Preuss’s Weaver creeping on giant primeval forest tree

PreussweberIn the steaming lowland rainforest of Ghana we are standing since dawn up to 45 meters above ground on the so-called Canopy Walkway since dawn. Despite the height of the jungle giant, we are not standing in the canopy. No wonder the tree on which our platform is mounted can be a resource of food in every respect and any altitude. The gaze must always be directed upwards and downwards. A yellow flashing makes us look up. A small yellow-black goblin quickly and purposefully examines the thick side branch of the tree. Once it runs on the light bark, then again the mossy bottom is inspected. It is a rather small weaver bird, but it can score with its intense colors. It is a Preuss’s Weaver (Ploceus preussi). The yield in foraging can be seen on one of the images. It consists mainly of insects, such as grasshopper (Orthoptera) butterflies (Lepidoptera). In the documented case – see the gallery of Preuss´s Weaver – the bird fed from spiders (Araneae).

The Preuss’s Weaver examines the bark of tree trunks in the rainforest of Guinea via Ghana, Cameroon to the Congo. It examines the smooth bark as well as branches that are covered with epiphytes. The foraging should probably take place less than 10 m in height. It is said, that they are foraging usually in pairs. But we did not see single individuals.

The photographed Preuss’s Weaver – sometimes referred to as Golden-backed Weaver – is a male who is recognizable by his orange-brown head. The female, however, has a black forehead and an orange-brown or yellow crown. The back is golden yellow with several black feathers in the middle. The rump is intense yellow and the wings and tail are black. The iris is brown or dark reddish-brown.

The photos were taken in Kakum National Park in central Ghana. This park is one of the most famous national parks in Ghana. The park is located north of Cape Coast and Elmina near the town of Abrafo and is therefore quite well developed on a partly bad road. From Elmina you should calculate about 1.5 hours driving time. Almost the entire park area is covered by tropical rainforest. A special feature of the Kakum National Park is the unique Canopy Walkway – a trail in mid-level height between trees. There are suspension bridges between the jungle giants. On the Canopy Walkway at a height of up to 45 meters, the birdwatchers can take a closer look at the birds in an otherwise inaccessible habitat. The Canopy Walkway consists of seven bridges made of wood, ropes and metal frames and extends over a length of 330 meters.

We relied to Ashanti African Tours which is highly recommended. They took great efforts to ensure our first visit to Ghana was an excellent experience. They put together a very varied and interesting program. My guide was Jackson Owusu and our driver, Ben, was perfect in all aspects.

I met Ashanti African Tours on a previous trip. Additionally I found positive reviews of Ashanti African Tours in the internet and decided to contact them directly from at home to see what type of private trip they could provide. After emailing them, I heard back almost immediately from Rosamatilda. This impressed me and I continued communication with her and she and I worked through to make a relaxing and birding itinerary. During the planning phase I always had my emails answered quickly. She also walked me through the visa process for the country.

We had a careful driver and an awesome guide. Both took great care of us, kept us safe and provided everything we could ask for during our amazing journey. Our guide and driver were always to the point at the hotel in the morning to start our day. They were always early and ready to go. On the relaxing days, they contacted us to make sure all was in proper working order. We stayed at the Coconut Grove Beach Resort, a high end hotel (per recommendation of Ashanti) and they still wanted to make sure everything was in order. This was noticed and highly appreciated.

I have traveled around the world, including many parts of the African Continent, and this was outstanding in performance and hospitality of our driver and guide. I encourage anyone who wants to explore West Africa (especially Ghana) to use this company. Book with them directly, as you really do not need to use a foreign company in between. Ashanti African Tours will take great care of you. It will decrease your costs, and provide more money to the local company and their wonderful employees and in turn benefit the country.

To cope with the growing demand for top shots of the rarer species of the Palearctic Bird-Lens is keen to enrich the range of pictures of birds not only in the western Palearctic. Trips to remote places like this one to capture images were very successful. The nice image of the blog is only a first impression, what you will find in the gallery in the “Picture Shop” very soon. Just give a message, if could serve you with an image needed before the new pictures are online.

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