9 Days Uganda bird watching Trip Report
UGANDA – 8th July to 16th 2019
9 Days Uganda bird watching Highlights
African Pygmy Kingfisher
Black and White Casqued
African Green Broadbill
Mountain Masked Apalis
Mountain Black Boubou
White-tailed Blue Flycatcher
African Crowned Eagle
Grey Crowned Crane
Great Blue Turaco
Grauer’s Rush Warbler
Yellow-eyed Black Flycatcher
Cassin’s Grey Flycatcher
African Grey Parrot
This 9 Days Uganda bird watching Trip Report is relatively short but with a lot of set targets for birds and other wildlife. We visited Swamps, then lowlands forest to savannah and Montane. Our Local Guide Paul Tamwenya had excellent Knowledge of the local birds and animals is incomparable.
Our tour started from Kibaale Forest nationals Park with the search for the Green Breasted Pitta. Luckily enough we got good view of it as it was feeding on the ground and we took excellent pictures. This was followed by the successful chimpanzee trekking.
We headed to Queen Elizabeth National Park after Kibaale and then Bwindi Impenetrable National Park after Queen Elizabeth National Park.
Queen Elizabeth gave us a number of birds and other wildlife. Bwindi gave us 17 of the 25 Albertine Rift Endemic that occur in this area.
Our biggest highlight was the Green Broadbill that was nesting in Mubwindi swamp. We went to lake Mburo after here and here we managed to get sighting of the Rufous-bellied Heron, African Finfoot, Red-faced Barbet and 3 species of nightjar.
Entebbe – 8th July 2019
Our grouped assembled at Via Via Guesthouse in Entebbe a few minutes from the airport. The Member of the group that arrived early went birding at the botanical gardens since it was within walking distance. At the botanical Gardens, we saw the Orange Weaver, Bat Hawk, African Hobby, African Grey Parrot, Great Blue Turaco, African Goshawk, African Emerald Cuckoo, Golden-backed Weaver, Yellow-mantled Weaver, Lizard Buzzard and Red-faced Crombec.
The members of the group choose to stay at the Guesthouse and did birding around the accommodation were blessed with these species: Scarlet-chested Sunbird, Brown Parrot, Double-toothed Barbet, White-browed Robin-chat, Black and White Shrike Flycatcher, Red- chested Sunbird, Ross’s Turaco, Slender-billed Weaver, Palmnut Vulture, African Harrier-Hawk, Green-headed Sunbird, Black-headed Gonolek and Red-billed Firefinch.
Entebbe– Kibaale Forest National Park- 9th July
During our breakfast, we saw the Grey-capped Warbler. As it turned out, this is the only Grey-capped Warbler that was saw on this trip. Therefore, we were glad that we paid attention to it. We also saw the Double-toothed Barbets, Black headed Gonolek and White-browed Robin-chat.
As we left Entebbe for Kibaale National Park, we went past the shores of Lake Victoria and we managed to spot the African Open-billed Stork, Little Egret, Long-tailed Cormorant, Cattle Egret, Hamerkop and Marabou Stork.
On the outskirts of the Capital Kampala, we sighted the African Pied Wagtail, Yellow-billed Kites and Grey-headed Sparrow.
We made several spots on the road side as our Guide Paul had many special birds that reside in these special Birds. We tried looking for the White-winged Warbler in most of these spots but we failed. We could hear the bird call but due to its elusive nature, it kept in hiding and we couldn’t see it. In one of the swamps, we managed to see the Papyrus Gonolek as expected. The Blue-breasted Bee-eater was also spotted somewhere in the swamp with very good view. We also saw the Blue-headed Coucal, Mosque Swallow and Fan-tailed Widowbird in this location.
The road stopovers we made also yielded good views of the Grey-throated Barbet, The African Grey Parrots, Velvet-Mantled Drongo, African Grey Hornbill, African Pied Hornbill, Black-and- white-casqued Hornbill, Striped Kingfisher, Grey-backed Fiscals, Wahlberg’s Eagle, Long-crested Eagles and Red-tailed Greenbul.
We had an African Buffet lunch and later headed to Kibaale forest National Park. During this time, we saw the Village Indigobird, Barn Swallows and Black Bee-eater. The Sooty flycatcher flew past us as we admired the Bee Eaters, later the Dusky Tits appeared in the vicinity as well. We got good views as well.
Other birds recorded in this moment were the Yellowbill, Rufous Flycatcher-Thrush, Purple-headed Starlings, Narrow-tailed Starling, White- breasted Negrofinch, African Blue Flycatcher and Little Green Sunbird.
We later checked into Primate Lodge Kibaale. We had our dinner at around 7Pm and a beer there after to celebrate the good birding luck we had this day and hoped we have better luck the next day.
Kibaale Forest National Park- Bigodi Wetlands-10th July
We had our breakfast early in the morning and later headed into the jungle. We teamed up with Gerald, a very experienced guide with vast knowledge about the birds of Kibaale. He has had several years of looking for the Pittas and found it on several occasions. It was still dark and we set foot on out trail. About 3 minutes into the trail, we had call of the Pitta but it was still a bit dark to see it. Paul and Gerald tried to follow the calls of th bird to see if they can locate it. The bird called a few more times and moved further away.
We stayed behind as Paul and Gerald went ahead to us to see if they could find the Pitta. They went for about an hour and retuned with no news of the Pitta. Since we had declared the entire morning for the Pitta, we sent Paul and Gerald out again. While they were away, we saw A Bearded Woodpecker, Narina Trogon and Scaly-breasted Illadopsis.
Paul and Gerald returned this time round with no news about the Pitta. We continued our search and met another group that confirmed they had had good views of the Pitta. With them we saw the roosting African Wood Owl. This was kind of a consolation for missing the Pitta.
However, Paul wasn’t giving up. We were divided into two, Paul with us and Gerald with another Ranger. In a few minutes, Gerald made a call as he had seen the bird and was moving it towards us. We tired so hard to locate the bird but it was in vain but after along try, everyone had the Green Breasted Pitta to their list.
The Patience had finally paid off. We headed off to the lodge for lunch and wait of the afternoon adventure of tracking the rare chimpanzees.
