Birdfinders’ trip to Ghana in 2018 was to be an impressive success. We got a group total of 387 species plus a further 14 heard only (that’s forest birding for you). We saw 34 species of raptor (including vultures), 20 species of sunbird, 9 hornbills, 7 owls, 11 kingfishers, 7 bee-eaters and 8 woodpeckers, plus a host of other savannah and forest species.
Day 0 The travel to Ghana day. After a relatively uneventful couple of flights to get us all to Accra, the Birdfinders group for the 2018 trip to Ghana assembled and were met by Paul Mensah of Ashanti African Tours as we left the airport. Our first goal was to get some money changed and after doing so, and noting Laughing Doves and Black Kites, we boarded a small coach for the journey east to Tema, arriving at our hotel after dark but in time for dinner and to meet Bob who had come in a few days earlier.
Day 1 Our first morning was to be at Shai Hills Resource Reserve, an area of rocky hills and savannah grasslands. En route we did a quick stop for a few Piapiacs in a palm tree then arrived at Shai Hills for our first proper birding. Paul took the lead and quickly found us a Buff-spotted Woodpecker, followed by a couple of Grey-backed Camaropteras and the ubiquitous Black (Yellow-billed) Kites. As we walked along a path with woodland either side we added Yellow-fronted Tinkerbird and Common Wattle-eye. A few winter-visiting Pied Flycatchers were found and, as the woodland opened to wooded savannah, we added Laughing Dove and a perching-quietly African Grey Hornbill. Paul said he could hear Short-winged Cisticolas and sure enough we soon saw them, diverting briefly as two Senegal Parrots flew over. As we walked along the path we added Vinaceous Dove, Bronze Manakin and Pied Crow. A fairly-distant but scopable Cardinal Woodpecker was found close to a Northern Black-flycatcher, and then two very colourful Yellow-crowned Gonoleks appeared in the same tree. Whilst watching these birds a perching Tambourine Dove put in an appearance, sitting still at the woodland edge, and Violet Turacos could be heard calling nearby. A Grey-headed Bristlebill was heard and gave brief views and two Western Plantain-eaters flew over.
We walked to some relatively close rocky outcrops and were soon admiring a pair of, later three, Mocking Cliff-chats (split by some authorities into White-crowned Cliff-chat) up on the rocks. A Fork-tailed Drongo was found, soon followed by a Blue-spotted Wood-dove. In a tree by the side of the path we found two Viellot’s Barbets and a wintering Spotted Flycatcher. A female Violet-backed Starling was located, and was joined, briefly, by a male. Perched Copper Sunbird and Red-necked Buzzard were next to be added to our growing list followed by another African Grey Hornbill, three Double-spurred Francolins on the path ahead of us, and two Croaking Cisticolas. Our final birds before we were picked up by the bus were three colourful Violet Turacos, not sitting still for long but showing nicely.
As the bus took us further along the track we’d been walking we did a quick stop for two Bearded Barbets and saw another 10 Double-spurred Francolins on the track.
The bus dropped us off at the base of a hill where we quickly noted a soaring Red-necked Buzzard. We headed up another path ascending the hill and came across two Brown Babblers. A Grey Woodpecker was found and we tried for Oriole Warbler at a few places but with no success. Two Rock Martins were seen flying around the rocky outcrops and a Grey-backed Camaroptera showed well for those of us who hadn’t made the extra walk up the hill to see fruit bats. The walks back down added another Common Wattle-eye, Brown and Blackcap Babblers and we tracked down the elusive Oriole Warbler. We also found a Tawny-flanked Prinia at the base of the hill, along with a nearby Klaas’s Cuckoo and two soaring Red-necked Buzzards.
As we again drove along the track heading back to the reserve entrance we stopped for both Rufous-crowned and Blue-bellied Rollers.
We left Shai Hills and decided to miss out on Sakamona Lagoon in favour of a stop at Winneba Plains. En route we noted Common and Grey Kestrels, Shikra, Black and Black-winged Kites, Hooded Vulture, Western Reef-egret and Northern Grey-headed Sparrows.
Our first stop in the Winneba area was a lagoon. The water level was quite high but we managed to add Black-winged Stilt, four Spur-winged Lapwings, Whimbrel, Long-tailed Cormorant, Sandwich Tern, Common Sandpiper, Striated Heron and Pied Kingfisher.
At the place known as Winneba plains, a lightly-wooded savannah habitat, we quickly spotted five White-throated Bee-eaters on wires above the road and found two Bar-breasted Firefinches and a Bronze Manakin feeding at the edge of the road. Paul found a singing Red-winged Prinia and we could hear calling Green Turacos. We walked a little way into the savannah and found Red-eyed Dove and a male Splendid Sunbird. An African Hobby did a fly past and we heard Simple Greenbul, which Paul said we didn’t need to worry about as we’d see them later. Paul tried luring in the Green Turacos and his persistence paid off when we located two birds. As we left the area we added African Pied Wagtail and later a Lanner Falcon.
On the way to Rainforest Lodge we stopped a one of Paul’s sites and were shown a colony of Slender-billed Weavers, amongst which we found two Grosbeak Weavers. Also here were hundreds of Little Swifts. Finally for the day, we had four Black-crowned Night-herons fly alongside the bus for a while.
Day 2 Today was our first visit to Kakum National Park. The first birds we saw, which were quite common here, were African Green-pigeons, and we soon added African Pied Hornbill, the commonest hornbill in the forested areas of Ghana. A Black-throated Coucal was heard and a Green Crombec put in a very brief appearance. We walked up the path to the start of the canopy walkway. The circular walkway extends between seven trees (six platforms) and is safe, although the walkways are somewhat wobbly at times. The platforms around the trees themselves are pleasingly stable although we did our best to avoid the recently-greased metal cables! We split into two groups, each with a Ghanaian guide. I and a few others went in one direction with Paul and the other group went the other way. We scanned the surrounding trees and began seeing canopy-dwelling birds. Chestnut-breasted Nigrita was the first to be noted, followed by a flyover Palmnut Vulture and two fly-past Red-fronted Parrots. Some birds were seen feeding in the top of a nearby tree and we identified Black-winged Oriole, Preuss’s Weaver and Red-headed Malimbe. In a closer tree were Naked-faced Barbets and a Blue-throated Brown Sunbird. Paul called in a Melancholy Woodpecker, which stayed high above us, and Splendid Starlings flew in and out of the tree we were in. Continual searching gradually added birds to the list: Green Hylia, Slender-billed Greenbul and Little Grey Greenbul were followed by a perched Velvet-mantled Drongo and a passing Yellow-mantled Weaver working its way through the upper branches. A Brown-cheeked Hornbill put in an appearance soon followed by a fly-over by a Red-chested Goshawk. A small group of Chestnut-winged Starlings were found nearby and scanning the skies added Square-tailed and Fanti Saw-wings, Cassin’s and Sabine’s Spinetails and African Palm-swifts. Four Purple Herons flying past was a bit unexpected. Birds just kept coming with a nice view of a Blue Malkoha (Yellowbill), Yellow-billed Barbet and, in our tree, White-headed Woodhoopoes and a Speckled Tinkerbird.
For a lot of the time we had been in the canopy a Congo Serpent-eagle had been calling. It wasn’t responsive to being lured in though. However, after it had stopped calling it suddenly put in an appearance flying through the forest and eventually landing in a tree where we could scope it: well, the lower half of it anyway. Still, a great bird to get.
A grey bird in the top of a lower tree had me asking Paul what this was and he identified it as Sharpe’s Apalis. A Spotted Greenbul was found in a different tree and a Cassin’s Hawk-eagle flew over. A Grey-headed Nigrita was found followed by Little Green Sunbirds and a White-breasted Nigrita. Then another raptor flew over and was identified as Ayres’s Hawk-eagle. A Green Sunbird was found and yet another raptor turned out to be a European Honey-buzzard. A fine male Buff-throated Sunbird (a real gem of a bird) showed nicely followed by a Grey Kestrel and a rather dull bird amongst the leaves turned out to be Ansorge’s Greenbul. Paul heard but couldn’t lure in a Blue Cuckooshrike (the other group saw one) and the final bird we found was Lemon-bellied Crombec.
