Uganda Birding Safari - 15 Days
Day 1: Mabamba Swamp Birding, Transfer to Lake Mburo National Park
Early breakfast and then transfer to Mabamba Swamp 50 km west of Kampala.
Bird en route to the swamps lookout for papyrus specials such as the Papyrus Gynolek, White winged warbler, Northern brown Throated, Weyns weaver to mention but a few.
Move to Mabamba swamps most of the birding here is done canoeing as we look out for the rare Shoebill Stork, African Water rail, Allen’s and Purple Gallinule (swamphen) Squacco, Goliath, Purple, Grey Herons, a variety of Egrets, ducks. There are also chances of encountering the elusive sitatungas antelope adapted to swampy habitats.
Later we head to Uganda’s smallest savanna park - Lake Mburo National Park covering an area of 260 sq km and is home to many zebra, eland, impala and topi. It has got a mosaic habitat of rock outcrops, dry hillside, open and wooded savanna, forests, galleries, swamps.
A variety of habitats have contributed to the avifauna diversity and 313 bird species have been recorded in the park including; Red faced barbet, Long tailed Cisticola (Tabora), Papyrus yellow warbler, African finfoot, Northern Brubru, Rofous bellied and white backed night heron, Black collared barbet, Brown chested plover, White winged tit, Northern brown throated weaver, White winged warbler.
Dinner and overnight at Rakobo Rock Lodge or Eagles Nest Camp
Day 2: Lake Mburo National Park Birding, Drive to Bwindi Impenetrable National Park
Early breakfast, then you take a guided birding walk along the lakeside.
Lake Mburo National Park has got a mosaic habitat of rock outcrops, dry hillside, open and wooded savanna, forests, galleries, swamps. A variety of habitats have contributed to the avifauna diversity and 313 bird species have been recorded in the park including; Red faced barbet, Long tailed cisticola, Papyrus yellow warbler, African fin foot, Northern Brubru, Rofous bellied heron, Black collared barbet, Brown chested plover, White winged tit, Northern brown throated weaver, White winged warbler.
Afterwards we embark on our 5-hours journey to Bwindi Impenetrable National Park.
Bwindi is the bird watchers haven! It holds 348 species of birds among which 90% of the Albertine Rift endemic are here i.e the Short-tailed, Rusty-faced woodland and Grauer’s Rush Warblers, Bar-tailed Trogon, Wilcock’s Honey-guide, Yellow-eyed black Fly-catcher, Kivu Ground Thrush, Dusky Crimsonwing, White-tailed Blue Monarch among others, difficult or impossible to see in any other part of East Africa.
An experienced bird watcher can identify up to 100 species in a day!
Day 3: Birding in Ruhija, Bwindi Impenetrable National Park
Arise early before the sun for birding in the Ruhija sector of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park.
Birding the bamboo for the Handsome Francolin White-starred Robin, Mountain Illadopsis, Grey Cuckoo Shrike, Augur Buzzard, Ayres’s and Cassin’s Hawk Eagle, Mountain Buzzard, Red-throated Alethe, Grauer’s Warbler, Mountain Masked, Collard, Chestnut Throated and Black – Throated Apalis, Dusky and Shelley’s Crimson wing, Dusky Tit, Stripe Breasted Tit, Red Faced Woodland Warbler, and many other birds.
Overnight at Trekker’s Tarvan or Gorilla Friends Resort Camp
Day 4: Birding to Mubwindi Swamp
After breakfast we head for a whole day birding to Mubwindi Swamp.
This is the best birding spot for the Albertine Rift endemics including African Green Broadbill, the beautiful Regal Sunbird, Dwarf Honeyguide, Stripe-breasted Tit, Rwenzori Batis Black Headed Waxbill, and African Hill Babbler, Grauer’s Scrub-warbler, Fraser’s Eagle-Owl, African Green Broadbill, Grauer’s Rush Warbler, Purple-breasted Sunbird, Blue-headed Sunbird, Regal Sunbird, Strange Weaver and many more bird species mentioned on day 3.