After lunch we went for our afternoon trek. We still headed out with Gerald. The entire group went chimp Trekking while me and Paul decided to stay behind and do some birding. We were told by Gerald that they were lucky to find a group of 100 habituated chimps so easily as they were on a hunt for food.
We headed to Bigodi swamp after the successful chip tracking. We were welcomed by Rodger a local Guide there. He explained that the swamp is managed as a community initiative. We were welcomed by the raucous Village Weavers and Vieillot’s Black Weavers. Later we spotted the Yellow-backed Weaver, Red-faced Cisticola, Yellow-rumped Tinkerbird, Black- and-white Mannikins, Little Greenbul, Snowy-headed Robin-Chat, Hairy-breasted Barbets, Great Blue Turaco, Buff-spotted Woodpecker and Red-bellied Paradise- Flycatcher, African Shrike- flycatcher and Black-and-white Shrike- flycatchers.
At Rogers best spot, we managed to spot the Green-throated Sunbird, Black-necked Weaver, Green Hylia. We also heard the White-winged Warbler and Papyrus Gonolek but we didn’t manage to see them.
During the walk we came across many small groups of the rare Red Colobus Monkey and at one stage we had three Red-tailed Monkeys and a single Grey-cheeked Mangabey sat in a tree together.
We headed back to Primate Lodge Kibaale and Picked up our back and went to check into Crater Safari Lodge, our accommodation for that night.
Queen Elizabeth National Park– Bwindi Impenetrable Forest-11th July
We woke up to rain this morning. We had our breakfast and started on our drive to Bwindi but we were to go through Queen Elizabeth National Park. We left the lodge with a packed lunch and headed out of Kibaale.
It did not seem long before we arrived at a point where the road crosses the equator, which was inside the Queen Elizabeth National Park.
To our left we could see the western arm of Lake George and in the water were many Hippopotamus (although rather distant, even though the scope). We also found a nice mixed group of mammals which consisted of Waterbuck, Warthog and African Buffalo. Blue-naped Mousebirds, Common Fiscals, Fork-tailed Drongos and Sooty Chats seemed to be everywhere and there was a couple of Black-shouldered Kites sitting on some telegraph wires nearby.
As we dropped off the escarpment we were into dry savannah and a different set of birds came thick and fast. Clive was on fire, scanning from the back of the vehicle, and picked up a Red-necked Spurfowl calling from a mound at some distance and followed this up with an excellent Black- bellied Bustard stalking in the long grass. A perched Madagascar Bee-eater was also seen here.
We soon noticed a distant kettle of vultures and some nearer birds perched in a tree. As we approached the area a number of vultures flew up from, what had to be, a nearby animal carcass. We noted a good number of African White-backed Vultures, a few Ruppell’s Griffon Vultures and a couple of Lappet-faced Vultures. We also found a displaying Flappet Lark in this area, along with both Levaillant’s and Black-and-white Cuckoo. An immature Black Coucal was a nicesurprise and an excellent find by Paul.
We managed to see our first Uganda Kob. It was a very impressive male. Its Uganda’s national animal and its on the court of arms of the country together with the grey crowned Crane. The Ugandan Kob is listed as a subspecies (subspecies thomasi) of the Kob (Kobus kob) which is found across sub-Saharan Africa. We also found the African Savannah Elephant which was quite close to the road.
Queen Elizabeth National Park is a good habitant for birds of prey. The Brown Snake-Eagle, Bateleurs and the Grey Falcon are some of the birds we sighted here.
When we crossed the Kazinga channel, we looked around on the water to see anything of any interest. We stopped at the papyrus on the banks of the channel. We had good luck and we spotted the papyrus Gonolek and we got good views. As soon as it disappeared, the African Moustached Warbler appeared and Paul pulled over once again as we took pictures.
Some of the other highlights here Wing-snapping, Stout, Croaking, Red-faced and Siffling, Spot-flanked Barbet, Elliot’s Woodpecker, Arrow-marked Babbler, Marico Sunbird, Purple- banded Sunbird, Collared Sunbird, Lesser Masked Weaver, Plain-backed Pipit, Little Weaver, Spectacled Warbler, Red-billed Quelea, Violet-backed Starling, White-winged Widowbird, Yellow-throated Longclaw, Buff-bellied Warbler, Tawny-flanked Prinia, Pin-tailed Wydah and Brimstone Canary.
As we headed to the southern sector of the park on our way to Bwindi Impenetrable national park, we saw a troop of Olive Baboons, a couple of Read Headed Love Birds and a Flock of Compact of Weavers.
We saw our final bird as reached the boarder of the park. The White-Headed Barbets were playing between trees. We managed to get decent views.
We were now out of the park and were on the road to Bwindi Impenetrable Park. We took a lunch break and this gave us views of the Tropical Boubou.
We later hiked until we reached a section of the Bwindi Forest that is called “the Neck”. This section links the southern sector of the Forest to the small northern sector. Soon we spotted the Black Saw-wing, Black Bee-eater, Yellow-whiskered, Little and Slender-billed Greenbuls. We heard the sound of the Black-faced Rufous Warbler but we didn’t get views of it.
Later we checked into Gorilla Mist Camp, which was to be our accommodation for the night. We found wonderfully prepared rooms and later we had a well-prepared dinner. We had a score of about 113 bird species of the day.
Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park- 12th July
The morning was a bit breezy. We had our breakfast. We split again just like we did in Kibaale. Some of the group went for Gorilla Trekking while others went with Paul to do some birding with a local Guide.
After the Gorilla tracking group left, we also headed o the park headquarters to do registration and also pick up a ranger. We were paired with a group of Americans who we later learnt that has been in the country for a while doing some volunteering.
We had the help of the porters as we headed to the steep slopes. We meet a lot of Gorilla poop on the trail. In front of us was a young male black-back Mountain Gorilla laid out on the forest floor taking a rest or maybe taking a chance to digest his food; from the amount of farting that was going on the latter was more likely to be the case.
The Rangers beckoned us towards an area where the dominant male Silverback was feeding and eventually, he appeared to his admiring audience.
