Category Archives: Birds of Ghana

Photographing Shining Blue Kingfisher at perch in Ghana

SchillereisvogelA blue twitch in the shadow of an overhanging bush directly near the path along the water. A Shining Blue Kingfisher (Alcedo quadribrachys) has established a perch just on a quite busy trail on an overhanging branch. The Shining Blue Kingfisher sits just 1m above water level – ie at eye level for us. A perfect photographic situation. The beautiful bird is sitting in a distance of not more than 8 meters in front of us. From time to time the head makes a jerky upward movement. The neck gets longer. Sometimes the angle of the downward bill is slightly changed. The bird’s tail, which is also blue, twitches irregularly. We admire the kingfisher for a while. Eventually, the Shining Blue Kingfisher begins to shrug his wings excitedly and raise them high above his center of gravity. The time of the booty kick is obviously imminent. Maybe he has already spotted his potential prey. In the perspective we are on the narrow path at this extensive waterhole, we cannot see any fish in the water. The water is too murky for that. The Shining Blue Kingfisher is so busy Continue reading Photographing Shining Blue Kingfisher at perch in Ghana

Yellow-headed Picathartes: a mystical bird

Gelbkopf-FelshüpferIn March 2019 I visited Ghana with Birdquest specifically to search for the White-necked Rockfowl – or Yellow-headed Picathartes – (Picathartes gymnocephalus). Previously, colonies of this bird sought by many avian enthusiasts had been recorded throughout the rainforest zone of western Africa. Ceaseless deforestation destroyed all known populations, and the bird was considered extinct in Ghana a few decades ago.

However, scientists suspected that they still existed in hard-to-reach places and tried to look for suitable spots in the interior of West Africa. The hope was confirmed when several indigenous hunters responded on appropriate questions that they knew the bird and claimed that they still existed. Then a few years ago the news broke that picathartes had been rediscovered in Ghana at a community forest reserve.

Researchers studied the environment and discovered several more colonies. Some of these colonies were opened to tourism after researchers found that responsible birdwatchers are perceived by the birds to be of little disturbance.

The White-necked Rockfowl is somewhat misnamed as it has both a yellow neck and head but the name is presumably inspired by the Continue reading Yellow-headed Picathartes: a mystical bird

Etchécopar’s Owlet in Shai Hills Resource Reserve

Kapkauz, Etchécopar’s OwletThe target area of the morning is the Shai Hills Resource Reserve. We try to manage to see the scarce local form of African Barred Owlet sometimes split as Etchécopar’s Owlet (Glaucidium etchecopari). While the morning was still fresh we left the van to search for the bird in the dense thickets at Bat Cave. After a while, we realized that we would be unlucky. We returned to another “Cave”-spot, left the van again and tried to lure into view the local form of African Barred Owlet that is sometimes treated as a separate species; Etchécopar’s Owlet.

The imitation of the voice of the Etchécopar’s Owlet should lure him out. And indeed, the bird called back. At first, at some distance. But finally it entered a nearby dense forest. But there was nothing to see yet. The owl could not be far away. The voice was good to hear. Our local guide was finally able to make out the Etchécopar’s Owlet. It was hiding on a big branch of a big tree. Sitting quite in the open, nevertheless the owl was hidden by leaves and twigs. Fortunately the African Barred Owlet was not nervous and staid long enough for some excessive photographic opportunities which were more than necessary because camera-autofocus was distracted from the bird several times.

The African Barred Owlet was first discovered in 2005; in the dry forest at Bat Cave in Shai Hills Resource Reserve. The Shai Hills Resource Reserve is located in the north-east sector of the Accra Continue reading Etchécopar’s Owlet in Shai Hills Resource Reserve