A Field Guides Birding Tours Report

Ghana: Window Into West African Birding 2024

March 16-April 4, 2024 with Phil Gregory, Tarry Butcher and James Ntakor guiding

Field Guides Birding Tours
Black Bee-eaters are one of the highlights of a visit to Ankasa. This pair was very photogenic, and posed beautifully for participant Becky Hansen.

Our Field Guides Ghana 2024 tour was very successful, albeit unusually hot in Mole. Some expected species did not materialize, but this was compensated by other surprises, including best-ever experiences with White-necked Rockfowl and Egyptian Plover. We had a great team with 2 local guides James and Ebenezer, then Phil (Sicklebill) and Tarry from RSA/Namibia along to learn the trip.

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 hot, chaotic, crowded, and vibrant, with friendly people.

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

Logistics worked well with a very competent driver, Eric. 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 heavy one at Winneba and a late pm one at Atewa, and thankfully Ankasa, and the Picathartes hill stayed fine -- these can be problematic for weather.

We did well for birds too, despite many species not being terribly responsive. Everyone was in early this year, so we went out to Legon Botanic Gardens for an easy introduction, with everyone foregoing a restful morning at the hotel in favor of Black Heron, Senegal Thickknee, Guinea and Violet turaco, Woodland Kingfisher, Bearded and Double-toothed barbet, and Piping and Northern Red-billed Hornbill. Plus Long-tailed Glossy Starling, White-crowned Robin-chat and Red-billed Wood-hoopoe, a nice beginning. That afternoon was to the Sakumono RAMSAR site for Senegal Coucal, and Senegal Parrot, Western Yellow Wagtail, Greater Swamp Warbler and some entertaining Yellow-crowned Gonoleks.

Shai Hills is also a really good introduction to savanna birds, such as Swallow-tailed Bee-eater, Vieillot's and Bearded barbets, and a male White-crowned Cliffchat. Chestnut Owlet called, but stayed out of sight at a cultural site nearby. We saw a record number of Violet Turaco, too, and had great views of the normally elusive Black-capped Babbler.

Nsuta Forest is now very degraded, a sad state of affairs, but we found Piping, Western Pied and Western Black Dwarf hornbills, Emerald Cuckoo and some 29 species within 50m of the bus. Bokoro Pond came good with African Pygmy Goose, Allen's Gallinule and Orange Weaver, but regrettably Hartlaub's Duck was missing in action on both visits, the water levels seemed very high.

We got very lucky at Ankasa, with good looks at both Fraser's and Akun Eagle-Owl, as well as African Wood Owl, plus the amazing Nkulengu Rail experience, and very elusive Red-fronted Antpeckers at two areas, White-bellied, Chocolate-backed, and Shining-blue kingfishers, and a dusk hearing of Spot-breasted Ibis. Black-Bee-eaters were outstanding at our lodge, which was also good for Reichenbach's and Splendid sunbirds. Long-tailed Hawk was calling very close and I was sure we were going to see it, then a Palmnut Vulture came by and then returned to harass the calling bird, which promptly vanished, just unbelievable. Rufous-winged Illadopsis was challenging but everyone got it eventually.

Kakum was excellent, and we had a great time with hornbills, with an incredible 23 Black-casqued and 5 Brown-cheeked hornbills, Congo Serpent Eagle, West African Batis, Violet-backed Hyliota, Tiny and Yellow-throated (Green) sunbirds, and Rosy Bee-eater, plus the amazing Pel's Anomalure at dusk, and great looks at the very large, cat-sized, Pouched Rat, and a female Potto complete with baby clinging underneath. We also managed at last to see my lifer Baumann's Greenbul near the Lodge. James will be pleased to not have me going on about it in future, as it's been a not-seen feature for many trips!

Antwikwaa produced a flock of Black-casqued Hornbill, a marvelous White-spotted Flufftail which gave scope views for the first time ever on this tour, 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 outstanding this year. We got diverted to a new area with a gigantic boulder atop a forested ridge, as Malimbe Tours had sneaked in and taken over our usual site without warning, but they did us a favor, as we had an incredible experience with 9 Rockfowl coming and going over an hour. 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 a few savanna species, including Red-cheeked Cordon-bleu. Mole is always a highlight with its variety of savanna species, and this year Standard-wing Nightjar gave good views, Forbes’s Plover was looking like a miss but was found by spotlight as we were leaving, and the laterite pans had Woodchat Shrike, a daytime female Standard-wing Nightjar, Flappet Lark, and Sun Lark. White-throated Francolin came in very nicely for video, Lavender Waxbill showed well, and amongst the more esoteric species were both Rufous and Dorst’s cisticolas and Gambaga Flycatcher. Migrants seemed sparse, but a male Common Redstart was a great find, and flocks of Western House Martins were coming in to drink at the ponds. Abyssinian Roller was amazingly scarce but is always a crowd-pleaser, and Oriole Warbler eventually showed well after being unusually quiet.

Bobiri gave us a great Long-tailed Hawk, a nice compensation for the one that stood us up at Ankasa, 4 African Cuckoo-Hawk, and wonderful views of a pair of African Piculet.

Atewa farmbush gave Maxwell’s Black Weaver, Compact Weaver, Grosbeak Weaver, and Swamp Bulbul. Next day there we heard a very elusive but vocal Kemp’s Longbill and had good views of Puvel's Illadopsis.

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 by so you could see the standards waving above the bird.

Our group was up for mammals and butterflies as well as birds, and had several expert photographers along, and we look forward to seeing some of the results. 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, having to get on the bus quite rapidly at the Lodge one afternoon.

Ghana is a great destination for Lepidoptera, and we had Ebenezer, an Ashanti butterfly expert, along with us to help with that group as well as being a terrific bird-spotter.

My thanks to the group for coming, and it was another excellent group for spotting. Tarry did sterling service with manning the telescope and compiling the eBird data, and it was good to have someone along to learn the route. I hope Margaret was able to get her hand and wrist problems remedied; she was very determined and courageous, and kept on going with assistance from many of us. My thanks to Kevin for the allergy meds that cleared up my nasal problem which was such a nuisance early on. I also hope Don will be able to join us in 2025, having had to drop out just before the tour began.

Thanks particularly to Sharon at Field Guides HQ and staff at Ashanti for setting it all up. It was a very action-packed, fun trip 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 Ebenezer and I look forward to 2025 -- it's sure to be an enjoyable adventure with many wonderful sightings!

Itinerary Ghana 2024

* Day 1 Sunday Mar 17. Everyone arrived the day before, so we went out to Legon Botanic garden for some extra initial birding that morning, then to Sakumono 15-1730. Overnight Erata Hotel.

* Day 2 Mon Mar 18. Shai Hills, Heawoyu Cultural Site. O/n Erata Hotel.

* Day 3 Tues Mar 19. Winneba Lagoon 1130-1230/ Winneba Plain briefly before a storm hit/ Cape Coast/ Fosu Lagoon/ Nsuta forest remnant late pm. O/n Summerview.

* Day 4 Wed Mar 20. Nsuta till 1000/ Bokoro pond Takoradi/ Ebi River 1600-1615/Ankasa 1800. O/n Ankasa Lodge.

* Day 5 Thurs Mar 21. Ankasa to pond area am/ pm Monkey track/ Main track and reserve entrance. O/n Ankasa Lodge

* Day 6 Fri Mar 22. Ankasa main track and Illadopsis loop/ pm main track/ O/n Ankasa Lodge.

* Day 7 Sat Mar 23. Ankasa Lodge area/ Ebi River 0845-0930/ Brenu Beach 1530-1645/ O/n Rainforest Lodge 1745 on.

* Day 8 Sun Mar 24. Antwikwaa till 1030, hot and sunny/ pm Abrafo Forest new logging track till 1730 then Baumann's Greenbul site near Lodge. O/n Rainforest Lodge.

* Day 9 Mon Mar 25. Kakum Walkway to 1030/ pm Kakum Walkway 1600-1900. O/n Rainforest Lodge.

* Day 10 Tues Mar 26. Stingless Bee Road at Jukwa till 1030/ Twifo Mampong swallow culvert. Pra River at Twifo Praso/ Bonkro Picathartes boulder site 1530-1730. O/n Picathartes Lodge.

* Day 11 Wed Mar 27. Kwabenasam Forest near Bonkro 0630-1100/ To Kumasi and Noda Hotel.

* Day 12 Thurs Mar 28. Kumasi/ Kintampo/ Ponds near Fufulso/ Mole NP 1900. O/n Zaina Lodge.

* Day 13 Fri Mar 29. Zaina Lodge till 0730/ Samole Loop and waterhole/ pm Brugbani-Asibey Loop area laterite pans, back 1930. O/n Zaina Lodge

* Day 14 Sat Mar 30. Daboya on White Volta/ pm Brugbani -Asibey Loop area 1520-2000. O/n Zaina Lodge.

* Day 15 Sun Mar 31. Farmbush near airstrip/ Mognori River area till 1100/ pm Samole loop. O/n Zaina Lodge

* Day 16 Mon Apr 1. Zaina lookout 0600-0700/ Larabanga mosque/ Kintampo/ Kumasi 1800 O/n Noda Hotel.