Usually, visitors are allowed just one hour with the Gorillas and each group can only be visited by one group of visitors.
We said our goodbyes to the ‘Kyaguriro’ group and headed back up the valley. After a bit of a climb, we ended up on the main road where Paul and the rest of the group were waiting for us. We thanked our porters and Paul drove us back to the Rangers HQ where we had our de-brief and were handed our certificates before heading back to our accommodation for Lunch.
At this time Paul also returned with the group that had gone birding. They were lucky to see the Ludher’s Bush-Shrike, the first Albertine rift endemic. While we had all returned to the Lodge, Alice spotted some Dwarf Chameleon.
We had quick lunch as we wanted to quickly head out for early afternoon birding. As we arrived at our vehicle, there were a lot of birds in the surrounding trees. Some of these were Northern Crombec, Chestnut-throated Apalis and Northern Puffback.
Just down the road Paul pointed out a Cape Canary perched up in a dead tree to our left. As we approached the nearby village there was a procession from a local school which, we found out later, were practising for the visit of a German dignitary.
We headed for the school trail and immediately met our second Albertine Rift Endemic, the Red- faced Woodland Warbler. We also the Mountain Greenbul, Banded Prinia, Grey Cuckoo-Shrike and Diederik Cuckoo. Also, in this area were both Boehm’s Squirrel and Red-legged Sun Squirrel for the mammal lovers in the group.
As we turned around to trace back to the vehicle, we spotted the Stripe Breasted Tit and it gave just brief views. Most of the group members did not see it but they heard it call. We also saw the Blak Billed Weaver and Paul Spotted the Klaas’s Cuckoos and then the Montane Oriole. One of the group members Martin spotted the Rwenzori Hill Babbler and then further ahead of it the Regal Sunbird.
We didn’t give up on the loo out of the Grauer’s Warbler and the wait latter paid off. John spotted it hanging on some creepers in a tree close by. It was getting late and Paul advised us to head back to the vehicle as he wanted us to visit another site and it is later that we realized why. It turns out that just a stone throw away was a splendid Handsome Francolin feeding by the side of the road.
Immediately after our encounter with the Francolin, we bumped into a troop of blue monkeys. Its here that we heard the calls of the Western Green Tinkerbird but we failed to see it. We tried out calling the Rwenzori Nightjar, it took time to get a response but after numerous efforts, a group of them showed up and it was a satisfying evening. We headed back to the lodge for the night.
Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park – 13th July
After our early morning breakfast, we headed out to the car with packed lunch and drove the Mubwindi Swamp. On this day, we were enthusiastic that this can be one of the best dirding days on this trip. The day actually lived up to its expectation. We knew that there was a pair of African Green Broadbills, which had a well grown chick, nesting towards the bottom end of the trail, but had the youngster fledged, we had no idea if we would entice it to come out and we see it.
The Trails is about 7km (14km return) walking and sometimes running through the montane forest down to the valley then to the swampy forest until we get to the edge of the Mubwindi Swamp. It is currently thought that 25 species of Albertine Rift Endemic birds occur in Uganda and we were targeting to hit a double figure by the end of today.
We parked at the park headquarters and got the briefing and also teamed up with a ranger. We then headed out just a little distance and into the magic jungle like Paul prefers to call it. The forest was quite at first as we begun our journey but after a short effort, the sun had also come out and the bird begun to sing. Paul heard calls of the Mountain Illadopsis nearby so we gave it a bash at calling them in. Before long we had a pair of these rather skulking birds close too us on the ground and showing rather well.
A little distance ahead the birding started to really head up. We came across a bird wave. At tis point we met the first Albertine Rift Endemic of the day. The Rwenzori Apalis, this was th seventh of the entire trip. Some people refer to these birds as the Collared Apalis. Some times they are hard to spot and so this was really good that we got them at the beginning of the day which was kind of good luck. This was soon followed by good looks at Stripe-breasted Tit and ARE number eight. This one was never in doubt and is quite common along the Mubwindi Swamp Trail.
The further we entered into the forest, we were welcomed by the Western Bronze Napped Pigeons which were flying over us and we got views. We did however get good looks at perched Sharpe’s Starling and Waller’s Starling, whilst Stuhlmann’s Starling was another fly-over. Tullberg’s Woodpecker and Black-throated Apalis were added to the list and we got great views of a perched Olive Pigeon.
Just ahead Paul spotted the Mackinnon’s Fiscal in the open and it gave us good views. We then interacted with the Mountain Masked Apalis, Red-faced Woodland Warbler and White-browed Crombec close to the path. Further away and high up in a large tree, Clive spotted a male Oriole Finch which, after a while, we all got good views of as the bird hunted for food around the branches below the canopy of the tree. At the same time, we also located a couple of male Brown-capped Weavers, a single White-tailed Blue-flycatcher and then, a little further on, a large flock of feeding Slender-billed Starlings.
Down the hill we started closing in to the other size of the swamp and here we were met by the White-tailed Blue-flycatcher was found, followed by an ‘all too brief’ White-bellied Crested-flycatcher and then, after a bit of searching, Yellow-billed Barbet was seen really well. Along most of the trail so far there were many greenbul species to be seen, the only one that was new for us today was Yellow-streaked Greenbul.
We had a small turn in the trail and immediately spotted the White Starred Robin but it quickly disappeared. We tried to call it back but our efforts were futile. A Red-throated Alethe (ARE number nine) popped up on to a fallen log over a gully to our left for a second or two and then shot off never to be seen again and a Strange Weaver (ARE number ten) did the same trick.
The yellow eyed black flycatcher gave us long views and brought the ARE list for the group up to eleven. In the same area we came across a family of White-headed Wood-hoopoes containing at least six birds (two adults and 4 youngsters), which seemed to follow us around for the next couple of hours.
We were now closing in to the end of the trail and we encountered with nesting broadbill. A little distance from here we saw a single Ayres’s Hawk-Eagle before a pair of African Crowned Eagles slowly cruised over our heads. As we narrowed down back to the main path, Paul pointed to the Rwenzori three horned Chameleon.