We left the canopy walkway and headed back to the carpark. A small diversion down a track, caused by a very brief view of a flying-away White-crested Hornbill, proved to be very interesting. There was an ant swarm, and some found to their cost that the ants here do tend to bite if you stand amongst them. The ants had attracted some good birds: White-tailed Ant-thrush and Fire-crested (White-tailed) Alethe. Also nearby we located Blue-billed Malimbe, Icterine Greenbul and Grey-headed Bristlebill, and heard Grey Longbill. Finally for the morning, back near the carpark, we added Splendid Sunbird and some people saw a few Tit-hylias.
After a break for lunch back at the hotel we headed back to Kakum. En route we found numerous Barn and Ethiopian Swallows, two Mosque Swallows, a Mottled Spinetail and some Cattle Egrets and Northern Grey-headed Sparrows. In the carpark we added four White-throated Bee-eaters.
The path back up to the canopy walkway added a seen Grey Longbill, and heard African Emerald Cuckoo and Plain (Cameroon Sombre) Greenbul. After again negotiating the bouncing walkways we settled into another session of birding the canopy. A Hairy-breasted Barbet was found as was an African (Fraser’s) Forest-flycatcher. Yellow-spotted Barbet was then located followed by a sitting-still White-crested Hornbill. Little Green Sunbirds were in our tree and an African Harrier-hawk and two Palm-nut Vultures flew past. Ussher’s Flycatcher was next to be found, courtesy of the other group, and a Rufous-crowned Ermeomela was in our tree. Two Collared Sunbirds we seen and heard and then seen were two Yellow-billed Turacos. Movement in nearby trees indicated the presence of monkeys and we saw both Lesser Spot-nosed and Mona Monkeys. Our final bird from the platform was a very-blue Blue Cuckooshrike, and as we got to the platform the others had been on we saw a Blue-throated Roller, a bird they’d been watching for some time.
The final Kakum bird of the day took about an hour or so’s hard work but was eventually worth it. After relocating here and there we were finally called back to an earlier location and as we arrived and rounded the corner we were met with not one but two Akun Eagle-owls! After a short while one flew off but the other stayed to delight us all.
Day 3 En route towards Kakum our bus broke down! It had a battery problem. Leaving our excellent driver, Enim, to sort things out, we went for a walk in what looked like just an open area of ground on the outskirts of a village with a few long grasses and small bushes. It didn’t look to hopeful for birds but we gave it a go. Of course, it turned out to be worth it. As expected Pied Crow and Common Bulbul were seen. Two Northern Fiscals were seen on overheard wires and Bronze Manakins, Bar-breasted Firefinches and Pin-tailed Whydahs were feeding amongst the grasses and a singing bird turned out to be a Red-faced Cisticola. A Simple Greenbul was found on a nearby ruined building and we found a pair of Compact Weavers, our only ones of the trip. As we walked back to the bus a large group of people from the nearby village jogged past singing loudly, doing their morning exercise.
Another of Ashanti’s buses drove past, albeit smaller than our bus, and gave us a lift to a spot nearby to Abrafo Forest, which is where we were planning to do a morning’s birding. Paul was immediately hunting for birds and found us a Puvel’s Illadopsis (very skulking) and then a Western Bluebill. A Green-headed Sunbird was found as were Olive-bellied Sunbird, Little Greenbul and Black-headed (Red-bellied) Paradise-flycatcher. As we walked down the track we added Superb and Olive Sunbirds and a Speckled Tinkerbird. Some birds on a very distant tree could be made out to be Rosy Bee-eaters but the view was very distant.
A stop by a village gave us Village Weaver, Slender-billed Greenbul, White-throated Bee-eater, Violet-backed Starlings and a Senegal Coucal. Paul heard and called in a Brown-crowned Tchagra and a nice red and black male Black-winged Bishop was found followed by a Green Crombec and a Woodland Kingfisher. Whistling Cisticola was next to be found followed by a scan of a weaver colony comprising Village and Viellot’s (Black) Weavers. Another scoped tree added better views of ten Rosy Bee-eaters.
Continuing down the track we found a female Buff-throated Sunbird and then a much-wanted bird: Black Bee-eater, two birds seen very well and a definite trip highlight. A Black-and-white Manakin was found followed by Collared Sunbird. Some of us then did a walk to get closer to a tree favoured by Rosy Bee-eaters. It was a hot and longish walk but on arrival we found at least 100 birds and had excellent views of them in the tree and flying around. In a scope they really were frame-filling views! Also here we found our first Western Black-headed Oriole, and on the walk back we had another male Black-winged Bishop.
We boarded the now-fixed bus but soon stopped for a pair of Black-and-white Shrike-flycatchers in a tree by the side of the road.
Next stop was the Pra River at Twifo Praso for two special birds, both of which we saw. After a couple of minutes’ walk from the bus to the river we quickly located our first target, Rock Pratincole, three birds on nearby rocks. Two Common Sandpipers and two Little Bee-eaters were found followed by our second target, White-throated Blue Swallow. The swallows were a bit distant so we drove across the river bridge to get closer and saw them well.
Later that afternoon we were back at Abrafo Forest where we had birded in the morning. Senegal Coucal and African Pied Hornbill were seen as was a Didric Cuckoo and at least three Yellow White-eyes. A Whistling Cisticola was singing nearby and both Velvet-mantled Drongo and Little Greenbul were found. Where the woods got a bit thicker we heard Olive Long-tailed Cuckoo but it didn’t want to show itself.
Darkness was falling so we gathered by the bus and could hear a calling Brown Nightjar. Paul played the call of Brown Nightjar and a bird appeared almost instantly and was seen briefly in torchlight. Fortunately for us it then landed very close by on a branch by the side of the track and stayed there as the photographers had a field day. Leaving the bird alone we drove to another site and lured in a Black-shouldered Nightjar, seen well flying above us but not landing nearby. We still had a final site to visit and after a short drive we were again out and this time in more open country and it wasn’t long before we were all admiring a Fraser’s Eagle-owl! This is how all night birding ought to be! And to add to that, we had a brief view of a Long-tailed Nightjar sitting on the road as we drove back to the hotel.
Day 4 As yesterday we visited Abrafo Forest getting another male Black-winged Bishop on the way. On arrival we were greeted by Sabine’s Spinetails and a Preuss’s Swallow, quickly followed by an Orange-cheeked Waxbill and two perched African Cuckoo-hawks, an adult and a juvenile. The Whistling Cisticola was singing from the same perch as yesterday and Little Greenbul and Fanti Saw-wing were seen. This time we went deeper into the forest rather than down a wide track. Here we found another Chestnut-breasted Nigrita and heard Yellow-billed Turacos. Paul led us through some trackless forest where we tried for Rufous-sided Broadbill, and to our delight a bird showed well. Back on the slightly-more obvious track Paul found Swamp Palm Bulbuls and Olive Sunbird. In a somewhat more open area we lined up to see what we could find: Honeyguide Greenbul, Icterine Greenbul, Western Bearded Greenbul, Fraser’s Sunbird, West African Wattle-eye and Maxwell’s Black Weaver were the result of a few frantic minutes birding. We stayed at the site and had the same or another Honeyguide Greenbul, an adult and a juvenile Blue-billed Malimbe and two Blue Malkohas (Yellowbills). Some people also saw a Buff-spotted Woodpecker.
We then walked further along the forest track and Paul found a female Fire-bellied Woodpecker feeding near the top of a tree and we heard a male drumming. We had a very-high-up Yellow-spotted Barbet and two perched Fanti Saw-wings. A Yellow-browed Camaroptera was called in and we heard Red-tailed Greenbul. A Brown-cheeked Hornbill was then found and two Copper-tailed Starlings flew quickly overhead. We managed only to hear Kemp’s Longbill. As we drove away from this site we found two African Firefinches feeding on the road.
