Trip report: Ghana: Picathartes and Egyptian Plover (March 2014) by Tropical Birding

Guided by Charley Hesse.

Ghana is now well established on the world birding circuit. Made famous by the strange White-necked Rockfowl, or Picathartes, Ghana is still the best place in the world to see one. Other star birds include Egyptian Plover and Standard-winged Nightjar and on this tour we had killer views of all of these. Ghana is also a great place to build your world list and even if you have birded Eastern or Southern Africa, you will still end up with a long list of lifers. We did particularly well on this tour with a final count of 436 species in just two weeks, almost cleaning up on several particularly diverse groups like greenbuls, cisticolas and sunbirds. Birding in the humid lowland rainforest of the south wasn’t easy, and ranks with some of the most challenging in the world, but Kakum’s famous canopy walkway and some fantastic stakeouts for difficult species meant that we found most of our targets. While not luxurious, the accommodation was adequate to comfortable and everyone enjoyed the camping at Ankassa which was particularly well organized. Other than those mentioned above, our avian highlights included both dwarf-hornbills at Kakum, Hartlaub’s Duck and African Finfoot on the way to Ankassa, Blue-headed Bee-eater on our drive north, Standard-winged Nightjar, Forbes’s Plover and Abyssinian Ground Hornbill in Mole NP. On the tour we had ample opportunity for night watching and found several rarely seen mammals with wonderful names like cusimanse, anomalure and giant pouched-rats. Ghana is friendly, safe and stable with decent infrastructure but most importantly they have the best local guides in Africa. These guys really gave us an incredible trip.

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