With over 760 species of birds, Ghana is an ideal West African birdwatching destination as you cover all of the West African core habitats that include coastal lagoons and saltpans. Moving inland, you find excellent Upper Guinea Rainforest protected areas and also the broad leaved guinea woodland and Savannah plains in Northern Ghana. Ghana has 12 of the 15 Upper Guinea Endemic bird species recorded, is politically stable and has well developed infrastructure that is possibly the finest in West Africa. The star attraction is the Whitenecked Rockfowl (Yellow-headed Picathartes) along with Egyptian Plover and the World famous Kakum National Park rainforest canopy walkway.

Whitenecked Rockfowl Picathartes gymnocephalus ©Birding Ecotours

Some of the much sought after species found here include Pel’s Fishing, Akun and Fraser’s Eagle Owls, Brown and Standard-winged Nightjars, Black, Rosy, Northern Carmine and Blue-headed Bee-eaters, Red-cheeked Wattle Eye, Forbe’s Plover, Brown, Rufous-winged and Puvel’s Illadopsis, Long-tailed Hawk, Congo Serpent Eagle, Violet-backed Hyliota, Black Dwarf, Red-billed Dwarf, Yellow-casqued, Brown-cheeked and White-crested Hornbills and over 20 species of Greenbul just to mention a few of the gems in store for visitors to this exceptional birding destination.

Wineba Plains ©Birding Ecotours

Ankasa Reserve [Map]

One of Ghana’s most exciting birdwatching destinations, the Ankasa protected area comprises the continuous Nini-sahien National Park and Ankasa Resource Reserve, which together form a highly accessible and well preserved 509 sq km chunk of wet evergreen Upper Guinea Rainforest. Ankasa is one of the most biologically rich habitats in Africa and believed to protect Ghana’s only remaining population of Chimpanzee. Forest Elephant, Bongo and many other mammal species can be found here. Star birds are definitely the Upper Guinea Endemic’s – White-breasted Guineafowl, Yellow-bearded Greenbul, Green-tailed Bristlebil and Rufous-winged Illadopsis in addition to more gems like Africa’s rarest Kingfisher, the White-bellied along with Shining Blue, and there are Yellow-casqued Hornbill, Great Blue Turaco, Hartlaub’s Duck, African Finfoot, White-crested Tiger Heron and Dwarf Bittern to wet the appetite. Ankasa Reserve can be found 21km east of the border town with the Ivory Coast along the main Takoradi-Elubo road.

Black Bee-eater Merops gularis ©Birding Ecotours

Bia National Park [Map]

Bia National Park is a Park in the Western Region of Ghana. It is also a biosphere reserve with a 563 sq klms resource reserve. It has some of the Ghana’s last remnants of relatively untouched forest with its full diversity of wildlife some of the tallest trees left in the West Africa are found in this National Park. There are 62 species of mammals, including 10 primate species known to live in the Park, and over 189 species of birds have been recorded, including the endangered White-breasted Guineafowl, Black-collared Lovebird, Cassin’s Hawk Eagle, Honeyguide, Greenbul, Black-headed Oriole, Brown and Puvel’s illadopsis and Finche’s Flycatcher-thrush. Grey-crowned Negrofinch, Western-Nicator, Spotted Greenbul, Grey-headed bristledbill, Fire-bellied Woodpecker, Melancholy Woodpecker and many others can be found here.

Bearded Barbet Lybius dubius ©Birding Ecotours

Bobiri Forest Reserve [Map]

This small forest sanctuary protects almost 500 species of butterfly but is also a treasure trove of birds and one of the best locations to see the awesome Long-tailed Hawk much sought after by world birders. Additional species include: Latham’s Francolin, Black-throated Coucal, Tit Hylia, Brown Illadopsis, Red-billed Helmet-shrike, Velvet-mantled Drongo, Red-bellied Paradise Flycatcher, Black & Red-chested Cuckoos, Western Nicator, Swamp Palm Greenbul, Black-and-White Flycatcher, Grey and Red-fronted Parrots, Finch’s Flycatcher-thrush, Blue-throated Roller, Olive-bellied and Green-headed Sunbirds, White-crested and Red-billed Dwarf Hornbills along with Africa’s rarest hornbill – the Black Dwarf Hornbill. Bobiri is one of the only remaining Upper Guinea Rainforests close to the bustling city of Kumasi in the Ashanti Region of Ghana. There is basic accommodation here with no electricity. Bobiri is found 30km South of Kumasi on the main Accra-Kumasi road.

