-CROWNED ROLLER (Coracias naevius)

Three from Shai Hills, and one in Mole.

BLUE-BELLIED ROLLER (Coracias cyanogaster) [E]

Just one from Shai Hills, though some of us saw 2 at the Botanic gardens pre-trip. A striking species and not very common.

BROAD-BILLED ROLLER (Eurystomus glaucurus)

Good looks at Shai Hills, Ankasa and Mole, a noisy species with a distinctive quacking call..

BLUE-THROATED ROLLER (Eurystomus gularis)

The rainforest version of the previous species, but duller and with a blue throat and a very different harsh call, we saw them at Nsuta, Ankasa, Kakum and Kwabenasam

Lybiidae (African Barbets)

YELLOW-BILLED BARBET (Trachyphonus purpuratus) [*]

Heard at Bonkro during the Rockfowl vigil.

BRISTLE-NOSED BARBET (Gymnobucco peli)

Four seen well at Nsuta, and one from Antwikwaa, hard to tell from its sibling unless you see the head properly.

NAKED-FACED BARBET (Gymnobucco calvus)

Good views from Ankasa, Kakum and Kwabenasam. This and Bristle-nosed often nest together and have very similar calls, I suspect they may simply be morphological variations of one species.

SPECKLED TINKERBIRD (Pogoniulus scolopaceus)

Six sightings from the rainforest areas where this can be a puzzling bird to identify, and heard at Bobiri and Atewa.

RED-RUMPED TINKERBIRD (Pogoniulus atroflavus)

Seen very well at Nsuta and heard at Ankasa, Kakum and Atewa, a very vocal species.

YELLOW-THROATED TINKERBIRD (Pogoniulus subsulphureus chrysopygus)

Heard at Ankasa, and sone seen nicely at Abrafo, this taxon lacks a yellow throat.

YELLOW-RUMPED TINKERBIRD (YELLOW-RUMPED) (Pogoniulus bilineatus leucolaimus)

Heard at Ankasa, and sat up very nicely at Brenu Beach.

YELLOW-FRONTED TINKERBIRD (Pogoniulus chrysoconus chrysoconus)

Seen nicely at Shai Hills and Mole.

YELLOW-SPOTTED BARBET (Buccanodon duchaillui) [*]

Heard at Ankasa and Kakum.

HAIRY-BREASTED BARBET (HAIRY-BREASTED) (Tricholaema hirsuta hirsuta)

Good views at Kakum, coming right above the platform, and heard at Bobiri. This race is a potential split.

VIEILLOT'S BARBET (Lybius vieilloti) [E]

Very nice looks at Shai Hills and later in Mole.

DOUBLE-TOOTHED BARBET (Lybius bidentatus)

Four at Shai Hills and also seen by some at Sakumono and Brenu.

Field Guides Birding Tours
Splendid Sunbird (indeed!) by participant David Smith

BEARDED BARBET (Lybius dubius)

One from Shai Hills and seen nicely in Mole.

Indicatoridae (Honeyguides)

CASSIN'S HONEYGUIDE (Prodotiscus insignis)

Nice views of one sat up like a flycatcher at Kwabenasam forest.

LESSER HONEYGUIDE (Indicator minor)

Two sighting from Mole with the first an obliging bird at Fufulso ponds. One calling at Mognori was at a site that has been active for at least 11 years now.

SPOTTED HONEYGUIDE (Indicator maculatus) [*]

James heard what he thought was this species at Ankasa Rangers Camp near the Bamboo Cathedral, but it did not respond.

GREATER HONEYGUIDE (Indicator indicator) [*]

Heard at Mole on two days, but as seems to be traditional now on this tour, not seen!

Picidae (Woodpeckers)

AFRICAN PICULET (Verreauxia africana)

Richard found us a beautiful male at Nsuta Forest and we had really good views of it, always a hard bird on this tour.

MELANCHOLY WOODPECKER (Chloropicus lugubris) [E]

A single at Kwabenasam forest showed briefly.

CARDINAL WOODPECKER (Chloropicus fuscescens lafresnayi)

We always seem to struggle with this species in Ghana, with some folks seeing it by Sayu Cave, the only one of the entire trip.

FIRE-BELLIED WOODPECKER (Chloropicus pyrrhogaster) [E]

Some saw one at Ankasa, then we had 3 by Kakum Walkway and heard one at Bobiri.

BROWN-BACKED WOODPECKER (Chloropicus obsoletus obsoletus)

One from Mole was the only record.

AFRICAN GRAY WOODPECKER (GRAY) (Chloropicus goertae goertae)

3 at a nest on the Samole loop gave good views, and there was a single next day. Some of us saw it at the Botanic Gardens pre-trip too.

BUFF-SPOTTED WOODPECKER (Campethera nivosa nivosa) [*]

Heard a couple of times in Ankasa but never showed properly.

FINE-SPOTTED WOODPECKER (Campethera punctuligera)

A single from Shai Hills was the only sighting of this uncommon bird.

GOLDEN-TAILED WOODPECKER (STREAK-BACKED) (Campethera abingoni chrysura)

One responsive bird at Big Saltlick loop in Mole, an uncommon species.

Falconidae (Falcons and Caracaras)

EURASIAN KESTREL (RUFESCENT) (Falco tinnunculus rufescens)

Three records of singles from Fosu Lagoon, near Kumasi and Accra on the last day, quite a distinctive taxon and a potential split.

GRAY KESTREL (Falco ardosiaceus)

3 seen at Shai Hills were the only record.

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Pied Kingfisher by participant Kirsten Tucker

RED-FOOTED FALCON (Falco vespertinus)

Richard and maybe some others saw a male at Zaina which vanished into the distance.

