Ghana

SUB-REGION
West Africa

SIZE
238,540 km² 

BIRDS AND BIRDING

SPECIES
Diversity

Strongly Afrotropical avifauna
Approximately 760 recorded species (10th longest bird list of any country in the ABC region)

Akun Eagle-Owl (Tasso Leventis)
Blue-moustached Bee-eater (Adam Riley)
Nkulengu Rail (Tasso Leventis)

Birds best found in Ghana but occurring more widely (BT)
Black-throated Coucal
Akun Eagle-Owl
Black Spinetail
Blue-moustached Bee-eater
Brown-cheeked Hornbill
White-crested Hornbill
Yellow-footed Honeyguide
Little Green Woodpecker
Fire-bellied Woodpecker
Melancholy Woodpecker
Black-collared Lovebird
West African Wattle-eye
Red-cheeked Wattle-eye
Red-billed Helmetshrike
Lagden’s Bushshrike
Sabine’s Puffback
White-necked Rockfowl | Yellow-headed Picathartes
Baumann’s Greenbul
Green-tailed Bristlebill
Grey-headed Bristlebill
Western Bearded Greenbul
Yellow-bearded Greenbul
Kemp’s Longbill
Sharpe’s Apalis
Rufous-winged Illadopsis
Capuchin Babbler
Violet-backed Hyliota
Copper-tailed Starling
Finsch’s Rufous Thrush
White-tailed Alethe
Little Grey Flycatcher
Tessmann’s Flycatcher
Ussher’s Flycatcher
Buff-throated Sunbird
Maxwell’s Black Weaver
Red-vented Malimbe
Blue-billed Malimbe
Red-fronted Antpecker
Chestnut-breasted Nigrita
Wilson’s Indigobird

Red-cheeked Wattle-eye (Damian Newmarch)
Shelley’s Eagle-Owl (Rob Williams)

Birds best found in two territories of the ABC region but occurring in more (B2)
White-breasted Guineafowl
White-throated Francolin
Long-tailed Hawk
Rosy Bee-eater
Forest Wood Hoopoe
Black Dwarf Hornbill
Sun Lark
Fanti Saw-wing
Preuss’s Cliff Swallow
Dorst’s Cisticola
Nimba Flycatcher
White-crowned Cliff Chat
Red-winged Pytilia

Proposed new species or splits not yet accepted by IOC
Yellow-billed Turaco (BT)
Chestnut Owlet (BT)
West African Pied Hornbill (BT)
Western Black Dwarf Hornbill (B2)
Western White-crested Hornbill (BT)
Western Piping Hornbill (BT)
Hairy-breasted Barbet (BT)
Western Yellow-spotted Barbet (B2)
Western Yellow-billed Barbet (BT)
Togo Yellow-billed Barbet (BT)
Blue-headed Bee-eater (BT)
Brown-necked Parrot (B2)
Western Green Crombec
Western Olive-green Camaroptera
Black-crowned Capuchin Babbler (BT)
Western Forest Robin (BT)
Ghana Forest Robin (E)
Dahomey Forest Robin (BT)
Yellow-chinned Green Sunbird (BT)
Black-and-chestnut Weaver (BT)
Grey Black-faced Firefinch (B2)

Other taxa of interest, including endemic subspecies (ESS)
Hartlaub’s Duck
Stone Partridge
Latham’s Francolin
Double-spurred Francolin
Western Reef Egret
Congo Serpent Eagle
Cassin’s Hawk-Eagle
Red-chested Goshawk
Red-thighed Sparrowhawk
Grasshopper Buzzard
African Finfoot
Nkulengu Rail
Forbes’s Plover
Rock Pratincole (liberiae)
Four-banded Sandgrouse
Afep Pigeon
Western Bronze-naped Pigeon
Blue-headed Wood Dove
Violet Turaco
Yellow-throated Cuckoo
Olive Long-tailed Cuckoo
Sandy Scops Owl
Red-chested Owlet
Fraser’s Eagle-Owl
Brown Nightjar
Plain Nightjar
Standard-winged Nightjar
Blue-bellied Roller
Blue-throated Roller
Chocolate-backed Kingfisher
African Dwarf Kingfisher
White-bellied Kingfisher
Shining-blue Kingfisher
Black Bee-eater
White-headed Wood Hoopoe
Red-billed Dwarf Hornbill
Yellow-casqued Hornbill
Bristle-nosed Barbet
Vieillot’s Barbet
Cassin’s Honeybird
Thick-billed Honeyguide
African Piculet
Fine-spotted Woodpecker
Senegal Parrot
Rufous-sided Broadbill
Senegal Batis
West African Batis
Yellow-crowned Gonolek
Blue Cuckooshrike
Purple-throated Cuckooshrike
Emin’s Shrike
Shining Drongo
Dusky Crested Flycatcher
Yellow Penduline Tit
Forest Penduline Tit
Rufous-rumped Lark
Square-tailed Saw-wing
White-throated Blue Swallow
Pied-winged Swallow
West African Swallow
Lemon-bellied Crombec
Tit Hylia
Rufous Cisticola
Rock-loving Cisticola
Black-backed Cisticola (ESS winneba)
Black-capped Apalis
Oriole Warbler
Senegal Eremomela
Blackcap Illadopsis (ESS cleaveri)
Puvel’s Illadopsis
Pale-breasted Illadopsis
Bronze-tailed Starling
Chestnut-winged Starling
Narrow-tailed Starling
Forest Scrub Robin (ESS leucosticta)
Lowland Akalat
White-fronted Black Chat
Johanna’s Sunbird
Orange Weaver
Yellow-mantled Weaver
Preuss’s Weaver
Crested Malimbe
Western Bluebill
Black-bellied Firefinch
West African Seedeater