We were now heading for Ankasa Game Reserve, in the south-west of the country not far from the border with Côte d’Ivoire. As ever, we made a couple of stops on the way. Our first stop was a lake that held African Jacana, Eurasian Moorhen, Cattle Egret, Anhinga and our target bird, Orange Weaver. These are very attractive weavers. The second stop was at a tidal river with mangroves. Here we had Brown Sunbird and Malachite Kingfisher and two or three of our next target bird, Reichenbach’s Sunbird. We then continued on to our camp at Ankasa. That night we were treated to a very impressive tropical storm with thunder and lightning and a lot of rain. Still, our tents were undercover so we stayed dry.
Day 5 This morning we boarded landrovers and headed into Ankasa forest. Due to the storm last night there were various bits of tree down on the track on which we were travelling, which the Ankasa staff quickly dealt with using the ubiquitous machetes. We eventually we came across a downed tree that was too large to deal with with machetes so we left the landrovers and continued on foot. Grey-throated Flycatcher and Forest Robin were heard but would not come out to be seen but the Chocolate-backed Kingfisher Andy found showed well. We continued on, hearing birds but not managing to lure them out despite every effort to do so: Blue-headed Crested-flycatcher, Red-chested Owlet and White-spotted Flufftail were heard but not seen. However, we did find Crested Malimbe, Fraser’s Sunbird, Icterine Greenbul, West African Wattle-eye and then heard and saw a Dusky Long-tailed Cuckoo.
Our goal was to check three woodland ponds and we had to be quiet as we approached them. The first pond, with the largest amount of open water, looked good for kingfishers but was quiet when we got there. The second was far more vegetated and also quiet but the third one gave up the treasure we sought as, after a few minutes searching, a fine Hartlaub’s Duck flew up and directly away from us to disappear into nearby vegetation. Also here we managed brief views of a very skulking Black-bellied Seedcracker.
We walked back to the first pond where Merv found an African Finfoot that was found going back and forth in a shady part of the pond, and a Blue-throated Roller was seen high up on a nearby tree.
We stopped for lunch at another site, and as we finished we noted two Swamp Palm Bulbuls, nine African Pied Hornbills and two Splendid Starlings. A short walk into the forest yielded a very-hard-to-see Forest Robin, which, with some contortions, I did eventually manage to see quite well.
The goal for the afternoon was to again walk the track that went past the three ponds. Soon after starting we heard and then saw flying a superb Great Blue Turaco. The bird landed in an open tree and showed very well for all: a much-wanted bird for all of us. Nearby Paul found a perched Western Bronze-naped Pigeon after having heard them calling in the area, and everyone got on this bird as it deigned to stay put for some time.
At the first pond we had a decision to make. Stay at this pond and wait for kingfishers or walk to the third pond for the chance of Hartlaub’s Duck again. A small group of us opted for the latter option and left the others to watch the first pond and they did see White-bellied Kingfisher. At the third pond we didn’t relocate the duck but we did get some good birds. First were two Red-billed Helmetshrikes high up in trees, then a Piping Hornbill coming to what looked like a nest hole. We saw three more Great Blue Turacos and a perching Copper-tailed Starling. Nearby we found the occupied nest of Red-vented Malimbe with the black-and-red malimbe seen moving inside the woven nest chamber.
We walked back to the first pond to rejoin the main group. We planned to stay here until dark, and during the time we waited we relocated the White-bellied Kingfisher and saw three Yellow-billed Turacos and a Tambourine Dove. As dusk approached hundreds of Straw-coloured Fruitbats flew over and a splash in the pond led us to a Dwarf Crocodile as it entered the water and swam past us. The frogs chorus was on and off and impressively loud. As darkness fell we heard one then another Nkulengu Rail calling from deep in the forest. When it was almost completely dark we did have one large bird fly in. It could have been Spot-breasted Ibis or White-crested Bittern but sadly it didn’t stop in a tree by the pondside but carried on into the forest. As we drove back an emergency stop was necessitated as an African Wood-owl was found in a tree above the road, which stayed for all to admire.
Day 6 We gathered early in the carpark and almost immediately had a female African Shrike-flycatcher that we all got on to. After a short walk down to the river we quickly located two Cassin’s Flycatchers, flycatching over the water. A Grey-headed Nigrita was found in a nearby tree and four Cassin’s Spinetails flew overhead. The group then divided into two: one group stayed by the bridge and the other went into the forest. Those of us who went into the forest were accompanied by a man with a rifle in case we came across elephants or poachers. We heard Blue-headed Wood-dove but couldn’t lure one in. However, we did track down a Finsch’s Flycatcher-thrush and a Tambourine Dove. Paul’s excellent hearing meant we stopped for a Rufous-winged Illadopsis, that showed now and then, although was mostly under cover, until we were forced back to the path by bees. Next was another illadopsis, this time a Pale-breasted Illadopsis that I managed to glimpse briefly. We found another African Forest-flycatcher, heard Forest Robin and saw Yellow-whiskered Greenbul and three high-up Golden Greenbuls.
Back at the camp Craig showed us a superb photo he had taken of a White-bellied Kingfisher so after lunch we gathered at the site to see if it would come back. It did but it never sat still for long. Whilst searching for the kingfisher we did get good views of Fraser’s Sunbird, Western Bearded-greenbul and Chestnut-breasted Nigrita.
Sadly, we now had to leave Ankasa and head east again. We made a few stops en route, once at a lake where we again found Orange Weavers and a couple of roadside stops for Shikra, Lesser Striped Swallow and Pied-winged Swallow. A stop for a comfort break provided interesting due to the toilets having clear glass doors!
We made a longer stop at a marshy area where there was a large colony of Village and Viellot’s (Black) Weavers. Here we found a Wood Sandpiper, Spur-winged Lapwing and Long-tailed Cormorant. However, our target bird took a bit more work but we managed to get great views of both male and female Marsh Tchagra. Also here were Purple Heron, Pied Kingfisher, Grey Kestrel, Senegal Coucal, Yellow-crowned Gonolek and Western Plantain-eater. Finally I scoped a close male Copper Sunbird looking fantastic in the evening sun.
Day 7 Just outside the hotel, as we prepared to board the bus, a couple of Magpie Manakins were found. Some people had seen these around the hotel a few days earlier but they were new for me so I hurried over to see them making it just before they flew off. Then we went to another part of Kakum National Park where we started with Lesser Striped Swallows flying around. We walked down a track but were soon off-track listening and looking for Brown Illadopsis. We heard and briefly saw this bird and heard Puvel’s Illadopsis at the same site. A little further on we came across a (Little) Grey Greenbul and a nice male Green-headed Sunbird.
We stopped at a specific site Paul knows and, noting Simple Greenbul and Black-winged Bishop, scanned the area. Craig located our target bird sitting quietly in a stand of bamboo: Blue-headed Coucal, which showed well, and there was another calling in the distance.
We then moved to another site, again down a small path off the main track, and Paul played the call of White-spotted Flufftail. Almost immediately this tiny rail appeared, walked quickly across an open patch and disappeared back into cover calling all the time. Even though I knew it was a small bird I was still stunned by how tiny it actually was. We stayed for a while trying to coax it out of cover and across the path and, eventually, it ran across the path next to us.
Back up on the main track we had both Yellow-browed and Olive-green Camaropteras, Pale Flycatcher and Tit-hylia. A Blue-spotted Wood-dove put in an appearance as did a Woodland Kingfisher. Sveta, who had stayed back by herself managed to see and photograph a Dusky-blue Flycatcher. As we headed back to the bus we had good scope views of a perched Lesser Striped Swallow.
Our final stop of the day was a village with a school sponsored by Ashanti African Tours and visiting birders. We stopped for a photo with the children and then began an hour-long walk through the forest, scrambling up a couple of quite steep slopes, to an area where there are three wooden benches. Here we sat for just under two hours waiting for the big moment. The sweat bees were numerous and noisy but harmless and certainly had plenty to feed on! Paul then whispered that our target bird was coming in from the right. We all watched and then suddenly there it was, a White-necked Rockfowl (Yellow-headed Picarthartes, which we all agreed is a much better name). It was an amazing moment and we then spent the rest of the daylight watching and photographing this wonderful bird as it appeared and disappeared amongst the vines and rocks. This truly was a highlight of the trip and well worth the effort. We then left the bird alone and walked back through the forest to the village, stopping briefly for a Tawny-flanked Prinia roosting on a grass stem right next to the path, where we took up a collection for the village and said our farewells.