AFRICAN HOBBY (Falco cuvierii)

One shot over at the waterhole at Brugbani but hardly anyone got much of a look, odd to see so few.

LANNER FALCON (Falco biarmicus)

Two at Shai Hills and singles in Mole and Atewa.

Psittaculidae (Old World Parrots)

ROSE-RINGED PARAKEET (Psittacula krameri)

Unexpectedly one at Sakumono, I think my first record here, and another at Shai Hills, whilst some saw it in Mole too.

Psittacidae (New World and African Parrots)

RED-FRONTED PARROT (Poicephalus gulielmi)

Good perched views from Nsuta and flying by at Kakum

SENEGAL PARROT (Poicephalus senegalus)

Noisy and seen quite well at Shai Hills and Mole, very striking in flight.

Calyptomenidae (African and Green Broadbills)

RUFOUS-SIDED BROADBILL (Smithornis rufolateralis)

Outstanding at Nsuta, where we had a terrific male displaying, and a female nearby. Sadly their habitat is about to be cut down for farming so it won't be here next trip, an all too common trend in Ghana.

Campephagidae (Cuckooshrikes)


A female in Shai Hills, and a male along the Samole loop in Mole.


A male at Kwabenasam forest, another uncommon bird.

BLUE CUCKOOSHRIKE (Cyanograucalus azureus)

A fine male at Kwabenasam forest was a pleasing pick-up.

Oriolidae (Old World Orioles)


David found a stunning male at Zaina and it sat up nicely for all of us later, a rare migrant in Ghana which both James and I have only seen here once before.


One along the road en route to Daboya, not very co-operative.

WESTERN BLACK-HEADED ORIOLE (Oriolus brachyrynchus)

Seen at Ankasa and by some at Bobiri.

BLACK-WINGED ORIOLE (Oriolus nigripennis) [E]

Seen at Ankasa, Kakum and Antwikwaa, and heard at Bobiri.

Platysteiridae (Wattle-eyes and Batises)

BROWN-THROATED WATTLE-EYE (Platysteira cyanea)

Seen at Shai Hills and seen in Mole, the species is named after the brown-throated female, it is also known as Common Wattle-eye.

WEST AFRICAN WATTLE-EYE (Platysteira hormophora) [E]

Seen in Ankasa only this trip, formerly known as Chestnut Wattle-eye.

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Purple Glossy Starling by participant David Smith

RED-CHEEKED WATTLE-EYE (Platysteira blissetti) [E]

This one is always tough, some folks got looks at a calling bird along Stingless Bee Road, and there were two at Atewa which played exceedingly hard to get despite a good response.

SENEGAL BATIS (Batis senegalensis) [E]

Bizarrely scarce, we saw one in Mole and David had one at Zaina.

WEST AFRICAN BATIS (Batis occulta) [E]

A lucky pick-up at Ankasa as this species is very local and elusive, we had a pair high in a large tree.

Vangidae (Vangas, Helmetshrikes, and Allies)


5 from Ankasa, 3 at Kwabenasam and 2 at Bobiri.


Oddly scarce this trip, with a female at Antwikwaa and 2 at Opro forest remnant.

Malaconotidae (Bushshrikes and Allies)

BRUBRU (Nilaus afer afer)

Kingfisher's great want, we had a nice look at this one in Mole along the Samole loop and it was heard at Zaina.

NORTHERN PUFFBACK (Dryoscopus gambensis gambensis)

Seen at Shai Hills and again in Mole.

SABINE'S PUFFBACK (Dryoscopus sabini)

Heard at Ankasa, and seen quite well at Kwabenasam forest near Bonkro with a pair giving good looks.

BLACK-CROWNED TCHAGRA (BLACK-CROWNED) (Tchagra senegalus senegalus)

Seen at Shai Hills and Mole.

BROWN-CROWNED TCHAGRA (Tchagra australis ussheri)

One seen well at Summerview Hotel.

TROPICAL BOUBOU (Laniarius major) [*]

Heard distantly in response to playback at Brenu Beach, a strangely local species in Ghana where I have yet to see it.

YELLOW-CROWNED GONOLEK (Laniarius barbarus)

This striking species gave great looks in Mole, a stunning combo of black, red and yellow.

SULPHUR-BREASTED BUSHSHRIKE (Telophorus sulfureopectus)

Nice views from Mole, orange-breasted is a far more appropriate name though.

GRAY-HEADED BUSHSHRIKE (Malaconotus blanchoti)

Great looks at the Legon Botanical Gardens in Accra, and some saw a calling bird in Mole being chased by a gonolek.

Dicruridae (Drongos)


Hard to see at Mognori as very shy, split by IOC as Western Square-tailed Drongo but now lumped again.

SHINING DRONGO (Dicrurus atripennis) [E]

Difficult at Ankasa and did not show well.

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Scarlet-chested Sunbird by participant Kirsten Tucker

GLOSSY-BACKED DRONGO (Dicrurus divaricatus)

A few sightings from open country drier areas.

FANTI DRONGO (Dicrurus atactus)

This is the western wet forest version of Velvet-mantled Drongo, and likely to be relumped with it shortly it seems, as just done by the IOC.

Monarchidae (Monarch Flycatchers)


This was heard at Ankasa, and glimpsed at Atewa forest.

BLACK-HEADED PARADISE-FLYCATCHER (RED-BELLIED) (Terpsiphone rufiventer nigriceps)

Good views from Ankasa on several days and heard near Bonkro and at Bobiri.

AFRICAN PARADISE-FLYCATCHER (Terpsiphone viridis ferreti)

The savanna paradise-flycatcher, seen at Shai Hills and by some at Mole.

Laniidae (Shrikes)

YELLOW-BILLED SHRIKE (Lanius corvinus)

Widespread, the first at Sakumono.

