Wednesday 11 December 2013

GHANA - Picathartes to Plover!

I have recently returned from another successful birding tour to Ghana. I have been very lucky to visit this great country on four separate birding tours now and each one has been a fantastic birding and wildlife experience. As a group we recorded around 408 species of bird and this included the top two "must see" species: The Yellow-headed Picathartes and the Egyptian Plover.

The Yellow-headed Picathartes is endemic to the Upper Guinea Forests of West Africa. It sits in its own family with which it shares the only other species of Picathartes found in the world, the Red-headed Picathartes. This species is found in the Lower Guinea Forests of Central Africa, in countries such as Cameroon. The other name for these two species is the "Rockfowl" taken from their unique habit of nesting comunally in carefully constructed mud nests attached to large rocks in the forest. On the tour, we visited what is now the main "honeypot" site for most visiting bird tour groups. On arrival at the local village you are escorted through the forest by a couple of the villagers. After about a 45 minute walk, you arrive at a special area to view the birds as they return to roost at their nesting crag each evening. The local village monitor the birds productivity and benefit from the income that bird groups bring. They are truly amazing birds and unsurprisingly it was voted bird of the trip!

The beautiful Yellow-headed Picathartes was taken by Peter Alfrey  - one of at least 5 seen coming in to roost
Egyptian Plover - one of at least five adults seen on the White Volta River
 The other special species of the tour was the Egyptian Plover. It was along journey to the far north of Ghana, but certainly worth it as we were treated to fantastic views of at least 5 adult birds feeding on nearby sand bars. However, the real surprise was finding a very young chick which would appear to be the first confirmed breeding record for Ghana! See video HERE
Egyptian Plovers are fantastic when seen in flight!

1 comment:

  1. HE'S ALIVE!!!! Sounds like a great trip and some nice pics - even quite sharp!! :-)