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23 Days Uganda Birding Tour (The Remarkable West)

23 Days Uganda Birding Tour (The Remarkable West)

per person
Uganda Birding Tour | Uganda Birding Trips | Uganda Birding Tours | Bird Watching Uganda Safaris | Three Weeks Professionally Credible Guided Adventure Holiday

Handsome Francolin

Uganda Birding Tour – We intend to cover some of the country’s most precious habitats. The western part of the country is probably the richest with a vast range of bird species a birder would consider while planning a birding in Uganda Safari. It is home to the region’s highly sought-after Albertine Rift endemics, restricted species from the Congo forest, a good number of foresters, mountain birds, water birds and not forgetting the remarkable savannah residents.

According to the route and planned time, this tour should see a satisfying number of species list, and most of them should present in a favourable photography position. Generally, the weather should be celebrated and immensely favouring to find nature’s encounters.

The tour starts and ends in Entebbe on the shores of Lake Victoria. Early arrival may lead to birding the Entebbe Botanical Gardens. The next day proceeds to find the most iconic bird of this trip – the Shoebill. We spend the first morning in the Mabamba Wetlands before moving to Lake Mburo National Park then Mgahinga Gorilla National Park. The tour continues to Bwindi Impenetrable National Park which has the highest record of Albertine rift endemics in the country. These popular endemics should include, the vulnerable Grauer’s Broadbill, Red-throated Alethe, Dusky Crimson-wing, Strange Weaver, Stuhlmann’s 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, Rwenzori Apalis, Black-faced Apalis, Kivu Ground Thrush, Stripe-breasted Tit, Rwenzori Turaco, Archer’s Robin-chat, and Handsome Francolin. We bird North to Queen Elizabeth National Park, Kibale National Park the home to the Green-breasted and thirteen species of primates, Semuliki Valley for the Unique Guinea-congo Forest biome specialities, Murchison Falls National park for more Savannah residents and Budongo forest for the Ituri extension species.

The tour will cover a multitude of habitats from lush rainforest, to wild savannahs, to wetlands and swamps. Variable scenery and arguably the finest on the continent, and a mind-blowing mammal experience awaits.

DETAILED ITINERARY OF 23 DAYS UGANDA BIRDING TOUR

Day 1: Arrival for Uganda Birding Exclusive Safari

On your arrival for your Uganda Birding Tour at Entebbe International Airport, you will be transferred to Hotel.

Depending on the time of arrival, we bird Entebbe Botanical Gardens for an introduction to Ugandan birds. Situated on the northern shores of Lake Victoria, the gardens are virtually on the Equator and cover an area of 40.7hectares. The parking lot trees here typically offer great patch spots for Eastern Plantain-eaters. Plantain-eaters belong to the Turaco family, which has fascinating species that leave fresh Uganda birders in extreme excitement. Splendid Starlings, Yellow-fronted Tinkerbird and Common Bulbul also like to show up at the same spot. Shikra flies over this space and the bottle –brush tree nearby tends to act like a bird magnet for Red-chested, Green-throated, Olive-bellied, Mariqua, Purple-banded, Collared and the Scarlet-chested Sunbirds. African Yellow White-eye and African Thrush also frequent this same tree. We should also expect Gray parrot, Crowned and Black-and-white-casqued Hornbills, Hooded Vulture, Woodland Kingfisher, Lizard Buzzard, African Harrier-Hawk,  the colourfully striking Black-headed Gonolek, White-browed Robin-chat, Double-toothed Barbet, Ross’s Turaco, Speckled Mousebird, Yellow-fronted Canary, Black-headed Heron, Yellow-fronted Canary, a couple of Weavers that included, Orange, Weyn’s, Golden-backed, Black-headed, Village, Northern Brown-throated, Vieillot’s and Slender-billed should be among those to be seen.

Weyn’s Weaver show up at Entebbe Botanical Gardens

Usually, the gardens entertain Vervet Monkey and the good-looking Mantled Guereza.

