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Distribution of Birds in Communities around Kakum National Park (Knp),  Ghana, Using Foraging Behaviors

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Corresponding author:  E-mail: james.agyei 
Received: 11. 05. 2023 Received in revised form: 01.06.2023 
Accepted: 02.06.2023
The study was undertaken in Kakum, National Park of Kakum Conservation  Area Ghana in the wet season 2022 to identify birds and determine their  distribution based on their foraging habits. Using both purposive and  convenience sampling, transects and surveys, birds were counted by Point  counts and opportunistic surveys All birds were observed at a fixed location  using an Opticron Polarex 8×40 binocular and identification of bird species  were confirmed by birds of Ghana and recorded vocal reply of birds. Birds  coordinate and location was taken at all station using a Gramin GPS device. The  results were documented and analyzed in Microsoft Excel 2016 and presented  in graphs. A checklist of identified birds’ species was produced with reference  to Birds of Ghana. Arc Map (Arc GIS 10.3) was used to plot the locations of  species and survey points on the map of the study area. Ten categories of  feeding guilds were identified. An Anova test result from the study indicates a  p-value of 0.976, showing that there are no significant differences among the  birds’ population in the various communities. Family Ploceidae an  insectivorous birds dominates the population in the study area. Insects are  known to be favored by moist conditions and dense foliage, which is  characteristic of the Kakum Conservation Area, hence insects being a ready  source of food for birds. 


Avian biodiversity is an essential component of our  planet for providing various services to ecosystems  like seed dispersal, aesthetic beauty, biological control  and environmental cleaners. Their bright colors,  distinct songs and calls, and showy displays add  enjoyment to our lives and offer an easy opportunity  to observe their diverse plumage and behaviors (Khan  et al. 2012). 

Birds are the only chordates in the Class Aves of the  Phylum Chordata, with more than 10,000 species  distributed around the world from the Artic to  Antarctic areas (Bird Life International, 2012). Birds  are important because they maintain the equilibrium of natural systems by pollinating plants, dispersing seeds, scavenging animal carcasses, and recycling  nutrients back into the soil.

Additionally, they nourish  our souls and our existence on the earth. In some  ways, man is dependent on the ecological services  that birds provide, making us dependent on them.  Globally, people are rapidly destroying ecosystems,  particularly in the tropics, which is causing a sharp  decline in biodiversity. (Laurance et al. 2002; Dirzo, &  Raven, 2003; Lindenmayer, & Fischer, 2013). 

The concept of nature conservation is sometimes  viewed as something that occurs “out there” in  protected areas rather than as an essential part of  daily living. The idea that humans are separate from  the natural world is reinforced by this viewpoint, which contributes too many of the environmental  problems we face today. However, safeguarding biodiversity and ecosystems should be prioritized in  public policy, development strategies, and day-to-day  activities because they are vital to human society  (Hackett, 2015; Kareiva et al. 2011; Lovins, et al. 2001).  It implies that we need to comprehend the importance of biodiversity to human society. 

Biodiversity is formally defined by the Convention on  Biological Diversity (CBD) as “the variety of living  organisms from all sources, including terrestrial,  aquatic, and other habitats, and the ecological  developments of which they are a part; this comprises  diversity within species, between species, and  between ecosystems.” (UN 1992 Article 2). 

An important part of the world’s biodiversity is birds.  Birds are the animal category with the most extensive  time series of data because of the attention they draw  to their behaviors, colors, and songs. Globally,  biodiversity is fast vanishing. (Balmford et al. 2003). 

The majority of wild animal (Birds) ecology’s economic  components have been disregarded, which an issue is  made worse by the drop in financing for the fall in  instruction in natural history and organismal ecology.  (Tewksbury et al. 2014). 

For the past 300–400 years, there has been a  significant loss in bird habitats, particularly for plants  and animals (Decher et al. 2000). There are numerous  explanations put out for this decline. Global  observations show that habitat changes, particularly  in the case of bird populations, are the most frequent  cause of population decrease and species extinction.  (Mace et al. 2000 According to estimates, habitat  degradation was responsible for 36% of all animal  extinctions worldwide (Jenkins, 1992).

According to  another estimate, over 100 species are thought to go  extinct every day as a result of habitat degradation  (Ehrlich et al. 1991). Hunting pressure brought on by  growing human populations in nearby villages near  forests (the fringe communities) and their need for  food to survive is another factor contributing to  extinction. (Brockington, & Igoe, 2006) concur that  humans pose a threat to species.

According to one  definition, ecosystem services are “the set of  ecosystem functions that are helpful to humans”  (Kremen, 2005) There have been extensive  investigations on the history of ecosystem services  (Daily, 1997; Gomez-Baggethun et al. 2010). The last  20 years have seen a sharp increase in ecosystem  services. Governments became aware of ecological  services during the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment  

(MEA, 2005). (Gomez-Baggethun et al. 2013). The  MEA (2005) identified four classifications of  ecosystem services: provisioning services, cultural  services, regulatory services, and sustaining services,  with the goal of evaluating the potential effects of  ecosystem change from a human well-being perspective and with an emphasis on ecosystem  services. All four categories of ecosystem services are  provided by birds. (Sekercioglu, 2006a; Whelan et al.  2008). Both domesticated (like poultry) and non domesticated creatures offer provisioning services.  Birds have always been a significant part of the human diet for sport, consumption, and subsistence.