* Day 17 Tues Apr 2. Bobiri till 1030/Linda Dor/ Atewa farmbush 1530-1700 rain later. O/n Linda Dor.

* Day 18 Thurs Apr 3. Atewa forest track till 1000, then to Accra Erata Hotel then to airport for flights home 1730 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)

30 at Sakumono and 10+ Bokoro, then 250 at Mole.

Field Guides Birding Tours
The White-necked Rockfowl, or Picathartes, is one of the very special birds we look for in Ghana, and this year we had a marvelous encounter with them. Participant Karen Fung captured this lovely image of two of the nine individuals we saw.

AFRICAN PYGMY-GOOSE (Nettapus auritus)

5 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.

Odontophoridae (New World Quail)

STONE PARTRIDGE (Ptilopachus petrosus)

Some of us saw a couple at Shai Hills, then it was heard only at Mole until the very last morning as we were leaving, when we had 5 by the entrance gate! Now reallocated to New World Quail, 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 2 birds came in to check out the recording.

DOUBLE-SPURRED SPURFOWL (Pternistis bicalcaratus)

Good views from Sakumono, Shai Hills and Mole.

Podicipedidae (Grebes)

LITTLE GREBE (LITTLE) (Tachybaptus ruficollis ruficollis)

17 at Fosu Lagoon was a high count, and it was heard at Bokoro.

Columbidae (Pigeons and Doves)

ROCK PIGEON (Columba livia) [I]

Small numbers of Feral Pigeons inhabit the cities here.

SPECKLED PIGEON (Columba guinea guinea)

Two seen at Fufulso Ponds, then some saw it at Daboya, it is 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)

Seen at Sakumono, Shai Hills, one at the Noda Hotel in Kumasi then frequent in Mole.

LAUGHING DOVE (Spilopelia 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, and seen well at Antwikwaa and Atewa.

TAMBOURINE DOVE (Turtur tympanistria)

A glimpse from Ankasa and again at Bobiri, strangely elusive this year.

BRUCE'S GREEN-PIGEON (Treron waalia)

Sadly basically brief flight views as we headed for Mognori, we usually see them at the Lodges in Mole.

Field Guides Birding Tours
Senegal Parrots showed nicely for us in several places. Photo by participant Kevin Watson.


Small numbers at several forest sites, some years it can be quite tricky!

Pteroclidae (Sandgrouse)

FOUR-BANDED SANDGROUSE (Pterocles quadricinctus)

Seen up at Brugbani at dusk but basically flight views, and not very vocal this time.

Musophagidae (Turacos)

GREAT BLUE TURACO (Corythaeola cristata) [*]

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

GUINEA TURACO (Tauraco persa) [E]

Seen at Legon Botanic Garden, and one on Winneba Plain as the storm was coming in.

YELLOW-BILLED TURACO (Tauraco macrorhynchus) [E]

Seen nicely at Ankasa.

VIOLET TURACO (Musophaga violacea)

One from Legon, then 10 at Shai Hills where something must be in good fruit. Also a couple from Mole later.

WESTERN PLANTAIN-EATER (Crinifer piscator)

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

Cuculidae (Cuckoos)

BLACK-THROATED COUCAL (Centropus leucogaster)

Heard at Antwikwaa, and two seen at Bobiri; this is a mega-skulker despite being so large and it was great to get views.

SENEGAL COUCAL (Centropus senegalensis)

Seen first at Sakumono, then at Mole and Brenu, also heard.

BLUE-HEADED COUCAL (Centropus monachus)

Seen nicely at Stingless Bee Road and heard 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 the Asian Malkohas to which it bears no resemblance!

LEVAILLANT'S CUCKOO (Clamator levaillantii)

Juist one from Shai Hills, and very brief.

DIDERIC CUCKOO (Chrysococcyx caprius)

I thought we were going to miss seeing it; we heard one at Kakum and Kwabenasam, and saw one at Bobiri at last.

KLAAS'S CUCKOO (Chrysococcyx klaas)

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

AFRICAN EMERALD CUCKOO (Chrysococcyx cupreus)

A fine male seen at Nsuta, and a female from the Kakum Walkway.

Field Guides Birding Tours
This African Wood-Owl was seen very close, just after our wonderful experience with Nkulengu Rails at Ankasa. Photo by participant Pete Yendle.

BLACK CUCKOO (RUFOUS-THROATED) (Cuculus clamosus gabonensis)

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

RED-CHESTED CUCKOO (Cuculus solitarius)

Only heard at Kwabenasam, curiously local in Ghana.

AFRICAN CUCKOO (Cuculus gularis)

Just two singles from the Mole area, and not vocal this year.

Caprimulgidae (Nightjars and Allies)

BROWN NIGHTJAR (Veles binotatus) [E*]

Heard distantly at Kakum.

STANDARD-WINGED NIGHTJAR (Caprimulgus longipennis)

Fantastic to see a male flying with the extraordinary pennants trailing above it up at Asibey; also great to hear the curious high-pitched insect-like song of which I hope I got a recording, which I will post. One of the trip megas and seems to be getting hard each year, gone from some former sites.

LONG-TAILED NIGHTJAR (Caprimulgus climacurus)

A good vocal one up at Asibey, which flew in and sat along a branch for scope views; the long tail is the striking feature. The churring song goes on for some while.

Apodidae (Swifts)

MOTTLED SPINETAIL (Telacanthura ussheri)

Nice views from Ankasa, and then at Linda Dor for Pete and me.

BLACK SPINETAIL (Telacanthura melanopygia) [E]

Very nice views at Antwikwaa; this is the trickiest of the spinetails here and Kevin got some brilliant photos. Another was seen at Kwabenasam later.

SABINE'S SPINETAIL (Rhaphidura sabini)

Seen well at Nsuta and Ankasa, four sightings of one or 2 birds each time..

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 Antwikwaa.

COMMON SWIFT (Apus apus)

A few migrants going by at Antwikwaa and Mole.

LITTLE SWIFT (Apus affinis)

Common by roadside culverts where they nest.


One from Nsuta, always a scarce bird, and some may have seen one in Mole.

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 and en route to Antwikwaa, then a male was a star at there, coming in and allowing very good views, a fantastic little bird. The first time I have ever seen a flufftail in the scope too, thanks to Tarry for setting that up.

Field Guides Birding Tours
This stunning Yellow-crowned Gonolek was one of several that we saw on the tour. Photo by participant Kevin Watson.
Rallidae (Rails, Gallinules, and Coots)

EURASIAN MOORHEN (Gallinula chloropus)

Four-day records of single birds starting at Legon.

ALLEN'S GALLINULE (Porphyrio alleni)

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

AFRICAN SWAMPHEN (Porphyrio madagascariensis)

This is strangely uncommon in Ghana, a couple of folks glimpsed one at Sakumono, it is not seen every trip.

NKULENGU RAIL (Himantornis haematopus)

The guides and drivers were ready at dusk to dash in and locate them whilst they are still calling, and sure enough, 5 of them vanished into the dark forest as the calling began. This paid off nicely and we got good views of a family group of 5 high in a tree, leaving them sat there; see the video on Smugmug. The Belgians went in later and saw 3. One of the tour highlights as just so bizarre.

BLACK CRAKE (Zapornia flavirostra)

One at Bokoro Pond and one at Mole.

Burhinidae (Thick-knees)

SPOTTED THICK-KNEE (Burhinus capensis) [*]

Heard up at the laterite plains, but not seen; this is one of the northern specials.

SENEGAL THICK-KNEE (Burhinus senegalensis)

Vocal at the Erata Hotel, then nice views of 18 at Legon Botanic Gardens and 4 at Sakumono, with a few from Mole.

Pluvianidae (Egyptian Plover)

EGYPTIAN PLOVER (Pluvianus aegyptius)

My best-ever experience with this iconic bird; we began with worryingly distant views of 2 on a sandbar, which flew in as soon as James played a fragment of the call, and then fed quietly right in front of us for some 20 minutes. Incredible!

Recurvirostridae (Stilts and Avocets)

BLACK-WINGED STILT (Himantopus himantopus)

15 at Winneba Lagoon.

Charadriidae (Plovers and Lapwings)

BLACK-BELLIED PLOVER (Pluvialis squatarola)

7 at Winneba Lagoon.

COMMON RINGED PLOVER (Charadrius hiaticula)

50 at Winneba Lagoon.

FORBES'S PLOVER (Charadrius forbesi)

A complete dip out on the first afternoon, and it was looking very doubtful on the second until James picked up 2 roosting birds as we were driving out, and we eventually worked out which light they were sitting in! A very local species which was new for all the clients.

SPUR-WINGED LAPWING (Vanellus spinosus)

Small numbers at various sites starting at Sakumono.

WATTLED LAPWING (Vanellus senegallus)

3 at Sakumono and ones and twos at various sites later.

Jacanidae (Jacanas)

AFRICAN JACANA (Actophilornis africanus)

9-day records but 6 in Mole was the most.

Field Guides Birding Tours
We were as interesting to the locals as the birds were to us! Here, participant Karen Fung got a shot of guide Tarry Butcher interacting with a group of curious children.
Scolopacidae (Sandpipers and Allies)

WHIMBREL (Numenius phaeopus)

4 at Winneba lagoon and some saw one at Ebi River.