DAY 2 Uganda Birding Tour: Bird to Lake Mburo National Park Via Mabamba Wetland

We have an early breakfast and do an hour and a half drive to Mabamba, a Ramsar site and an Important Bird Area. The Mabamba wetland is one of the top two places in the world to find the Shoebill which an uptick bird for so many birders on earth and Africa’s number one and highly sought-after; the other spot is Murchison Falls National Park. Mabamba offers over 80% chances for seeing this alien-looking-like bird.

Driving there, we might get African Green Pigeon, Great Blue and Ross’s Turaco; they like patching high on the snags by the roadside. The wetland here is one of the top community-based initiatives in the country, and when we get there, we take community members’ used engine-powered boat that is big enough to carry a motorcycle.

While looking for the Shoebill, we should expect a collection of typical African water and nearby habitat birds like Malachite Kingfisher, Long-toed Lapwing, Blue-breasted Bee-eater, African Jacana and Yellow-billed Duck. Here are also high chances for African White-backed Duck, Lesser Jacana, Papyrus Gonolek, Blue-headed Coucal, African Marsh Harrier, Fan-tailed Widowbird, Common Waxbill, Grey-capped Warbler, Madagascar and Blue-cheeked Bee-eater depending on the season and several others.

Uganda Shoebill Tours

After searching for the Shoebill, we will drive to the Equator, which is along the way for illustrations and photography experience. When we continue with the drive along the highway, we should expect the stunning Lilac-breasted Roller, Wahlberg’s and Long-crested Eagles, Eurasian Kestrel, Gray-backed Fiscal and Bare-faced Go-away-bird.

At the dirt road, as we approach the park and our accommodation, we will look for Red-backed Scrub-Robin, Red-faced and Singing Cisticolas. Occasionally, this stretch can be perfect for Verreaux’s Eagle-Owl, Red-necked and Crested Francolins, Emerald-spotted Wood-dove, Crowned Lapwing, Brown Snake-Eagle and beautiful African Black-headed Oriole. A few mammals that included Zebra, Impala, Topi, Waterbuck, Dwarf Mongoose, the gigantic Common Eland, and Common Warthog show up sometimes.

DAY 3 Uganda Birding Tour: Birding Uganda Lake Mburo National Park

This day we explore the lovely woodlands and thickets of Uganda’s smallest wildlife park. This park is great for woodland species especially some species that you would describe as being at their furthest northern range.

The few trucks we should cover are expected to present some of the park’s highlights like Red-Faced Barbet which is an East African endemic, Crested and Spot-flanked Barbets, Brown-chested, Crowned, Wattled and Senegal Lapwings, Southern Black Flycatcher, Slate-coloured Boubou, some eagles like Bateleur and Wahlberg’s, Wahlberg’s Honeyguide, Black Cuckoo-shrike, Sulphur-breasted Bush-shrike, White-winged Black-Tit, African Paradise-Flycatcher, Common Scimitarbill and many others.

We shall return to the accommodation for a lunch break but still can expect to see birds like Red-headed Weaver, Lappet-faced Vulture, Yellow-breasted Apalis, Trilling Cisticola, Chin-spot Batis, Green-wood-hoopoe and many by the strategically located restaurant. After lunch, we do another drive with hopes of finding Grey Tit-flycatcher, White-backed Vulture, African Pipit, and the African Scops-Owl in the dark. A good day tends to end quickly, that is exactly what it should feel like at the end of the day.

African Finfoot – Lake Mburo proves to be the most reliable spot for this shy species

DAY 4 Uganda Birding Tour: Birding Mgahinga Gorilla National Park- Uganda Birding Tours

This morning we should do a boat ride on the beautiful Lake Mburo to find a few more great birds that have it and its surrounding as a home. This is an approximately 10-km2 lake that is entirely within the park, a luxurious water spot that has boosted the numbers of African Fish-Eagle and African Finfoot incredibly. For an hour and a half ride, we expect to get excellent views of Hippopotamus schools. We scan the shoreline and the hanging riverine thickets for Black Crake, White-backed Night-heron, African Finfoot, Water Thick-knee and African Fish-Eagles. Our weaver list should continue to grow with Spectacled, Lesser-masked, Slender-billed, Holub’s and with efforts, we should find Grey-capped Warblers that love to call along the edges.