Day 5: Bird watching safari to Buhoma via The Neck
Whole day birding on the road to Buhoma through the "Neck".
Key bird species include: Mountain Wagtail, Chin-spot Batis, Black-billed Turacco, Fine-banded Woodpecker, Dwarf Honeyguide, Red-tailed Greenbul, and we should come across Bee-eaters including Black Bee-eater and Cinnamon-chested Bee-eater, Bronze-naped Pigeon, Many-coloured Bush-shrike, Ayres’s Hawk-eagle, Bronze-naped Pigeon, Narina Trogon, Honeyguide Greenbul, Red-throated Alethe, Gray Apalis, African Shrike-flycatcher and Red-headed Malimbe.
In areas of dry fern vegetation, we expect to watch the Dusky Twinspot.
Other birds here include Mackinnon’s Fiscal, Yellow-bellied Waxbill, Black Saw-wing, Chubbs’ Cisticola, Grey Apalis, Augur Buzzard, Petit’s Cuckoo Shrike, Pink-footed, Northern Puffbacks, Red-tailed, Little Grey Greenbuls, Chestnut-throated Apalis, Red-throated Martin, East African Swee (Yellow-bellied Waxbill), Yellow White-eye, Dark-capped Bulbul, Yellow-bellied Kite, Yellow-rumped, Speckled-rumped Tinkerbirds, African Stonechat, Grey Cuckoo Shrike, Stripe-breasted Tit, Montane-masked Apalis, Red-faced Woodland, Montane Yellow Warbler, Regal Sunbird, Northern Double-collared Sunbird, Rwenzori Hill Babbler, White-tailed Blue Flycatcher, Yellow-whiskered Greenbul, Yellow-throated Leaf Love, Crested Guinea Fowl, African Crowned Hornbill, Lead-colored Flycatcher, Black-necked Weaver, Red-bellied Paradise Flycatcher, Yellow-spotted Barbet, African Harrier Hawk.
Dinner and overnight stay at Engagi Lodge or Buhoma Community Restcamp.
Day 6: Optional Gorilla Tracking or Birding the Buhoma Area
Optional gorilla tracking or birding the Buhoma area.
Those who go birding expect to see the Rufous-chested Fluff tail, Dusky Long-tailed Cuckoo, Pink Footed and Northern Puff Back, Red Tailed, Honey Guide, Toro Olive, Cameroon Sombre, Slender Billed, Little, Little Grey, Sheilley’s, Cabani’s White Throated and Yellow Whiskered Greenbuls, Elliots, Cardianl, Yellow Crested, Fine Banded woodpeckers, Red Throated Allethe, Red Faced Woodland Warbler, Black faced Woodland Warbler, White Headed Wood Hopoe, Waller’s, Stulman’s and Narro Tailed Starlings, Black Bee Eater, Banded and White Chinned Prinia, Blue Throated Brown, Blue Headed, Northern Double Collard, Collard, Green, Olive, olive Bellied, Rwenzro Doulbe Collard and Green Headed Sunbirds, Bar tailed Tragon, Kivu Ground Thrush, African Borad Bill, Red- chested Owlet, Neumann’s Warbler, Pale-breasted Illadopsis, White-tailed Blue Flycatcher.
Late back to the lodge for dinner and overnight stay.
Day 7: Birding to Queen Elizabeth National Park
After breakfast you will drive to the second biggest protected area in Uganda – Queen Elizabeth National Park.
Birding here exposes us to a variety of savannah birds including the Larks, Pipits, Harlequin Quail, Blue Quail, Small (Common) Buttonquail, Black Coucal, African Crake, African Moustached, Broad Tailed and Grey Capped Warbler, Martial Eagle, Verreaux’s Eagle-Owl, Amur Falcon, Ovambo Sparrowhawk, Terek Sandpiper, Crimson Rumped Waxbill, Sulpher Breasted Bushshrike, Golden Breasted Bunting, Temminck’s Courser, Senegal and Wattled Lapwing, Brown Snake Eagle and many more bird species. This park has a great number of mammals numbering to 96 which are both diurnal and nocturnal.