NORTHERN FISCAL (Lanius humeralis)

Curiously local in Ghana, we saw it at Brenu Beach, Antwikwaa and Atewa farmbush.

Corvidae (Crows, Jays, and Magpies)

PIAPIAC (Ptilostomus afer)

This aberrant corvid showed well at Sakumono, Shai Hills and near Mole.

PIED CROW (Corvus albus)

Seen every day of the trip except one day at Ankasa, it's a large species. We saw over 100 at a roost in Kumasi late one day, more usually in singles and pairs.

Picathartidae (Rockfowl)

WHITE-NECKED ROCKFOWL (Picathartes gymnocephalus) [E]

A long 2-hour wait and it was getting late, but then a wonderful experience with one coming right past and perching up for ages. A second was seen briefly by some too. A lurking Long-tailed Hawk may have been a negative factor this year as it has apparently predated one recently. This is still a great site and it was nice to stay close by overnight this year.

Hyliotidae (Hyliotas)

YELLOW-BELLIED HYLIOTA (Hyliota flavigaster)

A lucky pick-up in the dry forest en route to Brugbani.

VIOLET-BACKED HYLIOTA (Hyliota violacea nehrkorni)

Seen nicely in Kakum and again at Antwikwaa, an important trip bird as these are an endemic African family.

Stenostiridae (Fairy Flycatchers)

AFRICAN BLUE FLYCATCHER (Elminia longicauda)

Seen at Samole and then at Mognori, an uncommon and very pretty bird.

Paridae (Tits, Chickadees, and Titmice)

WHITE-SHOULDERED BLACK-TIT (Melaniparus guineensis)

Seen at Shai Hills and Mole, this species has a yellowish eye.

Alaudidae (Larks)

RUFOUS-RUMPED LARK (Pinarocorys erythropygia)

A good pick up again this year from a laterite pan at Brugbani, we seldom see this erratic migrant on the tour.

FLAPPET LARK (Mirafra rufocinnamomea)

One flappeting at dusk on the laterite pan near Brugbani.

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Red-throated Bee-eater by participant David Smith

SUN LARK (Galerida modesta)

Good looks on the laterite pan along the Asibey loop.

Nicatoridae (Nicators)

WESTERN NICATOR (Nicator chloris)

Badly behaved this trip, it showed briefly in Ankasa, Kwabenasam and Stingless Bee Road, poor Kingfisher had quite a tussle with it without much success-sorry!

Macrosphenidae (African Warblers)

GREEN CROMBEC (Sylvietta virens flaviventris)

Great views from Nsuta Forest.

LEMON-BELLIED CROMBEC (Sylvietta denti hardyi)

A couple of folks saw this with Andrew at Kwabenasam forest.

NORTHERN CROMBEC (NORTHERN) (Sylvietta brachyura brachyura)

A few folks saw this in Shai Hills.

KEMP'S LONGBILL (Macrosphenus kempi) [E]

Singing quite well in dense vine tangles at Atewa forest, but basically stayed out of sight, I think maybe only Kingfisher actually saw it.

GRAY LONGBILL (Macrosphenus concolor)

Perhaps my first ever scope views of this skulker at Kwabenasam, one say posed for some minutes which is atypical to put it mildly. Heard at all the forest sites.

GREEN HYLIA (Hylia prasina)

Common by voice in the rainforests, but hard to see well, we did manage nice views at Ankasa and Antwikwaa.

TIT-HYLIA (Pholidornis rushiae ussheri)

A good trip for this uncommon bird, it was seen at Ankasa by some, then again at Kakum and Antwikwaa, and finally by a few at Atewa.

Cisticolidae (Cisticolas and Allies)

SENEGAL EREMOMELA (Eremomela pusilla)

Seen at Shai Hills, Mole and Mognori, an attractive little bird.

RUFOUS-CROWNED EREMOMELA (Eremomela badiceps fantiensis)

Very good looks from Kakum and Abrafo.

GREEN-BACKED CAMAROPTERA (GRAY-BACKED) (Camaroptera brachyura brevicaudata)

Common by voice and seen at Shai Hills, Mole and Opro.

YELLOW-BROWED CAMAROPTERA (Camaroptera superciliaris)

Seen very well at Nsuta Forest and heard at the other rainforest sites.

OLIVE-GREEN CAMAROPTERA (Camaroptera chloronota)

Heard at Kwabenasam and as a flyover across the track at Bobiri where it was singing well.

BLACK-CAPPED APALIS (BLACK-CAPPED) (Apalis nigriceps nigriceps) [*]

Heard at Atewa but sacrificed for the Blue-moustached Bee-eater!


Seen at Mole.

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Olive Baboon with infant by participant Kirsten Tucker

SHARPE'S APALIS (Apalis sharpii) [E]

Nice views from Kakum and then Kwabenasam.

TAWNY-FLANKED PRINIA (Prinia subflava)

Small numbers from Mole and Brenu.

RED-WINGED PRINIA (Prinia erythroptera erythroptera)

This showed well at Brenu Beach, now subsumed into prinias.

ORIOLE WARBLER (Hypergerus atriceps)

Atypically difficult this trip, not coming in to playback, and only eventually seen when one was feeding in dense riparian at Mognori. It did eventually sing, a variant on the usual calls, not sure why it was so challenging this time.

RED-FACED CISTICOLA (RED-FACED) (Cisticola erythrops erythrops)

Seen well at Brenu.

SINGING CISTICOLA (Cisticola cantans swanzii)

Seen well at Brenu.

WHISTLING CISTICOLA (Cisticola lateralis lateralis)

One singing and perched up along Stingless Bee Road.

ROCK-LOVING CISTICOLA (Cisticola aberrans)

A surprise at Zaina Lodge when one appeared on the rocky slope below the viewpoint. This is one we used to get in the far north, so nice to now have another site for it.