We will do a birding drive as we leave the park after the boat ride and start looking for Augur Buzzard when we get to the road to the Kisoro. The Augur Buzzards are doing quite well along this stretch. With a good day, the power polls should be right for Banded and Black-breasted Snake-eagle, we should stop at Papyrus swamps for Papyrus Canary, Papyrus Gonolek, Papyrus Yellow Warbler, White-winged and Greater Swamp Warblers before we approached the popular Albertine rift ranges. When we approach the mountain ranges, we will be higher than our previous accommodation by a minimum of 7 metres above sea level, this is going to make it a little cooler.  The good news is; this is the weather and habitat that the Albertine rift endemic Mountain Gorillas and birds love, so we are in for a good deal. The recently described East African endemic; Ruaha Chat, Cinnamon-chested Bee-eater and African Stone-chat are among the last new birds we should get for this day.

DAY 5 Uganda Birding Tour: Birdwatching at Mgahinga Gorilla National Park in Uganda

After an early breakfast, we head to mountain Sabinyo for a hike during which we should get our first Albertine Rift endemics set. The nearly dark session of the forty minutes drive usually shows us the regular Pied Crow, and as it clears up when we are approaching the forest, we should expect Cape Robin-Chat, Yellow Bishop, Streaky Seed-eater, Plain Martins and with luck, we should see the resident pair of the Laner Falcon.

On starting our whole day walk into the mountains, we hope to have pleasant views of the very secretive Cinnamon Bracken Warbler and Archer’s Robin-Chat. Normally, these are the kind of birds that we work hard to see. As we get deeper into the mountains, we will be treated to the most magnificent mountainous views that can be expected on an East African tour. Incomparably scenic views of this small montane forest park!

Regal Sunbird – One of the Albertine Rift endemic Sunbirds

We will look for Western and Yellow-rumped Tinkerbirds, Kandt’s Waxbill which is a recent split from Black-headed Waxbill, Albertine rift endemics that included the colourful Regal and Stuhlmann’s Sunbirds, Rwenzori Batis, the strikingly beautiful Rwenzori Turaco, Red-faced Woodland Warbler and Stripe-breasted Tit. Other magnificent birds to be added from the trees and bamboo forests should include Mountain Yellow Warbler, Dusky-turtle Dove, Chubb’s Cisticola, Thick-billed Seedeater, Chestnut-throated Apalis and many more.

DAY 6 Uganda Birding Tour: Uganda Birding Safari to Ruhija

Today, we transfer to Ruhija which is famously known as Africa’s number one birding spot. Sometimes, the Grey-capped Warbler, Dusky-brown Flycatcher, White-necked Raven and Straw-coloured Fruit Bats around the parking lot attract our attention before we departure. We shall accept this inconvenience if the case gets to be similar.  Driving through Kisoro town, we got the huge-billed White-necked Raven; this is a cool-looking raven for sure; they have this very huge and thick-looking bill.

At Echuya forest, we intend to do a few stops to look for Albertine Sooty Boubou, Rwenzori and Black-faced Apalises. We also hope to get better looks at the Mountain Yellow Warbler, Banded Prinia individuals as they skulk in the undergrowth, White-browed Crombec, Brown-capped and the endemic Strange Weaver, Northern Puff-back, Mountain Illadopsis, Red-throated Alethe, Doherty’s and Lagden’s Bush-shrikes and many more to richen our list endemics list.

Northern-Double-collared-Sunbird

The Mwichuya marsh can be an excellent spot for Grauer’s Swamp Warbler, Common Waxbill, Grey-crowned Crane, Variable Sunbird, Thick-billed Seed-eater and the Red-chested Flufftail. When we enter Bwindi Impenetrable forest, we shall stop to look for Doherty’s Bush-shrike and Barred Long-tailed Cuckoo to add to our new birds of the day. The L’Hoest’s and Blue Monkeys are among the new primates we should find for our continuously growing mammal list.

DAY 7 Uganda Birding Tour: Birding and Optional Gorilla Trekking in Uganda

 This is usually a big day, we anticipate for the big one! Mountain gorilla trekking is such a highlight even on birding tours. After breakfast, we go to the information office for a proper briefing on how to behave amidst Mountain Gorillas and family allocation.