BAR-TAILED GODWIT (Limosa lapponica)

8 at Winneba Lagoon.

COMMON SNIPE (Gallinago gallinago)

Ted flushed one up at the Mole waterhole but most of us were engrossed with a Red-throated Pipit and missed it. Quite scarce and rarely seen on the tour.

TEREK SANDPIPER (Xenus cinereus)

Two at Winneba Lagoon were unexpected and a Ghana tick for Phil.

COMMON SANDPIPER (Actitis hypoleucos)

3 at Legon and 4 at Sakumono, and odd records later in the trip.

MARSH SANDPIPER (Tringa stagnatilis)

Another surprise from Winneba Lagoon where 5 birds were amongst Greenshanks, it is rarely seen on the tour.

WOOD SANDPIPER (Tringa glareola)

Four at Sakumono and odd records of singles later in the trip.

COMMON REDSHANK (Tringa totanus)

Two at Winneba Lagoon.

COMMON GREENSHANK (Tringa nebularia)

15 at Winneba lagoon and one at Ebi River.

RUDDY TURNSTONE (Arenaria interpres)

3 at Winneba Lagoon.

CURLEW SANDPIPER (Calidris ferruginea)

2 at Winneba lagoon, just starting to colour up into the reddish summer plumage.

SANDERLING (Calidris alba)

Ten at Winneba Lagoon.

DUNLIN (Calidris alpina)

7 at Winneba Lagoon.

Glareolidae (Pratincoles and Coursers)

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

5 of this chestnut-collared taxon liberiae on rocks at the Pra River, seen well in the scopes.

Laridae (Gulls, Terns, and Skimmers)

BLACK TERN (EURASIAN) (Chlidonias niger niger)

Two at Sakumono were rather surprisingly the only terns of the trip.

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The Bearded Barbet has a very unusual bill structure, shown nicely in this portrait by participant Becky Hansen.
Ciconiidae (Storks)


Three-day records from Mole, with 2 birds on two days.

Phalacrocoracidae (Cormorants and Shags)

LONG-TAILED CORMORANT (Microcarbo africanus)

Nesting at Legon Botanic gardens and in the quite colorful breeding dress, then small numbers at various wetland sites later.

Scopidae (Hamerkop)

HAMERKOP (Scopus umbretta)

Good views from the Mole area and one seen well south near Bobiri by some.

Ardeidae (Herons, Egrets, and Bitterns)

DWARF BITTERN (Ixobrychus sturmii)

One seen briefly at the Pond in Ankasa.

BLACK-CROWNED NIGHT HERON (Nycticorax nycticorax)

A couple seen in Mole.

BLACK HERON (Egretta ardesiaca)

One at the Legon Botanic Gardens was nice, then a couple at the Ebi River, it's a very local species here.

LITTLE EGRET (Egretta garzetta)

One from Winneba Lagoon and some saw one at Ebi River.

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

Very good looks from Winneba and Fosu Lagoon, and one at Ebi River, all were the dark grey morph.

STRIATED HERON (Butorides striata)

Seen at Legon Botanic Gardens, Fosu Lagoon, Ankasa Pond and in Mole.

SQUACCO HERON (Ardeola ralloides)

4 at Sakumono, then 3 at Bokoro Pond and 1 Ebi River, before small numbers daily in Mole.


Widespread in small numbers and seen daily except at Ankasa.

GREAT EGRET (AFRICAN) (Ardea alba melanorhynchos)

3 at Sakumono and one at Bokoro Pond.

YELLOW-BILLED EGRET (Ardea brachyrhyncha)

One from Legon Botanic Gardens, and one at Samole waterhole, now a split from what was Intermediate Egret.

PURPLE HERON (Ardea purpurea)

Seen at Bokoro and 3 singles from the Mole area.

BLACK-HEADED HERON (Ardea melanocephala)

One at Sakumono was unusual there, then one at Samole, a nest colony in a baobab at Daboya on the White Volta, and one flying over at Zaina.

Field Guides Birding Tours
The little White-spotted Flufftail is found in areas with heavy cover, making them hard to see, but we had great views this year. This male even let us look at him in the scope! Photo by participant Kevin Watson.
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; it's a hard species to see.

HADADA IBIS (Bostrychia hagedash)

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

Pandionidae (Osprey)

OSPREY (HALIAETUS) (Pandion haliaetus haliaetus)

A single at Sakumono was the only record.

Accipitridae (Hawks, Eagles, and Kites)

AFRICAN HARRIER-HAWK (Polyboroides typus)

7-day records, mostly singles apart from 3 at Kakum.

PALM-NUT VULTURE (Gypohierax angolensis)

5-day records of singles from the forest zones, the one that drove off the Long-tailed Hawk was the most unpopular bird of the trip!


Three singles from Kakum, Antwikwaa and Bobiri.

AFRICAN CUCKOO-HAWK (Aviceda cuculoides)

A record trip for what is usually a scarce species; we had 6-day records starting at Shai Hills, seen in display at Antwikwaa- the typical Baza up and down butterfly style- and then 4 together at Bobiri, presumably a family group.

WHITE-HEADED VULTURE (Trigonoceps occipitalis)

Two records of singles in Mole, a rare bird now.

HOODED VULTURE (Necrosyrtes monachus)

2 at Brenu Beach then just 4 from Mole, greatly reduced in numbers.


A handful from Mole only, likewise much reduced in numbers.

CONGO SERPENT-EAGLE (Dryotriorchis spectabilis)

A good one from Kakum Walkway, calling distantly then flying by to perch up for scope views.

BATELEUR (Terathopius ecaudatus)

Small numbers from Mole only, including immatures and adults.

BEAUDOUIN'S SNAKE-EAGLE (Circaetus beaudouini)

One fine bird en route from Daboya, we usually see one per trip and here it was.

BANDED SNAKE-EAGLE (Circaetus cinerascens)

Kevin and Ebenezer saw one distantly from the Zaina balcony, quite scarce,

MARTIAL EAGLE (Polemaetus bellicosus)

A surprise from Mognori in Mole where it is now rare, we had not seen one for some years and this was a fine adult.

Egyptian Plover is one of the birds we hunt for on this tour. We visited the White Volta River at Daboya to look for them, and were very successful indeed! Guide Phil Gregory got some video of one of the birds calling and foraging on the riverbank.

WAHLBERG'S EAGLE (Hieraaetus wahlbergi)

A couple of sightings from Antwikwaa and then en route from Daboya.

CASSIN'S HAWK-EAGLE (Aquila africana)

Two soaring over at Kwabenasam gave very nice looks, another of the quite rare raptors.

LIZARD BUZZARD (Kaupifalco monogrammicus)

Better than usual for this curiously local species, with one from the usual Winneba Plains site, then a couple from Mole.

DARK CHANTING-GOSHAWK (Melierax metabates)

One en route to Daboya, sat up very nicely.

GRASSHOPPER BUZZARD (Butastur rufipennis)

Three sightings from Mole, the only area we encounter this bird.

WESTERN MARSH HARRIER (Circus aeruginosus)

One at Sakumono then one at Mole waterhole, both female plumage.

AFRICAN GOSHAWK (BANDED) (Accipiter tachiro macroscelides) [*]

Heard calling "kvit" as we. went early into Kakum, but oddly enough none seen. Formerly split as Red-chested Goshawk.

SHIKRA (Accipiter badius)

Just a couple of sightings late in the trip from near Daboya and in Mole.

LONG-TAILED HAWK (Urotriorchis macrourus)

Heard very close by and glimpsed at Ankasa as a wretched Palmnut Vulture scared it off, but luckily we got one adult at Bobiri that flew by and perched briefly for quite decent views, Kevin's most wanted I think?

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

Small numbers every day except at Ankasa on one date; I am surprised that Clements still does not split this from Black Kite as it's so distinct, and was split in South Africa decades back.

RED-NECKED BUZZARD (Buteo auguralis)

Three sightings from Shai Hills, Bokoro Pond and Brenu Beach.

Strigidae (Owls)

GRAYISH EAGLE-OWL (Bubo cinerascens) [*]

Heard at the airstrip at Mole but stayed out of sight.

FRASER'S EAGLE-OWL (Ketupa poensis)

The first sighting since the covid years; we had a good look in forest near the Roloway Monkey Trail at Ankasa. It used to be the easier of the two forest eagle-owls but has become much more difficult.

AKUN EAGLE-OWL (Ketupa leucosticta)

Great looks and vocals from a pair at a site James knew not far from the Lodge at Ankasa; video on Smugmug.

PEARL-SPOTTED OWLET (Glaucidium perlatum)

Seen nicely on the Samole Loop and heard on the Saltlick loop.

Field Guides Birding Tours
These three gorgeous Shining-Blue Kingfishers put on a nice show for us at Ankasa. Photo by participant Karen Fung.

AFRICAN BARRED OWLET (ETCHECOPAR'S) (Glaucidium capense etchecopari) [*]

We got to hear two of them after a steep scramble up a rough rocky track, but annoyingly none came in. Split by IOC as Chestnut Owlet, but it does sound pretty similar to African Barred Owlet.