When we arrived at the bottom of the swamp in the swampy forest, we set eyes on the Grauer’s Rush Warbler. A very nice male African Stonechat was also on show and we all eventually got to see Carruther’s Cisticola as they displayed in the reeds.
At this point we had completed the trail and we were moving up the steep road back to the park Headquarters. We said our byes to the rangers and headed back to the lodge. it had been a really good birding day.
Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park- Lake Mburo National Park – 14th July
This was a very cold and breezy morning as we had our breakfast. We would then drive to Lake Mburo National Park. We were to make several stops on our way according to the itinerary. Our main focus would be the Blacked Billed Turaco as we left the forests of Bwindi National Park.
We met with the Handsome Francolins in almost the same spot where we had spotted it a few days. It was really good to see it again with better lighting. Another flock of birds flew away as we watched the francolins but later, they turned out to be Black crowned Waxbills. We also had great views of the Black fronted Duiker.
On the way out of the park, the journey was abit quiet but a few moments later, we managed to spot the Stripe-breasted Tit, Yellow White-eye, Olive Thrush, Grey-throated Barbet, Yellow- whiskered Greenbul, Mountain Greenbul, White-browed Crombec, Rwenzori Apalis, Chubb’s Cisticola, White-tailed Blue-flycatcher, Montane Oriole, Black-chinned Seedeater and fly-over African Green Pigeons.
There was a tree that was covered with Yellow rumped tinkerbirds. Paul then brought to our attention a calling Western Green Tinkerbird, which he then located in a nearby tree making a very nice addition to our list.
We caught a glimpse of a green bird perched to a tree across the road. No sooner had we stopped then the bird flew away. Luckily enough we heard the Black billed Turaco calling. Paul located it and we finally got good views.
We added a number of Grey crowned cranes and the Holub’s Golden weaver to the list. We stopped at some wetland and we managed to see the African Darter, White-faced Whistling Duck, Yellow- billed Duck, Spur-winged Goose and Knob-billed Duck and Grey-backed Fiscals, Long-crested Eagles and a few Striped Kingfishers perched on the wires.
At this point we were at the outskirts of the Lake Mburo National Park and just after a few kilometers form th entrance we saw the Brown-crowned Tchagra in some bushes by the security hut which insisted on keeping low to the ground.
We then came across a group of Zebras, Impalas and African Buffalos. Then smaller groups of Topis, waterbucks, warthogs and bushbucks. We arrived in time for the boat cruise on Lake Mburo and we sighted Lesser Striped Swallows, a couple of Blue-spotted Wood- Dove and some very friendly Common Warthogs.
At one of the edges of the lake, there was a papyrus swamp and here we got close views of the Hippopotamus before spotting the Squacco Heron, the Little bitten and the Striated heron. There was also a baby Rufous bellied heron which was perched somewhere on the reeds. The Little bee eater was also sighted and later the Swamp Fly Catcher.
We did more scanning through the edge of the lake and we spotted the black crake and the main highlight of this moment was the African Finfoot. The finfoot performed fantastically, first seen swimming amongst some fallen logs and then climbing up on to the banks of the lake showing its enormous red feet and legs.
There were pied Kingfishers all over the place and we also met with the African Finfoot still during out boat trip. We also added African Jacana, Water Thick-Knee and a couple of Nile Crocodiles to the list.
As we headed back to the vehicle, we spotted the Pennant-winged Nightjar which flew right over our heads and disappeared in to the gloom behind us.
On arriving to our accommodation at Rwakobo Rock a really eco-friendly lodge, we spotted the Freckled Nightjar to the nocturnal bird list and hearing Black- shouldered Nightjar calling in the distance. A lovely dinner was followed by the checklist and another session of ‘nightjarring’ that concluded in further views of Freckled Nightjar.
Lake Mburo National Park- Entebbe – 15th July
On this morning, some members of the group got a chance to see the Freckled Nightjars before the group assembled for a pre-breakfast search for more nightjar species. This resulted in yet more views of Freckled Nightjar and a calling Square-tailed Nightjar.
This was going to be our last full birding day in Uganda and there fore we wanted to make the best out of it. Our goal was to look out for the Red-faced barbet which usually appears in the northern side of this national park.
With the car of our roof open, we had good views of the Crested Francolin and later the Red-cheeked Cordon-bleu put in an appearance.
This was followed shortly afterwards by good looks at a single African Penduline Tit, a sometimes-difficult bird to see well, but this one was in a low sparsely leaved acacia bush so viewing was easy.
We did a though rough search through the barbets btu we hadn’t been lucky yet. There were a lot of other birds that were not our target but we managed to see.
Paul found our first Gabar Goshawk perched in a bush which we managed to scope before it flew off, but we had drawn a complete blank on the barbet front so decided to move on and check some other areas.
There was a small bird calling in the acacia tree but turned out to be the Trilling Cisticola. We soon also encountered the Wattled Starling.
Yellow-breasted Apalis was added and then a Bare-faced Go-away-Bird was located in a distant tree (we had better views of this species later in the day). Lilac-breasted Roller showed beautifully in the morning light, which got the cameras clicking, but a single Black-lored Babbler was just too far away to photograph.
We noted a few more birds like the Variable sunbird, Greater Blue eared glossy starlings and three Elands with a common Zebra and an Impala. Some of the group members were excited to catch up with White-headed Barbet which had eluded them earlier in the trip and we grilled a green woodpecker for ages at the side of the track before coming to the conclusion that it was a Green-backed Woodpecker, and a new bird for us.
Paul stopped to show us a Long-tailed Cisticola, one of the key species for the park, and in the same bush there was a Green-backed Eremomela. We were now in another good area for the Red-faced Barbet, but not for us. We made do with a fine pair of Rufous-chested Swallows hawking over the bush before retracing our route back to the lodge to pick up our packed lunch and collect our bags.
We gave the barbet one last go before we could leave.