This activity may take anywhere between an hour to eight, so a reasonable degree of fitness is required. It is a beautiful experience to stare into the eyes of these gentle giants; watch them in awe as they play and go about their daily activities. It is indeed a “once in a lifetime” experience that will linger. Each encounter is different and has its rewards, but you are likely to enjoy the close view of adults feeding, grooming and resting as the young frolic and swing from vines in a delightfully playful display.

When done with gorilla tracking activity, there is a high chance that you will be happy to go out for more restricted-range and Albertine Rift endemics. In this case, we will do a leisurely walk to the community secondary forest. We will look for Barred and Olive Long-tailed Cuckoos, Grauer’s Warbler, Black-tailed oriole, the very skittish Luhder’s Bush-shrike while they make their way through the vines, Gray Cuckoo-shrikes.

Mountain Gorilla at Bwindi Impenetrable Forest

DAY 8 Uganda Birding Tour: Birding Mubwindi – Uganda Birding.

After our early morning breakfast, we start our hike to the famous Mubwindi swamp in pursuit for some of the toughest endemics of this area. This section of Bwindi Impenetrable National park is well known for being Africa’s number one birding spot according to the African Bird Club. You should expect excellent birding weather and high-quality birds, and the case is usually similar here, one hardly get disappointed. In the first hours of the day, while we walk down the slopes of this mountainous terrain and habitat, we should hope to see White-tailed Blue-Flycatcher, Black-tailed Oriole, Black-throated Apalis, Dusky Tit, Least, Willcock’s and dwarf Honeyguides, Sharpe’s Starling, Mountain Buzzard, Yellow-streaked Greenbul and Narina Trogon among others.

The walk will continue to the marsh where we hope to find some uptick birds like Grauer’s Rush Warbler and Grauer’s Broadbill, but we will scan for, Brown-capped Weaver, Black-billed Turaco, Olive, Elliot’s, Cardinal and Tulberg’s Woodpeckers, Northern Black Flycatcher, Blue-headed, Tiny and Purple-breasted Sunbirds, Dusky Crimsonwing, Mountain Greenbul and western Citril. Keeping the eyes in the trees, we will also see through the undergrowth for even mythical birds like Grey-chested Illadopsis, Mountain Illadopsis, Oriole Finch, the restless White-bellied Crested Flycatcher, Carruther’s Cisticola, Equatorial Akalat, African Hill Babbler, Chestnut-throated Apalis, African Yellow White-eye, White-eyed Slaty-flycatcher, Stuhlmann’s, Waller’s, Slender-billed and Narrow-tailed Starlings. The Black-fronted Duiker which a small forest dwelling antelope, frequently shows up during this walk.

Black-fronted Duiker – Can steal the show on our walk from Mubwindi swamp

DAY 9 Uganda Birding Tour: Birding Safari to Buhoma of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park

Today we transfer to Buhoma, another section of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. Depending on how well we will have done the previous day, we may decide to take care of unfinished business; Ruhija has the best chances for Handsome Francolin.

Kivu Ground-Thrush – A mythical Albertine Rift endemic

The drive will continue to the famous “neck” where we hope to find the delicate-looking Mountain Wagtail and Cassin’s Flycatcher as they gourd the rocks in the stream.  This stretch is at 1500masl, is an overlapping area for low and high elevation wildlife! It is here that you start seeing the real beauty of Greenbuls; Plain, Little, Gray, Toro Olive, Red-tailed, Ansorge’s, Shelley’s and Honeyguide Greenbuls. A couple of Sunbirds like Little Green, Green, Olive and Blue-throated Brown, Collared and Northern Double-collared wonder about here.  Other birds to look for will include, the fascinating Black Bee-eater,  Yellow-throated and Speckled Tinkerbird Tinkerbird, White-tailed Anti-thrush, Black-faced Rufous Warbler, Grey-green and Many-coloured Bush-shrikes, Dusky Blue Flycatchers, Scaly-breasted Illadopsis, Splendid and Purple Starlings, Bar-tailed Trogon, Buff-throated Apalis, African Black Duck and Little Grebe among others.