Yellow-throated Cuckoo (Dubi Shapiro)
Chocolate-backed Kingfisher (Tasso Leventis)
Olive Long-tailed Cuckoo (Adam Riley)
Little Green Woodpecker (John Caddick)
Grey Parrot (Paul van Giersbergen)
Fraser’s Eagle-Owl (Adam Riley)

MAIN HABITATS
Lowland forest, moist savanna, Guinea woodlands

BIRD AREAS
Upper Guinea forests Endemic Bird Area
40 Important Bird Areas

BIRDING SITES
Kakum National Park (NP), Atewa Range Forest Reserve, Kalakpa Resource Reserve, Ankasa Resource Reserve and Bobiri Forest Reserve for lowland forest species
Mole NP for Guinea woodland species
Shai Hills Resource Reserve and Brenu Beach Road for moist savanna species
Bonkro for Yellow-headed Picathartes

TIMING (Oct–Nov, Apr)
Best to travel in the dry season when access is easier and most forest birds breed in the south (Oct–Nov), or at the start of the rains in the north (Mar–Apr)
Avoid the main rains (May–Sep)

RESOURCES
Apps
Birds of Africa (iOS or Android)

Field guides
Birds of Ghana by Nik Borrow & Ron Demey (2022)
Birds of Western Africa by Nik Borrow & Ron Demey (2014)

Sounds
African Bird Sounds Vol 2: West and Central Africa by Claude Chappuis

Site guides
Birding in Ghana by David Moyer (1996)

Further reading
The Birds of Ghana: an Atlas and Handbook by Françoise Dowsett-Lemaire & Robert J Dowsett (2014)
Ghana by Yaa Ntiamoa-Baidu, Erasmus H Owusu, David T Daramani & Alfred Ali Nuoh in Important Bird Areas in Africa and Associated Islands: Priority Sites for Conservation edited by Lincoln D C Fishpool & Michael I Evans (2001)
European Swallows and Other Songbirds of Wetlands in Ghana, December 1997 by Symen B Deuzeman, Tom M van der Have, W T de Nobel & Bennie van de Brink (2004)
The Status and Conservation of Threatened Birds in the Upper Guinea Forest by Gary Allport (1991)
Rainforest Birds in South-west Ghana by G Dutson & J Branscombe (1990)
The Birds of Ghana: an Annotated Checklist by L G Grimes (1987)
Articles in Malimbus, Bull. ABC, NKO the parrots (WCG magazine), etc.

Websites
Ghana Tours – Ashanti African Tours
Adventure Birding Tours

Blogs
Bongo News – Ghana Wildlife Society
Ghana – Rainforest Birding on the Brink – 10,000 Birds by Adam Riley (2015)

Facebook groups
Birdwatching Ghana

ORGANISATIONS

Ghana Wildlife Society (GWS) is the BirdLife Partner in Ghana

Wildlife Clubs of Ghana (WCG) is the junior wing of GWS

Other bird or conservation organisations active in Ghana include –
A Rocha Ghana (ARG)
Threatened Species Conservation Alliance (THRESCOAL)
Nature Conservation Research Centre (NCRC)
The Development Institute (DI)
Friends of the Nation (FoN)
Northcode-Ghana (Coalition for Development of Northern Ghana)
Rainforest Rescue Ghana
Green Earth Organisation
The International Bird Conservation Partnership (IBCP)
NABU

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