DORST'S CISTICOLA (Cisticola guinea)

One in the farmbush near Mole airstrip, a little-known species.

WINDING CISTICOLA (Cisticola marginatus amphilectus)

One singing and perched at Sakumono, named for the sound it makes.

CROAKING CISTICOLA (Cisticola natalensis strangei)

Seen at Shai Hills, a large heavy billed streak-backed species.

SIFFLING CISTICOLA (Cisticola brachypterus brachypterus)

Just one at Shai Hills, the small size, plain plumage and pale bill identifying it. Siffling refers to the sound and many in this genus are named for their vocalizations.

RUFOUS CISTICOLA (Cisticola rufus)

A bird in the dry forest near Brugbani showed well, and James heard it singing initially, in an area where we have seen it on previous trips. Another little-known species.

Acrocephalidae (Reed Warblers and Allies)

MELODIOUS WARBLER (Hippolais polyglotta)

Nice looks at a couple of singing birds at Shai Hills, preparing to head north.

GREATER SWAMP WARBLER (Acrocephalus rufescens rufescens) [*]

Heard at Sakumono but distant.

Hirundinidae (Swallows)

ROCK MARTIN (Ptyonoprogne fuligula)

Seen at the Shai Hills Sayu Cave area, where it is scarce

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Hornet Moth by participant David Smith

BARN SWALLOW (Hirundo rustica)

Very small numbers at various sites, no large numbers as usual here.

RED-CHESTED SWALLOW (Hirundo lucida lucida) [E]

Seen on wires as we went north from Kumasi,, and at Larabanga Mosque.

ETHIOPIAN SWALLOW (Hirundo aethiopica aethiopica)

Small numbers at multiple sites, starting at Sakumono.


4 of this beautiful diminutive deep dark indigo swallow on the Pra River at Twifo Praso, usually our only site for it.

WIRE-TAILED SWALLOW (Hirundo smithii smithii)

Seen on the White Volta at the Egyptian Plover site, also at Mole and Zaina waterholes, only very small numbers.

LESSER STRIPED SWALLOW (Cecropis abyssinica)

Small numbers from Ankasa, Kakum and Mole. A handsome bird with a rufous rump and streaked underparts.

RUFOUS-CHESTED SWALLOW (Cecropis semirufa gordoni)

Two gathering mud at Kwabenasam Forest, an uncommon large species.

MOSQUE SWALLOW (Cecropis senegalensis)

The other very large swallow, this one with a pale throat, and seen nicely at Legon sewage ponds and Atewa.

PREUSS'S SWALLOW (Petrochelidon preussi) [E]

6 at Kakum were unexpected, not usually seen here, then a big colony at the road culvert at Twifo Mampong with 120+ birds and many mud nests.

SQUARE-TAILED SAWWING (Psalidoprocne nitens) [E]

This small hirundine was seen at Ankasa powerline and then at Atewa.

FANTI SAWWING (Psalidoprocne obscura) [E]

Seen at Kakum, and at Mognori, the deeply forked tail is distinctive in adults.

Pycnonotidae (Bulbuls)

SLENDER-BILLED GREENBUL (Stelgidillas gracilirostris gracilirostris)

This one is widespread and often perches up, seen at Ankasa, Kakum and Atewa.

GOLDEN GREENBUL (Calyptocichla serinus) [E]

Good views of 2 at Nsuta Forest remnant.

RED-TAILED BRISTLEBILL (Bleda syndactylus syndactylus)

Heard at Kakum and Atewa.


Heard at Ankasa but as ever very hard to actually see.

GRAY-HEADED BRISTLEBILL (Bleda canicapillus) [E]

Heard at Kakum and Atewa and seen flying across at Bobiri all the bristlebills are hard to see well.

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Northern Puffback by participant David Smith

SIMPLE GREENBUL (Chlorocichla simplex)

Seen at Shai Hills and Nsuta.

YELLOW-THROATED GREENBUL (FLAVICOLLIS) (Atimastillas flavicollis flavicollis)

Seen at Shai hills and heard at Nsuta, Samole and Mognori. Often called Yellow-throated Leaflove.

SPOTTED GREENBUL (Ixonotus guttatus)

A twittering flock of 4 flew over at Ankasa entry, but did not linger. Uncommon.

SWAMP GREENBUL (Thescelocichla leucopleura)

Heard at Ankasa, and seen at Antwikwaa and then perched up for ages at Atewa farmbush, always just singles. A much better name is Swamp Palm Greenbul for its usual habitat, it is David's totem bird from his Liberian days.

RED-TAILED GREENBUL (Criniger calurus verreauxi)

Heard and seen once at Ankasa, this taxon lacks a red tail and might be better called Lesser Bearded Greenbul as per Birds of Ghana by the Dowsetts.

WESTERN BEARDED-GREENBUL (Criniger barbatus) [E]

Heard and seen quite well at Ankasa.

YELLOW-BEARDED GREENBUL (Criniger olivaceus) [E]

Heard and seen very nicely on the Big Tree trail at Ankasa where one was unusually obliging.

GRAY GREENBUL (Eurillas gracilis extrema)

Seen at Ankasa, called Little Grey in other checklists.

ANSORGE'S GREENBUL (Eurillas ansorgei ansorgei)

Also seen at Ankasa, this diminutive greenbul has a gingery wash to the flanks which separates it from Little Grey, as does the call.

PLAIN GREENBUL (Eurillas curvirostris)

Seen and heard at Ankasa and Kakum. Formerly called Cameroon Sombre Greenbul, a much more memorable name.

YELLOW-WHISKERED GREENBUL (Eurillas latirostris)

Some saw one at Ankasa where it was calling, also heard at Atewa.

