This was not a birding trip, but I tried to spend an hour or so each day birding, other commitments permitting. The main difficulty in birding West Africa is the lack of a decent field guide. The Serle & Morel West African guide is a long way from the high standards of more recent guides covering other parts of the world. (My copy was the Delachaux & Niestle edition in French which has even worse plates than the original Collins edition, the D&N edition manages to chop the bills off quite a few species and the colours are very poor, when black & white is not used!) Observations were mostly limited to the coastal region of Ghana from Dixcove on the west to the Volta River on the east, with a few days being spent at Han's Cottage, a hotel, on the road to Kumasi, near the Kakum National Park. Only the Kakum and Shai Hills National Parks were visited.
The African Bird Club in the UK has published a very much more complete trip report by El Sherif, which also covers the northern region, and this can be ordered from the ABC.
Because of the lack of good illustrations in the guide I do not vouch for all the sightings. I saw quite a few birds which I was not able to identify from the guide, notably an all black "Yellowbill Coucal" in Kakum. I have not listed all the really common birds, Pied Crow, Grey-headed Sparrow, Hooded Vulture, Yellow-billed Kite etc., separately under each region, for this reason the Accra list is quite a bit longer than the others. I also spent much more time around Accra than elsewhere. Not many mammals were seen, Mona and White Spot Monkeys in the Kakum reserve, Baboons and another unidentified monkey in the Shai Hills reserve. There were also large numbers of bats, including large fruit bats.
A general comment, the national parks and reserves that I visited all require paid admission and are visited on foot, this is charged per person on an hourly basis. It is also necessary to be with a park ranger at all times. This results in one looking a bit too often at one's watch! The rangers are good company but not always very knowledgeable about the birds and do not carry binoculars.
Ghana is an extremely safe, friendly country, and pretty well tourist-free at present. Hotel facilities are quite reasonable and the only problem that I ran into was the inability to rent a car without a driver. The main international rental companies do have some self-drive cars but numbers seem very limited as I tried several times to obtain a self-drive car without success.
Long-tailed Cormorant (Phalacrocorax africanus) Little Egret (Egretta garzetta) Western Reef-egret (Egretta gularis) Cattle Egret (Bulbulcus ibis) - Very Common Black-shouldered Kite (Elanus caeruleus) Yellow-billed Kite (Milvus migrans parasitus) - Very Common Hooded Vulture (Necrosyrtes monachus) - Very Common Shikra (Accipiter badius) Red-necked Buzzard (Buteo augularis) Common Kestrel (Falco tinnunuculus Grey Kestrel (Falco ardosiaceus) Red-footed Falcon (Falco vespertinus) African Hobby (Falco cuvieri) Lanner Falcon (Falco biarmicus) Whimbrel (Numenius phaeopus) Common Sandpiper (Tringa hypoleucos) - Very Common Sanderling (Calidris alba) Royal Tern (Sterna maxima) Little Tern (Sterna albifrons) Laughing Dove (Streptopelia senegalensis) - Very Common Western Grey Plantain-eater (Crinifer piscator) Yellowbill (Ceuthmochares aereus) Senegal Coucal (Centropus senegalensis) African Palm-swift (Cypsiurus parvus) - Common Little Swift (Apus affinis) - Common Pied Kingfisher (Ceryle rudis) - Common Little Bee-eater (Merops pusillus) African Grey Hornbill (Tockus nasutus) Barn Swallow (Hirundo rustica) Yellow-throated Longclaw (Macronyx croceus) Plain-backed Pipit (Anthus leucophrys) African Pied Wagtail (Motacilla aguimp) Common (Garden) Bulbul (Pycnonotus barbatus) - Very Common Spotted Flycatcher (Muscicapa striata) Carmelite Sunbird (Nectarinia fuliginosa) Black-crowned Tchagra (Tchagra senegala) Common Gonolek (Laniarius barbarus) Yellow-billed (long-tailed) Shrike (Corvinella corvina) Pied Crow (Corvus alba) - Very Common Purple Glossy-starling (Lamprotornis purpureus) - Common Splendid Glossy-starling (Lamprotornis splendidus) Grey-headed Sparrow (Passer griseus) - Very Common Village (Black-headed) Weaver (Ploceus cucullatus) Bar-breasted Firefinch (Lagonosticta rufopicta) Bronze Mannikin (Lonchura cucullata) - Very Common Pin-tailed Whydah (Vidua macroura)
Black-shouldered Kite (Elanus caeruleus) Hooded Vulture (Necrosyrtes monachus) Woodland (Senegal) Kingfisher (Halcyon senegalensis) African Pied Hornbill (Tockus fasciatus semifasciatus) Red-rumped Swallow (Hirundo daurica) Collared Sunbird (Anthreptes collaris) Copper Sunbird (Nectarinia cuprea) Splendid Sunbird (Nectarinia coccinigastra) Greater Blue-eared Glossy-starling (Lamprotornis chalybaeus)
NB: Not all common species are noted for this region
Western Reef-egret (Egretta gularis) - Common Black-headed Heron (Ardea melanocephala) Great White Egret (Casmerodius albus) Glossy Ibis (Plegadis falcinellus) Yellow-billed Kite (Milvus migrans parasitus) Hooded Vulture (Necrosyrtes monachus) - Very Common Western Marsh-harrier (Circus aeroginosus) Grey Plover (Pluvialis squatarola) Common Sandpiper (Tringa hypoleucos) - Very Common Whimbrel (Numenius phaeopus) Ruddy Turnstone (Arenaria interpres) Little Swift (Apus affinis) African Palm-swift (Cypsiurus parvus) Pied Kingfisher (Ceryle rudis) Lesser Striped-swallow (Hirundo abysssinica) Blue-headed (Yellow) Wagtail (Motacilla flava flava) Common Fiscal (Lanius collaris) Grey-headed Sparrow (Passer griseus) - Very Common
(Good birding around this hotel which is built around a number of ponds).