AFRICAN WOOD-OWL (Strix woodfordii)

Excellent at Ankasa, where we had very close views from the bus as we came back from the Nkulengu Rails, with a second bird later.

Phoeniculidae (Woodhoopoes and Scimitarbills)

GREEN WOODHOOPOE (Phoeniculus purpureus)

Seen at Legon and Sakumono then at Shai Hills, and finally in Mole.

WHITE-HEADED WOODHOOPOE (Phoeniculus bollei)

A brief look for some from the Kakum Walkway.

BLACK SCIMITARBILL (Rhinopomastus aterrimus)

One fine bird at Mognori was very responsive.

Bucerotidae (Hornbills)

RED-BILLED DWARF HORNBILL (Lophoceros camurus)

Two good sightings from Ankasa, with the great mournful vocals.

WEST AFRICAN PIED HORNBILL (Lophoceros semifasciatus)

The most widespread trip hornbill, seen at all the savanna sites starting at Nsuta. Now 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, only seen at Legon Botanic Gardens which is a long way south for this primarily northern species, and some saw one in Mole.

WESTERN LONG-TAILED HORNBILL (Horizocerus albocristatus)

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

WESTERN DWARF HORNBILL (Horizocerus hartlaubi)

A good trip for them with singles at Nsuta, Ankasa and Kwabenasam, now split as Western Dwarf Hornbill, formerly Black Dwarf Hornbill. It is possible to miss this one!

BLACK-CASQUED HORNBILL (Ceratogymna atrata)

A good count of 12 at Antwikwaa, then an astonishing flock of 23 at Kakum, by far the most I've ever seen here. Something they like must be in fruit to make them flock like this.

BROWN-CHEEKED HORNBILL (Bycanistes cylindricus) [E]

A lucky pick-up of 5 at Kakum, a rare species endemic to West Africa.

PIPING HORNBILL (Bycanistes fistulator)

2 at Legon on the first outing of the tour, then again at Nsuta and Ebi River.

Alcedinidae (Kingfishers)

SHINING-BLUE KINGFISHER (Alcedo quadribrachys)

Great looks with 3 at the pond at Ankasa, very showy this year.

Field Guides Birding Tours
Splendid Sunbird is so well-named, as seen in this beautiful photo by participant Kevin Watson.

MALACHITE KINGFISHER (Corythornis cristatus)

Eight-day records starting at Sakumono.

WHITE-BELLIED KINGFISHER (Corythornis leucogaster)

A fine bird at the first pond at Ankasa, sneaking past the Shining-blue Kingfisher which often scares it away. Also heard a couple of times in the forest along small streams.


Singles from 4 sites starting at Shai Hills then at Ankasa, Abrafo and Atewa..


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)

Nine-day records and some good views, starting at Sakumono.


Heard more then seen but some good views from Mole.

STRIPED KINGFISHER (Halcyon chelicuti) [*]

Heard only on the first visit to Brugbani.

GIANT KINGFISHER (Megaceryle maxima)

One fine female bird below Zaiina, so big that they resemble Striated Heron in flight!

PIED KINGFISHER (Ceryle rudis)

Seen at various sites with 10 at Sakumono the most.

Meropidae (Bee-eaters)

BLACK BEE-EATER (Merops gularis gularis)

Wonderful at Ankasa Lodge where a pair had a nest in a sand mound near the dining area and allowed tremendous views. Also seen at Abrafo and Atewa farmbush.


Lovely views in Mole, a very striking bird and a trip favorite as always.

LITTLE BEE-EATER (Merops pusillus)

2 at Sakumono, one at Bokoro Pond and one at Atewa farmbush.

SWALLOW-TAILED BEE-EATER (Merops hirundineus chrysolaimus)

Great looks from Shai Hills and then at Fufulso pond and en route to Daboya.

WHITE-THROATED BEE-EATER (Merops albicollis)

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

Field Guides Birding Tours
We had some great views of mammals on the tour as well, including this large male African Bush Elephant who was curious about us at Mole National Park. Photo by participant Pete Yendle.

EUROPEAN BEE-EATER (Merops apiaster)

Seen at Shai hills and in Mole, but none perched.

ROSY BEE-EATER (Merops malimbicus) [E]

Four-day records, the first at Nsuta then Kakum Walkway and perched up nicely at Antwikwaa and in flight at Abrafo. They are migrants here and this is an important trip bird.


4 at Fufulso Pond were a pleasing find as this is a long way south for this mainly northern species.

Coraciidae (Rollers)

ABYSSINIAN ROLLER (Coracias abyssinicus)

The worst year ever for them, we saw just one in Mole!

RUFOUS-CROWNED ROLLER (Coracias naevius)

Similarly lacking this year, we had singles in Mole near the Lodge for some, and near the airstrip.

BLUE-BELLIED ROLLER (Coracias cyanogaster) [E]

It was bad year for rollers as we only got this one as we were coming out of Accra en route to Winneba.

BROAD-BILLED ROLLER (Eurystomus glaucurus)

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

BLUE-THROATED ROLLER (Eurystomus gularis)

Just 3 on the power lines at Ankasa, very distant but better than nothing!

Lybiidae (African Barbets)

YELLOW-BILLED BARBET (Trachyphonus purpuratus) [*]

Heard at Nsuta and Kwabenasam, but not responsive.

BRISTLE-NOSED BARBET (Gymnobucco peli)

Seen at Nsuta and Antwikwaa.

NAKED-FACED BARBET (Gymnobucco calvus)

Good views from Nsuta only. 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)

Three sightings from the rainforest areas where this can be a puzzling bird to identify.

RED-RUMPED TINKERBIRD (Pogoniulus atroflavus)

Good looks at Antwikwaa, and heard at Ankasa, Kakum and Atewa, a very vocal species.

YELLOW-THROATED TINKERBIRD (Pogoniulus subsulphureus chrysopygus)

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

YELLOW-RUMPED TINKERBIRD (Pogoniulus bilineatus)

A good view from Antwikwaa.

Guide Phil Gregory captured a group of Black-capped Babblers at Shai Hills; the audio gives an idea of why these birds might be called "babblers".

YELLOW-FRONTED TINKERBIRD (Pogoniulus chrysoconus)

Seen at Legon and heard from Shai Hills and Mole.

YELLOW-SPOTTED BARBET (Buccanodon duchaillui)

Heard at Ankasa, and an elusive bird was eventually found along the Abrafo logging track. This western taxon sounds totally unlike the eastern birds and a split is overdue.

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

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

VIEILLOT'S BARBET (Lybius vieilloti) [E]

Seen at Shai Hills and then again at Atewa farmbush

DOUBLE-TOOTHED BARBET (Pogonornis bidentatus)

One from Legon on the very first outing.

BEARDED BARBET (Pogonornis dubius)

One at Legon and one from Shai Hills, then again at Atewa farmbush.

Indicatoridae (Honeyguides)

CASSIN'S HONEYGUIDE (Prodotiscus insignis)

2 at Nsuta were a useful addition and seen again at Antwikwaa, these fine-billed species are now usually called honeybirds

YELLOW-FOOTED HONEYGUIDE (Melignomon eisentrauti) [E]

One at Ankasa was my first here, this is a rare and seldom seen species.

LESSER HONEYGUIDE (Indicator minor) [*]

One calling at Mognori was at a site that has been active for at least 12 years now.

GREATER HONEYGUIDE (Indicator indicator) [*]

One heard at Winneba, but the oncoming storm upset hopes of luring it in.

Picidae (Woodpeckers)

AFRICAN PICULET (Verreauxia africana)

We had really good views of a pair at Bobiri, always a hard bird on this tour.

FIRE-BELLIED WOODPECKER (Chloropicus pyrrhogaster) [E]

One at Nsuta, then good looks at Kakum and Abrafo logging track.

MELANCHOLY WOODPECKER (Dendropicos lugubris) [E]

Good views of a calling bird at Abrafo Stingless Bee Road.

CARDINAL WOODPECKER (Dendropicos fuscescens lafresnayi)

We always seem to struggle with this species in Ghana, the only one of the entire trip. was a male by the river at Mognori

AFRICAN GRAY WOODPECKER (GRAY) (Dendropicos goertae goertae)

Two at Sakumono and one at Samole waterhole in Mole.

Field Guides Birding Tours
Chestnut-and-Black Weavers were common in the farmbush. Photo by participant Kevin Watson.

BROWN-EARED WOODPECKER (Pardipicus caroli)

Seen briefly on two dates in Ankasa, but not very showy.

BUFF-SPOTTED WOODPECKER (Pardipicus nivosus nivosus)

One at Shai Hills as we arrived was unexpected here, and some saw one at Ankasa.

FINE-SPOTTED WOODPECKER (Campethera punctuligera)

Seen at Shai Hills where 3 birds were very flighty, and similarly with one at Winneba Plain.

Falconidae (Falcons and Caracaras)

EURASIAN KESTREL (RUFESCENT) (Falco tinnunculus rufescens)

Three records of singles from Shai Hills, Accra and Kumasi quite a distinctive taxon and a potential split.

GRAY KESTREL (Falco ardosiaceus)

Seen at Shai Hills, Nsuta, Mole and Atewa.