LITTLE GREENBUL (Eurillas virens erythroptera)

Vocal but elusive as ever, we saw singles well at Kakum and Opro.

ICTERINE GREENBUL (Phyllastrephus icterinus)

Seen nicely ai Ankasa.

COMMON BULBUL (COMMON) (Pycnonotus barbatus inornatus)

The common bulbul of the trip, seen most days.

Phylloscopidae (Leaf Warblers)

WOOD WARBLER (Phylloscopus sibilatrix)

This Palearctic migrant was at Kakum, Mole and Bobiri.

WILLOW WARBLER (Phylloscopus trochilus)

Oddly none singing this year, a few folks saw it at Saltlick loop.

Field Guides Birding Tours
Indigo dye works -- it's a messy job! -- by guide Phil Gregory
Scotocercidae (Bush Warblers and Allies)

CHESTNUT-CAPPED FLYCATCHER (Erythrocercus mccallii)

A small group moved through high in the canopy at Abrafo and Bobiri.

Zosteropidae (White-eyes, Yuhinas, and Allies)

NORTHERN YELLOW WHITE-EYE (SENEGALENSIS/DEMERYI) (Zosterops senegalensis senegalensis)

Another species that was surprisingly scarce, we only saw it at Kakum and Atewa. This complex got split out into several species, this being the Northern one.

Pellorneidae (Ground Babblers and Allies)

BROWN ILLADOPSIS (BROWN) (Illadopsis fulvescens gularis) [*]

Heard at Atewa but unresponsive.

BLACKCAP ILLADOPSIS (WESTERN) (Illadopsis cleaveri cleaveri) [E]

Heard at Ankasa but none nearby.

PUVEL'S ILLADOPSIS (Illadopsis puveli puveli)

A very responsive bird at Atewa, we got very nice views of this nondescript job. Really you only need see one Illadopsis and just count the rest on call (apart from Blackcap!)

RUFOUS-WINGED ILLADOPSIS (Illadopsis rufescens) [E]

Calling well at Ankasa on the Illadopsis loop and after some lengthy duels everyone got to see it, a western endemic too.

Leiothrichidae (Laughingthrushes and Allies)

BLACKCAP BABBLER (Turdoides reinwardtii) [E]

4 along the Mognori River, an arch-skulker but reasonably responsive today.

Certhiidae (Treecreepers)

AFRICAN SPOTTED CREEPER (Salpornis salvadori)

James and Andrew were outstanding getting this elusive species for us up at the Brugbani laterite area, they heard it initially then spent quite a while chasing it down. We eventually got one sat frozen high in a tree for great views.

Sturnidae (Starlings)

VIOLET-BACKED STARLING (Cinnyricinclus leucogaster leucogaster)

This beautiful bird was seen very well at Zaina, also called Amethyst Starling which is a lovely name.

CHESTNUT-WINGED STARLING (Onychognathus fulgidus)

Some saw this at Nsuta, then we had 5 in flight at Kakum.

NARROW-TAILED STARLING (Poeoptera lugubris)

5 flying by quite close at Nsuta, a species we do not see every trip.

COPPER-TAILED STARLING (Hylopsar cupreocauda) [E]

Flyovers of this short-tailed species at Ankasa and then Antwikwaa, itv is always scarce.

LONG-TAILED GLOSSY STARLING (Lamprotornis caudatus)

2 at Sakumono were a surprise, the is a narrow tongue of suitable habitat that brings this primarily northern species down to here, then seen a couple of times in Mole.

SPLENDID STARLING (Lamprotornis splendidus)

Ones and two only from Sakumono, Nsuta and Kakum area.

PURPLE STARLING (Lamprotornis purpureus)

The common starling of the trip, large, flat headed and with a big orange eye, it was seen at Sakumono, Shai Hills, Mole and Antwikwaa.

BRONZE-TAILED STARLING (Lamprotornis chalcurus chalcurus)

Great views of two of this very uncommon bird at Zaina, and 1 at Mole viewpoint later.

Field Guides Birding Tours
No, this image does not need to be rotated! This is how you photograph Tomb Bats! Photo by guide Phil Gregory.
Turdidae (Thrushes and Allies)

FINSCH'S FLYCATCHER-THRUSH (Neocossyphus finschi) [E]

Seen well at Ankasa. and heard at Bobiri and Atewa.

WHITE-TAILED ANT-THRUSH (Neocossyphus poensis) [*]

Heard only once at Ankasa.

AFRICAN THRUSH (Turdus pelios)

Widespread in small numbers, starting at Sakumono and Shai Hills

Muscicapidae (Old World Flycatchers)

SPOTTED FLYCATCHER (Muscicapa striata)

This declining Palearctic migrant was seen at Shai Hills and Mole.

GAMBAGA FLYCATCHER (Muscicapa gambagae)

A great find was a pair building a nest in the fork of some big branches in one of the trees at Brugbani, it's a seldom seen species and only the second we have had on the tour. Named for a village in N. Ghana too.

SWAMP FLYCATCHER (Muscicapa aquatica aquatica)

Good views by Mole waterhole, this taxon has no breast band despite what the book shows.

CASSIN'S FLYCATCHER (Muscicapa cassini)

Nice views at the river at Ankasa, a riparian specialist.

USSHER'S FLYCATCHER (Bradornis ussheri) [E]

This nondescript dumpy arboreal flycatcher was seen at Ankasa and Kakum, and is another that does not resemble the illustration in the Ghana guide

DUSKY-BLUE FLYCATCHER (Bradornis comitatus aximensis)

Good views rom Ankasa, Antwikwaa and Atewa.

PALE FLYCATCHER (Agricola pallidus)

Seen at Antwikwaa, a single bird.

AFRICAN FOREST-FLYCATCHER (WESTERN) (Fraseria ocreata prosphora)

Seen well at Ankasa and heard at Kakum.

