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Avian Safaris, Responsible Birdwatching

Written by  Apr 08, 2014

Birdwatching or Birding is the act of observing and identifying birds in their native habitats as a recreational activity. It can be done with the naked eye, through a visual enhancement device like binoculars and telescopes, or by listening out for bird sounds. However, Local communities surrounding protected areas which are often major spots for birding, sometimes present a challenge to conservation efforts because their subsistence lifestyle often involves hunting wildlife and clearing forests for lumber, agriculture, and cattle ranching. Lack of job opportunities, particularly for women, means locals to often resort to illegal poaching or wood-cutting to provide food for their families.  This calls for ecotourism.

Ecotourism can greatly inspire community-based conservation if it is conducted with an emphasis on the well-being of local ecosystems and human communities. Birdwatchers form the largest group of ecotourists, and are, on average, well-educated, wealthy and committed. This makes them ideal ecotourists for community-based conservation. Therefore, there is a need for a comprehensive review of birdwatching from a conservation biology perspective.

We believe birdwatching tourism has a high potential to improve the financial and environmental well-being of local communities, educate locals about the value of biodiversity and create local and national incentives for successful protection and preservation of natural areas. However, there needs to be more research on the economical and environmental impacts of this hobby, birdwatching related disturbance needs to be reduced, and much has to be done to increase the financial contribution of birdwatching to local communities.

Our contribution as natives of the areas in which we operate; we have chosen to raise awareness in our community and inspire others to learn about birds, generating jobs for site guides after participating in trainings. This to some extent reduces the impact on endangered birds and their scarce habitat.

We know well that a knowledgeable guide is key to the success of any organized  birdwatching trip, and for independent birdwatchers with high expectations, hiring a local guide is highly beneficial because it increases the chances of seeing the less common  and local species, contributes to the local economy and creates an incentive to protect birds. Our guides are natives of the areas of operation, therefore when you are out there birding with them, please have it in mind that you have highly contributed to their livelihood, the host country's economy and conservation above all.

Last modified on Thursday, 30 April 2015 00:01

Greater Blue-eared Starling

(Lamprotornis chalybaeus)

The Greater Blue-eared Starling is among the starlings with short tails. Grows to up to 23 cm from bill to tail.

Sexes are similar except the immature which is generally duller compared to the iridescent blue-green coloured adult.

They nest in holes in trees, either natural or excavated by woodpeckers. And sometimes in large stick nests of the Sacred Ibis or Abdim's Stork. Here they lay 3 to 5 eggs which are greenish-blue with some brown or purple spots, and hatch in 13–14 days. The chicks leave the nest in another 23 days.

Greater Blue-eared Starlings are omnivore, taking a wide range of invertebrates seeds and berries, especially figs, but insects are the main diet.

  1. Uganda
  2. Kenya
  3. Rwanda