Yellow-eyed Black-Flycatcher

Day 10 Uganda Birding Tour: Birding Buhoma Main Trail

This morning, we will bird Buhoma main trail. This forest merges birds of the low and highland elevations. A good day yields a significant number of Guinea-Congo forest, and Albertine Rift montane ranges specialities. We will do the first minutes birding the secondary forest to be rewarded with undergrowth dwelling Grey-winged, Red-capped, Blue-shouldered and Snowy-crowned Robin-Chats, Grey, Black-throated and Buff-throated Apalises, Grey-headed and White-breasted Nigritas, White-bellied Robin-Chat, Cabanis’s Greenbul, Red-headed Malimbe, Dusky Tit, Red-chested, Klaas’s and African Emerald, Cuckoos, Chubb’s Cisticola, Northern and Mackinnon’s Shrikes.

Also, when we get to the primary forest when the light is at its best, we should find African Shrike-flycatcher, African Broadbill, Red-throated Alethe, Red-tailed Bristlebill, flocks of Red-tailed Greenbul, Neumann’s Warbler and the nearly impossible Kivu Ground-Thrush. The mixed flocks should be great for Golden-crowned Woodpecker, Jameson’s Antpecker, Cassin’s Honeyguide, Petit’s Cuckoo-shrike and the recently split Willard’s Sooty Boubou. More birds should add on the list by the end of the day.

Neumann’s Warbler – A tough Albertine Rift endemic we will attempt to find

DAY 11 Uganda Birding Tour: Bwindi Forest – Queen Elizabeth National Park

After over a week of montane forest birding, we will have to leave these fantastic locations and head to the Great East African rift valley. We shall bird through Ishasha which is the southern section of Queen Elizabeth National Park and have a wonderful time working on our woodland and open country birds again. On sunny days, the sky here is excellent for observing some raptors many of which may have seen earlier. Most likely to be new should include Gabar Goshawk, White-headed and Lappet-faced Vulture, Rufous-breasted Sparrow-hawk and Banded Snake-Eagle.

This stretch usually offers Impressive views of Wing-snapping, Croaking and Stout Cisticolas, flocks of White-winged Widowbird, White-headed Barbet, Pin-tailed Whydah, Moustached Grass-Warbler, Broad-tailed Grassbird, Greater-painted Snipe, Malagasy Pond-Heron, Red-shouldered Cuckoo-shrike, Scaly and Red-necked Francolins.

Normally at this time of the trip, desire to see the big game will be high, we will be having good chances for African Bush Elephants, Leopards and Lions in the trees.

Leopard

Chances for Leopards on this birding trip.

DAY 12 Uganda Birding Tour: Birding in Uganda Queen Elizabeth National Park

Queen Elizabeth National Park tends to start with a lovely sunrise, if we have a clear day, we should expect it. The Kasenyi side is most prefered in this section of the park; this is because it offers excellent lekking grounds for the Kob. Game viewers drive there first thing in the morning and birders too, love it a lot for its open grasslands and sparsely distributed thickets that provide perfect microhabitats for quite shy birds. It also offers the best chances for birds like Verreaux’s Eagle-Owl, Rufous-napped, White-tailed, Red-capped and Flappet Lark, African and Jackson’s Pipit. These four larks mentioned, are a significant target when starting this morning ‘s drive. We should see Temminck’s Courser, Black-crowned, Senegal and Wattled Lapwings, Kittlitz’s Plover, Yellow-throated Longclaw, White-backed Vultures, Ruppell’s Griffon and others soring the sky, Black-chinned and Black-faced Quail-finches, and also observe Kob lekking ground activity. Keeping up with the game birding tradition, we will scan openings, thickets and Euphorbia Candelabrums for Lions. Euphorbia Candelabrum is a cactus-like plant that dominates this part of the park.

African Lion

Africans Lion love hanging around Kob lekking grounds

After lunch, we shall do an afternoon boat ride on the Kazinga channel. This 40 km natural channel connects two major lakes in this park; Lake George and Lake Edward. Because of the significant wildlife activity at the banks of the channel, we only cover a less than 4km distance, and this takes us to lake Edward for a turning point.