GRAY-THROATED TIT-FLYCATCHER (Fraseria griseigularis) [*]

Calling at Kwabenasam Forest but did not show.

GRAY TIT-FLYCATCHER (Fraseria plumbea)

Seen at the Mognori River as we were trying for Oriole Warbler.

OLIVACEOUS FLYCATCHER (Fraseria olivascens)

A lucky find at Ankasa, we rarely see this unobtrusive species on the tour.

TESSMANN'S FLYCATCHER (Fraseria tessmanni) [E]

Two at Kwabenasam Forest, a rare species seldom seen on the tour.

NORTHERN BLACK-FLYCATCHER (Melaenornis edolioides edolioides)

Good views from Mole.

Field Guides Birding Tours
Cape Coast Castle, a notorious slave export site and now a very sobering museum. Photo by guide Phil Gregory.

WHITE-TAILED ALETHE (Alethe diademata) [E]

Calling at Ankasa and one kept flicking across the track at an ant-swarm.

SNOWY-CROWNED ROBIN-CHAT (Cossypha niveicapilla)

Heard at the Botanic Gardens, then 2 seen nicely at Brenu Beach.

WHITE-CROWNED ROBIN-CHAT (Cossypha albicapillus)

Elusive along the river at Mognori, this is a very shy species but we had various sightings of it coming in and out.

FOREST ROBIN (WESTERN) (Stiphrornis erythrothorax erythrothorax)

Heard at Ankasa but stubbornly out of view, then astonishingly we got one roosting at Kakum as we came out at dusk, my first sighting here. I think the taxon here is inexpectatus, a new one for me, and up to 4 species have been proposed as being in Ghana!


One male at Shai Hills, and a female in Mole, a European migrant.

WHINCHAT (Saxicola rubetra)

Several sightings from the Brugbani-Asibey area, another European migrant.

MOCKING CLIFF-CHAT (Thamnolaea cinnamomeiventris coronata)

This was tricky but we eventually came good with a male at Shai Hills. Sometimes split as White-crowned Cliffchat.

WHITE-FRONTED BLACK-CHAT (Oenanthe albifrons)

Great views of two at the laterite pans at Brugbani, this is not seen on every tour.

FAMILIAR CHAT (Oenanthe familiaris)

Two at Zaina Lodge were quite showy, even perching on the roof there.

Nectariniidae (Sunbirds and Spiderhunters)

FRASER'S SUNBIRD (Deleornis fraseri)

An odd straight-billed species with mid-green plumage, seen at Kakum and heard at Ankasa..

MOUSE-BROWN SUNBIRD (Anthreptes gabonicus)

Good views from the Ebi River mangroves, this is also called Mangrove Sunbird. A pair were nest building here on a branch over the river.

LITTLE GREEN SUNBIRD (Anthreptes seimundi kruensis)

Another seen well at Ankasa, Kakum and Bobiri, pretty nondescript greeny coloured but small sized, also called Seimund's Sunbird.

GREEN SUNBIRD (YELLOW-THROATED) (Anthreptes rectirostris rectirostris)

A single from Kakum, this is a split by the IOC as Yellow-throated Sunbird.

COLLARED SUNBIRD (Hedydipna collaris subcollaris)

Common in all the forest sites, the most widespread of the family here.

PYGMY SUNBIRD (Hedydipna platura)

A fine full plumage male with long tail streamers at Mole, they were elusive this trip.

REICHENBACH'S SUNBIRD (Anabathmis reichenbachii) [E]

Nice looks at the new lodge at Ankasa where they were feeding in the coconut and hibiscus flowers, it is a very local species of the far west.

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Our group at the "Big Tree" in Ankasa. No, those aren't missile defense shields but rather microphones! Photo by guide Phil Gregory.

GREEN-HEADED SUNBIRD (GREEN-HEADED) (Cyanomitra verticalis verticalis)

Good views of a female in the riparian at Mognori, the only one of the trip.

BLUE-THROATED BROWN SUNBIRD (Cyanomitra cyanolaema magnirostrata)

Another quite vocal species with a dry trill call, seen at Ankasa and Abrafo.

OLIVE SUNBIRD (Cyanomitra olivacea guineensis)

Vocal but hard to see well, we got them at Ankasa, Kakum and Bobiri.

BUFF-THROATED SUNBIRD (Chalcomitra adelberti adelberti)

An unusually good trip for them with 7 day records from Ankasa, Kakum Kwabenasam, Bobiri and Atewa.

SCARLET-CHESTED SUNBIRD (Chalcomitra senegalensis senegalensis)

A few sightings from Mole and then Bobiri and Atewa, the male is a very beautiful bird.

OLIVE-BELLIED SUNBIRD (Cinnyris chloropygius kempi)

Nice views at Ankasa and Kakum.

TINY SUNBIRD (Cinnyris minullus)

Diminutive and elusive, but seen at Ankasa, Kakum, Bobiri and Abrafo, the small bill is a good character. They were nest building at Kakum.

BEAUTIFUL SUNBIRD (Cinnyris pulchellus)

Quite common in Mole with several full plumaged long-tailed males and sundry females.

SPLENDID SUNBIRD (Cinnyris coccinigastrus) [E]

Yet another aptly named bird, first seen at Shai Hills then Nsuta, Kakum and Zaina.

JOHANNA'S SUNBIRD (Cinnyris johannae fasciatus)

Seen nicely at Ankasa and Kakum, another outstanding sunbird.

SUPERB SUNBIRD (Cinnyris superbus ashantiensis)

One of the very best sunbirds, the large long-billed males just glow, seen really well at Ankasa, Kakum and Atewa.

COPPER SUNBIRD (Cinnyris cupreus cupreus)

Seen briefly at Kakum, Stingless Bee Road and Mole farmbush.