We stay at Bush Lodge or Mweya Safari Lodge.
Day 8: Whole Day Birding in the Park: Recorded 612 Bird Species
You start early for a game drive and birding the vast grassland area the whole morning.
Later in the afternoon you have an exciting boat cruise on the Kazinga Channel. This is a natural water channel connecting Lakes George and Edward, with excellent photographic opportunities for waterside birds and abundant Hippopotamus.
Birding on the boat avails us opportunities of seeing the African Skimmer, Striated Heron, African Spoonbill, Water Thick-knee, Three-banded Plover, Marsh, Green, Wood and Common Sandpiper, Lesser Black Backed and Gray-headed Gull, Plain Martin, Lesser Swamp-Warbler, Grey Plover, Terek Sandpiper most of which are winter visitors.
Day 9: Bird Watching Safari to Kibale Forest National Park (355 bird species)
We start with a morning drive through Queen Elizabeth looking out for what we might have missed the previous days of birding before we transfer to Kibale which has the highest concentration of primates in Uganda with 13 species.
Depending on where we stay birding as we enter the forest is delightful looking out for the Black Bee-eater, Cassin’s Grey Flycatcher, Mountain Wagtail, Shining Blue Flycatcher, Red Chested Owlet, White-napped Pigeon, Dusky Blue Flycatcher, Green Crombec, Purple Banded Sunbird, Uganda Woodland Warbler, White Tailed Anti-thrush, African Emerald Cuckoo, Red Chested Cuckoo, Red Capped and Blue Shouldered Robinchat and many more bird species.
Stay in Chimpanzee Forest Guesthouse, Nature Lodges or Primate Lodge.
Day 10: Early Morning Birding Then Afternoon Chimpanzee Tracking in Kibale Forest National Park
Today we start very early in the morning in search for the Green Breasted Pitta, White and Red tailed Ant-Thrushes, Purple-headed, Glossy-Starling, Brown, Pale and Scaly Breasted Illadopsis, White-naped and Olive Pigeon, Masked Apalis, Toro Olive-Greenbul, Black-billed Turacco, Buff-spotted Woodpecker and Green Crombec.
Then later in the afternoon you assemble for briefing as you prepare for chimp tracking. The movement of the chimps depends upon the availability of food and hopefully they won’t be too far away!
Of all the parks in Uganda, this is referred to as the primate forest as it hosts about 13 species of primates three of which are nocturnal.
Day 11: Bird Watching Safari to Bihingamy Wetland Then Rransfer to Semliki
Our super birding safari today takes us to Bihingamy Wetland near Sebitoli section of Kibale National Park.
The habitat here consists of a swamp surrounded by low, scrubby secondary forest and cultivation of tea plantations. As we do birding here, expect to see the White Collard Olive Back, Red Headed Blue Bill, Green-backed Twinspot, Scaly Illadopsis, Uganda Spotted Woodpecker, African Emerlad Cuckoo, Petit’s Cuckooshrike, Red-capped Robin Chat and Rufous Flycatcher-Thrush, Equatorial Akalat, Luhdher’s Bush Shrike. Cabanis’s and Joyful Greenbul as well as White-spotted Flufftail, Dusky and, Olive Long-tailed Cuckoo, Lesser Honeyguide, Blue-shouldered Robin Chat, Olive-green Camaroptera and many more bird species.
We then proceed to Fort Portal where we have our lunch after this transfer to Semliki birding en route.
Day 12: Bird Watching Safari in Semliki National Park
You will have breakfast at dawn and then drive into Semliki National Park for birding.
We bird the Kirumya Trail rest Trails. Semliki Forest is the part of Uganda that meets with the West African Jungles and an extension of the Ituri Forest thus and IBA for the Guinea Congo biome endemics.