We put on our lucky hats, and produced the magic words ‘Red-faced Barbet’ and soaked up Clive’s positive vibes before parking up and searching the area near the lodge on foot. We were soon looking at a perched up White- browed Scrub-Robin and an Emerald-spotted Wood-Dove hidden in a bush. Splitting up, we continued the search but we were running out of time. Suddenly the call we were all waiting for went up, ‘Clive has found the barbets’. There was a mad dash and there they were, a pair of Red-faced Barbets sitting in an acacia just below the canopy resting out of the sun. This was a fantastic job by the entire job.
With all the excitement we returned to the quarry where we had left our car but on our way we added the Brown snake Eagle that flew past us and then we headed out of the park. As we passed a wide-open area to our right, we noticed a number of birds sat under a tree. At some distance away they looked a bit pratincole or courser-like but, on exiting the vehicle, and putting them in the scope they were obviously lapwings. And not ‘any old’ lapwings either, they were Brown-chested Lapwings, and a really nice surprise as these intra-African migrants do not usually arrive in Uganda until slightly later in the year.
We scanned the area further and spotted the Brown-chested Lapwings bringing the total to eleven birds and, mixed in amongst these, were a few Senegal Lapwings for comparison and a couple of much larger African Wattled Lapwings.
We now embarked on our long drive back to Entebbe. We soon made a stop as we spotted a small group of passerines feeding by the side of the track. This consisted of a pair of African Firefinch and a fantastic looking Green-winged Pytilia. The male Brimstone Canary was also present. Continuing on we hit the main road with the next stop being for lunch at a roadside café surrounded by White- naped Ravens.
As soon as we hit the road again, Paul stopped at one of the amazing spots. We immediately spotted a forest bird that flew past us in the car as we were parking. Paul soon noted that it was a Cassin’s Hawk-Eagle. Pulling over we all piled out of the vehicle and had the bird, which was now perched up, affording nice scope views.
This was the very last new bird sighting of the day and we almost approached Entebbe. There were the usual suspects on the banks of Lake Victoria and in the gardens of the excellent Papyrus Guesthouse. We enjoyed a lovely dinner before retiring to bed in anticipation of an early start tomorrow morning and our search for the special and much sought-after Shoebill.
Mabamba Bay Swamp- Entebbe – 16th July
We had very early breakfast and soon were on our way to Mabamba Swamp. We reached there in good time and headed out to our boat. At the shore of this swamp, we had already located the weaver colony housing both Village Weavers and Vieillot’s Black Weavers kept us amused whilst our boats were readied.
We finally started sailing on and headed out to the swamp. There were Malachite Kingfishers in good numbers with at least one Swamp Flycatcher and a couple of Winding Cisticolas. We also had excellent close views of Common Squacco Heron, Purple Heron and a bonus Wood Sandpiper, before a Shoebill was spotted ahead of us. We spent at least twenty minutes with this fabulous bird until it gradually moved away from us and further into the swamp.
We now went to search for the other special birds that we could spot on this swamp. We soon located the Long-toed Lapwings, many with chicks, whilst Grey-headed Gulls and a large flock of White-winged Black Terns, flew over us. We now saw the African Marsh Harrier and African Jacanas were everywhere; some of the group also connected with Gull-billed Tern. Added to this we had many Yellow-billed Ducks and a small flock of White-faced Whistling-Ducks.
We soon found another Shoebill and this time was even much closer than the first one…. affording incredible views of this most unusual looking bird. In the same area we could hear Lesser Jacana calling but, try as we might, we just could not spot one. After a thoroughly enjoyable early morning on the water, we turned around and started to head back to our starting point to meet our car and head to back to the lodge.
At this point we were ending the trip officially and we said bye to one of us that had decided to extend his stay. We headed back to papyrus guesthouse. We headed our separate ways, some to the airport at various different times with the remainder heading to the Entebbe Botanical Gardens where the highlights of an afternoon session were Yellow-throated Greenbul, African Hobby, Orange Weaver and Golden-backed Weaver. Thanks to a keen eyed set of birders and Paul’s excellent guiding skills we had managed to record a very respectable 350 species of birds on our short trip to the ‘Pearl of Africa’ and 27 species of mammal, including 10 species of primate.
We are very thankful to Africa Adventure Vacations for organizing this fantastic trip.
BIRD LIST FOR UGANDA
Pink-backed Pelican, Pelecanus rufescens
Great Cormorant, Phalacrocorax carbo