Ploceidae (Weavers and Allies)

CHESTNUT-CROWNED SPARROW-WEAVER (Plocepasser superciliosus)

Two singles at Zaina Lodge.

RED-VENTED MALIMBE (Malimbus scutatus) [E]

Seen at Ankasa, and then at Antwikwaa.

BLUE-BILLED MALIMBE (Malimbus nitens)

Seen twice at Ankasa.

CRESTED MALIMBE (Malimbus malimbicus)

Seen by some at Ankasa, then 2 at Atewa on the last morning.

RED-HEADED MALIMBE (Malimbus rubricollis)

4 at Ankasa, 4 at Kakum and singles from Bobiri and Atewa.

RED-HEADED WEAVER (Anaplectes rubriceps)

A male up in the savanna at the laterite pans in Mole, nest building but very wary.

LITTLE WEAVER (Ploceus luteolus)

Three records from Mole of this diminutive species.

BLACK-NECKED WEAVER (OLIVE-BACKED) (Ploceus nigricollis brachypterus)

Now split as Olive-backed Weaver, we saw them at Shai Hills, Nsuta, Antwikwaa and Bobiri. it is very different to Black-necked Weaver of E and C Africa.

ORANGE WEAVER (Ploceus aurantius aurantius)

4 at Bokoro Pond were the only ones, nest building too, it's always a very local species.

HEUGLIN'S MASKED-WEAVER (Ploceus heuglini)

One from the savanna at the laterite pans,, the pink legs and pale eye are good field characters and it's a scarce bird..

VIEILLOT'S WEAVER (CHESTNUT-AND-BLACK) (Ploceus nigerrimus castaneofuscus)

A common species of farmbush, it is split by Birdlife and now Clements as Chestnut and Black Weaver. It is totally unlike East African birds which lack any chestnut.

VILLAGE WEAVER (BLACK-HEADED) (Ploceus cucullatus cucullatus)

The default weaver of the tour, this nominate race has a chestnut area on the back and is very different to southern birds, it is long overdue for a re-evaluation of the complex.

BLACK-HEADED WEAVER (Ploceus melanocephalus capitalis)

A partial breeding dress male and 3 female birds seen in Mole, mainly a northern species in Ghana.

YELLOW-MANTLED WEAVER (Ploceus tricolor)

Seen at Kakum, Abrafo and Kwabenasam, on a good view it's a fine-looking bird with deep chestnut underparts.

MAXWELL'S BLACK WEAVER (WHITE-NAPED) (Ploceus albinucha albinucha)

One at Nsuta, 10 at Kwabenasam and 8 at Atewa. It resembles the Vieillot's Weavers of East Africa with its grey, black and white plumage, but has a distinct white eye and is considerably smaller.

PREUSS'S WEAVER (Ploceus preussi) [E]

3 at Antwikwaa and 2 at Kwabenasam, quite a scarce species that works along branches a bit like a creeper.

RED-HEADED QUELEA (Quelea erythrops)

Just one non-breeding dress bird seen in Mole.

RED-BILLED QUELEA (Quelea quelea)

Quite large flocks flying at Fufulso ponds, and a few in Mole next day, it is a very irruptive species

BLACK-WINGED BISHOP (Euplectes hordeaceus)

Just one non-breeding bird at Brenu Beach, we usually see the striking breeding birds at Atewa, but not this year.


One was seen at Brenu Beach, also non-breeding.

GROSBEAK WEAVER (Amblyospiza albifrons capitalba)

Just 3 flying over and perching up for scope views at Atewa farmbush, our usual site for it on this tour.

Estrildidae (Waxbills and Allies)

BRONZE MANNIKIN (Spermestes cucullata)

Quite common in farmbush areas.

MAGPIE MANNIKIN (Spermestes fringilloides)

2 at Rainforest Hotel were the only sighting of this very uncommon large-billed species.

BLACK-AND-WHITE MANNIKIN (Spermestes bicolor)

Small numbers from Ankasa and Antwikwaa.

WHITE-BREASTED NIGRITA (Nigrita fusconotus)

A good view of this diminutive species from Kakum Walkway and again at Atewa.


Good views of this one from Kakum, Kwabenasam and Bobiri, nice to see them so well as they can be elusive.

GRAY-HEADED NIGRITA (Nigrita canicapillus)

Small numbers at the forest sites, and often heard calling, a characteristic sound of the rainforest edges..

LAVENDER WAXBILL (Glaucestrilda caerulescens)

A Mole special, we had very nice looks along the Samole Loop and in the farmbush near the airstrip.


4 at Antwikwaa and 2 at Saltlick loop.

BLACK-RUMPED WAXBILL (Estrilda troglodytes)

Seen at the pond at Fufulso.

RED-CHEEKED CORDONBLEU (Uraeginthus bengalus)

Nice views in Mole.

WESTERN BLUEBILL (Spermophaga haematina) [E]

Frustrating at Ankasa where they were close by in the grass, but despite calling well only gave glimpses.

RED-WINGED PYTILIA (Pytilia phoenicoptera)

Merlin and Grebe saw this one twice, at Zaina Lodge and Mole farmbush, but most of us only saw the last one flyover.

RED-BILLED FIREFINCH (Lagonosticta senegala)

Just 6 in Mole, firefinches were elusive this trip.


David and Andrew saw this one under the bridge at Mognori River.

BAR-BREASTED FIREFINCH (Lagonosticta rufopicta)

Some saw this at Nsuta, and it was seen well in Mole at Saltlick loop.

BLACK-FACED FIREFINCH (Lagonosticta larvata)

7 at Mole at Saltlick loop, feeding together, an unusually good total, with several fine males.

