Wintering and Stopover Ecology of Wood Warblers in Ghana.


Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB)

The last decade has seen declines of Palearctic migrant birds in Europe. The problems faced by migrant birds on their European breeding grounds are relatively well known however, these species leave their breeding grounds for over half of the year to head Sub-Saharan habitats in West Africa. These habitats range from deserts in northern Africa to the lush tropical forest in West and central Africa.

Ghana Wildlife Society the Birdlife International partner for Ghana, the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds and the British Trust for Ornithology partnered to start the ”Migrants in Africa Project” which involved surveys for migrant birds along a latitudinal gradient from Ghana to Burkina Faso. After two seasons the project metamorphosed into a wood warble focused study with sole funding from the RSPB.


  • To understand the distribution and resource use of wood warblers in the non-breeding season at two sites in Ghana; Pepease and Bibiani.
  • Investigate landscape and local-scale habitat factors affecting density and distribution of wood warblers.
  • Investigate home range size and behavioral ecology, particularly detailed habitat and resource requirements in relation to habitat type and availability with a key focus on tree species preferences


We work at two study sites, Bibiani and Pepease respectively. Activities in these areas include bird surveys, ringing, Radio-tagging and Radio-tracking and habitat measurements.  Socio-economic studies were also carried out at Pepease to understand the drivers of land use change in the study area and what influences tree retention.


  • Six seasons of work have been carried out with some work in Koubbri, Burkina Faso and the rest at Pepease and Bibiani in Ghana.
  • Socio-economic survey conducted at Pepease
  • Detailed Stopover and wintering ecology and distribution of wood warblers studies have been carried out at Bibiani and Pepease.
  • A scientific publication has been published from the study.
  • Lessons learned from this study have been used for other migrant bird work in northern Ghana.
  • GWS staff capacity has been built in radio tagging and tracking.



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