Day 8 Today we started at a mostly open area of Opro Forest getting African Hobby, Black-and-white Manakin and two Orange-cheeked Waxbills. Two Brown-necked Parrots flew past and we found more Vielliot’s Weavers, a Black-winged Oriole and a Northern Puffback.
We now had to drive up north to Mole National Park. On the way we did stop for two Rufous-crowned Rollers and a Beaudouin’s Snake-eagle and closer to Mole we found six Grasshopper Buzzards, five Piapiacs, two Abyssinian Rollers, plus a Wilson’s Indigobird where we stopped so Paul and Andrew could buy us ice creams! and a Western Kob (an antelope). At the entrance to Mole Motel, as our hotel was named, we added two Bushbucks.
We now had some time to ourselves as it was about midday and pretty hot. However, some of us did wander about to see what was in the area. The hotel is on a high escarpment and overlooks a large waterhole, some marshland and forest. Scanning the waterhole and area, and the nearby trees, I found Red-throated Bee-eaters, five Spur-winged Geese, nine Hadada Ibises, Tantalus Monkey and six Warthogs in the distance. I then turned around to see an adult Warthog about five metres from me wandering past the rooms! Later we were to see a whole family around the hotel.
We gathered at about 3.30 and drove to Mole airstrip (disused). Here we had Grasshopper Buzzard, Fork-tailed Drongo, three Rose-ringed Parakeets, Bush Petronia, heard Stone Partridge, saw four Yellow-billed Shrikes, and, finally, found both Long-tailed and Standard-winged Nightjars. The Long-tailed Nightjar sat on the ground and allowed us to get very close, and instead of flying away it just waddled a few inches and then sat down again. The Standard-winged didn’t hang about but we hoped to see that species again later.
Day 9 We boarded the bus early (as usual), picked up an armed guard and drove down and into the national park. We saw African Harrier-hawk and had to make a fast stop when a male and female Abyssinian Ground-hornbill flew up from the tall grass next to the road and landed in a nearby tree.
We drove on a little way and then got out to start walking through the savannah woodland. It was nice to see Willow Warbler in its wintering quarters but the Red-cheeked Cordon-bleus were more diverting. Some people saw a Red-flanked Duiker. We stopped at various times on the walk getting Red-throated Bee-eaters, Bush Petronias, Grey-headed Kingfisher, Vinaceous Dove, two Yellow-fronted Canaries, Village Indigobird, Beautiful Sunbird, Northern Crombec and Pin-tailed Whydah. A crashing noise nearby indicated the presence of an elephant and we saw its large grey back half as we were encouraged to quickly move away.
We went the opposite direction to the elephant and where soon finding more birds: two White-breasted Cuckooshrikes, African Paradise-flycatcher, White-faced Whistling-ducks and two Green Woodhoopoes. A nice Blue-breasted Kingfisher was next followed by three or four very active White-shouldered Black-tits. Birds kept coming with Grey Woodpecker followed by two female and one male Red-shouldered Cuckooshrikes and Yellow-breasted Apalis. A Grey-headed Bushshrike and a Snowy-crowned Robin-chat were then found and we saw some Double-spurred Francolins fly up from the path, and then some of us had to make a quick walk back to the others when they found a Western Violet-backed Sunbird. Where the sunbird was we also added Broad-billed Roller and a pair of Black-necked Weavers. Carrying on we found a Little Weaver, a Purple Starling and five Long-tailed Glossy Starlings, and four more Green Woodhoopoes.
When then visited three waterholes. The first held a beautiful Malachite Kingfisher and two slightly-less-beautiful Swamp Flycatchers plus Bush Petronia, two Red-cheeked Cordon-bleus and three Red-throated Bee-eaters. The second waterhole added Wattled Lapwing plus Grey and Purple Herons and Hooded Vulture. The third waterhole held Cattle Egrets and at least one Little Egret, Hadada Ibis, seven Spur-winged Geese, Wattled Lapwings and Senegal Thick-knees, Hamerkop and Northern Black-flycatcher.
We also kept our eyes on the skies above us and had Shikra, and adult female and a juvenile Bateleur. Some vultures were seen soaring in our direction and were identified as seven White-backed Vultures plus a single White-headed Vulture, and then these were joined by a Martial Eagle. We added Squacco Heron and Western Yellow Wagtails on the nearby marshy areas, and, whilst watching from a raised platform, known as Big Saltlick Tree Hide, watched two African Elephants walk by, followed by Cattle Egrets, as they came into the waterhole. We also found a Black-headed Heron here and there were wintering Pied Flycatchers scattered about.
Heading back to the bus we found Woolly-necked Stork, Chestnut-backed Sparrow-lark and Sulphur-breasted Bushshrike plus Grey-headed Kingfisher, a male Bateleur and Vaughan spotted a soaring Western Banded Snake-eagle. We also saw a Striped Ground-squirrel.
After lunch I went for a short walk around the hotel grounds and caught up with a bird some others had seen, Chestnut-crowned Sparrow-weaver. I also saw a troop of Patas Monkeys and a couple of Olive Baboons.
At 3.30 we set off in the bus, stopping for Stone Partridge and a pair of Four-banded Sandgrouse at the roadside, and drove to an area of open ground and short grasses. Paul quickly found a Spotted Thick-knee hiding under some bushes and soon after found two Sun Larks. We tried for but had no joy with Forbes’s Plover. There were a lot of flies here, small ones that were just annoying and large ones that bit but they weren’t too much trouble. It certainly helped to have a portable head-covering mosquito net!
On to another site where the flies were also present. Bug spray does not seem to bother them! We did find Bruce’s Green-pigeon and Fine-spotted Woodpecker. A stop near some water added two more Swamp Flycatchers, another Malachite Kingfisher, Grey Woodpecker, Broad-billed Roller, Violet Turaco and a Black-crowned Night-heron. Also here we heard African Scops-owls but they didn’t want to come in to show themselves.
On the drive back to Mole Motel we had to stop a few times because of birds on the road: we came across a couple of Spotted Thick-knees and no fewer than three different Greyish Eagle-owls!
Day 10 We drove back to Mole airstrip to see what we could find. We didn’t have to walk far and saw three White-shouldered Black-tits, African Golden Oriole and Pygmy Sunbird. Three African Grey Hornbills were seen and Paul found us Red-winged Prinia and, as we watched this bird, a Brown-backed Woodpecker flew in and accommodatingly landed on a leafless small tree. Three Brown Babblers chuckled away in some bushes before we then positioned ourselves in a long row and lured in a very nice White-throated Francolin. This bird showed very well right on the edge of the tall grasses.
Moving a little way from the airstrip we walked about 50 metres to an area of farmland. Here we found no fewer than seven Rufous Cisticolas, a Black-crowned Tchagra, Yellow-fronted Tinkerbird, two Northern Red Bishops plus birds we had seen before in the form of Yellow-billed Shrike, Yellow-fronted Canary and Abyssinian Roller. Two Black Scimitarbills flew over and landed in a nearby tree and we found two Lizard Buzzards, a Striped Kingfisher, three Viellot’s Barbets and a Scarlet-chested Sunbird.
Driving to Mognori Bridge, which crosses the Mole river, we had three Stone Partridges cross the road in front of us. At the bridge we quickly got on to Wire-tailed Swallows and then found another Bearded Barbet. Then it was Blue-bellied Roller followed by around 10 Senegal Eremomolas looking very yellow until a superb male Pygmy Sunbird appeared and showed them what yellow really meant. A full-tailed male Togo Paradise-whydah flew over as did another Lizard Buzzard. In some nearby woods Willow Warblers were again found along with Singing Cisticola, two Black-bellied Firefinches flew in and a flying raptor was identified as a Wahlberg’s Eagle.