(Moss  and Bowers, 2007), particularly waterfowl (Anatidae)  and terrestrial fowl (Galliformes) (Peres, 2001; Peres  and Palacios, 2007)). Bird feathers provide bedding,  insulation, and ornamentation (Green and Elmberg,  2014). Birds provide a crucial focal point for research  of cultural services within the ES paradigm because of  their special relevance for humans; this is the topic of  ethno-ornithology (Clayton, 2013; Podulka et al. 2004;  Tidemann and Gosler, 2013). One of the most well liked outdoor pastimes in both the United States and  around the world is bird watching. (Kronenberg,  2014a; Ma et al. 2013; Sekercioglu, 2002; White et al.  2014 and has both direct and indirect economic  benefits due to the many citizen science initiatives  that involve birdwatchers (Greenwood et al., 2007). 

Through their foraging ecology, several bird species  provide regulating and supporting functions.  Scavenging carcasses, nitrogen cycling, seed  distribution, pollination, and pest control are some of  these services. (Sekercioglu. 2006a; Whelan et al.  2008). Here, we concentrate on regulating and assisting services because the advantages of these  services are frequently passed on to people subtly. 

Many of the ecosystem services that birds provide are  a result of their ecological roles. Thus, estimating their  value requires thorough familiarity with the natural  history of the species in question. (Sekercioglu, 2006  a, b; Wenny et al. 2011; Whelan et al. 2008). The  majority of regulating and supporting services result  from resource consumption’s top-down impacts. Birds  utilize a wide range of resources in terrestrial, aquatic,  and aerial settings. There are over 10,000 species of  birds on the planet.

In certain cases, the resource  being consumed is a nuisance to forests or agricultural  products. In other instances, birds’ use of resources  aids in pollination or seed dissemination, encouraging  the successful reproduction of thousands of  commercially or culturally valuable plant species.  Through the numerous Ecosystem Services (ES) that  forests and other plants provide, these services indirectly benefit humans. Birds have a significant,  global impact on ecosystems through these services  Forest fragmentation rate in the country is estimated  at 22,000 square kilometers per annum (Hawthorne and Mussah, 1993).

Despite the fact that a large portion of the resource is severely depleted, Ghana’s  forests and savanna land still host a diverse range of intriguing plant and animal species. However, it is  estimated that more than 70 % of the initial 8.22  million hectares of closed forest in Ghana have been  lost (IIED, 1992), and only about 10.9 % to 11.8 %  (representing 15,800 to 17,200 square kilometers of  forest cover) remain as intact forests. Data on the  status of specific plant species are not readily  available. Without sufficient action, the country won’t  have any intact forests left in a century if things  continue at this rate. 

The progressive conversion of some forests in Ghana’s  middle belts into savannah lands is a sign of the  country’s ongoing deforestation. As a result,  Ghanaians’ ability to produce goods and earn a living  has decreased, and the severe environmental damage  brought on by deforestation threatens their very  survival (e.g. soil erosion, local climate changes,  instability of hydrological regimes and loss of  biological diversity). Although most of these are  hastened by human activity, their impact on the  reduction of the bird population in some sections of  Ghana’s middle transition zone cannot be overstated. 

As a result, several bird species are in danger. (Ives et  al., 2017). There are currently eight (8) endangered  birds and 14 nearly endangered bird species in Ghana  i.e. species at risk and requiring monitoring. Bird  species are the most significant mobile link (Lundberg  and Moberg, 2003), top consumers and keystone  species in some ecosystems (Raffaelli, 2004); It is  impossible to overstate how important they are to  ecosystems, and because birds are so widespread in  most locations, we also monitor the effects they have  on the environment. However, because of the  numerous ways in which birds interact with the  environment, people can financially benefit from  them (Dirzo and Raven, 2003).

Predation and food  availability are likely to have an impact on birds (Chace  and Walsh 2006). Additionally, seen as key influences  on bird habitats, quantity, and dispersion include  biological background, agriculture, forest  degradation, habitat loss, forest resource use, and  environmental contamination. (Borges et al., 2016). 

The purpose of ecotourism is to integrate the market driven consumption of goods and services with the  mitigation of emissions, ecological destruction, wildlife persecution, and tourism-related effects on  biodiversity. this includes observing animals and  birding (Isaac et al., 2015). 

The activity of identifying and observing birds in their  natural habitat is known as bird watching. Both bird’s  call and appearance can be used to identify it. Given  that they are the single largest category, ecotourism  has one of the strongest financial foundations (Cordell  and Hebert, 2002).

Tourists can take part in these  activities thanks to bird-watcher excitement. Birding is developing into the ecotourism sector with the  highest growth and environmental consciousness, and  it offers Bird watchers are interest in keeping an eye  on the remaining species and learning how new bird  species will be introduced to verify their status (Agyei Ohemeng, 2014).

There are over 760 different bird  species in Ghana (Brown and Demey, 2010). Domestic  birds and other animal species benefit from this,  which increases biodiversity. Kakum National Park has  roughly 360 different bird species (Dosset and Dosset,  2008). About 40% of Ghana’s total bird population is  represented by this. According to Bird Life  International in 2005, the Kakum National Park was  classified as one of the most significant bird areas in  Ghana because of the park’s abundance of bird  species in numerous ornithological surveys and  research that have been conducted there. 


Consumption of resources by birds promotes  successful plant reproduction in hundreds of plant  species by facilitating pollination or seed dispersal.  Due to the role that birds play in a variety of natural  and human-dominated ecosystems, it is anticipated  that these crucial ecosystem processes—in particular,  decomposition, pollination, and seed dispersal will  experience a reduction (Whelan et al. 2015). An  increase in the human population in the outlying areas  surrounding the KNP has led to a rise in demand for  natural resources, such as land for agriculture,  building materials, and fuel wood. Logging and other  human disturbances have made these issues worse,  resulting in a loss of natural vegetation and the  fragmentation of species habitats in KNP.  (IUCN/PACO; Deikumah and Kudom, 2010). 