This boat ride typically targets congregations of birds and big mammals when they come down to cool off during the heat of the day. We should get good looks at fishing African Spoonbill, a few African Skimmer, Gull-billed and White-winged Terns, a few shower birds depending on the season and these should include Curlew Sandpipers, Common, Marsh and Wood Sandpipers, Common Greenshank, Ruff, Little Stint, Ruddy Turnstone, Black-tailed Godwit, Three-banded Plover, and Common Snipe. Other good birds to expect to see include four Gulls; Lesser Black-backed, Heuglin’s, Slender-billed and Grey-hooded Gull, both Great White and Pink-backed Pelicans, Great and Long-tailed Cormorants, Yellow-billed, Marabou and Woolly-necked Storks, our first of the many Red-throated Bee-eaters and many more. If we choose to go out for a short evening drive, we will have chances for Square-tailed and Black-shouldered Nightjars.

African Skimmer at Kazinga Channel

DAY 13 Uganda Birding Tour: Birding Uganda Kibale Forest National Park

We will leave Queen Elizabeth National Park keeping an eye in the bushes looking for Black-headed Batis, and Black-crowned Tchagra while we enjoy a very scenic and photogenic drive along the Mountains of the Moon.

We will leave for the Bigodi Sanctuary Wetland, shortly after arriving at our accommodation. The sanctuary is a community-based initiative and one of the most successful few in the country. With our site guide from the community, we should go around and through the papyrus looking for White-spotted Flufftail, Hairy-breasted, Yellow-spotted and Yellow-billed Barbet, Black-and-White Shrike-Flycatcher, Joyful Greenbul, Blue-throated Roller, White-collared Oliveback, Spurb Sunbird and a Shinning Blue Kingfisher.

The walk also being famous for primates, we should see Uganda Red Colobus which are threatened in this region for being preyed on by Common Chimpanzee (remember to learn from our guide, why?). The Uganda Mangabey, Olive Baboon, Mantled Guereza, L’Hoest’s and Blue Monkey are also very likely to show up.

Uganda Red Colobus can be seen during the Bigodi wetland walk

DAY 14 Uganda Birding Tour: Birding Tour and Optional Chimpanzee Tracking

Kibale National Park is the best travel destination for chimpanzee tracking in East Africa and can best be defined as the loveliest and most varied of all tropical rain forests in Uganda. It is christened the primate capital of the world because it hosts 13 species of primates including the chimpanzee (Man’s closest relatives- sharing over 98% DNA). It has 1450 chimpanzees, and these represent Uganda’s largest population of this endangered primate species.

In this forest, we will look for the Chimps and also do an early start for the Green-breasted Pitta. This Pitta is one of Africa’s most difficult birds to find! The time we should spend in the forest looking for the Pitta, we will also look for White-throated Greenbul, Crowned Eagle, Thick-billed Honeyguide, Brown-chested and Fire-crested Alethe, Crested Guineafowl, Western Black-headed Oriole, Blue-breasted Kingfisher, Blue-throated Roller, Yellow-browed Camaroptera, Blue Malkhoa, Brown-eared Woodpecker, Western Nicator, Dusky Long-tailed Cuckoo, Bronze-napped Pigeon, Yellow-mantled Weaver, Lesser Honeyguide, Red-chested Owlet and African Wood-owl among others.

Green-breasted Pitta at Kibale Forest

DAY 15 Uganda Birding Tour: Birding from Kibale – Semliki Forest National Park

Today we transfer to Fort Portal, but if we do not have a good job done finding magnificent birds like Green-breasted Pitta, we will decide to go back to the forest for another try. The road that goes through the forest is also great for birding; it is among the spots here where one can get to see Masked Apalis, Sooty Flycatcher, White-napped and Afep Pigeon, Black-crowned Waxbill and great views of the Blue-throated Roller can be expected.

