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Marabou Stork Marabou Stork

Uganda to Rwanda Bird and Wildlife Photography Tour - 21 Days

Written by  Jan 14, 2013

Day 1: Arrival for Uganda and Rwanda Birding Safari

On arrival, Avian Safaris' bird guide picks you from the airport. Depending on the time of arrival, we bird Entebbe botanical gardens.

Overnight at Entebbe Traveller's Inn | Laico Lake Victoria Hotel

Day 2: Birding Tour to L. Mburo National Park via Mabamba Swamps for the Shoebill

Early in the morning, we bird Via Mabamba Swamps for the elusive Shoebill, Some papyrus endemics, the African and Lesser Jacanas, the White-faced and Fulvous Whistling Ducks, Blue breasted bee-Eater, Carruther`s Cisticola, The Black-Chested, Brown and western Banded Snake Eagles, a number of Gull and Heron Species and other water birds species to L. Mburo National Park for our night. We have a short stop at the Equator for an informative talk, photography and the equator experience.

Overnight at Mihingo lodge | Arcadia Cottages (FB)

Day 3: Birdwatching Tour to Rwanda from Uganda

We have an early morning breakfast and with packed lunch, go for a Game drive, heading along the lakeshore towards the Kigambira Loop. We check for some papyrus specialties before heading towards Rwanda. We scan for Papyrus Gonolek, Swamp Flycatcher, Black-headed Gonolek, Yellow-throated Leaflove, Northern brown-throated Weaver, Red-faced Barbet, Rufous-bellied Heron, White-winged Tit, White-headed Barbet, Coqui, and the Red-winged Francolins, Blue-spotted Wood Dove, Brown Parrot, Barefaced Go-away bird, Harlequin and Blue Quails, Common Button Quail, Greenwood Hoopoe, Common Scimitarbill, Blue-napped Mousebird, Blue-breasted and Shining-blue Kingfishers, Lilac-breasted Roller, African-grey Hornbill, the Nubian, Buff-spotted, Brown-eared, and the Grey Woodpeckers, Trilling, Stout, Tabora and Wing-snapping Cisticolas, Red-necked spurfowl, Black-bellied Bustard, among others. Expect big game also.

Overnight at Nyungwe Forest Lodge |  Gisakura Guest House (Full Board)

Day 4: Birding Nyungwe Forest National Park of Rwanda – Avian Safaris

Nyungwe forest is situated in south-west Rwanda between Lake Kivu and the international border with Burundi. Nyungwe is divided north–south by a line of mountains that reach 2,600–2,900 m and which form part of the Congo–Nile watershed. As a result, Nyungwe is composed of two areas differing in pedology, vegetation, water-flow and biodiversity.

This wonderful birding area lies west of Butare, with the Butare to Cyangugu road passing straight through the middle, providing excellent roadside birding. A total of 275 species have been recorded in Nyungwe, reflecting the wide habitat diversity and altitudinal range. These include, all the 25 species of the Albertine Rift mountains Endemic Bird Area that occur in Rwanda, Chapin’s Flycatcher and Rockefellers’ Sunbird (both globally threatened, restricted-range and biome-restricted). In addition, 11 of the 23 species of the Guinea–Congo Forests biome and 71 of the 74 species of this biome of Afrotropical Highlands that occur in Rwanda have been recorded at this site. Generally, Nyungwe is certainly the most important forest for the conservation of montane birds in the region.

We have an early morning breakfast then set out to Uwinka for the Albertine Rrift endemic birds search. Among the many we look out for, include; Kivu Ground-Thrushm, White-tailed Blue-flycatcher, Red-chested, SunbirdRegal Sunbird, Rockefeller’s Sunbird, Miombo Rock-Thrush, Mountain Masked Apalis, Black-faced Apalis, Chestnut-throated Apalis, Collared Apalis, Grauer’s Warbler, few Red-faced Woodland Warbler, Stripe-breasted Tit, Purple-breasted Sunbird, Red- throated Alethe, Archer’s Robin-Chat, Ruwenzori Turaco, Great Blue Turaco, Handsome Francolin, White-headed Wood-hoopoe, Olive Woodpecker, Mountain Greenbul, Rwenzori Hill-babbler, Cinnamon Bracken Warbler, Mountain Yellow Warbler, Northern Puffback, White-starred Robin, Rwenzori Double-collared Sunbird, Dusky Crimsonwing, Thick-billed Seedeater, Streaky Seedeater, Cinnamon-chested Bee-eater, Barred Long-tailed Cuckoo, Variable Sunbird, Waller's Starling, White-bellied Crested Flycatcher, Yellow-rumped Tinkerbird, just to mention but a few.

