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FORESTS OF GHANA

Sunday 8th April - Tuesday 17th April 2012

Nik Borrow

Rosy Bee-eaters (Nik Borrow)

Rosy Bee-eaters (Nik Borrow)

This was the ninth BirdQuest tour to Ghana, once known as the Gold Coast and situated in the very heart of West Africa. The country’s growing tourist industry has much to offer to visitors with its colourful and vibrant culture, a turbulent history and a coast lined with beautiful beaches and numerous slave forts still left standing to remind visitors of a grim past. However we were here to discover its avian riches and instead of trying to ‘clean up’ in this interesting country this short and sweet tour focused on a great selection of Upper Guinea forest endemic birds and one very special species in particular; the strange and bizarre Yellow-headed Picathartes or ‘rockfowl’. Although we had to wait for several hours our success at seeing this often elusive and furtive creature was absolute with prolonged views of posing individuals at remarkably close range and this event was undoubtedly the highlight of the tour! Our itinerary included Kakum National Park and its famous canopy walkway and we also paid a visit to the beautiful forest at Ankasa and the butterfly sanctuary at Bobiri. It was very hot and humid, as the rains had not yet really begun with the only real rain of the tour falling during our first morning at Ankasa. We managed to amass a very respectable 347 species of birds of which all but 15 were seen.

Specialties such as Long-tailed Hawk, Brown Nightjar, Rosy Bee-eater and Tessmann’s Flycatcher were the lead players with a good supporting cast of Ghanaian specialties that included Spot-breasted Ibis, Hartlaub’s Duck, Congo Serpent Eagle (heard only), Red-chested Goshawk, Red-thighed Sparrowhawk, Beaudouin’s Snake Eagle, Stone Partridge, Ahanta Francolin, Nkulengu Rail (heard only), Violet Turaco, Yellow-throated Cuckoo, Black-throated Coucal, Akun Eagle Owl (heard only), Chestnut Owlet (heard only), Black Spinetail, White-bellied Kingfisher, Blue-moustached Bee-eater, Blue-bellied Roller, Forest Wood-hoopoe, Black Dwarf, Red-billed Dwarf, Brown-cheeked and Black-casqued and Yellow-casqued Hornbills, Bristle-nosed, Hairy-breasted and Bearded Barbets, Yellow-footed Honeyguide (heard only), African Piculet, Little Green, Melancholy and Fire-bellied Woodpeckers, Fanti Saw-wing, Preuss’s Cliff Swallow, White-throated, Western Bearded and Yellow-bearded Greenbuls, Grey-headed Bristlebill, Western Forest Robin, White-tailed Alethe, Finsch’s Flycatcher Thrush, Forest Scrub Robin (heard only), White-crowned Cliff Chat, Sharpe’s Apalis, Kemp’s Longbill, Little Grey and Ussher’s Flycatchers, Red-cheeked Wattle-eye, Senegal and West African Batises, Rufous-winged and Puvel’s Illadopsises, Forest Penduline Tit, Reichenbach’s, Carmelite, Brown and Buff-throated Sunbirds, Sooty Boubou, Yellow-crowned Gonolek, Red-billed Helmet-shrike, Copper-tailed Glossy Starling, Maxwell’s Black Weaver and Red-vented Malimbe.

Yellow-headed Picathartes (Mike Galtry)

Yellow-headed Picathartes (Mike Galtry)