Birding here gives us chances of seeing the Congo Serpent Eagle, African Piculet, Orange-tufted Sunbird, Black-winged Oriole Black-throated Coucal, Nkulengu Rail, Lyre-tailed Honeyguide, Long-tailed Hawk, Pale Fronted, Chestnut Breasted and White Breasted Negrofinch, Capuchin Babbler, Yellow-throated Nicator, Yellow Throated Cuckoo, Eastern Bearded Greenbul, Black-collared Lovebird, White-bellied Kingfisher, Red-rumped Tinkerbird, Piping, Red-billed Dwarf Hornbill, Black Dwarf, White Crested, Black-casqued Wattled, and White-thighed Hornbill, Zenker’s Honeyguide, Fiery Breasted Bush Shrike Red-billed Helmet Shrike, Maxwell’s Weaver, Lemon-bellied Crombec, African and Rufous-sided Broadbill, Swamp Palm Bulbul, Crested Malimbe, Blue-billed Malimbe, Fiery-breasted Bush-shrike and many more
Day 13: Bird Watching Safari to Murchison Falls National Park - Masindi Uganda
After an early breakfast we bird to Masindi.
We have about three routes to this place depending on the weather we shall choose one of these, birding stops will be at certain spots trying to find special birds.
We later get to our destination and spend our night at Masindi or New Court View Hotel.
Day 14: Bird Watching Safari to Budongo Forest – Royal Mile
We begin birding at dawn.
Key bird species in this area include: Blue Breasted, African Dwarf and Chocolate-backed Kingfisher, Brown-eared and Yellow Crested Woodpecker, Dusky long-tailed Cuckoo, Crowned Eagle, Forest and Chestnut Capped Flycatcher, Rufous Flycatcher-Thrush, Yellow-browed Camaroptera, Narina Trogon, Chestnut-capped Flycatcher, Chestnut-crowned Eremomera, White-spotted Flufftail, Yellow and Grey Longbills, Olive-bellied Crombec, Black-headed Paradise Flycatcher, Little Green Sunbird, Green Sunbird, White-Breasted Negrofinch, Western Black-headed Oriole, Dusky Long-tailed and African Emerald Cuckoo, Red-tailed Ant-Thrush, Yellow and Grey Longbill, Forest Robin, Scaly-breasted Illadopsis, Tit Hylia, Lemon Bellied Crombec, Rufous-crowned Eremomela, Yellow-mantled Weaver, Yellow-browed Camaroptera, Green Crombec, Crested Malimbe and Red-headed Bluebill, Cassin’s Hawk Eagle, Xavier’s, Ictrine, Slender-billed, White-throated, Spotted, Plain Greenbul, Spotted and Toro Olive Greenbul.
Day 15: Birding to Kaniyo Pabid in search of the Puvel’s Illadopsis; Drive back to Entebbe.
Early this morning we will drive to the famous Budongo Forest. Our efforts will be concentrated on the Kaniyo Pabidi area in the southern sector of the Murchison Falls National Park, and the only known site in East Africa for Puvel’s Illadopsis. We can expect to find this bird as well as a wide range of other forest species.
We will have much of the day to try and find a good mix of widespread species and more local specialties such as Crested Guineafowl sporting their “punk hair-do’s”, White-crested Turaco, Chestnut-crowned Eremomela, Yellow & Grey Longbills, Olive-bellied Crombec, Yellow-browed Camaroptera, Little Green Sunbird, Crested Malimbe and Red-headed Bluebill among others.
Here are many other special birds with a West African origin: White-thighed Hornbill, Green-breasted Pitta, Rufous-sided Broadbill, Blue-breasted, Dwarf & Chocolate-backed Kingfishers, Yellow-crested & Brown-eared Woodpeckers, Yellowbill, Western Black-headed Oriole, Yellow-spotted, Hairy-breasted & Yellow-billed Barbets, Green Hylia, Buff-throated, Black-throated & Black-capped Apalises, Black-eared Ground-Thrush, Rufous-crowned Eremomela, the elusive Lemon-bellied Crombec, Crested & Red-headed Malimbes various forest starlings among others.
We will also be in prime area for a wide range of primates such as blue and red-tailed monkeys and black and white colobus – and if lucky chimpanzees (this area is home to Uganda’s largest population of chimpanzees)
Afterwards, we embark on our return journey to Entebbe (5 hours).
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