Viduidae (Indigobirds)

PIN-TAILED WHYDAH (Vidua macroura)

Outstanding at Ankasa Lodge where a male was chasing several females, then a fine long-tailed male at Atewa doing likewise.

Passeridae (Old World Sparrows)

HOUSE SPARROW (Passer domesticus) [I]

Seen at several urban sites, a recent arrival in Ghana.


Widespread in small numbers.

SAHEL BUSH SPARROW (Gymnoris dentata)

Several sightings in Mole of the former Bush Petronia, now reallocated to the Gymnoris genus and requiring a name change.

Motacillidae (Wagtails and Pipits)


One at Sakumono.

WESTERN YELLOW WAGTAIL (FLAVA) (Motacilla flava flava)

3 at Daboya on the White Volta, in quite good plumage too, this is the Blue-headed Wagtail.

AFRICAN PIED WAGTAIL (Motacilla aguimp)

Seven day records of singles from sundry urban sites.

PLAIN-BACKED PIPIT (Anthus leucophrys)

A nice view of one at Shai Hills.

TREE PIPIT (Anthus trivialis)

8 of this migrant from the Palearctic was seen at Shai Hills.


Wonderful views of this Meadowlark lookalike from Shai Hills, we spent a while looking at the very long curved hindclaws as it sat in a tree.

Fringillidae (Finches, Euphonias, and Allies)

YELLOW-FRONTED CANARY (Crithagra mozambica)

A few singles from Mole.

Emberizidae (Old World Buntings)

BROWN-RUMPED BUNTING (Emberiza affinis)

Great looks at a singing bird near Mole airstrip, a very obliging individual.



This striking bat was seen in the riparian at Samole loop in Mole.

TOMB BAT SP. (Taphozous sp.)

A noisy squeaky colony at Sayu Caves is meant to be primarily Egyptian Tomb Bat

POTTO (Perodicticus potto)

A great find from Ankasa after an ibis expedition. the eye-shine was quite bright.

PRINCE DEMIDOFF'S BUSHBABY (Galago demidoff) [*]

Heard at Kakum and Bonkro.

LESSER WHITE-NOSED GUENON (Cercopithecus petaurista) [E]

Seen at the Botanic Gardens and again in Kakum.

GUENON SP. (Cercopithecus campbelli)

The form here is Lowes Monkey and we saw it briefly at Ankasa.

GREEN MONKEY (Cercopithecus sabaeus)

Seen at Shai Hills and Mole, there have been various arrangements as to what occurs here but Green Monkey seems the simplest option.

PATAS MONKEY (Erythrocebus patas)

A nice pick up from Mole of this uncommon rather orangey-rufous monkey.

OLIVE BABOON (Papio anubis)

Close encounters at Shai Hills and again in Mole, where the staff actively discourage them from coming to the lodge.


Several sightings from Mole.

KINTAMBO ROPE SQUIRREL (Funisciurus substriatus) [E]

Heard at Mole and I think Richard saw it there.

FIRE-FOOTED ROPE SQUIRREL (Funisciurus pyrrhopus) [*]

Heard at Antwikwaa.

GREEN BUSH SQUIRREL (Paraxerus poensis)

Seen at the Botanic Gardens and in Kakum.

SMALL SUN SQUIRREL (Heliosciurus punctatus)

Several sightings from Ankasa where two looked to be trying to remove Richard and Rose-Ann's roof thatch.

PEL'S FLYING SQUIRREL (Anomalurus peli) [E]

Great looks on a tree trunk at Kakum, and we saw it glide off at the end, now placed in Anomaluridae (Anomalures) and not amongst squirrels.


The genet that came to the bar on the first night at Zaina was I think this species.

LARGE-SPOTTED GENET (Genetta tigrina)

I think the genets at Ankasa are this species.

SPOTTED HYAENA (Crocuta crocuta) [*]

Heard very close to the tents on some 3 nights, and I heard one rustle off into the scrub at 0300 one morning, but no sightings for us.

AFRICAN BUSH ELEPHANT (Loxodonta africana)

Lovely looks at them in Mole, with 3 in the waterhole at various times, and also met with in the forest twice, with the 3 on the way out as we left being outstanding- see Kingfisher's video!

WESTERN TREE HYRAX (Dendrohyrax dorsalis) [*]

Noisy at night at Ankasa and Kakum, but a very hard species to actually see.

WARTHOG (Phacochoerus aethiopicus)

A few in Mole, great to see how they kneel to forage.

BUSHBUCK (Tragelaphus scriptus)

A few seen in Mole.

KOB (Kobus kob)

Small numbers from Shai Hills and Mole.



Seen most days in a variety of colour forms and ages.

NILE CROCODILE (Crocodylus niloticus)

Up to 9 in the waterhole at Mole Motel, and another large one below Zaina Lodge.


Trip Highlights: Rockfowl, Egyptian Plover, Standardwing Nightjar, Nkulengu Rail, Red-fronted Antpecker, Rosy Bee-eater and of course some memorable kingfishers, hornbills, and sunbirds.

I always enjoy seeing the extraordinary variety of business names, many with religious themes, and I noted the following:

Cashflow Guesthouse, Clean Foods, Cecilia's Funeral and Fashion Home, Don't Mind Your Wife Chop-Bar, Me See Hmm Shop, Merciful God Vulcanizing.

Lifer totals are always fun, with Kingfisher coming out top with 340+, Kirsten with 292, Ahmet with 230, Marilyn 146 and Grebe 93. I managed 2 (one a BVD Better View Desired), plus a First Sighting of the previously heard only Chestnut Owlet.

Ahmet has kindly prepared a wonderful Checklist of the Butterflies from the tour, with photos of many by Ahmet and David. Let me know if you would like a copy.

Totals for the tour: 418 bird taxa and 23 mammal taxa