Long-tailed Cormorant, Phalacrocorax africanus
African Darter, Anhinga rufa
African Finfoot, Podica senegalensis
Little Bittern, Ixobrychus minutus
White-backed Night-Heron, Gorsachius leuconotos
Western Cattle Egret, Bubulcus ibis
Common Squacco Heron, Ardeola ralloides
Striated Heron, Butorides stariatus
Rufous-bellied Heron, Ardeola rufiventris
Little Egret, Egretta garzetta
Great Egret, Casmerodius albus
Purple Heron, Ardea purpurea
Grey Heron, Ardea cinerea
Black-headed Heron, Ardea melanocephala
Hamerkop, Scopus umbretta
Yellow-billed Stork, Mycteria ibis
Woolly-necked Stork, Ciconia episcopus
African Open-billed Stork, Anastomus lamelligerus
Saddle-billed Stork, Ephippiorhynchus senegalensis
Marabou Stork, Leptopilos crumeniferus
Shoebill, Balaeniceps rex
Sacred Ibis, Threkiornis aethiopicus
Hadada Ibis, Bostrychia hagedash
Egyptian Goose, Alopochen aegyptiacus
Spur-winged Goose, Plectropterus gambensis
Knob-billed Duck, Sarkidiornis melanotos
White-faced Whistling Duck, Dendrocygna viduata
Yellow-billed Duck, Anas undulata
Black Kite, Milvus migrans
Yellow-billed Kite, Milvus aegyptius
Black-shouldered Kite, Elanus caeruleus
African Fish Eagle, Haliaeetus vocifer
Palm-nut Vulture, Gyphierax angolensis
Hooded Vulture, Necrosyrtes monahcus
African White-backed Vulture, Gyps africanus
Ruppell’s Griffon Vulture, Gyps rueppellii
Lappet-faced Vulture, Torgos tracheliotus
Brown Snake Eagle, Circaetus cinereus
African Marsh Harrier, Circus ranivorus
Gabar Goshawk, Micronisus gabar
Lizard Buzzard, Kaupifalco monogramimicus
African Goshawk, Accipiter tachiro
Bat Hawk, Macheiramphus alcinus
African Harrier-Hawk, Polyboroides typus
Augur Buzzard, Buteo augur
Mountain Buzzard, Buteo oreophilus
Eagle Wahlberg’s Eagle, Aquila wahlbergi
Ayers’s Hawk- Hieraaetus ayresii
Cassin’s Hawk-Eagle, Spizaetus africanus
Bateleur, Terathopius ecoudatus
Long-crested Eagle, Lophaetus occipitalis
Martial Eagle, Polemaetus bellicosus
African Crowned Eagle, Stephanoatus coronatus
Common Kestrel, Falco tinnunclulus
Grey Kestrel, Falco ardosiaceus
African Hobby, Falco cuvieri
Helmeted Guineafowl, Numida meleagris
Handsome Francolin, Francolinus nobilis
Crested Francolin, Francolinus sephaena
Red-necked Spurfowl, Francolinus afer
White-spotted Flufftail, Sarothrura pulchura
Black Crake, Amaurornis flavirostris
African Swamphen, Porphyrio madagascariensis
Common Moorhen, Gallinula chloropus
Lesser Moorhen, Gallinula angulata
Lesser Jacana, Microparra capensis
Grey-crowned Crane, Balearica regulorum
Black-bellied Bustard, Eupodotis melanogaster
Spur-winged Lapwing, Vanellus spinosus
Long-toed Lapwing, Vanellus crassirostris
African Wattled Lapwing, Vanellus senegallus
Senegal Lapwing, Vanellus lugubris
Brown-chested Lapwing, Vanellus superciliosus
Wood Sandpiper, Tringia glola
Grey-headed Gull, Larus cirrocephalus
Gull-billed Tern, Sterna nilotica
White-winged Tern, Chlidonias leucopterus
African Green Pigeon, Treron Calva
Western Bronze-naped Pigeon, Columba iriditorques
Speckled Pigeon, Columba guinea
Olive Pigeon, Columba arquatrix
Feral Pigeon, Columba livia
Emerald-spotted Wood-Dove, Turtur chalcospilos
Blue-spotted Wood-Dove, Turtur afer
Tambourine Dove, Turtur tympanistria
Ring-necked Dove, Streptopelia capicola
Red-eyed Dove, Streptopelia semitorquata
African Mourning Dove, Streptopelia decipiens
Laughing Dove, Streptopelia senegalensis
Brown Parrot, Poicephalus meyeri
Grey Parrot, Psittacus erithacus
Red-headed Lovebird, Agapornis pullarius
Great Blue Turaco, Corythaeola cristata
Ross’s Turaco, Musophaga rossae
Black-billed Turaco, Tauraco schuetti
B-faced Go-away-bird, Corythaixoides personata
Eastern Grey Plantain Eater, Crinifer zonurus
Levaillant’s Cuckoo, Oxylophus levaillantii
Black and White Cuckoo, Oxylophus jacobinus
Red-chested Cuckoo, Cuculus solitarius
Deiderik Cuckoo, Chrysococcyx caprius
Klaas’s Cuckoo, Chrysococcyx klaas
African Emerald Cuckoo, Chrysococcyx cupreus
Yellowbill, Ceuthmochs aereus
White-browed Coucal, Centropus superciliosus
Blue-headed Coucal, Centropus monachus
Senegal Coucal, Centropus senegalensis
Black Coucal, Centropus grillii
African Wood Owl, Strix woodfordii
Squ-tailed Nightjar, Caprimulgus fossii
Black-shouldered Nightjar, Caprimulgus nigriscapularis
Freckled Nightjar, Caprimulgus tristigma
Rwenzori Nightjar, Caprimulgus ruwenzorii
Standard-winged Nightjar, Macrodipteryx longipennis
Pennant-winged Nightjar, Macrodipteryx vexillarius
Little Swift, Apus affinis
White-rumped Swift, Apus caffer
Horus Swift, Apus hours
African Palm Swift, Cypsiurus parvus
Sabine’s Spinetail, Rhaphidura sabini
Speckled Mousebird, Colius striatus
Blue-naped Mousebird, Urocolius macrourus
Narina Trogon, Apaloderma narna
Pied Kingfisher, Ceryle rudis
Striped Kingfisher, Halcyon chelicuti
Grey-headed Kingfisher, Halcyon leucocephala
Woodland Kingfisher, Halcyon senegalensis
Blue-breasted Kingfisher, Halcyon malimbica
Malachite Kingfisher, Alcedo cristata
African Pygmy Kingfisher, Ispidina picta
Little Bee-eater, Merops pusillus
Cinnamon-chested Bee-eater, Merops oreobates