Deforestation and forest fragmentation have a direct  correlation with species decline in protected areas  (Stuart et al., 2008), causing them to colonize new  parts including green spaces in cities (Symes et al.  2018). Forest specialists are now being recorded in rainforests, transitional zone savanna, and other dry  areas (Agyei-Ohemeng et al. 2017). Most birds choose  habitats that are ecologically suitable for foraging.  (Agyei-Ohemeng et al. 2017). The monitoring of  biodiversity is essential for the sustainable  management of the conservation areas in Ghana.  Birds as part of biodiversity can be monitored in  several ways. One of the many ways in monitoring  birds is the study of their feeding habits. Root (1967)  defined a guild as a group of species that exploit the  same class of environmental resources in a similar  way. Thus, guilds point out a functional relationship  between a group of species and an ecosystem (de  Iongh and van Weerd, 2006). 

However, for the majority of ecological biomes,  including Kakum National Park, information on the  ecological state of birds, their feeding habits, and the  diversity of species in their new settings is scarce.  (Allport, 1991). 

In order to properly manage the avian biodiversity in  Kakum National Park (KNP), which is a crucial  component of the KNP management plan that is being  considered, the study is an effort to document the  diversity, feeding habits, and ecological state of birds  around the park.  


This project will provide information that can be  utilized to lessen human activities that have harmed  bird habitats and to enhance bird viewing in Kakum  National Park in some particular settlements. The study’s findings will improve our knowledge of birds  and their eating behavior in the ecosystem, promote  tourism, improve rural livelihoods, boost park  revenue, and contribute to the improvement of  biodiversity conservation.

It might also serve as a  starting point for future bird-related scholars. It will  also be a useful resource for anybody interested in  learning more about the birds of Kakum National Park,  the tourism sector, the Ghana Tourism Authority, and  researchers. 


The main objective of this project is to do a checklist  of birds in some selected communities around Kakum  National Park (KNP and relate them to their foraging  behavior habits in order to establish their ecological  importance and status. 


The study will be used to: 

  • Identify bird species in some selected communities  around Kakum National Park. 
  • Relate identified birds to their foraging habits. • Determine birds’ distribution in selected  communities 
  • Determine the ecological status of the identified  birds in the selected communities. 


2.1. Study Area Description 

Kakum Conservation Area is made up of two blocks of  forests lying adjacent to each other that is Kakum  National Park and Assin Attandanso Resource  Reserve. They lie in the Upper Guinea forest zone of  southern Ghana (Eggert and Woodruff, 2003).

The conservation area covers 360 km2 of moist evergreen  forest and also seasonal dry semi-deciduous forest, it  receives an annual rainfall of 1,380mm (Csontos and  Winkler, 2011). Kakum National Park is located in the  Twifo-Hemang-Lower Denkyira District in the Central Region of Ghana. It is located just 33 kilometers from  Coast in the Central Region of Ghana.  

It lies within longitude 1̊ 5‟ East and 1̊ 2‟ West and on  latitude 5̊ 39‟ North and 5̊ 20‟ South. (Fig 1). A study  by Wellington (1998) revealed that Kakum  Conservation Area has more than five rivers and the  main river is called the Kakum River which supplies  fresh water to Cape Coast Metropolis and 133 other  towns, communities and villages. The river was named  after the calling of a Mona monkey (Cercopithicos  mona) “Kiakum”. The Kakum Forest, named after  Kakum River whose headwaters lie within the park’s  boundaries, was originally set aside as a forest reserve  in 1925. Although there is a disagreement as to the  exact date of their demarcation, they have been  ‘reserved’ since the 1930s (Eggert et al. 2003).  

Logging, which began in the 1930s, was intensified in  the 1950s and continued until 1989 when the Central  Region Administration suspended all logging. These  two forest reserves are now managed as Kakum  Conservation Area by the Wildlife Division of the  Forestry Commission. The Kakum Conservation Area  was legally gazette as a National Park and Resource  Reserve in 1992 under the Wildlife Reserves Regulations (LI 1525) under the administrative  Jurisdiction of the Wildlife Department.  

The Park was legitimately opened to the general  public in 1994 (Twerefo, et al. 2012). The Park is  surrounded by fifty-two (52) fringe communities, over  400 hamlets, and over 4500 people. Recreational  activities that can be undertaken in the park include;  nature walks, bird watching, campsite and tree house,  canopy walkway and butterfly watching.  

It is inhabited by diverse plant and animal species. It  serves as a home for more than five different kinds of  globally endangered species of mammals which  include forest Elephants, (Loxodonta africana), Bongo  (Tragelaphus eurycerus), Diana Monkey  (Cercopithecus diana), Black and White Colobus  Monkey (Colobus guereza) and Yellow Buck Duiker  (Cephalophus silvicultor) (Eagles et al. 2002). It serves  as a habitat for over 300 different species of birds and  over 100 species of mammals, reptiles, amphibians  and 600 different species of butterflies. One of the  butterfly species found in Kakum is (Diopeteskakumi)  which was originally discovered in the conservation  area. 

The uniqueness of this park lies in the fact that it was  established at the initiative of the local people and not  by the State Department of Wildlife who are  responsible for wildlife preservation in Ghana  (Wellington, 1998). It is also the only park in Africa  with a canopy walkway, which is 350 meters (1,150 ft.)  long and connects seven tree tops that provide access  to the forest.