Our afternoon jaunt had us stop the bus for Levaillant’s Cuckoo, Black-crowned Tchagra and, for some, White-fronted Black-chat. Our main goal was Forbes’s Plover and we tried a couple of open, grassy sites where some burning had been carried out, which is their preferred habitat. The first site yielded three Sun Larks and a perched, full-tailed male Exclamatory Paradise-whydah. At the second site the flies were out in force so whilst we waited in the bus Paul and Andrew (a co-leader with Paul and a butterfly expert), plus Jonathan with the rifle, went to look for the birds. We waited for about twenty minutes and then spotted Andrew beckoning. Time to risk the flies. We did a quick march for a kilometre or so, seeing a flock of Lesser Blue-eared Starlings en route, and found Paul in the middle of a large area of mostly low grass and burnt grass. He had located two Forbes’s Plovers and we all admired these birds, and although they were quite flighty, they were seen well. On the much more sedate walk back we found a Greater Honeyguide.
Finally for the day we stopped by the side of the road to listen for owls. An African Scops-owl was briefly seen and we thought that was it until Paul had us down another track and looking up into a tree that held an African Scops-owl. After admiring this bird we walked to the next tree along and watched a fine Northern White-faced Owl. A great end to the day.
Day 11 Whilst eating breakfast we had White-shouldered Black-tit moving through the nearby trees. This morning we started with a walk around the hotel grounds. First we looked down towards the waterhole, which was a good move as we saw six Helmeted Guineafowl near the water. Moving our attention back to the trees around the hotel Paul found us a Familiar Chat, perched most accommodatingly on the open on top of a bush. Paul both played and impersonated Pearl-spotted Owlet and we had quite a few birds come in: Bush Petronia, Pied Flycatcher, Senegal Eremomela, African Paradise-flycatcher, a male Northern Puffback and a beautiful male Scarlet-chested Sunbird flashing its green crown and scarlet chest in the sun. Four Northern Black-flycatchers appeared as did three Grey-backed Camaropteras.
A few metres away we found a close Double-spurred Francolin and tried to lure in a White-crowned Robin-chat. I was lucky enough to be in the right place to see the bird but I am, not sure how many of the others did. We then got distracted by a shout of ‘Batis’ from Vaughan and we quickly headed in that direction. Sure enough we had male and female Senegal Batis, and in the same tree, a female Northern Puffback, Red-cheeked Cordon-bleus and Yellow-fronted Canary. I then loudly said “owl, top left” because there was a very nice Pearl-spotted Owlet sitting there: our seventh species of owl for the trip! Also in this area we found a Red-winged Prinia.
Walking further around the grounds we had Barn, Wire-tailed and Red-chested Swallows, Red-billed Firefinches, an African Thrush, at least four Lavender Waxbills with some cordon-bleus and, finally, another Yellow-crowned Gonolek.
Our last site at Mole was again the airstrip and surrounding farmland. We tried for Brown-rumped Bunting but it didn’t play ball and was a no-show.
So, now we got back in the bus and started to head further north. At one point the accumulated dust stopped the air-con working, and the bus heated up very quickly. Not a problem. A quick stop and a pressure hose wash and we were cool again.
Our next stop was a large marshy area that the main road very conveniently went past. We moved from side to side of the bridge getting about 60 Red-billed Queleas, two adult and one juvenile Chestnut-backed Sparrow-lark on one side and Dark-chanting Goshawk, African Jacana and Eurasian Marsh-harriers on the other. We also had our first Speckled Pigeon here and a Black-billed Wood-dove.
Our final port of call for the day was the Tongo Hills, south-east of Bolgatanga. This is grassland with rocky outcrops and has a few target birds. On arrival we did a short walk through the grass and scoped two birds on some of the rocks. One was our first Fox Kestrel and the other was a Booted Eagle. We soon saw another Fox Kestrel and found a few pairs of Gosling’s Buntings. A different rocky area held about twenty Village Indigobirds, Red-cheeked Cordon-bleus and at least two Black-rumped Waxbills plus a couple of African Silverbills. A key bird here is Rock-loving Cisticola and we had good views of this fast-moving species. It was surprisingly rufous. Beware the local children. They are friendly but eyed anything in pockets and did try to grab some things. Mainly they were after empty water bottles, which we gave to them.
Day 12 Today we were going north and somewhat east, close to the border with Burkina Faso. Our goal was the White Volta river that at this site actually forms the border between the two countries.
En route to the river of course we made a few stops. Our first stop was in a scrubby dry habitat where we quickly picked up a perched Red-necked Falcon and perched Grey Kestrel. Six Yellow-billed Shrikes were seen and we had distant views of two Purple Starlings and two Northern Carmine Bee-eaters. A third bee-eater flew over our heads. Three more perched raptors turned out to be Dark Chanting-goshawk, Brown Snake-eagle and Lizard Buzzard. We found three Bruce’s Green-pigeons and our first Northern Red-billed Hornbills.
Another stop was by a tree containing large White-billed Buffalo-weavers’s nests and we saw three birds around the nests. Hirundines in this area comprised Red-chested and Grey-rumped Swallows.
We drove a little while longer and then decamped by a small marshy area where we walked to the river. It wasn’t long before we were admiring two, then four, and eventually a total of seven, Egyptian Plovers, both in Ghana and in Burkina Faso! Also here were Common Greenshank, Common Sandpiper, two Wattled Lapwings and four Spur-winged Lapwings. Three Speckled Pigeons were located and two Mourning Collared-doves came to the river to drink, with more being heard calling from the nearby trees. A Striated Heron disappeared quickly into cover but two Little Egrets stayed in the open. After the Egyptian Plovers had been photographed we walked back to the bus, seeing Long-tailed Glossy Starlings, a group of 24 Piapiacs, a lone White-faced Whistling-duck, a Grey-headed Kingfisher and a Rufous-crowned Roller.
Our next stop was Tono Dam. We drove along the dam wall and parked up in another dry scrubby area. We walked this area getting an African Harrier-hawk being mobbed by Pied Crows, a single Sun Lark, and a flock comprising about 12 Bronze Manakins and three Red-cheeked Cordon-bleus. A perched Dark Chanting-goshawk was found and a Black-crowned Tchagra appeared in a nearby small tree. Continuing our walk around we found two Senegal Eremomelas, a Tawny-flanked Prinia and three Northern Red-billed Hornbills. Paul located three Yellow Penduline-tits and there was a nearby Yellow-fronted Tinkerbird. One tree seemed to be a place for Bruce’s Green-pigeon and the maximum count noted was 51 birds, with some coming and leaving all the time so the total was probably much higher. Finally, as we drove back and the sun was setting we saw at least 12 Broad-billed Rollers flying above the dam.
Day 13 Today was mostly a travel day as we had to get back down south to the Atewa Hills. The journey had hardly started when Paul shouted ‘Chestnut-bellied Starling’ and Enim slammed on the brakes. We piled out of the bus and walked a little way back and relocated the birds, one of which was seen carrying nesting material.
We stooped again at the marshy site we stopped at on Day 11. Here we saw Malachite Kingfisher, Abyssinian Roller, four Northern Carmine Bee-eaters, Squacco and Straited Herons, three Eurasian Marsh-harriers and African Jacanas. New birds for the trip were a nice Woodchat Shrike, a Black Crake, that quickly disappeared but later reappeared so all could see it, a Black-headed Weaver and three Yellow-crowned Bishops. We again saw Spur-winged Goose, Speckled Pigeon, Red-billed Firefinch and great scope views of Purple Starling.
Most of the birds I noted on the drive down were raptors: Grasshopper Buzzard, Lizard Buzzard, Red-necked Buzzard, Lanner Falcon. As we worked out way through the traffic of Kumasi we saw 100s of Straw-coloured Fruitbats flying out to feed.
Day 14 Our first site today was Bobiri Butterfly Sanctuary. However, as we drove to it I noticed a loose flock of about 50 birds flying over the bus and realised they were all African Pied Hornbills!