Blue-breasted Bee-eater, Merops variegatus
White-throated Bee-eater, Merops albicollis
Black Bee-eater, Merops gularis
Madagascar Bee-eater, Merops superciliosus
Broad-billed Roller, Eurystomus glaucurus
Blue-throated Roller, Eurystomus gularis
Lilac-breasted Roller, Coracias caudatus
White-headed Wood-hoopoe, Phoeniculus bollei
African Grey Hornbill, Tockus nasutus
Crowned Hornbill, Tockus alboterminatus
African Pied Hornbill, Tockus fasciatus
Black-and-white Casqued Hornbill, Bycanistes subcylindricus
Yellow-rumped Tinkerbird, Pogoniulus bilineatus
Yellow-throated Tinkerbird, Pogoniulus susulphureus
Yellow-fronted Tinkerbird, Pogoniulus chrysoconus
Western Green Tinkerbird, Pogoniulus coryphaeus
Speckled Tinkerbird, Pogoniulus scolopaceus
Grey-throated Barbet, Gymnobucco bonapartei
Spot-Flanked Barbet, Tricholaema lachrymose
Hairy-breasted Barbet, Tricholaema hirsute
Yellow-spotted Barbet, Tricholaema duchaillui
Yellow-billed-Barbet, Trachylaemus purpuratus
White-headed Barbet, Lybius leucocephalus
Double-toothed Barbe, Pogonornis bidentatus
Red-faced Barbet, Lybius rubrifacies
Cassin’s Honeybird, Prodotiscus insignis
Tullberg’s Woodpecker, Campethera tullbergi
Buff-spotted Woodpecker, Campethera nivosa
Brown-ed Woodpecker, Campethera caroli
Green-backed Woodpecker, Campethera cailliautii
Elliot’s Woodpecker, Mesopicos elliotii
Cardinal Woodpecker, Dendropicos fuscescens
Bearded Woodpecker, Dendropicos namaquus
African Green Broadbill, Pseudocalyptomena graueri
Green-breasted Pitta, Pitta reichenowi
Flappet Lark, Mirafra rufocinnamomea
Plain Martin, Hirundo Paludicola
Red-rumped Swallow, Hirundo daurica
Mosque Swallow, Hirundo senegalensis
Rufous-chested Swallow, Hirundo semirufa
Lesser Striped Swallow, Hirundo abyssinica
Barn Swallow, Hirundo rustica
Angola Swallow, Hirundo angolensis
Black Saw-wing, Psalidoprocne holomelas
White-headed Saw-wing, Psalidoprocne albiceps
African Pied Wagtail, Motacilla aguimp
Cape Wagtail, Motacilla capensis
Yellow-throated Longclaw, Macronyx croceus
Grassland Pipit, Anthus cinnamomeus
Plain-backed Pipit, Anthus leucophrys
Red-shouldered Cuckoo-shrike, Campephaga phoenicea
Petit’s Cuckoo-shrike, Campephaga petiti
Grey Cuckoo-shrike, Ceblepyris caesius
Western Nicator, Nicator chloris
Common Bulbul, Pycnonotus barbatus
Yellow-whiskered Greenbul, Andropadus latirostris
Little Greenbul, Andropadus virens
Mountain Greenbul, Andropadus nigriceps
Yellow-streaked Greenbul, Phyllastrephus flavostiatus
Slender-billed Greenbul, Andropadus gracilirostris
Toro Olive Greenbul, Phyllastrephus hypochloris
Red-tailed Greenbul, Criniger calurus
Yellow-throated Greenbul, Chlorocichla flavicollis
Honeyguide Greenbul, Baeopogon indicator
White-starred Robin, Pogonocichla stellata
Red-throated Alethe, Alethe poliophrys
White-browed Robin-chat, Cossypha heuglini
Snowy-headed Robin-chat, Cossypha niveicapilla
Archer’s Robin-chat, Cossypha archeri
Olive Thrush, Turdus olivaceus
African Thrush, Turdus pelios
Rufous Flycatcher-Thrush, Stizorhina fraseri
Sooty Chat, Myrmecocichla nigra
Cliff Chat, Myrmecocichla cinnamomeiventris
African Stonechat, Saxicola torquata
White-browed Scrub-Robin, Cercotrichas leucophrys
White-winged Warbler, Bradypterus carpalis
Grauer’s Rush Warbler, Bradypterus graueri
Buff-bellied Warbler, Phyllolais pulchella
Red-faced Woodland Warbler, Seicercus laetus
Green Hylia, Hylia prasina
White-browed Crombec, Sylvietta leucophrys
Red-faced Crombec, Sylvietta whytii
Green Crombec, Sylvietta virens
Northern Crombec, Sylvietta brachyura
Green-backed Eremomela, Eremomela pusilla
Grauer’s Warbler, Graueria vittata
Black-faced Rufous Warbler, Bathmocercus rufus
African Moustached Warbler, Melocichla mentalis
Zitting Cisticola, Cisticola juncidis
Wing-snapping Cisticola, Cisticola ayresii
Stout Cisticola, Cisticola robustus
Croaking Cisticola, Cisticola natalensis
Winding Cisticola, Cisticola galactotes
Carruther’s Cisticola, Cisticola carruthersi
Red-faced Cisticola, Cisticola erythrops
Chubb’s Cisticola, Cisticola chubby
Trilling Cisticola, Cisticola woosnami
Siffling Cisticola, Cisticola brachypterus
Long-tailed Cisticola, Cisticola angusticaudus
Tawny-flanked Prinia, Prinia subflava
Banded Prinia, Prinia bairdii
White-chinned Prinia, Prinia leucopogon
Grey-capped Warbler, Eminia lepida
Grey-backed Camaroptera, Camaroptera rachyuran
Yellow-breasted Apalis, Apalis flavida
Buff-throated Apalis, Apalis rufogularis
Black-throated Apalis, Apalis jackisoni
Chestnut-throated Apalis, Apalis porphyrolaema
Grey Apalis, Apalis cinerea
Rwenzori Apalis, Oreolais ruwenzorii
Mountain Masked Apalis, Apalis personata
White-eyed Slaty Flycatcher, Malaeonornis fischeri
Northern Black Flycatcher, Malaeonornis edolioides
African Dusky Flycatcher, Muscicapa adusta
Swamp Flycatcher, Muscicapa aquatica
Cassin’s Grey Flycatcher, Muscicapa cassini
Sooty Flycatcher, Muscicapa infuscata
Chin-spot Batis, Batis molitor
Rwenzori Batis, Batis diops
Black and White Shrike Flycatcher, Bias musicus
African Shrike-flycatcher, Megabias flammulatus
African Paradise Flycatcher, Terpsiphone viridis