The canopy walkway was designed by Dr.  Illar Muul a Canadian ecologist and was constructed  by two Canadians; Tom Ainsworth and John Keelson  and was assisted by six Ghanaians who were also  experts in tree climbing. The construction took place  in the year 1994 and took six months before its  completion. The maximum weight the walkway can  take is eight tons (8 tons), which is equivalent to eight  thousand kilograms (8000kg), this weight is said to be  the weight of two forest elephants. 

2.2. Experimental procedure 

The research was conducted between May/June and  September/October, 2021 using Point Count Method  (Ralph et al. 1993, 1995a, 1995b). Transects were laid  from one community to the other covering four fringe  communities in searching and identifying birds using  birds of Ghana (Borrow and Demey, 2010). 

All birds observed at a fixed location were tallied at  repeated observation periods. The fieldwork was  carried out in the morning between 6:00 am to 9:00  am, for five (3) stations at regular intervals of thirty  (30) minutes each and ten (10) minutes rest to a  different station for a total distance of 5 km each, in a  compass direction determined on each count day for  each week in a month. 

BDAXOmNytOseBwsdeYhScdU9f5EdfMykywsYguMOv cbWfcrvj7mmqHB5swomlI9TAEG aJVvSk0QzrdRfqGALMOti0R9KdQ0BVw8 C5yloMt5tDANNXPA1Y0iMGNO6tf9yiWfrZ0ZLXCWayVZzFpwg

Figure 1: Map of Study Area 

All counts were done on every Wednesday, Thursday  and Friday on the first and third week of the counting  months. In all 24 count days were spent counting and  identifying birds.  

An Opticron Polarex 8×40 field binocular was used to  assist in the observation and identification of the bird  species. The Gamin GPS device was used to take the  coordinate and location of the stations.  Nomenclatures of birds were referenced in the field  book of birds; ‘Birds of Ghana’ by Borrow and Demey  (2010) and vocal replay of birds was used where  necessary, especially in the forest where visibility was  a challenge for identification. Global Information  System (Arc GIS) was used to plot the coordinates of  where birds were located on the map of the Kakum  National Park (KNP). Every GIS operation was carried  out using ArcGIS version 10.3. 

2.3. Analysis of Results/Data 

All records were documented in a tabular form in an  Excel data sheet and the data were analyzed using  histogram and statistical methods to determine the  diversity of families. We also entered the available  data on the conservation, distribution, ecology, and life history of all bird species of the world from 248  sources into a database with >600,000 entries.

This provided us with guidance in classifying the foraging behavior of birds and identifying their families and  determining their conservation status. An ANOVA test  for significance was used to analyze the variations of  birds in the various communities. 


3.1. Species list and feeding guild categorization 

A feeding guild is a group of species that exploits  similar food resources in a habitat, and its  characterization is usually based on the type of food  being consumed, which in turn determines the  feeding behavior of the availability of food resources. 

Foraging guilds can be a useful way to compare  changes between species-rich communities because  their functional organization can be investigated even  if no species are shared. The foraging behavior of birds  species based on the Point count method was  grouped into various trophic structures to determine  the feeding behaviors of different bird species and the  food resources of the areas. 

A total of one thousand one hundred and sixty-nine  (1169) individual birds which were representing one  hundred and one (101) species and thirty-two (32)  families were observed and identified in the Study  Area of Kakum National Park. With the aid of Birds of  Ghana (Borrow and Demey, 2010) birds were  categorized into insectivores, fruigivores, carnivores,  omnivores, nectarivores and granivores. Birds that  have a combination of two source of food were  grouped into fruigivores- granivores, insectivore carnivores, insectivores-fruigivores, carnivores omnivores, and insectivore-nectarivores.

And those who feed on more than two food sources were  grouped considered and omnivore (Munira et. al,  2012). Table:1, shows the various categories of  feeding guilds, families and numbers of individual  sightings of the bird species. 

The insectivore feeders recorded the highest number  of birds with a total of 401 birds species followed by  omnivores with 292 total number of birds. granivores  recorded the third highest of bird with a total number  of 208 and granivore-frugivore recorded the least  number of birds with a total of 4 individual bird  species. Figure 3 shows the highest and the least  number of birds recorded in the various foraging type. 

3.2. Mapping Avifauna Distribution 

The GPS data collected from the survey were entered  into MS Excel sheet and converted to comma separated values (csvCSV) file format to be read by  ArcGIS for the generation of a distribution map, Figure  2 below. 

Figure 2: Distribution map of birds in the survey area. 

Using Table 2 above, an ANOVA test was run to test significant differences among the bird population within the communities.  

Table 3 below, indicates that the p-value =0.976,  shows that there are no significant differences among  the birds’ population in the various communities  around Kakum National Park, p-value>0.05. 


The family Ploceldae were abundance in the study  area with relative frequency of 27.203, Pycnonotidae  recorded the second highest with relative frequency  of 11.121 followed by Estrildidae and Columbidae of 9.581 and 8.554 relative frequency respectively.  Picidae, Hyliidae and Turdidae recorded the least  relative frequency of 0.0855. The table 4 below, shows  the families of birds and their relatively abundance in  the study area. 


Kakum Conservation area lies in the Upper Guinea  forest zone of southern Ghana which serves as a  habitat for over 300 different species of birds (Eggert  and Woodruff, 2003). A total of 1169 individual birds  which represent 102 species and 32 families were  observed and identified in the Study Area, Table 1.

