Seasonal changes in the importance of coastal wetlands in Ghana for wading birds
Forty-two species of waders, comprising 29 Palearctic migrants, eight residents, two partial migrants and three vagrants, were recorded in three years of monthly surveys of shorebirds in coastal Ghana. Eleven species occurred in internationally important populations: curlew sandpiper, little stint, sanderling, spotted redshank, grey plover, ringed plover, black-winged stilt, avocet, black-tailed godwit and turnstone. Arrival of migrant waders in coastal Ghana began in August and reached a peak in November/December. Most waders left the Ghana coast in January, leaving only a small proportion which remained until final departure in April. Another peak in numbers was observed during the spring passage in some years for some wader species. The proportion of migrant wader populations oversummering on the Ghana coast varied with species, and from year to year. While the total populations of some species departed, as much as 30% of the populations of others remained on the Ghana sites during the northern summer. The wader numbers recorded in the different sites and the relative importance of the key sites showed annual fluctuations. Two sites, the Keta and Songaw Lagoons, qualified as internationally important wetlands in terms of their total wader numbers and by virtue of the fact that each supported internationally important populations of seven species of waders. Three other sites also supported internationally important populations: Sakumo Lagoon (4 species), Korle Lagoon (3) and Esiama (1). Two sites, Keta and Korle Lagoons, face immediate threat of coastal erosion and/or proposed developments involving drainage and land reclamation. The Sakumo and Songaw Lagoons have great potential for development as conservation areas and proposals have been submitted to this effect.
Read full paper https://doi.org/10.1016/0006-3207(91)90135-V