Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park

Chubb's Cisticola

Size: 331 sq km

Districts: Rukungiri, Kabale and Kisoro

Geographical Location: South Western Uganda on the Edge of the Western Rift Valley.

Altitude: 1,16o – 2,607 m above sea level

Birds Recorded: 348 species

Annual Precipitation: 1130 mm - 2390 mm

Rainfall Pattern: Heaviest rains experienced in March - April and September - November. Other months are generally dry.

Local People: Bakiga and Bafumbira all from the “Ntu” ethnic group, constituting the densest settlements in Uganda, (233 people/ square kilometers)

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.

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 species such as the African Green Broadbill and the Shelley’s Crimsonwing. The Albertine Rift endemics include; Archer's Robin-Chat, Lagden's Bush-shrike, Dusky Crimson-wing, Strange Weaver, Rwenzori Double-collared Sunbird, Regal Sunbird, Purple -breasted Sunbird, Blue-headed Sunbird, Rwenzori Batis, Yellow-eyed Black Flycatcher, Red-faced Woodland Warbler, Neumann's Warbler, Grauer's Warbler, Grauer's Rush Warbler, Collared Apalis, Montane Masked Apalis, Kivu Ground Thrush, Red-throated Alethe, Stripe-breasted Tit, Rwenzori Nightjar, Rwenzori Turaco, Yellow-crested Helmet Shrike, Handsome Francolin.

Black-throated Apalis

Other notable species include; Wood Warbler, Handsome Francolin, Evergreen Warbler, Turner’s Eremomela, Yellow-browed Camaroptera, Chestnut-throated Apalis, Rwenzori Batis, Buff-throated Apalis, African Pitta, Cabanis’s Greenbul, Cardinal Woodpecker, Cassin’s Hawk-Eagle, Cassin’s Honeybird, Chestnut Wattle-eye, Cinnamon-chested Bee-eater, Collared Sunbird, Common Bulbul, Compact Weaver, Coppery Sunbird, Crowned Hornbill, Dark-backed Weaver, Dusky Crested Flycatcher, Dusky Long-tailed Cuckoo, Dusky Tit, Stripe-breasted Tit, Fan-tailed Widowbird, Yellow-mantled Widowbird, Red-headed Malimbe, Fork-tailed Drongo, Great Blue Turaco, Greater Blue-eared Starling, Green Crombec, White-tailed Blue-flycatcher, Brown Woodland Warbler, White-browed Crombec, Green Hylia, Green-headed Sunbird, Tiny Sunbird, Green-throated Sunbird, Grey Apalis, Grey-backed/Green-backed Camaroptera, Grey-headed Negrofinch, White-breasted Negrofinch, Grey-headed Sparrow, Grey-throated Barbet, Hairy-breasted Barbet, Honeyguide Greenbul, Klass’ Cuckoo, and many more forest species.

The pristine rainforests of this park are home to approximately 300 species of butterflies,including two endangered species of swallowtails, many species of reptiles and amphibians including one species of frog that may be new to science.

There are 120 species of mammals including primates species of which 7 are diurnal, and about 30 forest elephants. This afro-montane forest has dense under storey of fern, vines, shrubs. About 324 tree species have been recorded here, 10 of which occur nowhere else in Uganda.

CULTURAL PERFORMANCE

In the evenings, participate in captivating traditional performances presented by Women's groups. Proceeds from these go directly to improving the welfare of families around the park.

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.

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