RED-NECKED FALCON (Falco chicquera)

Great views of 2 at Fufulso pond, a surprise here and with one feeding the other, presumably a courtship behavior.

EURASIAN HOBBY (Falco subbuteo)

One at Samole waterhole was confirmed by Tarry's photos which showed the streaked underparts.

AFRICAN HOBBY (Falco cuvierii)

Two distant falcons at Shai Hills were I think this species, and there was another briefly next day.

Psittaculidae (Old World Parrots)

ROSE-RINGED PARAKEET (Psittacula krameri)

Unexpectedly one at Sakumono, my second record here, and briefly late pm in Mole at Baraba Pools.

Psittacidae (New World and African Parrots)

GRAY PARROT (GRAY) (Psittacus erithacus erithacus)

Two very distant birds flew over at Ankasa powerlines, but only a heard for most of us, it has become rare due to trapping.

RED-FRONTED PARROT (Poicephalus gulielmi)

Flight views from Antwikwaa.

SENEGAL PARROT (Poicephalus senegalus)

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

Calyptomenidae (African and Green Broadbills)

RUFOUS-SIDED BROADBILL (Smithornis rufolateralis)

One in display at Ankasa, jumping up from a vine with a snapping noise and making a short circular flight to land back on the vine.

Campephagidae (Cuckooshrikes)


A fine male at Mole.


A pair en route to Antwikwaa.

Field Guides Birding Tours
The Western Cattle Egret is a common sight through much of Ghana, and we saw them almost daily. Here, participant Karen Fung has captured a typical scene of egrets attending some local cattle.

BLUE CUCKOOSHRIKE (Cyanograucalus azureus)

Heard at Kakum and a fine male at Kwabenasam.

Oriolidae (Old World Orioles)


A male at Antwikwaa was unexpected, this is quite a rare bird here.


Seen briefly en route to Daboya and near the airstrip at Mole.

WESTERN BLACK-HEADED ORIOLE (Oriolus brachyrynchus)

Seen at Ankasa and heard at Bobiri.

BLACK-WINGED ORIOLE (Oriolus nigripennis) [E]

Seen at Ankasa, Kakum, Antwikwaa and Bobiri.

Platysteiridae (Wattle-eyes and Batises)

BROWN-THROATED WATTLE-EYE (Platysteira cyanea)

Heard at Shai Hills and 2 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.

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

This one is always tough, but this year we got amazing looks at a pair calling along Stingless Bee Road that were clearly unused to playback, luckily for us! One of my best ever sightings of this species.

SENEGAL BATIS (Batis senegalensis) [E]

Good views from several sites in Mole.

WEST AFRICAN BATIS (Batis occulta) [E]

A male from Kakum Walkway gave good views, a difficult species to get as usually high up and elusive.

Vangidae (Vangas, Helmetshrikes, and Allies)

WHITE HELMETSHRIKE (LONG-CRESTED) (Prionops plumatus plumatus)

Lovely views of 6 at Shai Hills, the only ones we saw and a terrific bird


4 from Ankasa, 5 at Kwabenasam and 4 at Bobiri.

Malaconotidae (Bushshrikes and Allies)

BRUBRU (Nilaus afer afer)

One at Samole, and heard at Zaina.

NORTHERN PUFFBACK (Dryoscopus gambensis gambensis)

Seen at Shai Hills and again in Mole at Zaina.

SABINE'S PUFFBACK (Dryoscopus sabini)

Seen at Antwikwaa, Kwabenasam and Kakum, an elusive canopy species.

Field Guides Birding Tours
White-throated Bee-eaters were seen at a number of places. Participant Becky Hansen got a lovely shot of one of them.

MARSH TCHAGRA (MARSH) (Bocagia minuta minuta)

Wonderful views from Brenu Beach and Antwikwaa, an uncommon bird.

BLACK-CROWNED TCHAGRA (BLACK-CROWNED) (Tchagra senegalus senegalus) [*]

Heard at Shai Hills, Mole and Brenu Beach, but none seen this trip.

BROWN-CROWNED TCHAGRA (Tchagra australis ussheri)

James saw one in Ankasa of all places, way out of habitat, and happily one appeared close by for us at Atewa farmbush.

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. James was sure we'd get it this year....

YELLOW-CROWNED GONOLEK (Laniarius barbarus)

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

LOWLAND SOOTY BOUBOU (Laniarius leucorhynchus) [*]

Heard at our stop en route to Antwikwaa.

SULPHUR-BREASTED BUSHSHRIKE (Telophorus sulfureopectus)

3 at Winneba Plain showed well, and heard at Brenu and in Mole

Dicruridae (Drongos)

SHARPE'S DRONGO (Dicrurus sharpei) [E]

Hard to see at Mognori as very shy, but we got them. A split from what was Square-tailed Drongo

SHINING DRONGO (Dicrurus atripennis) [E]

The western wet forest species, it was difficult at Ankasa and did not show well.

FORK-TAILED DRONGO (Dicrurus adsimilis)

A few sightings from open country drier areas.

VELVET-MANTLED DRONGO (FANTI) (Dicrurus modestus atactus)

Fanti Drongo is the western wet forest version of Velvet-mantled Drongo, and now relumped with it by Clements and the IOC.

Monarchidae (Monarch Flycatchers)


Heard at Ankasa and one on the Roloway Trail loop there with Dusky Crested-Flycatcher nearby.

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

Good views from Ankasa on several days and at Antwikwaa, and heard at Bobiri.

AFRICAN PARADISE-FLYCATCHER (Terpsiphone viridis ferreti)

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

Laniidae (Shrikes)

YELLOW-BILLED SHRIKE (Lanius corvinus)

Widespread, the first at Legon and Sakumono.

Field Guides Birding Tours
The Red-cheeked Wattle-eye is a West African specialty that we saw well. Photo by participant Kevin Watson.

NORTHERN FISCAL (Lanius humeralis)

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

WOODCHAT SHRIKE (WESTERN) (Lanius senator senator)

A fine bird up on the Asibey loop, found by a group of wildlife tourists and still there next visit. Uncommon.

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, usually in singles and pairs.

Picathartidae (Rockfowl)

WHITE-NECKED ROCKFOWL (Picathartes gymnocephalus) [E]

We had an uncertain start as, much to James's annoyance, a group from Malimbe Tours had pre-empted our usual site. We went instead to an amazing huge boulder atop a forested ridge, (heaven knows the origin of the rock) and a new site for me here. A 45-minute wait followed, then suddenly Rockfowl began to come and go, flying up into nests, preening and hopping about, just incredible. We had about an hour of this before we left them, the birds unconcerned by our presence and at least 9 showing up, by far the most I've ever seen. It was the best encounter we have ever had on the tour, it's going to be hard to equal in future.

Hyliotidae (Hyliotas)

VIOLET-BACKED HYLIOTA (Hyliota violacea nehrkorni)

A couple of folks saw one at Antwikwaa, then next day at kakum we all got a good views, an important trip bird as it's an endemic family.

Stenostiridae (Fairy Flycatchers)

AFRICAN BLUE FLYCATCHER (Elminia longicauda)

Seen at Mognori, an uncommon and very pretty bird.

DUSKY CRESTED FLYCATCHER (Elminia nigromitrata)

A surprise find at the Roloway Trail at Ankasa, and a new Ghana bird for Phil. I was expecting a Blue-crested and this one with the dark underparts showed up as well.

Paridae (Tits, Chickadees, and Titmice)

WHITE-SHOULDERED BLACK-TIT (Melaniparus guineensis)

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

Remizidae (Penduline-Tits)

FOREST PENDULINE-TIT (Anthoscopus flavifrons)

Two in Ankasa were a surprise, not our usual area for it.

Alaudidae (Larks)

FLAPPET LARK (Mirafra rufocinnamomea)

Seen at Winneba Plain and then up at Brugbani.

SUN LARK (Galerida modesta)

Good looks on the laterite pan along the Asibey loop.

Nicatoridae (Nicators)

WESTERN NICATOR (Nicator chloris)

It showed briefly in Ankasa, Kwabenasam and Atewa, quite a vocal species but very shy.

Macrosphenidae (African Warblers)

GREEN CROMBEC (Sylvietta virens flaviventris)

Seen at Antwikwaa and Kakum.

LEMON-BELLIED CROMBEC (Sylvietta denti hardyi)

Seen very well at Stingless Bee Road at Abrafo.

Field Guides Birding Tours
Participant Karen Fung got this shot of our group of birdwatchers being watched.....

NORTHERN CROMBEC (NORTHERN) (Sylvietta brachyura brachyura)

Singles at Sakumono and Shai Hills.

KEMP'S LONGBILL (Macrosphenus kempi) [E*]

Singing quite well in dense vine tangles at Atewa forest, but stayed out of sight.

GRAY LONGBILL (Macrosphenus concolor)

Heard at all the forest sites, and seen in Ankasa.

Cisticolidae (Cisticolas and Allies)

SENEGAL EREMOMELA (Eremomela pusilla)

10 at Sakumono in a flock by the hide and seen at Shai Hills, Mole and Mognori, an attractive little bird.