Striated Heron (Butorides striatus) Little Bittern (Ixobrychus minutus) Brown Snake-eagle (Circaetus cinereus) African Harrier-hawk (Polyboroides typus) Lanner falcon (Falco biarmicus) Black Crake (Amaurornis flavirostra) African Jacana (Actophilornis africana) Common Sandpiper (Tringa hypoleucos) Vinaceous Dove (Streptopelia vinacea) Red-eyed Dove (Streptopelia semitorquata) Tambourine Dove (Turtur tympanistria) Green-crested Turaco (Tauraco persa) Senegal Coucal (Centropus senegalensis) Cassin's Spinetail (Neafrapus cassini) Little Swift (Apus affinis) African Palm-swift (Cypsiurus parvus) Malachite Kingfisher (Alcedo cristata) Woodland (Senegal) Kingfisher (Halcyon senegalensis) Giant Kingfisher (Megaceryle maxima) Pied Kingfisher (Ceryle rudis) White-throated Bee-eater (Merops albicollis) Lesser Striped-swallow (Hirundo abyssinica) Mosque Swallow (Hirundo senegalensis) African Pied Wagtail (Motacilla aguimp) Blue-headed Wagtail (Motacilla flava flava) Melodious Warbler (Hippolais polyglotta) Collared Sunbird (Anthreptes collaris) Superb Sunbird (Nectarinia superba) African Yellow White-eye (Zosterops senegalensis) Brown-throated Wattle-eye (Platysteira cyanea) Common Fiscal (Lanius collaris) Orange Weaver (Ploceus aurantius) Village (Black-headed) Weaver (Ploceus cucullatus) Veillot's Black Weaver (Ploceus nigerrimus costaneofuscus) Bar-breasted Firefinch (Lagonosticta rufopicta) Orange-cheeked Waxbill (Estrilda melpoda)
African Harrier-hawk (Polyboroides typus) African Green-pigeon (Treron calva) Yellow-billed (Crested) Turaco (Tauraco macrorhynchus) Common (Eurasian) Swift (Apus apus) Black Bee-eater (Merops gularis) White-throated Bee-eater (Merops albicollis) Forest Wood-hoopoe (Phoeniculus castaneiceps) White-crested Hornbill (Tockus albocristatus) Black Dwarf Hornbill (Tockus hartlaubi) Black-and-white-casqued Hornbill (Ceratogymna subcylindricus) African Pied Hornbill (Tockus fasciatus semifasciatus) African (Black-capped) Broadbill (Smithornis capensis) African Pied Wagtail (Motacilla aguimp) Pale Flycatcher (Bradornis pallidus) Superb Sunbird (Nectarinia superba) Chestnut Wattle-eye (Platysteira castanea) Fork-tailed Drongo (Dicrurus adsimilis) Red-headed Malimbe (Malimbus rubricollis) Black-headed Oriole (Oriolus brachyrhynchus)
Bateleur (Terathopius ecaudatus) Red-necked Buzzard (Buteo augularis) Osprey (Pandion haliaetus) - On the river Volta Double-spurred Francolin (Francolinus bicalcaratus) Senegal (Yellow-bellied) Parrot (Poicephalus senegalus) Violet Turaco (Musophaga violacea) Levaillant's Cuckoo (Oxylophus levaillanti) Green (Red-billed) Woodhoopoe (Phoeniculus purpureus) African Grey Hornbill (Tockus nasutus) Veillot's Barbet (Lybius veilloti) Black Cuckoo-shrike) (Campephega flava) Yellow-spotted Nicator (Nicator chloris) Black-crowned Tchagra (Tchagra senegala)
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