Tag Archives: Ghana

Standard-winged Nightjar in Guinea savanna woodlands in Mole NP

FahnennachtschwalbeAs dusk falls, the purring cries of the African Scops Owl (Otus senegalensis) sound softly from the savannah. Darkness breaks in. We want to end the day with one of the most incredible birds of the savannah. A male Standard-winged Nightjar (Caprimulgus longipennis) in full display dress is supposed to make his courtship flights over its territory on a terrain with barren stones in the middle of the densely vegetated savannah. Males and females of this species gather at these display arenas (the so-called leks) immediately after dusk in open places in the savannah. The males meet on the ground as well as in the air. They sometimes run towards each other in abrupt movements, but also move in a circle 1-8 m above the ground and sometimes swooping low over another bird on the ground. In contrast male displays to female are given by flying around the female giving faint clicking calls. As a result, the female Standard-winged Nightjar land nearby or fly with trembling wingbeats around the males while calling as well.

The Standard-winged Nightjar is named – of course – after their standards. Here you should be aware that “standard” means something like a flag. The male Standard-winged Nightjar has extremely elongated, second innermost primarie feathers, which are webbed at tips only, forming “standards” or flags. – They are what prompted the species name: longipennis (long feather). However, what has been said before also means that these flags are not tail feathers of the male. But the Standard-winged Nightjar is certainly Continue reading Standard-winged Nightjar in Guinea savanna woodlands in Mole NP

Schweifkuckuck im Ankasa Nationalpark

SchweifkuckuckTrotz der Hitze hat sich die Morgenexkursion auf dem schmalen Trail schon gelohnt. Der Hit ist dann aber, daß ein Schweifkuckuck (Cercococcyx mechowi) auf uns wartet als wir den Wald verlassen. Er sitzt ganz frei auf einem Ast am Rand der Dschungelpiste. Als wir alle aus dem dichten Wald herausgetreten sind, fliegt er natürlich auf. Aber nicht weit. Er setzt sich in den Bereich des Waldes aus dem wir gekommen sind. Direkt vor uns. Dort sitzt er auf einen Ast im Schatten und ist weiterhin gut zu hören und dann auch zwischen den Zweigen und Blättern zu sehen. Im Spektiv sitzt er gut sichtbar, wenn auch im Gegenlicht und sehr im Schatten.

Der Schweifkuckuck weist in der aktuellen Literatur zwei taxonomisch undifferenzierte westliche und östliche Populationen auf. Grob gesprochen überschneidet sich die geografische Verbreitung der beiden Populationen mit den Waldgürteln des Upper und des Lower Guinea Forest Westafrikas erstreckt. Die Waldgürtel werden am Dahomey Gap in Nigeria getrennt.

Diese Populationen haben allerdings ein sehr unterschiedliches Stimmeninventar. Grundsätzlich verfügt diese Art über zwei unterschiedliche Arten von Lautäußerungen. Einen melodiösen Pfiff mit drei Tönen und ein eher klagendes Wiehern in Westafrika Continue reading Schweifkuckuck im Ankasa Nationalpark

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