Trip report: Ghana, Rockfowl and Fufu (Mar 2009) by Tropical Birding

Guided by Ken Behrens. This was a set departure tour.

Although Ghana is a relatively unknown destination for birding tours, it is quickly becoming the premier destination in West Africa. In contrast to most of the other countries in the region, it is safe, and the people are remarkably friendly. Its infrastructure is also exceptional, with good hotels, restaurants, and roads through most of the country. In terms of birding, Ghana a huge amount to offer. The southern rainforests are a great place to find Upper Guinea endemics (restricted to the rainforest west of Togo) as well as a full range of West African forest species. Meanwhile, the northern portion of Ghana lies in the Guinea savanna belt, with a completely different set of birds. The most exceptional thing about Ghana from a birding perspective is the list of ‘marquee species’ that it holds. Foremost among these is Yellow-headed Picathartes, one of the most spectacular and sought-after birds in the world. Ghana is the best place to see this species, and sightings here are virtually guaranteed, whereas stories of missing Cameroon’s elusive Gray-necked Picathartes, abound. Put simply, Ghana is the best place in the world to see a Picathartes. In addition, African Finfoot is virtually guaranteed, and Pel’s Fishing-Owl is found on most trips. Egyptian Plover stands to become a regular feature on this tour, after the confirmation of its presence at a new site during scouting prior to this tour. Other spectacular birds likely in Ghana include Congo Serpent-Eagle, Long-tailed Hawk, White-spotted Flufftail, Guinea, Yellow-billed, and Violet Turacos, Fraser’s Eagle-Owl, Standard-winged Nightjar, Chocolate-backed Kingfisher, Blue-headed, Red-throated, and Rosy Bee-eaters, White-crested, Black Dwarf, Red-billed Dwarf, Brown-cheeked, Black-casqued, and Yellow-casqued Hornbills, Fire-bellied Woodpecker, Rufous-sided Broadbill, Long-tailed Glossy-Starling, and Preuss’s Weaver.

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