DAY 16 Uganda Birding Tour: Bird Uganda Semuliki Forest

This morning we bird Semuliki Forest to collect some of the few Guinea-Congo forest biome specialities that have this forest as the most eastern extension. Being the only connection to Ituri forest from DR Congo makes it that spot where over thirty-five restricted-range specialities exist in East Africa. When the resident birds are breeding, it is effortless to spot Black and Southern Red Bishops, Piapiac which is a social crow, Rattling and Whistling Cisticolas, and Mosque Swallow before entering the forest. When we get to the forest, we will work for excellent views of Piping, White-crested, Black Dwarf Hornbill, the canopy-dwelling Red-billed Dwarf and the gigantic Black Casqued Hornbills. Other good birds like Yellow-lored Bristlebill, Yellow-throated Nicator, Black-headed and African Paradise Flycatchers, Forest Robin, African Piculet, African Dwarf Kingfisher and Hartlaub’s Duck, Xavier’s Greenbul, Red-tailed Ant-thrush, Crested Malimbe, Dusky-crested Flycatcher, Orange-cheeked Waxbill, Black-bellied Seed-cracker, Grant’s and Red-headed Bluebills, Brown Illadopsis are among others we will be looking for.

African Piculet at Semuliki Forest.

Day 17 Uganda Birding Tour: Birding to Masindi 

Today, we do the longest drive of the trip; Masindi is seven birding-drive hours away from Fort Portal. Depending on what will be missing our list, we may decide to spend a few minutes birding the wetlands around Fort Portal town for Northern Masked Weaver, White-collared Oliveback, Highland Rush Warbler and White-collared Oliveback.

The few stops we should do along the way, are for a lunch stop and adding some very likely birds like Yellow-shouldered and Red-collared Widowbird, Brown Twinspot, Red-backed and Brown-backed Scrub-Robin.

White-collared Oliveback

Day 18 Uganda Birding Tour: Birding the Royal Mile of Budongo Forest

We set off early today for birding Uganda’s most birdy spots, which is located in the country’s most significant forest reserve. The Royal mile that is named in memory of Omukama (King) Kabalega who ruled the Bunyoro Kingdom from 1870 to 1899 offers pleasant field hours to many birdwatchers from all over the world. The is a big road in the middle of the forest with a beautiful canopy cover. The sides of the road are well maintained with openings extending up to 7 meters; this is very brilliant for undergrowth birding.

Frequently things work out very well before and after getting in the forest here. The forest edges which we normally explore, usually show African and Black-bellied Firefinches, Grey-headed Oliveback, Compact Weaver, Wahlberg’s Eagle and White-thighed Hornbill, making them our last species of Hornbill.

The interior should show us African Dwarf, Chocolate-backed in the forest canopy and Shining Blue Kingfishers, Chestnut-capped Flycatcher, Rufus-crowned Eremomela, Ituri Batis, Forest Flycatcher, Cassin’s Honeyguide, Nahan’s Francolin, Jameson’s Wattle-eye, Pale-breasted Illadopsis, Spotted Greenbul, Fire-crested Alethe, Lemon-bellied Crombec,

Blue-throated-Roller, keeping in the canopy at the royal mile

Day 19 Uganda Birding Tour: Birding to Murchison Falls National Park

The tour continues to Uganda’s largest national park, which is also at the lowest elevation amongst all other parks. While and after leaving Masindi town, we will scan the trees for Purple Starling.  When we approach the escarpment’s thickets and wooded acacias, we will look for birds typical to this habitat. Northern Red Bishop, Beautiful Sunbird, White-fronted Black-Chat, Bronze-tailed, Violet-backed, and Lesser Blue-eared Starlings Whistling and Foxy Cisticola, Cinnamon-breasted Bunting, Black-faced Waxbill, Cliff Chat, Spot-flanked, Martial Eagle, Black-billed Barbet and hopefully acceptable looks at the shy Dusky Babblers.

As we continue with our drive, we will stop and scan spots for Chestnut-crowned Sparrow-Weaver, Shelley’s Rufous Sparrow, Cut-throat, Vitelline Masked Weaver, Swallow-tailed and Red-throated Bee-eater, Northern Crombec, Abyssinian Ground Hornbill, Dark-chanting Goshawk, the very localized White-rumped Seed-eaters and many more.

Day 20 Uganda Birding Tour: Game Drive and Boat Ride to Murchison Falls.

Heuglin’s Francolin

Good views of Heuglin’s Francolin, a central African endemic

Today we will aim at finding some specialities of the Southern Sudan stretch and new lovely mammals that show up during an African safari.

