Birds are some of the most fascinating creatures on Earth, and an essential part in the functioning of nature. How so? Well, they act as pollinators and seed dispersal for many plants, so birds help provide us humans with the basic substances for our survival. Ghana is a country rich in natural resources and vegetation, so it only makes sense that bird watching in Ghana is an extremely popular activity.

Let’s take a look at some of the best bird watching activities as well as some native bird species in Ghana.

Understanding bird behavior

Watching birds zip past, float in the wind, float on water, dive in the water to catch fish or hover in mid-air scanning for food is always amazing, so if you’re in Ghana, why not take part in some of the best bird watching activities? It’s way more interesting that you’d think.

Apart from their wonderful contributions to nature, they also feed on small animals, insects and rodents mostly, positively balancing the ecosystem. On the other hand, they are also beautiful.

Another great thing about birds is they are most active during the day, always out in the open, singing beautiful songs, and calling and you can actually see them. Sometimes, you don’t even need aid to see them performing these amazing activities around us.

They are not hiding in holes and only coming out in the dark as some wild mammals do. Birds are beautiful, some are spectacularly beautiful, gaudily coloured and breath-taking hues like the Malachite Kingfisher. Even more, subdued species are attractive if you look at them in the right light with the right tool.

What is a bird walk?

Copper sunbird Cinnyris cupreus under bright light

The act of watching these amazing birds in their natural environment is called bird watching or birding while the scientific study of birds is known as ornithology.

A very common activity among birdwatchers is bird walk: a walk usually by a group of people and often under the guidance of a skilled leader for the purpose of observing and identifying wild birds in their natural surroundings.

If you are interested in joining the growing group of bird watchers in the country and around the globe, all you need is a pair of binoculars to aid your vision, and a field guide to help with bird identification. Adding a camera to your birding kits will not be a bad idea at all because this will enable you to capture and share some of the interesting observations from the field with colleagues.

Interesting books about bird watching in Ghana

There are many books, applications and online courses designed to guide people interested in birdwatching, from learning to identify the different species of birds, and what they are doing through to the meaning of the sounds they make.
In Ghana, the popular field guide that guides bird watches is Helms field guild on the Birds of Ghana by Borrow and Demey.

The design and layout of the book have been executed with field identification in mind. An introduction to the topography of birds, a brief description of all species recorded from Ghana and maps on the distribution of each bird species within the country. The book comes in handy in the field and is easy to have on you in the field although it is not waterproof.

Applying technology to bird watching

If you are not the book type but someone who enjoys the use of mobile applications, then the Birds of Africa app is another field guide you can have.

Although this app is easy to use, you need to have some level of experience with birds to be able to explore its full potential. The application has an option to view pictures of the bird, listen to the songs of birds as well as keep records of your observations.

Ghana birding tours and walks

Bird watching in Ghana serves as an activity for people to connect with nature and wildlife sanctuaries in Ghana. Although it is largely dominated by foreign nationals, few bird watching clubs occasionally visit some birding hotspots that attract the interest of locals.

The first of this birding group is the Ghana Wildlife Society’s (GWS) monthly bird walk. GWS organizes a monthly bird walk to locations in and around Accra on the first Saturday of every month (sometimes it shifts to the second Saturday). You can also book a special tour with them.

Several other tour companies like Ashanti Africa tour, and Malimbe tours among others organize arranged birding tours for interested people.

So anytime you are in Ghana, or whenever you feel like you need time with nature, you can count on bird watching as an activity that will take you to places and connect you with nature.