Overnight at Nyungwe Forest Lodge | Gisakura Guest House (Full Board)

Day 5: Another Day Birdwatching Nyungwe Forest in Rwanda

We look for species probably missed the previous day, we hope to tick-off Yellow-eyed Black Flycatcher, Mountain Sooty Boubou, Rwenzori Batis, Blue-headed Sunbird, Sharpe's Starling, White-tailed Blue Flycatcher, Evergreen Forest Warbler, Dusky Tit, Doherty's Bush-shrike, Siffling Cisticola, Bronze Mannikin, Golden-breasted Bunting, Neumann's Warbler, Red-throated Alethe, Mountain Wagtail, Barred Long-tailed Cuckoo, Equatorial Akalat, Black Cuckoo, Kungwe Apalis, White-bellied Robin-chat, and many more. We try our luck and listen out at night fall for the Rwenzori Nightjar (a nocturnal species), Albertine Owlet and Red-chested Owlet.

Overnight at Nyungwe Forest Lodge | Gisakura Guest House (Full Board)

Day 6: Rwanda Bird Watching Tour to Akagera National Park

Today we bird to Akagera National Park. Akagera boosts of a rich bird Checklist of over 525 species, this reflects the extremely wide diversity of habitat. 44 species of raptor, Papyrus Gonolek, Shoebill Storkand a good number of Palearctic migrants, amongst which Lesser Kestrel, Great Snipe and Black-winged have been recorded. The park represents the northern limit of distribution of a number of Zambezian biome species, including Sauza’s Shrike, Arnot’s Chat, and Long-tailed Cisticola. One species of the Guinea–Congo Forests biome, seven of the Afrotropical Highlands biome, nine of the eleven species of the Lake Victoria Basin biome that occur in Rwanda have been recorded at this site.

The park also has a health mammal list of over 50 species among which include the African Elephant which was introduced to the park in 1975.

On the way, we hope to pocket African Palm Swift, Little Swift, Mottled Swift, Black-headed Waxbill, Black-crowned Waxbill, Red-collared Mountain Babbler, Archer's Robin-chat, Collared Apalis, Crowned Eagle, Slender-billed Starling, Grauer's Scrub-Warbler, Common Bulbul, Village Weaver, Red-eyed Dove, and many more.

Overnight at Akagera Game Lodge (Full Board)

Day 7: Whole Day Birding Akagera National Park – Rwanda Birding Safaris

Today we look for the species listed in the over 500 species checklist known to Akagera, species will include; White-crowned Black Chat, Familiar Chat, Black-winged Bishop and Arrow-marked Babbler, Greater Blue-eared Starling, Shoebill, African Open-billed Stork, Egyptian Goose, Long-toed Lapwing, Spur-winged Plover, Black Crake, Long-tailed Cormorant, Great Cormorants, Goliath Heron, African Marsh Harrier, Bateleur, Red-faced Barbet, Long-tailed, Trilling, Tabora, Rattling and Winding Cisticolas, Miombo Wren Warbler, Green-capped Eremomela, Red-faced Crombec, Rueppell's Long-tailed Starling, Amethyst Starling, Senegal Lapwing, Water Dikkop, Brubru, Bare-faced Go-away Bird, Brown Parrot, Red-necked Spurfowl, Broad-tailed Warbler, Bennett's Woodpecker, Sooty Chat, White-winged Black Tit, Flappet Lark, Souza's Shrike, Crested Barbet and many more. Other wildlife may include; Giraffe, African Elephant, Hippopotamus, Reedbuck, Waterbuck, Warthog, Impala, just to mention but a few.

