West Africa

238,533 km² 



Strongly Afrotropical avifauna
Approximately 750 recorded species

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), including Upper Guinea endemics (UGE)
Black Spinetail
Yellow-billed Turaco
Black-throated Coucal
Akun Eagle-Owl
West African Pied Hornbill
Brown-cheeked Hornbill (UGE)
Blue-moustached Bee-eater
Hairy-breasted Barbet
Yellow-footed Honeyguide
Little Green Woodpecker
Fire-bellied Woodpecker
Melancholy Woodpecker
Black-collared Lovebird
West African Wattle-eye
Red-cheeked Wattle-eye
Lagden’s Bushshrike
Sabine’s Puffback
Red-billed Helmetshrike
White-necked Rockfowl | Yellow-headed Picathartes (UGE)
Green-tailed Bristlebill (UGE)
Grey-headed Bristlebill
Western Bearded Greenbul
Yellow-bearded Greenbul (UGE)
Baumann’s Olive Greenbul | Baumann’s Greenbul
Kemp’s Longbill
Sharpe’s Apalis (UGE)
Olive-green Camaroptera
Rufous-winged Illadopsis (UGE)
Violet-backed Hyliota
Copper-tailed Starling (UGE)
Finsch’s Rufous Thrush | Finsch’s Flycatcher-Thrush
White-tailed Alethe
Little Grey Flycatcher | Little Flycatcher
Tessmann’s Flycatcher
Ussher’s Flycatcher
Orange-breasted Forest Robin
Yellow-chinned Sunbird
Buff-throated Sunbird
Olive-naped Weaver
Chestnut-and-black Weaver
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), including UGE
White-breasted Guineafowl (UGE)
White-throated Francolin
Long-tailed Hawk
Forest Wood Hoopoe | Forest Scimitarbill
Rosy Bee-eater
Sun Lark
Fanti Saw-wing
Preuss’s Cliff Swallow | Preuss’s Swallow
Dorst’s Cisticola
Nimba Flycatcher (UGE)
White-crowned Cliff Chat
Red-winged Pytilia

Proposed new species or splits not yet accepted by IOC
Black-shouldered Nightjar
Etchécopar’s Owlet (BT)
Western Piping Hornbill (BT)
Western Little Hornbill (B2)
Western Long-tailed Hornbill (BT)
Western Yellow-spotted Barbet (B2)
Western Yellow-billed Barbet (BT)
Togo Yellow-billed Barbet (BT)
Brown-necked Parrot (B2)
West African Pitta
Fanti Drongo (BT)
Glossy-backed Drongo
Western Square-tailed Drongo
Singing Bush Lark
Yellow-bellied Crombec
African Reed Warbler
Black-crowned Capuchin Babbler (BT)
Ghana Forest Robin (E)
Dahomey Forest Robin (1/2)
Black-faced Quailfinch
Grey Firefinch (B2)
Bannerman’s Pipit