Red-bellied Paradise Flycatcher, Terpsiphone rufiventer
White-bellied Crested-flycatcher, Trochocercus albiventris
African Blue-flycatcher, Elminia longicauda
White-tailed Blue-flycatcher, Elminia albicauda
Scaly-breasted Illadopsis, Illadopsis albipectus
Mountain Illadopsis, Illadopsis pyrrhoptera
Brown Illadopsis, Illadopsis fulvescens
Rwenzori Hill-Babbler, Pseudoalcippe atriceps
Arrow-marked Babbler, Turdoides jardineii
Black-lored Babbler, Turdoides sharpie
Dusky Tit, Parus funereus
Stripe-breasted Tit, Parus fasciiventer
African Penduline-Tit, Anthroscopus caroli
Yellow White-eye, Zosterops senegalensis
Bronze Sunbird, Nectarinia kilimensis
Green-headed Sunbird, Cyanonitra verticalis
Blue-throated Brown Sunbird, Cyanomitra cyanolaema
Northern Double-colld Sunbird, Cinnyris preussi
Rwenzori Double-colld Sunbird, Cinnyris stuhlmanni
Regal Sunbird, Cinnyris regia
Green-throated Sunbird, Chalcomitra rubescens
Little Green Sunbird, Anthreptes seimundi
Copper Sunbird, Cinnyris cuprea
Superb Sunbird, Cinnyris superba
Marico Sunbird, Cinnyris mariquensis
Purple-banded Sunbird, Cinnyris bifasciata
Scarlet-chested Sunbird, Chalcomitra senegalensis
Red-chested Sunbird, Cinnyris erythrocerca
Variable Sunbird, Cinnyris venusta
Colld Sunbird, Hedydipna collaris
Common Fiscal, Lanius collaris
Grey-backed Fiscal, Lanius excubitoroides
Mackinnon’s Fiscal, Lanius mackinnoni
Tropical Boubou, Laniarius aethiopicus
Luhder’s Bush-shrike, Laniarius luehderi
Black-headed Gonolek, Laniarius erythrogaster
Papyrus Gonolek, Laniarius mufumbiri
Mountain Black Boubou, Laniarius poensis
Sooty Boubou, Laniarius leucorhynchus
Northern Puffback, Dryoscopus gambensis
Pink-footed Puffback, Dryoscopus angolensis
Brown-crowned Tchagra, Tchagra australis
Fork-tailed Drongo, Dicrurus adsimilis
Velvet-mantled Drongo, Dicrurus modestus
Pied Crow, Corvus albus
White-napped Raven, Corvus albicollis
Montane Oriole, Oriolus percivali
Stuhlmann’s Starling, Poeoptera stuhlmanni
Narrow-tailed Starling, Poeoptera lugubris
Slender-billed Starling, Onychognathus tenuirostris
Waller’s Starling, Onychognathus walleri
Ruppell’s Long-tailed Starling, Lamprotornis purpuropterus
Purple-headed Starling, Lamprotornis purpureiceps
Greater Blue-ed Starling, Lamprotornis chalybaeus
Sharpe’s Starling, Cinnyrinclus sharpii
Violet-backed Starling, Cinnyricinclus leucogaster
Wattled Starling, Creatophora cinerea
Grey-headed Sparrow, Passer griseus
Village Weaver, Ploceus cucullatus
Lesser Masked Weaver, Ploceus intermedius
Black-necked Weaver, Ploceus nigricollis
Baglafecht Weaver, Ploceus baglafecht
Grosbeak Weaver, Amblyospiz albifrons
Little Weaver, Ploceus luteolus
Slender-billed Weaver, Ploceus pelzelni
Strange Weaver, Ploceus alienus
Golden-backed Weaver, Ploceus jackisoni
Yellow-backed Weaver, Ploceus melanocephalus
Northern Brown-throated Weaver, Ploceus castanops
Compact Weaver, Ploceus superciliosu
Holub’s Golden Weaver, Ploceus xanthops
Orange Weaver, Ploceus aurantius
Brown-capped Weaver, Ploceus insignis
Yellow-mantled Weaver, Ploceus tricolor
Black-billed Weaver, Ploceus melanogastor
Vieillot’s Black Weaver, Ploceus nigerrimus
Spectacled Weaver, Ploceus ocularis
Red-billed Quelea, Quelea quelea
Fan-tailed Widowbird, Euplectes axillaries
Black Bishop, Euplectes gierowii
White-winged Widowbird, Euplectes albonotatus
Grey-headed Negrofinch, Nigrita canicapilla
White-breasted Negrofinch, Nigrita fusconota
Green-winged Pytilia, Pytilia melba
Dusky Crimsonwing, Cryptospiza jackisoni
Red-billed Firefinch, Lagonosticta senegala
African Firefinch, Lagonosticta rubricata
Red-cheeked Cordon-bleu, Uraeginthus bengalus
Black-crowned Waxbill, Estrilda nonnula
Bronze Mannikin, Lonchura cucullata
Black and White Mannikin, Lonchura bicolor
Pin-tailed Whydah, Vidua macroura
Village Indigobird, Vidua chalybeata
Brimstone Canary, Serinus sulphuratus
Cape Canary, Serinus canicollis
Black-throated Canary, Serinus atrogularis
Streaky Seedeater, Crithagra striolata
Western Citril, Serinus frontalis
African Golden-breasted Bunting, Emberiza flaviventris
Oriole Finch, Linurgus olivaceus
MAMMAL LIST FOR UGANDA
Chimpanzee, Pan troglodytes –
Mountain Gorilla, Gorilla beringei
Central African Red Colobus, Piliocolobus oustaleti
Black and White Colobus, Colobus guereza
Olive Baboon, Papio anubis
Grey-cheeked Mangabey, Lophocebus albigena
Blue Monkey, Cercopithecus mitis
Vervet Monkey, Cercopithecus pygerythrus
L’Hoest’s Monkey, Cercopithecus lhoesti
Red-tailed Monkey, Cercopithecus ascanius
Straw-coloured Fruit Bat, Eidolon helvum
Yellow-winged Bat, Lavia frons
Striped Ground Squirrel, Euxerus erythropus
Boehm’s Squirrel, Paraxerus boehmi
Red-legged Sun Squirrel, Heliosciurus rufobrachium:
African Elephant, Loxodonta africana
Common Zebra, Equus quagga
Hippopotamus, Hippopotamus amphibius
Common Warthog, Phacochoerus africanus
African Buffalo, Syncerus caffer
Bushbuck, Tragelaphus scriptus
Eland, Taurotragus oryx
Black-fronted Duiker, Cephalophus nigrifrons
Ugandan Kob, Kobus kob thomasi
Waterbuck, Kobus ellipsiprymnus
Impala, Aepyceros melampus
Topi, Damaliscus lunatus