Overnight at Akagera Game Lodge (Full Board)

Day 8: Birding to Bwindi Impenetrable National Park in Uganda- Rwanda and Uganda Birding Safari

This morning we leave Rwanda for Buhoma in Bwindi National Park. Bwindi impenetrable forest is a magical place of mists, hanging mosses and luxuriant vegetation, a true rain forest at the junction of the plain and mountain forests, spreading across valleys and over a range steep ridges forming Albertine Rift Valley eastern edge. It is one of the most biologically rich forests in Africa.Slender-billed StarlingSlender-billed Starling

Africa's number one birding spot Africa’s number one birding spot boosts of a 360 bird species record with 23 of Uganda’s 24 Albertine Rift endemics among which include the globally threatened African Green Broadbill and theShelley’s Crimsonwing along with the endangered Mountain Gorillas.

Overnight at Gorilla Resort | Buhoma Community Rest Camp (Full Board)

Day 9: Mountain Gorilla Tracking and Birding in Bwindi - Rwanda Uganda Gorilla Tour

The main activity today will be Mountain Gorilla Tracking. Mountain gorillas are the largest living primates and the world's most endangered apes with an estimated population of less than 800 left in the wild of the whole world and none in zoos. The Mountain Gorilla (Gorilla gorilla beringei), was not yet known to scientist until 1902. They are the next closest living relatives to human beings after the two chimpanzee species, sharing 97% DNA with us.

Possible species to be pocketed on this day while and after Gorilla Tracking may include; White-eyed Slaty-Flycatcher, Gray-green Bush-shrike, Northern Double-collared Sunbird, Olive Long-tailed Cuckoo, Bar-tailed Trogon, Dusky Tit, Kivu Ground-Thrush, White-bellied Robin-Chat, Equatorial Akalat, White-tailed Ant-Thrush, Red-throated Alethe, White-bellied Crested- Flycatcher, Black-billed Weaver, Magpie Mannikin, African Goshawk, Black Bee-eater, Blue-throated Roller, Sooty Flycatcher and many more Other wildlife that we may be fortunate enough to find here include the huge Yellow-backed Duiker, Guereza Colobus, L'Hoest's, Blue and Red-tailed monkeys, Chimpanzee and several species of squirrels including Fire-footed Rope, Carruthers' Mountain, Ruwenzori Sun and Red-legged Sun Squirrel.

Overnight at Gorilla Resort | Buhoma Community Rest Camp (Full Board)

Day 10: Birding to Queen Elizabeth National Park

Today we head to Queen Elizabeth National Park; This Uganda’s most popular game reserve and certainly one of the most scenic. It stretches from the crater dotted foothills of the Rwenzori ranges in the north, along the shores of Lake Edward to the remote Ishasha River in the south, incorporating a wide variety of habitats that range from open Savannah to rainforest, dense papyrus swamps and brooding crater lakes to the vastness of Lake George. These qualify it a little wonder that is the highest biodiversity conservation reserve in the world

Overnight at Mweya Safari Lodge | Simba Safari Camp (FB)

Day 11: Uganda Birdwatching Tour of Queen Elizabeth National Park

Early in the Morning we go birding for a game drive for more Savanna Species and in the afternoon we take the famous remarkable launch cruise on Kazinga Channel for waterfowl like the Great White and Pink-backed Pelicans, African Skimmer, Yellow-billed and the Saddle- billed storks, African Wattled Lapwing, Long-toed Lapwing, Black-winged Stilt, Water Thick-knee, Collared Pratincole, the Grey-headed, Black-headed and Slender-billed Gulls, Grebes, Ducks and many more.

Overnight at Mweya Safari Lodge | Simba Safari Camp (FB)

Day 12: Bird Watching Tour to Kibale Forest

After an early morning breakfast, set off for Kibale Forest National Park, along the way expect to see; the Fan-tailed Widowbird, Yellow-mantled Widowbird, the Black and Black-winged Red Bishops, the African Palm and Little Swifts, Common Bulbul, Doves, Pigeons, the Lesser-stripped and Angola Swallows among others.

Overnight at Kibale Primate Lodge | Kibale Forest Camp (FB)

Days 13: Kibale Forest Chimp Tracking – Uganda Trekking Tours

The common Chimpanzee the species found here. Chimps are man’s closest relatives in the primate world; over 600 hundred of them are home at Kibale Forest. The tracking activity starts at 0800 as you report at the ranger station for briefing. A variety of primates and other wildlife will be available for your view in the forest.