RUFOUS-CROWNED EREMOMELA (Eremomela badiceps fantiensis)

Very good looks from Kakum Walkway.

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

Common by voice and seen at Shai Hills and Winneba Plain.

YELLOW-BROWED CAMAROPTERA (Camaroptera superciliaris)

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

OLIVE-GREEN CAMAROPTERA (Camaroptera chloronota)

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

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

Heard at Ankasa.


Seen well at Mole on the Samole loop.

SHARPE'S APALIS (Apalis sharpii) [E]

Heard at Ankasa, then nice views from Kakum and then Bobiri.

TAWNY-FLANKED PRINIA (Prinia subflava)

A single from Winneba Plain, and again at Atewa farmbush, oddly scarce.

RED-WINGED PRINIA (Prinia erythroptera erythroptera)

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

ORIOLE WARBLER (Hypergerus atriceps)

One singing at Brenu showed briefly, then much better views from Samole Loop, and heard at Mognori.

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

Seen well at Brenu and Atewa farmbush

We spent about an hour watching the group of White-necked Rockfowl, during which participant Kevin Watson got some video of one of the birds preening. The video also captures some of the sounds of the surrounding forest.

SINGING CISTICOLA (Cisticola cantans swanzii) [*]

Only a heard this trip, at Brenu Beach and two sites in Mole.

WHISTLING CISTICOLA (Cisticola lateralis lateralis)

One singing and perched up at Nsuta and also along Stingless Bee Road.

ROCK-LOVING CISTICOLA (Cisticola aberrans)

One again this year 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.

RUFOUS CISTICOLA (Cisticola rufus)

A bird in the dry forest near Brugbani showed well, 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) [*]

One singing well at the Shai Hills cultural site at Heawoyu, but regrettably moved off when we played back to it.

GREATER SWAMP WARBLER (Acrocephalus rufescens rufescens)

This one was singing at Sakumono and 3 birds showed in the reedbeds there, also our only site for it.

Locustellidae (Grassbirds and Allies)

LITTLE RUSH WARBLER (Bradypterus baboecala) [*]

Heard at Sakumono, it is rare in Ghana and this is our only site for it.

Hirundinidae (Swallows)

SQUARE-TAILED SAWWING (Psalidoprocne nitens) [E]

This small hirundine was seen at Ankasa powerline with 2 birds flying around.

FANTI SAWWING (Psalidoprocne obscura) [E]

Seen at Kakum, and at Saltlick loop creek, the deeply forked tail is distinctive in adults.

PIED-WINGED SWALLOW (Hirundo leucosoma)

Seen along the creek at Saltlick Loop, but very hard to see properly, then great views of 3 next day in farmbush near the airstrip. We don't see this one every trip and it's a West African special.

BARN SWALLOW (Hirundo rustica)

Very small numbers at various sites, no large numbers.

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

A couple as we came out of Mole en route to Daboya, and some saw it at Larabanga mosque.

Field Guides Birding Tours
The large-eyed Purple Starling was the most common starling species we saw. Photo by participant Becky Hansen.

ETHIOPIAN SWALLOW (Hirundo aethiopica aethiopica)

Small numbers at multiple sites, starting at Sakumono.


2 of this quite rare and 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)

4 on the White Volta at the Egyptian Plover site at Daboya.

WESTERN HOUSE-MARTIN (Delichon urbicum)

A couple of flocks from Mole, with 40 at Samole waterhole and 100 at Zaina, both coming in to drink before the long flight north.

LESSER STRIPED SWALLOW (Cecropis abyssinica)

A handsome bird with a rufous rump and streaked underparts, but very scarce this time, only seen at Antwikwaa and Abrafo.

MOSQUE SWALLOW (Cecropis senegalensis)

PREUSS'S SWALLOW (Petrochelidon preussi) [E]

A big colony at the road culvert at Twifo Mampong with 120+ birds.

Pycnonotidae (Bulbuls)

SLENDER-BILLED GREENBUL (Stelgidillas gracilirostris)

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

GOLDEN GREENBUL (Calyptocichla serinus) [E]

Very good views of this attractive greenbul from Antwikwaa and Kakum, the pink bill is very distinctive.

RED-TAILED BRISTLEBILL (Bleda syndactylus) [*]

Heard at Ankasa and Kakum.

GRAY-HEADED BRISTLEBILL (Bleda canicapillus) [E*]

Heard at Ankasa and Abrafo, all the bristlebills are hard to see well.

YELLOW-THROATED GREENBUL (Atimastillas flavicollis)

One from Legon, and heard at Mognori.

SPOTTED GREENBUL (Ixonotus guttatus) [*]

Heard only at Abrafo, a shame as it's a good looker.

SWAMP GREENBUL (Thescelocichla leucopleura)

4 at Ankasa, and seen at Antwikwaa and then at Atewa farmbush, always just singles. A much better name is Swamp Palm Greenbul for its usual habitat

SIMPLE GREENBUL (Chlorocichla simplex)

Heard at Shai Hills ands seen at Brenu Beach.

Field Guides Birding Tours
Participant Pete Yendle got this shot of an Olive Baboon contemplating the meaning of life. We saw these large monkeys are Shai Hills and Mole.

HONEYGUIDE GREENBUL (Baeopogon indicator)

Nice views of one at Abrafo, a very strange greenbul indeed.

WESTERN BEARDED-GREENBUL (Criniger barbatus) [E]

Heard and seen quite well at Ankasa.

RED-TAILED GREENBUL (Criniger calurus)

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

YELLOW-BEARDED GREENBUL (Criniger olivaceus) [E]

Seen very nicely by the ponds at Ankasa where 3 were unusually obliging, and heard each day there.

LITTLE GREENBUL (Eurillas virens)

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

YELLOW-WHISKERED GREENBUL (Eurillas latirostris) [*]

Only a heard at Ankasa where it was calling every day.

PLAIN GREENBUL (Eurillas curvirostris)

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

GRAY GREENBUL (Eurillas gracilis)

Seen at Ankasa, and Kwabenasam, called Little Grey in other checklists which is a more accurate name.

ANSORGE'S GREENBUL (Eurillas 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.

ICTERINE GREENBUL (Phyllastrephus icterinus)

Seen nicely ai Ankasa.

BAUMANN'S GREENBUL (Phyllastrephus baumanni)

Yay, at last, after multiple previous efforts at several sites on earlier tours, we got this elusive bird very near Rainforest Lodge. It was very skulking but we all eventually got onto it, thanks to James for having a new site, this was an overdue lifer for Phil.

COMMON BULBUL (Pycnonotus barbatus)

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)

Again none singing this year, we only saw it at Saltlick loop.

Hyliidae (Hylias)

GREEN HYLIA (Hylia prasina)

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

Field Guides Birding Tours
Piping Hornbill was one of nine hornbill species that we found. Photo by participant Karen Fung.

TIT-HYLIA (Pholidornis rushiae ussheri)

An unusually good trip for them, with 3 at Kakum then two sightings of 2 at Abrafo, it is easily missed.

Scotocercidae (Bush Warblers and Allies)

CHESTNUT-CAPPED FLYCATCHER (Erythrocercus mccallii)

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

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 Antwikwaa, Kakum and Atewa. This complex got split out into several species, this being the Northern one.

Pellorneidae (Ground Babblers and Allies)

PALE-BREASTED ILLADOPSIS (Illadopsis rufipennis extrema)

Two seen at Ankasa, furtive as ever.

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 almost everyone got to see it, a western endemic too.

Leiothrichidae (Laughingthrushes and Allies)

BROWN BABBLER (Turdoides plebejus)

Heard at Legon, then seen at Shai Hills before a final hearing at Samole.

BLACKCAP BABBLER (Turdoides reinwardtii) [E]

4 at Shai Hills were for once very co-operative, usually an arch-skulker, also heard at Samole.

Sturnidae (Starlings)

VIOLET-BACKED STARLING (Cinnyricinclus leucogaster leucogaster)

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

CHESTNUT-WINGED STARLING (Onychognathus fulgidus)

Seen by some at Ankasa, then a single from Kakum and one at Kwabenasam.

COPPER-TAILED STARLING (Hylopsar cupreocauda) [E]

Flyovers of this short-tailed species at Ankasa, it is always scarce.

LONG-TAILED GLOSSY STARLING (Lamprotornis caudatus)

One at Legon then 4 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 Legon, Nsuta and Kakum area.

CHESTNUT-BELLIED STARLING (Lamprotornis pulcher)

A very lucky pick-up by Ebenezer as we were heading north near the junction to Mole, with 2 fine birds still there when we reversed back. It's a far northern bird which I'd never seen this far south before.

Field Guides Birding Tours
One of the tour highlights was seeing this group of Nkulengu Rails as they were settling in to roost for the night. Photo by participant Kevin Watson.

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 6 of this very uncommon bird at Zaina, with 5 next day, the orange eye is helpful.

Turdidae (Thrushes and Allies)

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

Seen well at Ankasa and Kakum.

WHITE-TAILED ANT-THRUSH (Neocossyphus poensis)

Some saw this one briefly in Ankasa.

AFRICAN THRUSH (Turdus pelios)

Widespread in small numbers, starting at Legon then Sakumono, Shai Hills and Antwikwaa.