Other taxa of interest, including endemic subspecies (ESS)
Hartlaub’s Duck
African Pygmy Goose
Western Crested Guineafowl
Stone Partridge
Latham’s Francolin
Ahanta Spurfowl
Double-spurred Spurfowl
Brown Nightjar
Plain Nightjar
Long-tailed Nightjar
Sabine’s Spinetail
Cassin’s Spinetail
Bates’s Swift
Great Blue Turaco
Western Plantain-eater
Violet Turaco
Guinea Turaco
Blue Malkoha
Yellow-throated Cuckoo
Dusky Long-tailed Cuckoo
Olive Long-tailed Cuckoo
Afep Pigeon
Western Bronze-naped Pigeon
Blue-headed Wood Dove
Bruce’s Green Pigeon
African Finfoot
White-spotted Flufftail
Grey-throated Rail
Nkulengu Rail
Forbes’s Plover
Rock Pratincole
African Skimmer
West African Crested Tern
Spot-breasted Ibis
White-crested Tiger Heron
White-backed Night Heron
Western Reef Heron
Beaudouin’s Snake Eagle
Western Banded Snake Eagle
Congo Serpent Eagle
Cassin’s Hawk-Eagle
Red-thighed Sparrowhawk
Red-chested Owlet
Sandy Scops Owl
Maned Owl
Fraser’s Eagle-Owl
Shelley’s Eagle-Owl
Rufous Fishing Owl (UGE)
White-headed Wood Hoopoe
Red-billed Dwarf Hornbill
Black-and-white-casqued Hornbill
Black-casqued Hornbill
Yellow-casqued Hornbill
Blue-bellied Roller
Blue-throated Roller
Chocolate-backed Kingfisher
African Dwarf Kingfisher
White-bellied Kingfisher
Black-headed Bee-eater
Black Bee-eater
Bristle-nosed Barbet
Naked-faced Barbet
Speckled Tinkerbird
Red-rumped Tinkerbird
Yellow-throated Tinkerbird
Vieillot’s Barbet
Double-toothed Barbet
Bearded Barbet
Cassin’s Honeybird
Willcock’s Honeyguide
Least Honeyguide
Spotted Honeyguide
African Piculet
Fine-spotted Woodpecker
Buff-spotted Woodpecker
Brown-eared Woodpecker
African Grey Woodpecker
Grey Parrot
Senegal Parrot
Red-headed Lovebird
Rufous-sided Broadbill
Senegal Batis
West African Batis
Brown-throated Wattle-eye
Fiery-breasted Bushshrike
Many-colored Bushshrike
Marsh Tchagra
Lowland Sooty Boubou
Yellow-crowned Gonolek
African Shrike-flycatcher
Black-and-white Shrike-flycatcher
Red-shouldered Cuckooshrike
Purple-throated Cuckooshrike
Western Wattled Cuckooshrike (UGE)
Blue Cuckooshrike
Yellow-billed Shrike
Emin’s Shrike
Western Oriole
Black-winged Oriole
Shining Drongo
Blue-headed Crested Flycatcher
Red-bellied Paradise Flycatcher
Dusky Crested Flycatcher
White-shouldered Black Tit
Dusky Tit
Forest Penduline Tit
Western Nicator
Crested Lark
Golden Greenbul
Red-tailed Bristlebill
Spotted Greenbul
Swamp Palm Bulbul
Simple Greenbul
Honeyguide Greenbul
Red-tailed Greenbul
Plain Greenbul
Little Grey Greenbul
Ansorge’s Greenbul
White-throated Greenbul
Icterine Greenbul
Red-tailed Leaflove
Square-tailed Saw-wing
Pied-winged Swallow
White-bibbed Swallow
Red-chested Swallow
West African Swallow
Grey Longbill
Northern Crombec
Lemon-bellied Crombec
Chestnut-capped Flycatcher
Green Hylia
Tit Hylia
Little Rush Warbler
Black-backed Cisticola (ESS winneba)
Red-winged Prinia
Black-capped Apalis
Oriole Warbler
Yellow-browed Camaroptera
Black-headed Rufous Warbler (UGE)
Senegal Eremomela
Rufous-crowned Eremomela
Brown Illadopsis
Pale-breasted Illadopsis
Blackcap Illadopsis (ESS cleaveri)
Puvel’s Illadopsis
Brown Babbler
Blackcap Babbler
Splendid Starling
Purple Starling
Chestnut-winged Starling
Narrow-tailed Starling
White-tailed Ant Thrush
Grey Ground Thrush
Forest Scrub Robin (ESS leucosticta)
Fraser’s Forest Flycatcher
White-browed Forest Flycatcher
Grey-throated Tit-Flycatcher
Grey Tit-Flycatcher
Cassin’s Flycatcher
Olivaceous Flycatcher
Dusky-blue Flycatcher
Brown-chested Alethe
Blue-shouldered Robin-Chat
Snowy-crowned Robin-Chat
Lowland Akalat
Fraser’s Sunbird
Mangrove Sunbird
Little Green Sunbird
Reichenbach’s Sunbird
Blue-throated Brown Sunbird
Carmelite Sunbird
Tiny Sunbird
Splendid Sunbird
Johanna’s Sunbird
Superb Sunbird
Bates’s Sunbird
Slender-billed Weaver
Orange Weaver
Heuglin’s Masked Weaver
Yellow-mantled Weaver
Compact Weaver
Preuss’s Weaver
Red-headed Malimbe
Crested Malimbe
Northern Red Bishop
White-breasted Nigrita
Grey-headed Nigrita
Pale-fronted Nigrita
Green Twinspot
Grey-headed Oliveback
Black-rumped Waxbill
Western Bluebill
Black-bellied Seedcracker
Yellow-winged Pytilia
Bar-breasted Firefinch
Jambandu Indigobird
Quailfinch Indigobird
Togo Paradise Whydah
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)

Lowland forest, moist savanna, Guinea woodland

Upper Guinea forests Endemic Bird Area
40 Important Bird Areas

Sakumono Lagoon for waders/shorebirds and terns
Kakum National Park (NP), Atewa Range Forest Reserve (FR), Kalakpa Resource Reserve, Ankasa Conservation Area and Bobiri FR for lowland forest species including Upper Guinea endemics
Bonkro for White-necked Rockfowl
Shai Hills Resource Reserve and Brenu Beach for moist savanna species
Mole NP for Guinea woodland and wetland species including Standard-winged Nightjar, Denham’s Bustard, Four-banded Sandgrouse, Saddle-billed Stork, White-backed Vulture, Rüppell’s Vulture, White-headed Vulture, Grasshopper Buzzard, Northern White-faced Owl, Black Scimitarbill, Abyssinian Ground Hornbill, Northern Red-billed Hornbill, Abyssinian Roller, Swallow-tailed Bee-eater, Red-throated Bee-eater, Northern Carmine Bee-eater, Golden-tailed Woodpecker, Brown-backed Woodpecker, Yellow Penduline Tit, Rufous-rumped Lark, Rufous Cisticola, African Spotted Creeper, Yellow-bellied Hyliota, Lesser Blue-eared Starling, Bronze-tailed Starling, Yellow-billed Oxpecker, Gambaga Flycatcher, Swamp Flycatcher, White-crowned Robin-Chat, White-fronted Black Chat, Western Violet-backed Sunbird, Pygmy Sunbird, Beautiful Sunbird, Chestnut-crowned Sparrow-Weaver, Little Weaver, Lavender Waxbill, Black-bellied Firefinch, Barka Indigobird, Cameroon Indigobird, Exclamatory Paradise Whydah, Brown-rumped Bunting and Cabanis’s Bunting
Tongo Hills for Fox Kestrel, Rock-loving Cisticola and Gosling’s Bunting
White Volta-Nakambé-Nouhao Confluence for Mourning Collared Dove, Black-headed Lapwing, Egyptian Plover, African Green Bee-eater, Long-tailed Glossy Starling, Chestnut-bellied Starling, White-billed Buffalo Weaver, Speckle-fronted Weaver, African Silverbill and White-rumped Seedeater

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)

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)

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.

Ghana Tours – Ashanti African Tours
Adventure Birding Tours

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

Facebook groups
Birdwatching Ghana


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)

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