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Report from the field: new findings on birds in Ghana

18 May, 2022

Young female White-headed Vulture in Mole National Park. Photo by Greg Walczak.

IBCP fellow Sandra Goded has just returned from her fourth trip to Ghana’s Mole National Park. There, she and her colleagues conducted surveys focused on critically endangered vulture and other raptor abundance, phenology and nesting habitats and also investigated other birds present in Mole, including Afro-Palearctic migrants. They documented nesting locations for African White-backed Vultures and Hooded Vultures identified in previous visits that continue to be actively used by these critically endangered species. They also documented juvenile birds, such as the approximately 3-month old African White-backed Vulture chick in the photo below.

African White-backed Vulture chick in Mole National Park. Photo by Greg Walczak.

After conducting bird transects and searching vulture breeding sites, thanks to local guide and collaborator Daniel Sumpuo and his extensive knowledge of birds, Sandra and her colleagues observed an active nest of another critically endangered species, the White-headed Vulture. The presence of a female on the nest suggested she was incubating an egg or protecting young. They were also lucky enough to observe a juvenile female White-headed Vulture feeding on a carcass; she was one of only seven individuals of this species in Mole we have observed to date.

Hooded Vulture, African White-backed Vulture and White-headed Vulture on a nest in Mole National Park. Photo by Olivier Boissier.

We would like to express our thanks for collaboration from Mole National Park manager Ali Mahama, guides Obed Chonga, Seidu Dunaba and Daniel Sumpuo, IBCP fellow Olivier Boissier, and photographer Greg Walczak and his son Janusz Walczak. Working together, Sandra and her team documented some bird species they had not seen in Mole previously. These include some very rare and charismatic birds such as the Marabou Stork, the Northern Carmine Bee-eater, Jacobin Cuckoo, in addition to Afro-Palearctic migrants such as European Bee-eaters, Hoopoes and Pied Flycatchers amongst many others. We will detail these observations and include photos in a future post!

IBCP team in Mole National Park, April 2022: Sandra Goded, Seidu Dunaba, Olivier Boissier, Greg Walczak and Janusz Wickbold

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