Muscicapidae (Old World Flycatchers)

LITTLE FLYCATCHER (Muscicapa epulata)

A record from Ankasa was unexpected, then there was another at Kakum Walkway.

SPOTTED FLYCATCHER (Muscicapa striata)

This declining Palearctic migrant was only seen at Shai Hills with 5 birds in all.

GAMBAGA FLYCATCHER (Muscicapa gambagae)

Great looks at 3 up at Brugbani this year, only the third record from the tour but this now looks like a regular site. Named for a village in N. Ghana.

SWAMP FLYCATCHER (Muscicapa aquatica aquatica)

Good views by Samole waterhole and river, 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, Kwabenasam 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.

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

One from Nsuta and one at Atewa.

GRAY-THROATED TIT-FLYCATCHER (Fraseria griseigularis)

One from Nsuta and heard at Kakum and Atewa.

GRAY TIT-FLYCATCHER (Fraseria plumbea)

Singles from Shai Hills and Mognori River.

Field Guides Birding Tours
We found a large colony of Preuss's Swallow at a road culvert, where participant Kevin Watson got this great flight shot.

TESSMANN'S FLYCATCHER (Fraseria tessmanni) [E]

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

ASHY FLYCATCHER (Fraseria caerulescens nigrorum)

Singles from Kakum and Bobiri.

NORTHERN BLACK-FLYCATCHER (Melaenornis edolioides edolioides)

Good views from Mole.

WHITE-TAILED ALETHE (Alethe diademata) [E*]

Calling at Ankasa every day but no sightings this year.

SNOWY-CROWNED ROBIN-CHAT (Cossypha niveicapilla)

Seen at Shai Hills, Winneba Plain and Brenu Beach, always shy.

WHITE-CROWNED ROBIN-CHAT (Cossypha albicapillus)

This usually tricky species showed amazingly well at Legon Botanic Gardens and briefly at Shai Hills.

ORANGE-BREASTED FOREST ROBIN (Stiphrornis erythrothorax erythrothorax)

Heard at Ankasa but stubbornly out of view most of the time, some of us saw one at an antpecker site and Kevin saw one earlier. There are seemingly 4 taxa in Ghana and some have suggested 4 species!


Seen at Shai Hills and then at Brugbani.

COMMON REDSTART (Phoenicurus phoenicurus)

A male at Samole waterhole was a surprise, I've only seen this once before in Ghana.

WHINCHAT (Saxicola rubetra)

Seen at Winneba, Shai Hills and than up at Brugbani.

MOCKING CLIFF-CHAT (Thamnolaea cinnamomeiventris coronata)

This was tricky as ever, but we eventually came good with a male at Shai Hills, and some saw a female too. Sometimes split as White-crowned Cliffchat.

WHITE-FRONTED BLACK-CHAT (Oenanthe albifrons)

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

FAMILIAR CHAT (Oenanthe familiaris)

A fine bird at Zaina Lodge.

Nectariniidae (Sunbirds and Spiderhunters)

FRASER'S SUNBIRD (Deleornis fraseri)

Several sightings by some at the forest sites, I think everyone saw the first at Nsuta.

MOUSE-BROWN SUNBIRD (Anthreptes gabonicus)

Good views of one from the Ebi River mangroves after quite a wait, it was hard this year for some reason, this is also called Mangrove Sunbird.

Field Guides Birding Tours
At Bobiri, we trekked beneath some stands of giant bamboo as we looked for birds. Photo by participant Kevin Watson.

WESTERN VIOLET-BACKED SUNBIRD (NORTHERN) (Anthreptes longuemarei longuemarei)

Good looks at a male and female at Mognori River, this one is not seen every trip.

LITTLE GREEN SUNBIRD (Anthreptes seimundi kruensis)

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

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

Some saw one at Ankasa and there was 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)

Several fine full plumage males with long tail streamers at Mole, a dry country northern special.

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.

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

Good views of a male 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)

Good views from Ankasa, Abrafo and Atewa.

SCARLET-CHESTED SUNBIRD (Chalcomitra senegalensis senegalensis)

A few sightings by some at Mole, Bobiri and Atewa, the male is a very beautiful bird, but the best were at Sakumono.

OLIVE-BELLIED SUNBIRD (Cinnyris chloropygius kempi)

Absurdly elusive this trip, we kept getting glimpses and hearing them at Ankasa, Kakum and Atewa.

TINY SUNBIRD (Cinnyris minullus)

An uncommon one, seen at Ankasa, Abrafo and Bobiri.

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 Legon, then Shai Hills then Nsuta and Abrafo.

Field Guides Birding Tours
The Broad-billed Roller gave us good views at several places. Photo by participant Karen Fung.

JOHANNA'S SUNBIRD (Cinnyris johannae fasciatus)

We did quite well for this one with nice views of both sexes at Ankasa, Kakum and then Atewa.

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 nicely at Legon, Kakum, Stingless Bee Road and Mole farmbush.

Ploceidae (Weavers and Allies)

CHESTNUT-CROWNED SPARROW-WEAVER (Plocepasser superciliosus)

One at Samole waterhole was the only sighting.

RED-VENTED MALIMBE (Malimbus scutatus) [E]

Seen at Ankasa and Abrafo.

BLUE-BILLED MALIMBE (Malimbus nitens)

Seen twice at Ankasa.

CRESTED MALIMBE (Malimbus malimbicus)

A few sightings from Nsuta, Ankasa and Abrafo.

RED-HEADED MALIMBE (Malimbus rubricollis)

Good views of this striking bird at Abrafo, Kakum and Bobiri.

RED-HEADED WEAVER (Anaplectes rubriceps)

A male in the savanna at the the Saltlick Loop in Mole, a striking species which is split into 3 by BirdLife

LITTLE WEAVER (Ploceus luteolus)

Three records from Mole of this diminutive species.

OLIVE-NAPED WEAVER (Ploceus brachypterus)

Now split as Olive-backed Weaver, we saw them at Shai Hills, Nsuta and Antwikwaa. 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.

CHESTNUT-AND-BLACK WEAVER (Ploceus 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)

Female plumage birds seen in Mole, mainly a northern species in Ghana.

Field Guides Birding Tours
Mole National Park is the only place on the tour where we see the Grasshopper Buzzard, but we did see it well! Photo by participant Kevin Watson.

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)

Only see at Atewa on the last day, a small weaver with a white eye.

PREUSS'S WEAVER (Ploceus preussi) [E]

One at Antwikwaa, quite a scarce species that works along branches a bit like a creeper.

COMPACT WEAVER (Pachyphantes superciliosus)

Two at Atewa farmbush, one of the rarer weavers.

RED-HEADED QUELEA (Quelea erythrops)

Good views from Mole and Atewa farmbush, some males beginning to get red on the head.

RED-BILLED QUELEA (Quelea quelea)

Some sizable flocks at Mole.

BLACK-WINGED BISHOP (Euplectes hordeaceus)

None-breeding birds at Mole.


Non-breeding birds from Winneba Plain and Brenu Beach.

GROSBEAK WEAVER (Amblyospiza albifrons capitalba)

Just a couple 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.

BLACK-AND-WHITE MANNIKIN (Spermestes bicolor)

Also quite common in farmbush areas.

RED-FRONTED ANTPECKER (Parmoptila rubrifrons)

Seen at Ankasa at two sites, but very difficult to get a good view, we saw male and female anyway.

WHITE-BREASTED NIGRITA (Nigrita fusconotus)

Heard more than seen, the best view was at Antwikwaa.


Seen well at Kwabenasam and Ankasa.

GRAY-HEADED NIGRITA (Nigrita canicapillus)

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

Field Guides Birding Tours
At Kakum, we visited the "Kakum Gift Shop", where they had some unique items on display. Photo by participant Kevin Watson.

LAVENDER WAXBILL (Glaucestrilda caerulescens)

A Mole special, we had very nice looks along the Samole Loop and at Zaina Lodge.


The first was at Bokoro Pond, then seen again at Ankasa, Kakum, Mognori River and Atewa.

RED-CHEEKED CORDONBLEU (Uraeginthus bengalus)

Nice views in Mole.

WESTERN BLUEBILL (Spermophaga haematina) [E]

A good view at Brenu Beach, then one at Atewa farmbush, a scarce bird.


Heard calling along Stingless Bee Road, but Ted was the only one to get to see it deep in a bush, a rare bird on the tour.

RED-BILLED FIREFINCH (Lagonosticta senegala)

Seen at the Samole waterhole.

AFRICAN FIREFINCH (Lagonosticta rubricata)

The only sighting came from Brenu Beach, it's always sparse on this tour.

BAR-BREASTED FIREFINCH (Lagonosticta rufopicta)

Seen at Brenu Beach and then Samole waterhole.

Viduidae (Indigobirds)

PIN-TAILED WHYDAH (Vidua macroura)

Seen at Ankasa Lodge by some, a few females at Samole, and a fine male at Atewa farmbush

VILLAGE INDIGOBIRD (Vidua chalybeata)

A non-breeding plumage indigobird at Samole waterhole had pinkish legs, which I believe makes it this species. There are some 5 species known from Mole, all parasitizing different firefinches and even in breeding dress a major challenge to identify. Actually a Ghana tick for Phil.