Overnight at Kibale Primate Lodge | Kibale Forest Camp (Full Board)

Day 14:  Birding Kibale National Park- Uganda Rwanda Birding

We head to the forest early in the morning for Green-breasted Pitta other species will include; Brown Illadopsis, Brown-capped Weaver, Brown-chested Alethe, Black-headed Oriole, African Emerald Cuckoo, African Green-pigeon, Black-crowned Tchagra, African Wood Owl, African/Rwenzori/Abyssinian Hill-Babbler, Alpine Swift, Ashy Flycatcher, Barn Swallow, Black Bee-eater, Black Cuckoo, Black Cuckoo-shrike, Black-and-white Casqued Hornbill, Black-and-white Mannikin, Black-and-white Shrike-flycatcher, Black-billed Turaco, Black-billed Weaver, Black-faced Rufous Warbler, African Dusky Flycatcher, Black-headed Weaver, Black-necked Weaver, African/Western Citril, Black-throated Apalis, Blue-shouldered Robin-chat, Blue-throated Brown Sunbird, Blue-throated Roller, African Blue Flycatcher, Bocage' Bush-shrike, Bronze Mannikin, Zebra Waxbill, Bronze Sunbird, and many more.

Overnight at Kibale Primate Lodge | Kibale Forest Camp (Full Board)

Day 15: Birding to Masindi

Today, we bird to Masindi the gateway to Budongo Forest which has a prolific birdlife with two species of birds confined to it in East Africa: 10 of the 22 species of the Sudan–Guinea Savanna biome and 93 of the 144 species Guinea–Congo Forests biome that occur in Uganda.

Overnight at Masindi Hotel (Full Board)

Day 16: Birdwatching Budongo Forest

We bird the marvelous Royal mile and several other trails for the whole day. We look for the globally threatened Puvel’s Illadopsis and Nahan’s Francolin other special birds include; the Yellow-billed Barbet, Grey-throated Barbet, Honeyguide Greenbul, Chocolate–backed Kingfisher, White-headed Saw-wing, White Wagtail, Black-eared Ground-Thrush, Little Crake, Chestnut-capped Flycatcher, African Paradise Flycatcher, Chin-spot Batis, Grey-backed Camaroptera, Lemon-bellied Crombec, African Moustached Warbler, Green-backed Eremomela, Yellow-whiskered Greenbul, African Citril, African Golden-breasted Bunting, Black-crowned Waxbill, Bronze Mannikin, Black-billed Bluebill, Black-winged Red Bishop, Yellow-mantled Widowbird, Fan-tailed Widowbird, Spectacled Weaver, Black-necked Weaver, Yellow-backed Weaver, Compact Weaver, Northern Brown-throated Weaver, Holub’s Golden Weaver, Red-headed Weaver, Yellow-billed Oxpecker, Greater Blue-eared Starling, Purple Starling, Purple-headed Starling, Splendid Starling, Northern Puffback, Black-headed Gonolek, Tropical Boubou, Isabelline Shrike, Red-backed Shrike, Lesser Grey Shrike, Western Violet-backed Sunbird and many more.

Overnight at Masindi Hotel (Full Board)

Day 17: Birding Tour of Budongo Forest and Kaniyo Pabidi

Overnight at Masindi Hotel (Full Board)

Day 18: Bird Watching to Murchison Falls National Park of UgandaSpotted Thick-kneeSpotted Thick-knee

We have breakfast and bird to Murchison Fall National Park. We look out for Yellow-rumped and Yellow-fronted Tinkerbirds, Foxy Cisticola, Black Bishop, the Northern and Black-winged Red Bishops, Cinnamon-breasted Rock Bunting, Tropical Boubou, the Grey-crowned and Black-crowned Tchagras, Stripped Kingfisher, White-headed Barbet, and many more as we head to the top of the Falls and latter to the Lodge.

