In 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