Passeridae (Old World Sparrows)

HOUSE SPARROW (Passer domesticus) [I]

Seen at several urban sites, a recent arrival in Ghana, but most of us finally caught up with it at Linda Dor truckstop.


Widespread in small numbers.

SAHEL BUSH SPARROW (Gymnoris dentata)

We struggled with these at Mole and had brief looks on a couple of days, it seems to be a migrant here.

Motacillidae (Wagtails and Pipits)


One at Sakumono of uncertain taxon.

WESTERN YELLOW WAGTAIL (FLAVA) (Motacilla flava flava)

One fine Blue-headed Wagtail at Sakumono.

Driving in Ankasa was an experience, as captured in this video by participant Kevin Watson.

AFRICAN PIED WAGTAIL (Motacilla aguimp)

Seven day records of singles from sundry urban sites.

PLAIN-BACKED PIPIT (Anthus leucophrys)

One from Winneba Plain was the only record.

RED-THROATED PIPIT (Anthus cervinus)

One at the Samole waterhole was a good find of a scarce Palearctic migrant.


The only one was a bird singing at Winneba Plain just before the storm.

Fringillidae (Finches, Euphonias, and Allies)

YELLOW-FRONTED CANARY (Crithagra mozambica)

A couple of sightings from Mole.

Emberizidae (Old World Buntings)

BROWN-RUMPED BUNTING (Emberiza affinis)

A fine singing male near the airstrip at Mole.



A good flyover at dusk at the Erata Hotel on the last night of the tour, a medium sized bat.

POTTO (Perodicticus potto)

A highlight at Kakum was spotlight views of a mother with a baby clinging underneath.

SENEGAL BUSHBABY (Galago senegalensis)

Some folks saw this at Mole.

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

Heard at Kakum.

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

Seen well at Shai Hills and then at Kakum.

LOWE'S MONA MONKEY (Cercopithecus lowei)

This is the one from Kakum.

GREEN MONKEY (Cercopithecus sabaeus)

The Vervet type monkey at Shai Hills is this one, a dodgy split based on minor color differences.

TANTALUS MONKEY (Chlorocebus tantalus)

Another dodgy micro-split from Vervet Monkey, this is the species at Mole, with minor differences in tail color and face pattern from Grivet.

PATAS MONKEY (Erythrocebus patas)

Great looks at Mole, close by the bus.

Field Guides Birding Tours
On one of our first days together, we visited Winneba Laggon, and then intended to bird the Winneba Plain, but an oncoming storm cut our visit short. Photo by participant Kevin Watson.

OLIVE BABOON (Papio anubis)

Common at Shai Hills and again at Mole.

OLIVE COLOBUS (Procolobus verus) [E]

A couple of folks saw this rare one at Kakum when it came through quickly in a monkey troupe late one afternoon.

SCRUB HARE (Lepus saxatalis)

One up at the Asibey Loop at dusk.

KINTAMBO ROPE SQUIRREL (Funisciurus substriatus) [E]

One seen very well at Mognori riparian, a tricky one.

FIRE-FOOTED ROPE SQUIRREL (Funisciurus pyrrhopus)

A great look at one from Antwikwaa, climbing about in a vine thicket and not usually seen this well.

GREEN BUSH SQUIRREL (Paraxerus poensis)

Heard at Bobiri and seen at Atewa.

SMALL SUN SQUIRREL (Heliosciurus punctatus)

This is the one that damages the thatch roofs at Ankasa, we saw them at Kakum this trip.

RED-LEGGED SUN SQUIRREL (Heliosciurus rufobrachium)

Seen at Legon, then Ankasa and Atewa.

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

This not a proper squirrel but a distinct family called Anomaluridae, we had nice views of I think 2 individuals at the Walkway, one of which glided right over us and landed on the trunk above. It's a large and striking black and white beast, well worth seeing.

GIANT POUCHED RAT (Cricetomys emini)

A good find in the forest at Kakum as we came back from seeing the Anomalure, it's a big blotchy looking cat-sized rodent with a white outer half of the tail, quite like the Giant White-tailed Rat in Queensland.

GENET SP. (Genetta pardina)

The lovely tame genet that visited the dining area at Zaina is this species, the Blotched or Pardine Genet.

COMMON CUSIMANSE (Crossarchus obscurus)

An odd dark shaggy looking mammal with a fairly short furry tail is I think this creature, a type of mongoose. It ran over the track at Bobiri on the second visit, a brief view. A lifer mammal for Phil and Tarry.

WHITE-TAILED MONGOOSE (Ichneumia albicauda)

A dark-tailed morph was up at Brugbani, quite a large mongoose with a big bushy tail.

SPOTTED HYAENA (Crocuta crocuta) [*]

Heard by the tents at Zaiina on two nights but no sightings, I came out twice to look for them but without success.

AFRICAN BUSH ELEPHANT (Loxodonta africana)

Great looks in Mole, with two close encounters at the Samole waterhole and by Zaina Lodge, the most was 7 individuals on one day.

WESTERN TREE HYRAX (Dendrohyrax dorsalis) [*]

Heard at Ankasa and Kakum, all quite distant, this is a very hard animal to see.

Field Guides Birding Tours
This pretty little Pardine Genet came into the dining room at Zaina while we were there. Photo by participant Pete Yendle.

WARTHOG (Phacochoerus aethiopicus)

Lovely looks at this endearing animal at Mole by the park staff quarters.

BUSHBUCK (Tragelaphus scriptus)

Only one seen this trip, curiously scarce at Mole.

BUSH (GRAY) DUIKER (Sylvicapra grimmia)

Some folks saw this at Mole.


A couple below Zaina Lodge, far less than normal.

KOB (Kobus kob)

Small numbers at Shai Hills and then at Mole.



A few at Ankasa, Kakum and Mole, quite variable in coloration.

NILE CROCODILE (Crocodylus niloticus)

Several in the waterholes at Mole, with one devouring a dead kob in the water below Zaina.

SAVANNA MONITOR (Varanus exanthematicus)

One at Ankasa is this species it seems.


Bird of the trip was obviously Baumann's Greenbul -not!

Birds of the trip much as expected with Rockfowl and Egyptian Plover being up there, along with Black Bee-eater, Red-throated Bee-eater, Long-tailed Hawk and Phil's choice of Red-cheeked Wattle-eye, seen so amazingly well this time.


A strange orangey-brown frog at Bobiri had like an X on its back and is Phrynobractatus plicatus

No snakes unfortunately though a cobra did shoot across in front of us at Antwikwaa, too fast for us to see.

The West African Dwarf Crocodiles at Ankasa were really good, we had an adult and one or two younger ones that showed well, some of the young even out on a log.

Two Marsh Cane-rats (Thryonomys swindernianus) were seen running one behind the other like giant Guinea pigs in Ankasa as we came back from the nightjars one night.


Ghana is a great place for them with well over 1000 species, though common names seem a tad fluid and it's often best to use the scientific nomenclature which I will not inflict on you here. Ebenezer was good at pointing out some of the more obvious or spectacular ones.

Ankasa: Griveaud's Liptena, Redpatch Liptena, Common Forest Dotted Border, Forest Caper White, Common Striped Swordtail, Blue-banded Forester, Common Dots, Western Emperor, Mimetic Swallowtail , Large Vagrant, Blue Vagrant, Regular Cub-dot Sailer

Bobiri: Yellow Pathfinder, African Map, Common Ciliate Blue, Western Leopard Butterfly, Striped Policeman, Atosa Nymph, Desjardin's Grass Yellow

Kwabenasam had the beautiful Violet-banded Palla

Atewa: Edward's Forester, Dark Palm Forester, Tailed Bush-brown, Clouded Mother-of-Pearl

One way to pass the time in the bus in Ghana is to enjoy the evocative and amusing business names, Kevin got some, plus a list of epitaphs from the numerous roadside funeral notices:

Lord's Hands Guesthouse

Omnipotent House

Unique Mothers Toilet

Trust in the lord metal works

Perfect End logistics

Bedtime Hotel

King's Shop

Stomach Has No Holiday (a restaurant)

Flogin Guest House

Hope For Future Drinking Spot

Have Faith In God Money Market

SCAB Pharmacy

Joe Joe Chosen Enterprise

Why Knot Hairdresser

Mr. Gas Grill and Bites

Sweet Pee Executive Hotel

Trust No Man Carpentry Shop

In God I Trust Mattress House

Millie's Herbal Centre, Spiritual Soap and Cream

Nature Wish Farm ("Put Some Pork on Your Fork")

Gladly humble thyself auto testing services

Brain driving school

Cashflow guest house

Almighty auto repair

Socrates metal

I can add Pillpoint Pharmacy, Sweet Pee Hotel (!), Harbed Hotel, Remnant Mission School, Peculiar Tutorial School, Mudass Company, Don't Mind Your Wife Chop Bar and Merlin Wasty Barbers......

And, Watson's Descending Hierarchy of Funerary Notices

Called to Glory

A Glorious Rest

In Loving Memory

A Life Well Lived

Peaceful Transition

A Painful Exit

Totals for the tour: 412 bird taxa and 30 mammal taxa