This distinctive, ground-dwelling bird is listed as vulnerable on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species and scientific information is urgently needed to support its conservation. It is only found in five countries in West Africa, and until recently, the species was believed to be extinct in Ghana. Habitat destruction and hunting now threaten its survival.
This Earthwatch project is the first detailed ecological study of the species. With volunteer support, scientists hope to map the distribution of breeding sites so that timber logging operations avoid current and potential rock fowl hot spots.
Hiking daily through the forest, volunteers will monitor nests for fledgling success, record characteristics of breeding sites, and determine foraging behaviour and home range by radio tracking banded birds.
Volunteers will also have the unique opportunity to work alongside local people. Sharing tents in the village of Asamura, they will enjoy tasty dishes prepared by a team of Ghanaian cooks.
John Mason, Executive Director of NCRC, says, "This is one of the locations within the rock fowl's global range which offers the best guarantee of a sighting. Joining this expedition is a fantastic opportunity for any serious birder."
Earthwatch's Zoe Gamble, who visited the project site, says, "This is an exciting opportunity to take part in hands-on research in one of the most beautiful and remote parts of Ghana, far from the tourist trail."
● Conserving Threatened Birds of Ghana team dates: 7th-20th September 2008. Cost (14 days): £795.
The cost includes training, food, accommodation, medical emergency evacuation and the offsetting of greenhouse gases. It is also a charitable donation which helps to support the research. Flights are extra. No experience or special skills are necessary to join these expeditions, but volunteers must be over the age of 18.
Earthwatch and the Nature Conservation Research Centre (NCRC) of Ghana are looking for volunteers to join an exciting new expedition. In the Brong-Ahafo rainforest of south-western Ghana, volunteers will help scientists to investigate the rare and little known white-necked rock fowl.