WIWO-reports published

WIWO home

Publication number 58. Stichting WIWO

Title: European songbirds and Barn Swallows Hirundo rustica in Ghana: a quest for Constant Effort Sites and swallow roosts in December/January 1996/97
Author(s): Van den Brink B., R.G. Bijlsma & T.M. van der Have (eds.)
Publication date: 1998


The main aim of this project was to develop operational Constant Effort Sites in wetland habitats in Ghana where moult, condition and survival of European wetland birds could be monitored, thus obtaining information about the condition of European passerines and Swallows wintering in Ghanaian wetlands.
The following locations were visited:
  • Alakple
  • Akuse (Kpong Dam)
  • Suhyen
  • Owabi
  • Lake Bosomtwi
  • Pease
  • Ayensudo
After finishing the project it became clear that, although large roosts are apparently scarce in Ghana, the possibilities for systematically studying Swallows at wintering sites are promising. The roost at Ayensudo is both large and spontaneous (in the sense of not being coached into being by using tapelures), and exists for at least a number of years (local informants). According to Grimes (1987), another large roost may exist at Tafo, with a million birds present between late September and early May. The existence of this latter roost was not confirmed during our trip, nor was there any indication of such large numbers being present that early in the season. On the contrary, the information gathered in 1996/97 suggests arrival of large numbers of Swallows only from late December onwards, with the birds roosting in many small roosts scattered throughout the southern half of Ghana.
The other roost of some importance, the one at Lake Bosomtwi, was small and may not exist there permanantly. However, the site is useful and offers good opportunities of catching Swallows in numbers of >100 per day when using tapelures. In the past, Swallows have been captured here as well (Grimes 1987), proving the suitability of the site.
Motitoring of numbers and biometry of Swallows at fixed roosts is important to detect annual variations in arrival, age-composition and condition relative to local conditions (rainfall, drought, habitat changes): Ayensudo and Lake Bosomtwi presently offer the best opportunities for such a scheme.

The report contains:
  • Description of methods, period and weather
  • Details of Swallow research
  • Discussion on origin of Swallows, other passerines and moulting strategy
  • Discussion of CES in Ghana
  • Appendixes on biometrics