At Bobiri we started with a perched pair (male and female) of Red-thighed Sparrowhawks, and they sat there for some time. Chestnut-capped Flycatchers were in green tangles on trees and Paul tried for African Piculet. The bird duly appeared and dived into cover. However, Thomas P. got his scope on it, which was an extraordinary feat, so we could see it sitting there preening.
We continued to walk down the track getting four Collared Sunbirds and a catch-up for some, four Red-billed Helmetshrikes. Also with the helmetshrikes were Velvet-mantled Drongo and Yellow-mantled Weaver.
Paul, and all of us, put in a lot of effort trying to locate and coax in Red-billed Dwarf Hornbill. We heard them and they replied to the tape and we searched many nearby trees. After about half an hour we finally had them fly in, three in total, and managed to seem them quite well if briefly. We also saw a nice Red-headed Malimbe as we hunted for the hornbills.
A Little Grey Flycatcher was a good bird to get and one we saw next: it posed well for photographers. Next we found an Ashy Flycatcher and a Finsch’s Flycatcher-thrush. We found a pair of Crested Malimbes building a nest and saw Olive Sunbird and Hairy-breasted Barbet.
A little further on Paul found a Black-throated Coucal on the path, with another close behind it. These birds quickly dived for cover below a bush holding a Chestnut-breasted Nigrita. Blue Cuckooshrike was another catch-up bird for some and we found some sunbirds: Buff-throated and Blue-throated Brown.
The afternoon was spent at Atewa farmlands, at least that’s what Paul called them. It was the area of land that runs alongside the Atewa hill range. The actual hills were our goal for tomorrow.
We started with Klaas’s Cuckoo and Slender-billed Greenbul. Paul tried for Double-toothed Barbet and I was lucky enough to spot some movement and get my scope on it so everyone could see it. We walked along the track seeing Pin-tailed Whydah, Bar-breasted Firefinch, Little Greenbul and Grosbeak Weaver. In a more open area we had Viellot’s (Black) Weaver, Northern Fiscal, a fly-past by two Dideric Cuckoos, and heard an African Emerald Cuckoo. The African Emerald was tracked down and its superb colouring admired through scopes. A real wow bird especially at a frame-filling 60x! A dead tree was the nest site for Naked-faced Barbets and a few were seen, and they were then joined, although they didn’t seem happy about it, by an adult and two juvenile Narrow-tailed Starlings. A male Buff-throated Sunbird was found followed by a Blue Malkoha (Yellowbill) and a Western Nicator. Three Square-tailed Saw-wings flew past and two Plain-backed Pipits were found feeding and dust-bathing nearby.
We walked a little further into a more-bushy area and saw a nice male Superb Sunbird and a couple of African Firefinches. Paul said he could hear Red-rumped Tinkerbird but said we’d all seen that. I pointed out that I hadn’t so he played the call. The bird duly appeared, and after a few seconds showing its front it turned around and showed us its red rump. Heading back to the bus we saw about 40 White-throated Bee-eaters.
Day 15 Today was our last day in Ghana and we were to walk up a fairly gentle slope in the Atewa range. The heat and humidity made the gentle walk, which is about 5 km, quite tough but it was well worth it. The goal was to get to the top of the hill so we didn’t stop for birds we heard but had already seen: Melancholy Woodpecker and Puvel’s Illadopsis, although we did see a Western Black-headed Oriole. Our first stop was when Paul heard a good cuckoo. He disappeared into the forest and soon called us in. The bird was high up but viewable from certain angles. It was a fine Yellow-throated Cuckoo and showed its yellow throat. Next stop was for Grey-throated Tit-flycatcher, an elusive species that took some getting on.
Onward we walked stopping only for three beautiful Black Bee-eaters until we head almost reached the top of the hill. We quickly found our target bird: Blue-moustached Bee-eater and saw four whilst we were up here – another heavily photographed bird. We also had a Wood Warbler here and a Sharpe’s Apalis.
On the walk down we came across Icterine Greenbul, Speckled Tinkerbird, West African Wattle-eye, Fraser’s Sunbird, a male Sabine’s Puffback and a juvenile Maxwell’s Black Weaver.
And then we were done. We had only the drive back to Accra airport and the final log to do. It had been an excellent trip with a great group of people, great birds, plus many animals, butterflies and dragonflies. The organisation of Birdfinders and Ashanti African Tours was impeccable and Paul Mensah was simply brilliant. How he saw or heard some of those birds I will never know but we owe most of our success to him.
Little Grebe Tachybaptus ruficollis
Long-tailed Cormorant Phalacrocorax africanus
African Darter Anhinga rufa
Grey Heron Ardea cinerea
Black-headed Heron Ardea melanocephala
Goliath Heron Ardea goliath
Purple Heron Ardea purpurea
Intermediate Egret Egretta intermedia
Little Egret Egretta garzetta
Western Reef-heron Egretta gularis
Squacco Heron Ardeoala ralloides
Cattle Egret Bubulcus ibis
Striated Heron Butorides striatus
Black-crowned Night-heron Nicticorax nicticorax
Hamerkop Scopus umbretta
Woolly-necked Stork Ciconia episcopus
Saddle-billed Stork Ephippiorhynchus senegalensis
Hadada Ibis Bostrychia hagedash
White-faced Whistling-duck Dendrocygna viduata
Egyptian Goose Alopochen aegyptiaca
Spur-winged Goose Plectropterus gambensis
Hartlaub’s Duck Pteronetta hartlaubii
Northern Pintail Anas acuta
Garganey Anas querquedula
African Cuckoo-hawk Aviceda cuculoides
European Honey-buzzard Pernis apivorus
Black-shouldered Kite Elanus caeruleus
Black (Yellow-billed) Kite Milvus migrans parasitus
African Fish-eagle Haliaeetus vocifer
Palm-nut Vulture Gypohierax angolensis
Hooded Vulture Necrosyrtes monachus
White-backed Vulture Gyps africanus
White-headed Vulture Trigonoceps occipitalis
Beaudouin's Snake-eagle Circaetus beaudouini
Brown Snake-eagle Circaetus cinereus
Western Banded Snake-eagle Circaetus cinerascens
Bateleur Terathopius ecaudatus
Western Marsh-harrier Circus aeruginosus
African Harrier-hawk Polyboroides typus
Dark Chanting-goshawk Melierax metabates
Red-chested Goshawk Accipiter toussenelii
Red-thighed Sparrowhawk Accipiter erythropus
Shikra Accipiter badius
Congo Serpent-eagle Dryotriorchis spectabilis
Lizard Buzzard Kaupifalco monogrammicus
Grasshopper Buzzard Butastur rufipennis
Red-necked Buzzard Buteo auguralis
Wahlberg's Eagle Hieraaetus wahlbergi
Booted Eagle Hieraaetus pennatus
Ayres's Hawk-eagle Hieraaetus ayresii
Cassin's Hawk-eagle Aquila africanus
Martial Eagle Polemaetus bellicosus
Common Kestrel Falco tinnunculus