Overnight at Paraa Safari Lodge | Red Chilli Rest Camp (Full Board)

Day 19: Murchison Fall National Park Bird Watching Tour

Today, we do Game drive birding in search for, The Giant, Pied, Malachite, Stripped, Chestnut-bellied, Blue-breasted, Woodland and the African Pygmy Kingfishers, House Martin, African Rock Martin, Lesser Stripped Swallow, Ethiopian Swallow, Angola Swallow, Red-rumped Swallow, Rufous-chested Swallow, Nightingale, Rock Thrush, Pied Wheatear, Whinchat, Common Redstart, White-fronted Black Chat, Sooty Chat, Isabelline Wheatear, Common Bulbul, Cameroon Sombre Greenbul, Yellow-throated Greenbul, the Black, White-breasted, and Red-shouldered Cuckoo Shrikes, the Black and Penduline Tits, the Arrow-marked, Black-lored and Brown Babblers, Nubian Woodpecker, Cardinal Woodpecker, Brown-backed Woodpecker, Lesser Honeyguide, Scaly-throated Honeyguide, Black Scimitarbill, Green Wood Hoopoe, a number of Buzzards, Barbets, Rollers, Harriers, Vultures, Eagles, Bee-eaters, Warblers, and so forth.

The afternoon is time for a launch cruise on Victoria Nile for waterfowl among which might include; the elusive Shoebill Stork, Little Grebe, Great White and the Pink-backed Pelicans, Red-knobbed Coot, African Water Rail, Allen’s Gallinule, Black Crake, African Crake, Black-crowned Crane, Southern Pochard, The Egyptian, African Pygmy, and the Spur-winged Gooses, Storks like; the Saddle-billed, Open-billed, Abdim’s, White, Yellow-billed, Marabou, and the Wooly-necked, the Little and Dwarf Bitterns, Night Heron, Black Heron, Goliath Heron, Purple Heron, Green Backed Heron, Common Squacco Heron, Great White Egret, Cormorants, the African and Eurasian Spoonbills, the Lesser Flamingo, Lesser Jacana, African Finfoot, Painted Snipe, Wattled Plover the list is very long.

Overnight at Paraa Safari Lodge | Red Chilli Rest Camp (Full Board)

Day 20: Murchison Falls NP to Entebbe for the last night

Overnight at Entebbe Traveller's Inn | Laico Lake Victoria Hotel (Full Board)

Day 21: End of Uganda and Rwanda Birding Tour – Departure

 

For detailed information about this tour or customise one for you, please contact us

Last modified on Thursday, 14 May 2015 07:08

Saddle-billed Stork 

(Ephippiorhynchus senegalensis)

Diet: Mainly feeds on fish, frogs and crabs, but also on small birds and reptiles.

The Saddle-billed Stork breeds in forested waterlands and floodlands in tropical lowland. The female lays one or two white eggs weighing about 146g each. The incubation period is 30–35 days, with another 70 – 100 days before the chicks fledge.

Birds grow to 150 cm height,142 cm length and 2.4–2.7 m wingspan. The male is larger and heavier than the female, with a range of 5.1–7.5 kg. The female is usually between 5 and 7 kg. It is probably the tallest of the Storks. 

The long bill measures from 27.3 to 36 cm. 

Sexes can be readily distinguished by the golden yellow iris of the female and the brown irises and dangling yellow wattles of the male.

Mountain Gorilla

(Gorilla beringei beringei)

Mountain gorillas are the largest living primates and the world's most endangered apes with a population of less than 800 individuals world over- none in zoos. They are found in Uganda, Rwanda and Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC)

They share 97% DNA with human beings! They are our closest living cousins after the Chimpanzee.

They have up to 25 vocalization for communication

Mountain Gorillas are shy, social and very active during day. They live in families of 8-25 members with one leading male (The Silver Back).

Gorillas have a lifespan of 50 years in the wild. They reproduce at a very slow speed with a gestation period of approximately 8.5 months and an interval of four years to the next birth.

Diet: Mainly herbivores eating fruits, herbs, leaves, stems, roots and shoots. Sometimes ingest small insects like ants and termites.

Hamerkop (Scopus umbretta)

This sedentary medium-sized wading bird of 56 cm long, weighing 470 gm  is know to occur from Africa to coastal southwest Arabia wetlands.

Hamerkops feed during the day, the main diet consists of amphibians and fish. Sometimes, they eat shrimp, insects and rodents. They walk in shallow water looking for prey, shuffling one foot at a time on the bottom or suddenly opening their wings to flush prey out of hiding.