Table 1: Categories of feeding guilds, families and numbers of individual sightings of the bird species

Granivore SubtotalPloceidae Yellow mantled widow bird 11
weaver Village 94
Estrildidae Bare-breasted fire finch 2
Chesnut breasted nigrita 5
Black-bellied seed cracker 1
Black and white mannikins 45
Passeridae Passeridae 19
Columbidae 4Red eyed-dove 10
River ramped dove 91 188
Insectivores Cuculidae African emerald cuckoo 1
Klass cuckoo 7
Dedric cuckoo 3
Senegal coucal 14
Cisticolidae Tawny frank prinia 17
Grey-backed camoroptera 13
Yellow-browed camoroptera 1
Red-faced cisticola 7
Muscicapidae Dusky blue flycatcher 1
Blue-shoulders robin-chatt 1
Grey-throated tit-flycatcher 5
Monarchidae Blue-headed crested flycatcher 7
Red-bellied paradise flycatcher 2
Paradise flycatcher 6
Picidae Buff-spotted woodpecker 1
Meropidae Black bee-eater 3
Apodidae Little swift 34
Hyliidae Green hylia 1
Macrosphenidae Kemps long bill 1
Green crombec 2
Turdidae African thrush bird 1
Platysteiridae Chestnut wattle-eye 4
Ardeidae Cattle egret 9
Little egret 1
Nicatoridae Barn swallow 4
Hirundinidae Press swift swallow 19
Common house matin 16
Western nicator 22
Ploceidae Black-necked weaver 23
Maxwell black weaver 68
Violet black weaver 90
Red-vinted malimbe 5
Red-headed malimbe 1
Pycnonodidae Little greenbul 5
Yellow wipsked greenbul 1
Alcedinidae African dwarf kingfisher 2
SubtotalMalacanotidae 17Black crown tchagra 1
Brown crown tchagra 382 401
Frugivores SubtotalMusophagidae Western grey plantain eater 2
Bucerotidae Pipping hornbill 2
African pied hornbil 19
African grey hornbill 1
Pycnonodidae Swamp palm bulbul 17
Honeyguide greenbul 1
White-throated greenbul 8
Columbidae African green pigeon 57
Nicatoridae Western nicator 4
Lybiidae 6Nacked-faced barbet 2
Yellow-spotted tinkerbird 1
yellow-fronted tinkerbird 8
Red-ramped tinker bird 1
Vieillot’s barbet 141 124
Omnivores SubtotalPycnonotidae Common garden bulbul 84
Slenderbill greenbul 5
Simple leaflove 2
Camaroon sombrine greenbul 1
Sturnidae Splendid glossy starling 17
Corvidae Pied crow 67
Psittacidae Red-fronted parrot 8
Estrildidae Bronze mannikins 35
Western bluebill 1
Motacillidae Pied wagtail 5
Musophagidae Green turaco 5
Columbidae Blue-headed wood dove 9
Tambourin dove 4
Blue-spotted wood dove 8
Nectriniididae 9Tiny sunbird 7
Buff-throated sunbird 4
Superb sunbird 7
Olive bellied sunbird 22
Copper sunbird 7
Yellow-billed barbet 201 292
Carnivores SubtotalAccipitridae 1Yellow-billed kite 4
Lizard buzzard 2
African haired hawk 311
Carnivores InsectivoresAlcedinidae Malachite kingfisher 6
Shining blue kingfisher 1
Blue-breasted kingfisher 1
Laniidae Common fiscal 12
Frugivores GranivoresColumbidae Grey-headed wood dove 4


Subtotal 4
Nectarivores SubtotalNectriniididae 1Callard sunbird 8
Little green sunbird 1
Splendid sunbird 9
Green-headed sunbird 424 42
Insectivores,  Frugivores SubtotalLybiidae Speckled tinkerbird 3
Estrildidea 2Grey headed nigrita 1
Chesnut breasted nigrita 39
Granivore,  Insectivore SubtotalPloceidae Black winged bishop 24
Estrildidae Oranged-checked waxbill 22
Red-fronted antpecker 4
Viduidae Pintail whydah 22
Columbidae 4Loughing dove 56 78

Table 2: Summary of number of birds in each community 

Community Total No. of Species Total No. of Birds
Bekawopa 26 308
Kobeda 20 206
Abrafo Odumase 34 357
Gyae Aware 21 298

Table 3: ANOVA test of significance of birds within the communities. 

Source of Variation SS df MS P-value F crit
Between Groups 7024.5 2341.5 0.06346 0.97645 6.591382
Within Groups 147589 36897.25
Total 154613.5 7

The study indicated that the p-value of 0.976 from  ANOVA test of significance, using Table 2, shows that  there are no significant differences among the birds’  population in the study communities around Kakum  National Park. (p-value>0.05). 

Birds were categorized into several groups according  to their foraging behavior. village weaver (Ploceus  cucullatus) was abundance 94 followed by the violet  black weaver (Ploceus nigerrimus) 90 and maxwell  black weaver (Ploceus albinucha) 64 in that order  being seed eater (granivores). They are common in the  

study area because of the common traditional  practice in the farming of corn and cereals such as rice  maize etc. around the study area Kakum National  Park. By germinating the seeds of trees, birds can  contribute to the reforesting of deforested lands,  diminishing the costs of restoration, Wunderle, 1997. 