Fox Kestrel Falco alopex
Grey Kestrel Falco ardosiaceus
Red-necked Falcon Falco chicquera
African Hobby Falco cuvierii
Lanner Falcon Falco biarmicus
White-throated Francolin Peliperdix albogularis
Double-spurred Francolin Francolinus bicalcaratus
Stone Partridge Ptilopachus petrosus
Helmeted Guineafowl Numida meleagris
White-spotted Flufftail Sarothrura pulchra
Nkulengu Rail Himantornis haematopus
Black Crake Zapornia flavirostra
Eurasian Moorhen Gallinula chloropus
African Finfoot Podica senegalensis
African Jacana Actophilornis africanus
Black-winged Stilt Himantopus himantopus
Senegal Thick-knee Burhinus senegalensis
Spotted Thick-knee Burhinus capensis
Egyptian Plover Pluvianus aegyptius
Rock Pratincole Glareola nuchalis
Spur-winged Lapwing Vanellus spinosus
Wattled Lapwing Vanellus senegallus
Forbes’s Plover Charadrius forbesi
Common Greenshank Tringa nebularia
Green Sandpiper Tringa ochropus
Wood Sandpiper Tringa glareola
Common Sandpiper Actitis hypoleucos
Sandwich Tern Thalasseus sandvicensis sandvicensis
Four-banded Sandgrouse Pterocles quadricinctus
Feral Pigeon Columba livia
Speckled Pigeon Columba guinea
Bronze-naped Pigeon Columba iriditorques
Mourning Collared-dove Streptopelia decipiens
Red-eyed Dove Streptopelia semitorquata
Vinaceous Dove Streptopelia vinacea
Blue-spotted Wood-dove Turtur afer
Tambourine Dove Turtur tympanistria
Blue-headed Wood-dove Turtur brehmeri
Bruce's Green-pigeon Treron waalia
African Green-pigeon Treron calva
Rose-ringed Parakeet Psittacula krameri
Brown-necked Parrot Poicephalus robustus
Red-fronted Parrot Poicephalus gulielmi
Senegal Parrot Poicephalus senegalus
Great Blue Turaco Corythaeola cristata
Guinea Turaco Tauraco persa
Yellow-billed Turaco Tauraco macrorhynchus
Violet Turaco Musophaga violacea
Western Grey Plantain-eater Crinifer piscator
Levaillant's Cuckoo Clamator levaillantii
Dusky Long-tailed Cuckoo Chrysococcyx mechowi
Yellow-throated Cuckoo Chrysococcyx flavigularis
Klaas's Cuckoo Chrysococcyx klaas
African Emerald Cuckoo Chrysococcyx cupreus
Dideric Cuckoo Chrysococcyx caprius
Yellowbill Ceuthmochares aereus
Black-throated Coucal Centropus leucogaster
Blue-headed Coucal Centropus monachus
Senegal Coucal Centropus senegalensis
African Scops-owl Otus senegalensis
Northern White-faced Owl Ptilopsis leucotis
Akun Eagle-owl Bubo leucostictus
Fraser's Eagle-owl Bubo poensis
Greyish Eagle-owl Bubo cinerascens
African Wood-owl Strix woodfordii
Pearl-spotted Owlet Glaucidium perlatum
Brown Nightjar Caprimulgus binotatus
Black-shouldered Nightjar Caprimulgus nigriscapularis
Long-tailed Nightjar Caprimulgus climacurus
Standard-winged Nightjar Macrodipteryx longipennis
Mottled Spinetail Telacanthura ussheri
Sabine's Spinetail Rhaphidura sabini
Cassin's Spinetail Neafrapus cassini
African Palm-swift Cypsiurus parvus
Common Swift Apus apus
Little Swift Apus affinis
Shining-blue Kingfisher Alcedo quadribrachys
Malachite Kingfisher Alcedo cristata
White-bellied Kingfisher Alcedo leucogaster
African Pygmy-kingfisher Ispidina picta
Chocolate-backed Kingfisher Halcyon badia
Grey-headed Kingfisher Halcyon leucocephala
Woodland Kingfisher Halcyon senegalensis
Blue-breasted Kingfisher Halcyon malimbica
Striped Kingfisher Halcyon chelicuti
Pied Kingfisher Ceryle rudis
Black Bee-eater Merops gularis
Blue-moustached Bee-eater Merops mentalis
Red-throated Bee-eater Merops bulocki
Little Bee-eater Merops pusillus
White-throated Bee-eater Merops albicollis
Rosy Bee-eater Merops malimbicus
Northern Carmine Bee-eater Merops nubicus
Abyssinian Roller Coracias abyssinica
Rufous-crowned Roller Coracias naevia
Blue-bellied Roller Coracias cyanogaster
Broad-billed Roller Eurystomus glaucurus
Blue-throated Roller Eurystomus gularis
Green Woodhoopoe Phoeniculus purpureus
White-headed Woodhoopoe Phoeniculus bollei
Black Scimitar-bill Rhinopomastus aterrimus
Abyssinian Ground-hornbill Bucorvus abyssinicus
White-crested Hornbill Tockus albocristatus
Red-billed Dwarf Hornbill Tockus camurus
Northern Red-billed Hornbill Tockus erythrorhynchus
African Pied Hornbill Tockus fasciatus
African Grey Hornbill Tockus nasutus
Piping Hornbill Ceratogymna fistulator
Brown-cheeked Hornbill Ceratogymna cylindricus
Black-casqued Hornbill Ceratogymna atrata
Naked-faced Barbet Gymnobucco calvus
Speckled Tinkerbird Pogoniulus scolopaceus
Red-rumped Tinkerbird Pogoniulus atroflavus
Yellow-throated Tinkerbird Pogoniulus subsulphureus
Yellow-rumped Tinkerbird Pogoniulus bilineatus
Yellow-fronted Tinkerbird Pogoniulus chysoconus
Yellow-spotted Barbet Buccanodon duchaillui
Hairy-breasted Barbet Tricholaema hirsuta
Vieillot's Barbet Lybius vieilloti
Double-toothed Barbet Lybius bidentatus
Bearded Barbet Lybius dubius
Yellow-billed Barbet Trachyphonus purpuratus
Greater Honeyguide Indicator indicator
African Piculet Sasia africana
Fine-spotted Woodpecker Campethera punctuligera
Little Green Woodpecker Campethera maculosa
Buff-spotted Woodpecker Campethera nivosa
Brown-eared Woodpecker Campethera caroli
Cardinal Woodpecker Dendropicos fuscescens
Melancholy Woodpecker Dendropicos lugubris
Fire-bellied Woodpecker Dendropicos pyrrhogaster
African Grey Woodpecker Dendropicos goertae
Brown-backed Woodpecker Dendropicos obsoletus
Rufous-sided Broadbill Smithornis rufolateralis
White-necked Rockfowl Picathartes gymnocephalus
Chestnut-backed Sparrow-lark Eremopterix leucotis
Sun Lark Galerida modesta
Grey-rumped Swallow Hirundo griseopyga
Eurasian Swallow Hirundo rustica
Red-chested Swallow Hirundo lucida
Ethiopian Swallow Hirundo aethiopica
Wire-tailed Swallow Hirundo smithii
Lesser Striped-swallow Hirundo abyssinica
Pied-winged Swallow Hirundo leucosoma
Mosque Swallow Hirundo senegalensis
Preuss's Swallow Petrochelidon preussi
White-throated Blue Swallow Hirundo nigrita
Common House-martin Delichon urbica
Rock Martin Ptyonoprogne fuligula
Fanti Sawwing Psalidoprocne obscura
Square-tailed Sawwing Psalidoprocne nitens
African Pied Wagtail Motacilla aguimp
Western Yellow Wagtail Motacilla flava
Plain-backed Pipit Anthus leucophrys
White-breasted Cuckooshrike Coracina pectoralis
Blue Cuckooshrike Coracina azurea
Red-shouldered Cuckooshrike Campephaga phoenicea
Common Bulbul Pycnonotus barbatus
Little Greenbul Eurillas virens
Grey Greenbul Eurillas gracilis
Ansorge's Greenbul Eurillas ansorgei
Slender-billed Greenbul Stelgidillas gracilirostris
Yellow-whiskered Greenbul Eurillas latirostris
Golden Greenbul Calyptocichla serina
Honeyguide Greenbul Baeopogon indicator
Simple Greenbul Chlorocichla simplex
Swamp Greenbul Thescelocichla leucopleura
Icterine Greenbul Phyllastrephus icterinus
Grey-headed Bristlebill Bleda canicapillus
Western Nicator Nicator chloris
Western Bearded-greenbul Criniger barbatus
Spotted Greenbul Ixonotus guttatus