Hamerkops, of all birds make the biggest nest in the trees, sometimes more than 1.5 m across, comprising perhaps 10,000 sticks and strong enough to support a man's weight. A mud-plastered entrance 13 to 18 cm wide in the bottom leads through a tunnel up to 60 cm long to a nesting chamber big enough for the parents and young.

They lay 3 to 7 eggs that start white but soon become stained. Both sexes incubate for 28 to 30 days. The chicks leave the nest at 44 to 50 days.

In culture, the bird is associated to bad omen; Some cultures in Uganda believe, when the bird patches on ones house then they are likely to be struck by lightening. In some places, when it calls over the house, people know that someone close to them has died. The Kalahari Bushmen believe that the inimical god Khauna would not like anyone to kill a Hamerkop. According to an old Malagasy belief, anyone who destroys its nest will get leprosy, and a Malagasy poem calls it an "evil bird". Such beliefs have given the bird some protection.

Goliath Heron (Ardea goliath)

birding safaris uganda

The Goliath Heron, is the world's largest heron. It measures 120–152 cm height, 185–230 cm wingspan and weighs 4–5 kg.

The species is very aquatic, even by heron standards, inhabiting marshes around lakes, swamps, mangrove wetlands, reefs with few cool water, and sometimes river deltas within elevations from see level to to 2,100 m. 

Goliath Herons generally prefer to nest on islands or islands of vegetation coinciding with the start of the rains. The birds may abandon a nesting site if the island becomes attached to the mainland. They nest fairly low in variously sedge, reeds, bushes, trees or even on rocks or large tree stumps. The nests are large, often measuring around 1 to 1.5 m in diameter. In these nests they lay pale blue eggs, averaging 72 mm by 54 mm and weighing around 108 g. The clutch size can range from 2 to 5. Incubation lasts 24 to 30 days.

Mainly prey on fish, specializing in relatively large fish. The largest fish targeted may measure 50 cm although the heron may not be able to swallow prey up to this size. Small fish are generally ignored and the average Goliath catches around 2 or 3 fish a day. Breams, Mullet, Tilapia and carp have locally been recorded as preferred species. Frogs, prawns, small mammals, lizards, snakes, insects and even carrion are also part of the diet.

Common chimpanzee (Pan troglodytes)

Chimpanzees are the closest living evolutionary relatives to humans, sharing a common ancestor with humans about four to six million years ago. They share 99% DNA with human beings.

Male grow up to 1.7 m high when standing, and weigh as much as 70 kg; the female is somewhat smaller.

Chimpanzees live in a leaner hierarchy in which more than one individual may be dominant enough to dominate other members of lower rank. Typically, a dominant male is referred to as the alpha male.

They make tools and use them to acquire foods and for social displays; they have sophisticated hunting strategies requiring cooperation, influence and rank; they are status conscious, manipulative and capable of deception; they can learn to use symbols and understand aspects of human language including some relational syntax, concepts of number and numerical sequence; and they are capable of spontaneous planning for a future state or event.

Chimps communicate in a manner similar to human nonverbal communication, using vocalizations, hand gestures, and facial expressions.

White-throated Bee-eater (Merops albicollis)

 

The very gregarious White-throated Bee-eaters grow to 19–21 cm length, excluding the tail streamers, which can exceed an additional 21 cm length.

Sexes are similar and weigh between 20 and 28 grams. 

White-throated Bee-eaters breeds in dry sandy open country, where nest colonially in sandy banks or open flat areas. They make a relatively long 1–2 m tunnel in which 6 to 7 spherical white eggs are laid. Both the male and the female take care of the eggs, but up to five helpers also assist with caring for the young.

Predominantly, they eat insects, especially bees, wasps, ants, beetles and hornets, which are caught in the air by sorties from an open perch.

 

Great Blue Turaco (Corythaeola cristata)

Turacos are a group of African near-passerines. The Great Blue Turaco is the largest turaco and also the largest species in the diverse Cuculiformes order (which includes the cuckoos).

Generally, the Great Blue Turaco is 70–76 cm in length with a mass of 800–1,231 g. In the Bandundu province of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the Great Blue Turaco is actively hunted for meat and feathers. The blue and yellow tail feathers are prized for making good luck talismans.

  1. Uganda
  2. Kenya
  3. Rwanda