The fields create habitats that are used for foraging by  other birds, as they dive down to where the layer of  left-over harvested corn rests on the ground, they  tear, shred, and churn up the pieces of straw looking  for grain (Agyei-Ohemeng et al. 2017).

image 82
Distribution of Birds in Communities around Kakum National Park (Knp),  Ghana, Using Foraging Behaviors 11

Figure 3: Foraging Mode and Number of Bird Species 

image 83
Distribution of Birds in Communities around Kakum National Park (Knp),  Ghana, Using Foraging Behaviors 12

Figure 4: Family of Bird Species Identified 

The three most often observed species throughout  the study were granivores, omnivores, and  insectivores, in that order (Fig. 4). According to Erwin  et al (2002), the study location, The Kakum  Conservation Area, is a lush, wet, evergreen rain forest  with dense foliage; insects and seeds (grains) prefer  moist environments and dense foliage. Insectivore,  omnivore and granivore birds were therefore observed in large numbers in and around Kakum  National Park due to the existence of a significant food  source.

According to Chettri et al. (2005), a habitat with dense vegetation, such as increased tree density  and basal regions, influences the high existence of insects and seed; as a result, birds that feed on both  insects and grains (Omnivores) were also abundant.  Most birds get at least some of their nutrition from  seed. Once more, studies by the Academy of Natural  Sciences at Drexel University show that insectivorous  birds get the majority of the water they require from  their prey. Species from the family Pycnonotidae were  recorded in four different feeding categories.

These species include Swamp Palm Bulbul being  insectivores, Anropadus virens (Little Greenbul) a  frugivore, and Calyptocichlaseri nanicatorchloris (Western Nicator) an omnivore. The Nicatorchloris  (Western Nicator), according to Borrow and Demey (2010), has been proposed to be in a separate family  (Nicatoridae) from the family Pycnocotidae.  

Insectivores were identified to be the most diverse  and numerous species in the research area,  supporting Rajashekara and Venkatesha’s findings  (2014). The occurrence and abundance of  insectivorous species depend on the availability of a variety of food sources for adults and young as well as  safe habitat for nesting and roosting in and near forest  environment. On the one hand, insectivores in  agricultural areas aid farms by reducing the number of  insect pests in agricultural and habitation habitats,  which raises the farms’ conservation value for birds  and other animals. (Johnson et al. 2010). 

The location of the study had one of the lowest  densities of nectarines, therefore the timing of  flowering and the presence of more nectarivores in  the forest edge community may be to blame.  According to Fleming & Sosa (1994), the structure and  makeup of birds alter throughout time and space  depending on the availability of food supplies.  Variation is particularly obvious in bird species that eat  patchy and transient food sources like nectar and  fruit. As the level of land modification rose, Walterz et  al. (2005) discovered fewer species of nectarivore in  disturbed landscapes (farmland/settlement). 

According to Cotton (2007), an increase in nectar  availability is associated with an increase in the  diversity and abundance of nectarivores. Because of  their small size, nectarivores are challenging to  monitor and are probably underappreciated in  comparison to other guilds, according to Loiselle  (1988). In addition, more bird species were discovered  in the forest than in the disturbed region, according to  Li et al. (2013). 

The capture rate of frugivores in forests is typically  higher during times when fruits are abundant, and the  presence of some species belonging to the family  Stunidae, Pycnonotidae is a perfect indicator of forest  regeneration in semi-degraded/disturbed habitat  such as a forest. Moegenburg and Levey (2003) note  that the availability, abundance, and richness of  fruiting plants are significant and associated with the  diversity of frugivorous bird species and foraging. In  the early stages of tropical forest succession and  restoration, the tolerance of frugivore species to  disturbed environments is crucial (Corlett, 2017).  

According to Vallejo et al. (2006), existing green  spaces must be preserved, and fruit trees must be  added, to boost bird biodiversity. The Kakum  environment will have a distinctive food web. A food  web is a collection of organisms connected by  interactions between consumers and resources, as  well as predators and prey, and it represents all of the  connected food chains in an ecological community. 

With the presence of hawks, who eat tiny birds,  flycatchers, and swifts, which eat flying insects, no  food source will go to waste when taking into account  the many foraging guild groups. The International  Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural  Resources (IUCN) Red List 2015-4 lists three of the  species identified as being of global concern and  vulnerable, which adds to the interest of the  observations. Species that are considered vulnerable  are those that are most likely to go extinct unless  certain conditions are changed. 

Numerous bird species’ distribution and abundance  are influenced by the type of flora that makes up the  majority of their habitats. Bird species abundance was  highly correlated with vegetation traits, suggesting  that areas with abundant plant life supported more  birds. Because less resources are offered by this  vegetation type within the sites, the relative low bird  abundance in the highly disturbed areas compared to  the other sites may be the result. A certain bird  species may arise, increase or decline in population,  and disappear when the habitat changes as vegetation  changes along a long, complex geographic land  environmental gradient. (Lee and Rotenberry, 2005) 

The families ploceidae were recoded the higher  number of individual species with the relative  abundance of 27.203 and pycnonodidae recorded the  second highers number of species in the study area,  probably because the conditions needed by their  members were available in the study area. Example,  Village Weaver (Ploceus cucullatus) belonging to  Ploceidae is the most abundant species in the study  area due to the abundance of their food (Seed-eating  birds).

The Common Bulbul (Pycnonotus barbatus)  belonging to Pycnonotidae are also among the  abundant species and are mostly found on farmlands  due to the availability of food (Seeds) (Aziz et al. 2015).  They were commonly observed on the ground and in  grassy habitat where they would pick grains from  plant sources such as maize and grasses. This shows that these two families are the most diverse in the  study area.

Most plants completed their reproductive  processes between the early months of the year. Also,  harvesting of crops on farmlands started in January  and there were much left-over foods on farmlands for  birds to feed on (Agyei-Ohemeng et al. 2017). 