Finsch's Flycatcher-thrush Neocossyphus finschii
White-tailed Ant-thrush Neocossyphus poensis
African Thrush Turdus pelios
Fire-crested Alethe Alethe diademata diademata
Snowy-crowned Robin-chat Cossypha niveicapilla
White-crowned Robin-chat Cossypha albicapilla
Forest Robin Stiphrornis erythrothorax
Familiar Chat Cercomela familiaris
White-fronted Black-chat Myrmecocichla albifrons
Mocking Cliff-chat Thamnolaea cinnamomeiventris
Red-faced Cisticola Cisticola erythrops
Singing Cisticola Cisticola cantans
Whistling Cisticola Cisticola lateralis
Rock-loving Cisticola Cisticola aberrans
Croaking Cisticola Cisticola natalensis
Siffling Cisticola Cisticula brachypterus
Rufous Cisticola Cisticula rufus
Tawny-flanked Prinia Prinia subflava
Red-winged Prinia Prinia erythroptera
Yellow-breasted Apalis Apalis flavida
Sharpe's Apalis Apalis sharpii
Oriole Warbler Hypergerus atriceps
Grey-backed Camaroptera Camaroptera brachyura
Yellow-browed Camaroptera Camaroptera superciliaris
Olive-green Camaroptera Camaroptera chloronota
Senegal Eremomela Eremomela pusilla
Rufous-crowned Eremomela Eremomela badiceps
Green Crombec Sylvietta virens
Lemon-bellied Crombec Sylvietta denti
Northern Crombec Sylvietta brachyura
Green Hylia Hylia prasina
Willow Warbler Phylloscopus trochilus
Wood Warbler Phylloscopus sibilatrix
Grey Longbill Macrosphenus concolor
Violet-backed Hyliota Hyliota violacea
Pale Flycatcher Bradornis pallidus
Northern Black-flycatcher Melaenornis edolioides
African Forest-flycatcher Fraseria ocreata
Spotted Flycatcher Muscicapa striata
Ussher's Flycatcher Muscicapa ussheri
Swamp Flycatcher Muscicapa aquatica
Cassin’s Flycatcher Muscicapa cassini
Little Grey Flycatcher Muscicapa epulata
Dusky-blue Flycatcher Muscicapa comitata
Ashy Flycatcher Muscicapa caerulescens
Grey-throated Tit-flycatcher Myioparus griseigularis
European Pied Flycatcher Ficedula hypoleuca
Red-bellied Paradise-flycatcher Terpsiphone rufiventer
African Paradise-flycatcher Terpsiphone viridis
Chestnut-capped Flycatcher Erythrocercus mccallii
African Shrike-flycatcher Megabias flammulatus
Black-and-white Shrike-flycatcher Bias musicus
Brown-throated Wattle-eye Platysteira cyanea
West African Wattle-eye Platysteira hormophora
Senegal Batis Batis senegalensis
Pale-breasted Illadopsis Trichastoma rufipennis
Rufous-winged Illadopsis Illadopsis rufescens
Puvel's Illadopsis Illadopsis puveli
Blackcap Babbler Turdoides reinwardtii
Brown Babbler Turdoides plebejus
White-winged Black-tit Melaniparus leucomelas
White-shouldered Black-tit Melaniparus guineensis
Yellow Penduline-tit Anthoscopus parvulus
Tit-hylia Pholidornis rushiae
Variable Sunbird Cinnyris venustus
Reichenbach’s Sunbird Anabathmis reichenbachii
Fraser's Sunbird Deleornis fraseri
Western Violet-backed Sunbird Anthreptes longuemarei
Mouse-brown Sunbird Anthreptes gabonicus
Little Green Sunbird Anthreptes seimundi
Green Sunbird Anthreptes rectirostris
Green-headed Sunbird Cyanomitra verticalis
Collared Sunbird Hedydipna collaris
Pygmy Sunbird Hedydipna platura
Olive Sunbird Cyanomitra olivacea
Blue-throated Brown Sunbird Nectarinia cyanolaema
Buff-throated Sunbird Nectarinia adelberti
Olive-bellied Sunbird Nectarinia cloropygia
Tiny Sunbird Cinnyris minullus
Beautiful Sunbird Nectarinia pulchella
Splendid Sunbird Nectarinia coccinigastra
Superb Sunbird Nectarinia superbus
Copper Sunbird Nectarinia cuprea
Scarlet-chested Sunbird Calcomitra senegalensis
African Yellow White-eye Zosterops senegalensis
African Golden Oriole Oriolus auratus
Western Black-headed Oriole Oriolus brachyrhynchus
Black-winged Oriole Oriolus nigripennis
Northern Fiscal Lanius humeralis
Woodchat Shrike Lanius senator
Yellow-billed Shrike Corvinella corvina
Northern Puffback Dryoscopus gambensis
Sabine's Puffback Dryoscopus sabini
Marsh Tchagra Tchagra minutus
Black-crowned Tchagra Tchagra senegala
Brown-crowned Tchagra Tchagra australis
Yellow-crowned Gonolek Laniarius barbarus
Sulphur-breasted Bushshrike Telophorus sulfureopectus
Grey-headed Bushshrike Malaconotus blanchoti
Red-billed Helmetshrike Prionops caniceps
Shining Drongo Dicrurus atripennis
Fork-tailed Drongo Dicrurus adsimilis
Square-tailed Drongo Dicrurus ludwigii
Velvet-mantled Drongo Dicrurus modestus
Piapiac Ptilostomus afer
Pied Crow Corvus albus
Copper-tailed Starling Hylopsar cuprecauda
Lesser Blue-eared Starling Lamprotornis chloropterus
Splendid Starling Lamprotornis splendidus
Purple Starling Lamprotornis purpureus
Long-tailed Glossy Starling Lamprotornis caudatus
Chestnut-bellied Starling Lamprotornis pulcher
Violet-backed Starling Cinnyricinclus leucogaster
Chestnut-winged Starling Onychognathus fulgidus hartlaubii
Narrow-tailed Starling Poeoptera lugubris
Yellow-billed Oxpecker Buphagus africanus
Northern Grey-headed Sparrow Passer griseus
House Sparrow Passer domesticus
Bush Petronia Petronia dentata
White-billed Buffalo-weaver Bubalornis albirostris
Chestnut-crowned Sparrow-weaver Plocepasser superciliosus
Slender-billed Weaver Ploceus pelzelni
Little Weaver Ploceus luteolus
Black-necked Weaver Ploceus nigricollis
Orange Weaver Ploceus aurantius
Village Weaver Ploceus cucullatus
Black-headed Weaver Ploceus melanocephalus
Vieillot's Black Weaver Ploceus nigerrimus
Yellow-mantled Weaver Ploceus tricolor
Maxwell's Black Weaver Ploceus albinucha
Preuss's Weaver Ploceus preussi
Compact Weaver Pachyphantes superciliosus
Red-vented Malimbe Malimbus scutatus
Blue-billed Malimbe Malimbus nitens
Crested Malimbe Malimbus malimbicus
Red-headed Malimbe Malimbus rubricollis
Red-billed Quelea Quelea quelea
Yellow-crowned Bishop Euplectes afer
Black-winged Bishop Euplectes hordeaceus
Northern Red Bishop Euplectes franciscanus
Yellow-shouldered Widowbird Euplectes macrourus
Grosbeak Weaver Amblyospiza albifrons
White-breasted Nigrita Nigrita fusconotus
Chestnut-breasted Nigrita Nigrita bicolor
Grey-headed Nigrita Nigrita canicapilla
Black-bellied Seedcracker Pyrenestes ostrinus
Western Bluebill Spermophaga haematina
Bar-breasted Firefinch Lagonosticta rufopicta
Red-billed Firefinch Lagonosticta senegala
Black-bellied Firefinch Lagonosticta rara
African Firefinch Lagonosticta rubricata
Red-cheeked Cordonbleu Uraeginthus bengalus
Lavender Waxbill Estrilda caerulescens
Orange-cheeked Waxbill Estrilda melpoda
Black-rumped Waxbill Estrilda troglodytes
African Silverbill Lonchura cantans
Bronze Mannikin Lonchura cucullata
Black-and-white Mannikin Lonchura bicolor
Magpie Mannikin Lonchura fringilloides
Village Indigobird Vidua chalybeata
Wilson’s Indigobird Vidua wilsoni
Pin-tailed Whydah Vidua macroura
Exclamatory Paradise-whydah Vidua interjecta
Togo Paradise-whydah Vidua togoensis
Yellow-fronted Canary Serinus mozambicus
Gosling's Bunting Emberiza goslingi