We drive into the open Savannah of Uganda’s biggest National Park, covering the section north of river Nile. We should find Speckle-fronted Weaver, Red-necked Falcon, Red-headed, Cardinal and Red-billed Queleas, Denham’s Bustard, Black-headed Lapwing, Spotted Thick-knee, and the critically endangered and uncommon White-headed Vulture. Swallow-tailed and Northern Carmine Bee-eaters, Banded Martin, Scarce Swift, Senegal Coucal, Tawny Eagle, Heuglin’s Francolin, Pale and Gambaga Flycatcher, Senegal Thick-knee and seasonal migrants. Our mammal list will aim for African Lions, the graceful Rothschild Giraffe, Lelwel’s Hartebeest, Oribi, Side-striped Jackal, and the shy Bohor Reedbuck.

After a proper lunch by the banks of the mighty river Nile, we take a three hours boat ride to the bottom of Murchison Falls, an enjoyable on the Victoria Nile that can find Giant Kingfisher, White-crested Turaco and Rock Pratincole at the bottom.

Day 21 Uganda Birding Tour: Boat Ride to the Delta and Evening Game Drive

This morning, we take a morning boat ride to the delta; this sails downstream on the Victoria Nile into Lake Albert. It is an enjoyable nature ride, to and from. The birds love the riverine forest, as do the big mammals and reptiles to the bunks. It is here that one gets to lock eyes with the typical giant Nile Crocodiles that measure six meters and endless schools of Hippopotamus. The banks, riverine forest and thickets are right for Giant Kingfisher, Grey-headed Kingfisher, Grey-headed Bush-shrike, the spectacular looking Saddle-billed Stork, Little Bittern and the Shoebill. With a little more effort, somedays Pel’s Fishing-owl, White-backed and Black-crowned Night-Heron show up.

We will do a lunch break and a siesta before heading out for the late afternoon to evening drive. This park has extensive savannah grasslands that give fantastic photography opportunity when the sun is setting. The Kobs and the other mammals with a background filled with the Albert Nile, Cattle Egrets flying back to their roost and distant blue mountains with beautiful golden sunlight on them is a scene that hardly gets another to compare.

Giraffe

Good encounters with Giraffes should be expected

The evening drive that is on the plan, places us in what feels like the middle of nowhere. Imagine a spot where you are only surrounded by wildlife, a dark sky with only stars and the moon to pick out with no surrounding light pollution. It is basically living your favourite wild animal’s moment. This is also one of the favourite moments for some of our Avian Safaris guides. Depending on the season, we hope to find a few nightjars like Swamp, Slender-tailed, Long-tailed, Square-tailed, Standard-winged, Pennant-winged, Plain and European Nightjars, Grayish Eagle-owl. New mammals to look out for should include, White-tailed and Marsh Mongoose, Bunyoro Grass Rabit, Leopard, Blotched Genet, Slender Gerbils, Fat Mice, Spotted Hyena, among others.

Day 22 Uganda Birding Tour: Birding to Entebbe

After a very proper breakfast, we cross to the southern bank of the Nile to continue with our birding to Entebbe via the top of the Murchison Falls. These very dramatic falls are arguably the world’s most powerful. The bottom of the falls is great but the top is quite something! This is where the world’s longest river squeezes through a very narrow cleft of about eight feet and drops for a straight forty feet down!  We never plan to miss this adventure on any of our tours that get to this part of the country.

Today’s drive has the potential of adding good birds to our list, I will list a few of them; Brown-backed Woodpecker, Black and Red-shouldered Cuckoo-shrike, White Helmet-shrike, Yellow-billed Shrike, Red-winged and Orange-winged Pytilias, Bat-hawk, Beaudouin’s, Short-toed and Brown Snake-Eagles, Abdim’s Stork, Thick-billed Cuckoo, Green-backed Eremommela, Bar-breasted Firefinch, White-shouldered Black-Tit, White-browed Sparrow-weaver, Singing Cisticola several other residents and migrants depending in the season.

Day 23 Uganda Birding Tour: Departure
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  • Departure/Return Location
    Entebbe

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