Granivores are considered as pests by local farmers in  the area (Kennedy, 2000). Moorcroft et al., (2002)  concluded that fields left fallow after harvest support  high densities of many species of granivorous birds,  and they emphasized that variation in the abundance  and availability of 41 weeds affects the diversity of  granivorous species. Furthermore, the presence of a  high diversity of granivores in a habitat indicated  habitat disturbances (Gray et al. 2007). 


The study gathered data on the structure and diversity  of bird communities in and around Kakum National  Park, and the findings imply that resource availability  in a particular area or habitat determines the diversity,  abundance, and distribution of birds. Nevertheless,  birds can be divided into different groups based on  their feeding habits. The study clearly shows that the  majority of the bird species were found in places with  dense vegetation and closed canopies. Since factors  like fruits, seeds, flowers, and grains are present on  healthy vegetation or habitat, this type of habitat  promotes the growth of insects. 

There are various bird species from various bird  families that belong to various guilds of feeders. The  Kakum National Park and Kakum Conservation Area  have an extremely broad range of bird species, which  is a sign of excellent ecological stability.

The study also  adopted an ecological perspective by concentrating  on the ways that birds assist humans by interacting  with the environment through their foraging  behaviors. It should be mentioned, however, that  birds’ feeding habits often improve the ecosystem in  ways that are ecologically beneficial. Nevertheless, if  man made activities take hold, the diversity of bird  species may fall. 

Again, it may be said that viewing birds in local  communities near protected areas has the greatest  potential to inform residents and raise their  knowledge of the value of bird ecology to local,  national, and global biodiversity. 


Promotion of and education in bird watching in  communities around Kakum National park (KNP) has a  considerable potential to produce money through the  protection, conservation, and promotion of natural  areas. This can boost the contribution of bird watching  in rural communities. 

The lack of understanding among the populace  regarding the significance of birds in the ecosystem as  pollinators, pest controllers, and environmental  health indicators, must be promoted so that the  municipality’s department of natural resources, land,  and environment will educate the populace about  conservation issues. This can help in the education on  the importance of birds to the ecosystem.  

To capture both nocturnal and diurnal bird species  throughout various seasons of the year, an intense  investigation and a survey of a comparable nature  should be conducted. This could aid in identifying the  number of birds of international importance that are  lacking from the research 

In order to find the best period for bird viewing, similar  research comparing bird species populations during  the rainy and dry seasons should be conducted. 


Our greatest gratitude goes to God Almighty for his  blessings and granting us life full of strength  throughout this work. We are immensely grateful for  the invaluable contributions of the staff of Kakum  National Park and the Abrafo community. Without  their collaboration and support, this work would not  have been possible. We feel privileged to have had the  opportunity to learn from their expertise and share  their stories. Our sincere thanks go out to each and  every individual who has played a part in making this  article a reality.


