Studies on indigenous knowledge of fauna particular birds and its potential use in biodiversity conservation and management are rare globally. Characteristics used in creating indigenous bird names in many Ghanaian languages are undocumented. The main aim of this study is to answer the question "whether indigenous bird naming systems by the Akan tribes in Ghana follow scientific nomenclature and whether indigenous Akan bird knowledge can potentially help improve bird conservation efforts in Ghana.
Purposive sampling technique was employed in selecting 10 respondents from 25 communities in the five administrative districts in the Central Region. The study was conducted between November 2014 and March 2015. A mixed method approach was adopted in the data collection including key person interviews, focus group discussion, and structured interview supported by a participatory field observation.
Indigenous people in the study area have reported 143 species of birds belonging to 44 families representing 57 % of total number of species with known local names in Ghana. The study revealed that just as Latin and common English naming systems, indigenous Akan bird names originated from features of the bird, including plumage, vocalizations or behavioural characteristics and belief systems of the indigenous people. The study also discovered that indigenous people in the study area have distinct names for different species within a particular family for most of the birds they could identify. However, they occasionally assign a single general name for either the entire family or all species therein.
The study found evidence to support the prediction that indigenous bird naming systems in the Akan language follow scientific nomenclature. Indigenous knowledge and understanding of birds in the study area can be tapped and used in conservation planning and monitoring of birds. This research thus provides sufficient evidence to prove that indigenous knowledge by the Akan tribes in the study area can be useful in bird conservation and monitoring programs in Ghana. Further research in other Ghanaian languages is recommended.