Bui National Park [Map]

The park stretches an area of 1821 sq kms and protects Ghana’s largest population of hippopotamus. A hydro-electric dam is currently being built at Bui and will eventually cover more than 50% of this exceptional wildlife habitat of guinea woodland and savannah. An abundance of mammal and bird species have been recorded that are now under threat due to the dam project.

Red-billed Helmetshrike Prionops caniceps ©Birding Ecotours

Kakum National Park [Map]

Located 30km north of the seaside town of Cape Coast in Ghana’s Central Region, Kakum National Park and the adjacent Assin Attandaso Resource Reserve cover approximately 365 square kilometres of semi deciduous secondary Upper Guinea Rainforest with its main attraction being the world famous Canopy Walkway. The canopy walkway offers birders an excellent opportunity to see the more difficult canopy dwelling species at close quarters. Upper Guinea Endemics like Brown-cheeked Hornbill, Sharpe’s Apalis and Copper-tailed Glossy Starlings are common here in addition to Black and Yellow Casqued Hornbills, Yellow-billed Turaco, Yellow-throated Cuckoo, Tiny Sunbird, White-breasted Negrofinch, Little Green Woodpecker, Red-headed Malimbes, Yellow-mantled Weaver, Blue Cuckoo-shrike and the legendary Congo Serpent Eagle. Kakum’s forest trails offer more difficult to see understory species like White-throated, Western Bearded and Red-tailed Greenbuls, Fire-crested Alethe, Finch’s Flycatcher-thrush, West African Forest Robin, Rufous-sided Broadbill, Red-billed Helmet-shrike, Red-tailed Bristlebill, Chocolate-backed Kingfisher and the Upper Guinea Endemic Green-tailed Bristlebil. Owls and Nightjars are also common with Frasers Eagle and African Wood Owls in good numbers and much sought after Brown Nightjar. Kakum also protects over 60 mammal, reptile and amphibian species that include Forest Elephants, Long Tailed Pangolin and the legendary Bongo.

Mole National Park ©Birding Ecotours

Mole National Park [Map]

Ghana’s premier wildlife viewing protected area covering 4847 square kilometres and protecting over 90 mammal and 330 bird species. The accommodation here is situated on an idyllic escarpment overlooking 2 watering holes where African Elephants, Kob, Waterbuck and Bushbuck regularly come to drink. Mole’s habitat consists of broad leaved guinea woodland and savannah plains. Excellent birdwatching can be enjoyed around the hotel with species such as Red-throated Bee-eater, Grey Woodpecker, Beautiful and Pygmy Sunbirds, Orange-cheeked, Lavender and Black-rumped Waxbills, Pin-tailed Whydah, Northern Puffback, Northern Crombec, Tawny-flanked Prinia, Bush Petronia and Senegal Batis. Walking Safari’s offer the chance of seeing quality species like Pel’s Fishing Owl, Standard-winged Nightjar, Spotted Creeper, White-fronted Black Chat, Forbes Plover, Abyssinian Ground Hornbill, Blue-bellied Roller, Helmeted Guineafowl, Hadada Ibis, Woolly-necked and Saddled-billed Storks, Grey and Black-headed Herons, Senegal Thick-knee and Greater-painted Snipe. Passing to an area of riverine forest, one should locate Red-winged Pytilia, Rufous Cisticola, Giant Kingfisher, African Blue Flycatcher, Common Gonolek, Snowy-crowned Robin Chat, African Paradise Flycatcher, Pale, Swamp and Lead-coloured Flycatchers, Oriole Warbler & African Dwarf Kingfisher. Mole is approximately a 6-hour drive from Kumasi without stops with the final 86km being rough dirt road.

Shai Hills Reserve [Map]

Shai Hills reserve is the closest wildlife protected area to Accra with a savannah grassland habitat, large rock formations and caves. The rock formations harbour good numbers of White Crowned Cliff Chat and Rock Martins in addition to Rock Loving Cisticolas. Green and Violet Turacos are common as are Puvels Illadopsis, Blue-bellied, Broad-billed and Rufous-crowned Rollers, Senegal Parrot, Red-headed Lovebirds, Black Cap and Brown Babblers, Stone Partridge, Grey Hornbill, Fork-tailed Drongo, White-crowned Robin Chat, Croaking Cisticola, Grey Kestrel, Rosy and Swallow-tailed Bee-eaters and Rose-ringed Parakeets. African Hobby is regularly seen and large numbers of Olive Baboons greet you on your entrance to the main gates.

Major Source: ©Fatbirder

Map Source: ©Googlemaps™

Photo Source: ©Birding Ecotours

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