Categorization of birds and their ecological status in Kakum National Park

Granivore Scientific name Family Ecological status
Yellow-Mantled Widow Bird Euplectes macroura Ploceidae Lc
Village Weaver Ploceus cucullatus Ploceidae Lc
Bar-Breasted Fire Finch Lagonosticta rufopicta Estrildidae Lc
Chesnut Breasted Nigrita bicolor Estrildidae Lc
Black-Bellied Seed Cracker Pyrenestes ostrinus Estrildidae Lc
Black and White Mannikins Spermestes bicolor Estrildidae Lc
Northern Grey-Headed  Sparrow Passer griseus Passeridae Lc
Red Eyed-Dove Streptopelia semitorquata Columbidae Lc
River Ramped Dove Spilopelia chinensis Columbidae Lc
Insectivores Scientific name Family Ecological status
African Emerald Cuckoo Chrysococ cyxcupreus Cuculidae Lc
Klass Cuckoo Chrysococ cyxklaas Cuculidae Lc
Diedric Cuckoo Chrysococ cyxcaprius Cuculidae Lc
Senegal Coucal Centropus senegalensis Cuculidae Lc
Tawny-Franked Prinia Prinia subflava Cisticolidae Lc
Grey-Backed Camoroptera Camaroptera brevicaudata Cisticolidae Lc
Yellow-Browed Camoroptera Camaroptera superciliaris Cisticolidae Lc
Red-Faced Cisticola Cisticola erythrops Cisticolidae Lc
Dusky Blue Flycatcher Muscica pacomitata Muscicapidae Lc
Blue-Shoulders robin-Chatt Cossypha cyanocampter Muscicapidae Lc
Grey-Throated Tit-Flycatcher Myioparus griseigularis Monarchidae Lc
Blue-Headed Crested  Flycatcher Trochocer cusnitens Monarchidae Lc
Red-Bellied Paradise  FlycatcherTerpsiphone rufiventer Monarchidae Lc 
Paradise Flycatcher Terpsiphone Monarchidae Lc
Buff-Spotted Woodpecker Campethera nivosa Pecidae Lc
Black Bee-Eater Merop sgularis Meropidae Lc
Little Swift Apus affinis ApodidaeLc
Green Hylia Hylia prasina Hyliidae Lc
Kemps Long Bill Macrosphenus kempi Macrosphenidae Lc
Green Crombec Sylvietta virens Macrosphenidae Lc
African Thrush Bird Turdus pelios Turdidae Lc
Chest nut wattle-Eye Platysteira castanea Platysteiridae Lc
Cattle Egret Bubulcus ibis Ardeidae Lc
Little Egret Egretta garzetta Ardeidae Lc
Western Nicator Nicator chloris Nicatoridae Lc
Barn Swallow Hirundo rustica Hirundinidae Lc
Press Swift Swallow Hirundinidae Lc
Common House Matin Delichon urbicum Hirundinidae Lc
Black-Necked Weaver Ploceus nigricollis Ploceidae Lc
Maxwell Black Weaver Ploceus albinucha Ploceidae Lc
Violet Black Weaver Ploceus nigerrimus Ploceidae Lc
Red-Vinted Malimbe Malimbus scutatus Ploceidae Lc
Red-Headed Malimbe Malimbus rubricollis Ploceidae Lc
Little Greenbul Eurillas virens Pycnonodidae Lc
Yellow Wipsked Greenbul Eurillas latirostris Pycnonodidae Lc
African Dwarf Kingfisher Ispidina lecontei AlcedinidaeLc
Black Crown Tchagra Tchagra senegalus Malacanotidae Lc
Brown Crown Tchagra Tchagra australis Malacanotidae Lc
Frugivores Scientific name Family Ecological status
Western Grey Plantain Eater Crinifer piscato Musophagidae Lc
Pipping Hornbill Bycanistes fistulator BucerotidaeLc
African Pied Hornbill Lophoceros fasciatus Bucerotidae Lc
African Grey Hornbill Lophoceros nasutus Bucerotidae Lc
Swamp Palm Bulbul Thescelocichla leucopleura Pycnonotidae Lc
Honeyguide Greenbul Baeopogon indicator Pycnonotidae Lc
White-Throated Greenbul Phyllastrephus albigularis Pycnonotidae Lc
African Green Pigeon Treron calvus Culumbidae Lc
Western Nicator Nicator chloris Nicatoridae Lc
Nacked-Faced Barbet Gymnobucco calvus Lybiidae Lc
Yellow-Spotted Tinkerbird Pogoniulus chrysoconus Lybiidae Lc
Yellow-Fronted Tinkerbird Pogoniulus chrysoconus Lybiidae Lc
Red-Ramped Tinker Bird Pogoniulus atroflavus Lybiidae Lc
Vieillot’s Barbet Lybius vieilloti Lybiidae Lc
Omnivores Scientific name Family Ecological status
Common Garden Bulbul Pycnonotus barbatus Pycnonodidae Lc
Slenderbill Greenbul Stelgidillas gracilirostris Pycnonodidae Lc
Simple Leaflove Chlorocichla simplex Pycnonodidae Lc
Cameroon Sombrine Greenbul Andropadus importunus Pycnonodidae Lc
Splendid Glossy Starling Lamprotornis splendidus Sturnidae Lc
Pied Crow Corvus albus Corvidae Lc
Red-Fronted Parrot Poicephalus gulielmi Psittacidae Lc
Bronze Mannikins Spermestes cucullata Estrildidae Lc
Western Bluebill Spermophaga haematina Estrildidae Lc
Pied Wagtail Motacilla alba Motacillidae Lc
Green Turaco Tauraco persa Musophagidae Lc
Blue-Headed Wood Dove Turtur brehmeri Columbidae Lc
Tambourin Dove Turtur tympanistria Columbidae Lc
Blue-Spotted Wood Dove Turtur afer Columbidae Lc
Tiny Sunbird Cinnyris minullus Nectriniididae Lc 
Buff-Throated Sunbird Chalcomitra adelberti Nectriniididae Lc
Superb Sunbird Cinnyris superbus Nectriniididae Lc
Olive Bellied Sunbird Cinnyris chloropygius Nectriniididae Lc
Copper Sunbird Cinnyris cupreus Nectriniididae Lc
Yellow-Billed Barbet Trachyphonus purpuratus Lybiidae Lc
Carnivores Scientific name Family Ecological status
Yellow-Billed Kite Milvus aegyptius Accipitridae Lc
Lizard Buzzard Kaupifalco monogrammicus Accipitridae Lc
African Haired Hawk Polyboroides typus Accipitridae Lc
Nectarivores Scientific name Family Ecological status
Callerd Sunbird Hedydipna collaris Nectriniididae Lc
Little Green Sunbird Anthreptes seimundi Nectriniididae Lc
Splendid Sunbird Cinnyriscoccini gastrus Nectriniididae Lc
Green-Headed Sunbird Cyanomitra verticalis Nectriniididae Lc
Insect-Frugivore Scientific name Family Ecological status
Speckled Tinkerbird Pogoniulus scolopaceus Lybiidae Lc
Grey Headed Nigrita Nigrita canicapillus Estrildidae Lc
Chesnut Breasted Nigrita Nigrita bicolor Estrildidae Lc
Insect-Granivores Scientific name Family Ecological status
Black Winged Bishop Euplectes hordeaceus Ploceidae Lc
Oranged-Checked Waxbill Estrilda melpoda Estrildidae Lc
Red-Fronted Antpecker Parmoptila rubrifrons Estrildidae NT
Pintail Whydah Vidua macroura Viduidae Lc
Laughing Dove Spilopelia senegalensis Columbidae Lc
Insect-carnivores Scientific name Family Ecological status
Malachite Kingfisher Corythornis cristatus Alcedinidae Lc 
Shining Blue Kingfisher Alcedoqua dribrachys Alcedinidae Lc
Blue-Breasted Kingfisher Halcyon malimbica Alcedinidae Lc
Common Fiscal Lanius collaris Laniidae Lc
Gran-Frugivores Scientific name Family Ecological status
Grey-Headed Wood Dove Leptotila plumbeiceps Columbidae Lc


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