11 Days Uganda Birding Safari: This birdwatching adventure will take you to some of Uganda's most well-known and breathtaking birdwatching

11 Days Uganda Birding Safari

May 22, 2024
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11 Days Uganda Birding Safari: This birdwatching adventure will take you to some of Uganda’s most well-known and breathtaking birdwatching locations, such as Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary, Murchison Falls National Park, Kibale Forest National Park, lake Mburo national Park and Mabamba Wetland for the rare Shoebill. This will introduce you to unique bird species based on your checklist with knowledgeable Journeys Uganda safari and birding guide. Take outdoor walks and truly immerse yourself in the local culture while enjoying birdwatching. We will visit Mabamba Wetland as our last stop before heading back to Entebbe Airport.

Day 1: Arrival and birding at Entebbe Botanical Gardens

On a 11 Days Uganda birding safari, we welcome you to the Pearl of Africa. After receiving a warm welcome from our representative / tour guide upon your arrival at Entebbe International Airport, you will be transferred to your accommodation. At Entebbe, birding is optional and depends on the time of arrival. The breathtaking Entebbe Botanical Gardens grounds provide a great spot to observe woodland and lakeside species during bird watching. Our earliest bird inhabitants could have been the nearly endemic Orange Weaver of Lake Victoria, along with the Palm-nut Vulture, Pygmy Kingfisher, Ross’s Turaco, Congo Pied Hornbill, Great Blue Turaco, Eastern Grey Plantain-eater, Splendid Glossy Starling, Great Blue Turaco, Golden Backed, Black-necked and Slender-billed Weaver, Striated Heron, Yellow-billed Duck, White-winged Tern, Pink-backed Pelican and others.

Keep an eye out for a variety of sunbirds when you go bird watching, such as the Red-chested, Olive-bellied, Green-throated, Superb, Bronze, and Collared Sunbirds. Other birds you may spot on your nature walk through the gardens include the Great Reed and Sedge Warbler, Fantailed Widowbird, African Grey Parrot, Green Crombec, Grey Woodpecker, Bat Hawk, Red-headed Lovebird, Klaas’s, Red-chested, Levaillant’s, and Diederik Cuckoo, Woodland, Striped, Giant, Malachite, and Pygmy Kingfisher, Broad-billed Roller, Green Hylia, and Little Greenbul. For dinner and nighttime, head back to the hotel, Papyrus Guest house, Jet Villas, or equivalent.

Day 2: Transfer to Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary; Lunch at Kabalega Dinner

Have your early morning breakfast and transfer to Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary, which is a 3- 4-hour journey along Kampala-Gulu Highway to Nakasongola District. On our 11 Days Uganda Birding Safari, Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary is not exclusively Rhino oriented but also a shelter for many other stunning activities, such as birdwatching, mainly because of its unique bird population. More than 300 different bird species, including the highly sought-after Shoebill Stork, can be seen in the sanctuary. The Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary is home to several bird habitats, including marshes, woodlands, and Savannah grasslands. Bird species to see include the Wood-chat and Grey-backed Shrike, Red-billed Firefinch, African Grey Flycatcher, Grey-crowned crane, Grey Kestrel, Chattering Yellowbill, Red-headed Bluebill, Brown Twinspot, Marico, Copper, Scarlet-chested, Olive-bellied, Pygmy, Green-headed, Red-chested, Olive and Green-throated Sunbird, Heuglin’s Francolin, Namaqua Dove, Northern Carmine Bee-eater, Nubian Woodpecker, African-grey and Crowned Hornbill. This is one of the best places for the White-crested Turaco, African Hoopoe, Rufous Chatterer, Fawny-breasted and Common Waxbill, Bruce’s Green Pigeon, Purple, Lesser-blue and Greater-blue Eared Starling, Chin-spot and Black-headed Batis, African-wattled Lapwing, Orange-breasted Bush-shrike, Jacobin and Levaillant’s Cuckoo, Yellow-throated Longclaw, Yellow-fronted Tinkerbird, Brubru, and others. Dinner and overnight at Masindi Hotel.

The Puvel’s Illadopsis is the only one endemic to Budongo Forest in the whole of East Africa.

Day 3: 11 Days Uganda Birding Safari and Birding to Kaniyo Pabidi – Puvell’s Illadopsis

We depart early and travel north, then west, making stops for birdwatching in open, farmed, marshy scrubby areas. Here, we will search for various bird species, including the Brown Twinspot, Grey-headed Oliveback, Red-collared and Yellow-Mantled Widowbird, Pygmy and Beautiful Sunbird, Dark-chanting Goshawk, Steppe, Wahlberg’s and Long-crested Eagle, African Black Headed Oriole, Little, Red-headed and Compact Weaver, White Crested Turaco, Bronze-tailed, Lesser and Greater Blue Eared Starling, and White-winged Widowbird. In addition to numerous other birds, the marshes are home to Rufous-bellied Heron, Shoebill, Saddle-billed Stork, Dwarf Bittern, and Woolly-necked Stork. We will continue to Budongo Forest Reserve, where, based on our level of energy and the weather, we may have a guided walking tour of Budongo Forest in Kaniyo Pabidi area. Dinner and overnight at Budongo Eco-lodge.

Day 4: Birding Kaniyo Pabid and Transfer to Masindi

Today, after breakfast, set off early and head into the interior of the forest, which is a typical rain forest. Here, birding can be challenging and frustrating as many species are more likely to be heard than seen, but keep up your hope and perseverance because there are rewards occasionally, like the dull brown, nearly endemic Puvel’s Illadopsis of Budongo Forest and not found any where else in East Africa. Bird species to see include the White-thighed Hornbill, Fire-crested Alethe, Yellow and Grey Longbill, Fraser’s Flycatcher Thrush, Dwarf, Blue-breasted and Chocolate-backed Kingfisher, Speckled, Yellow-Rumped and Yellow-throated Tinkerbird, Little, Plain, Yellow-whiskered and White-throated Greenbul, Western Black-headed Oriole, Yellow-billed, Yellow-spotted and Hairy Breasted Barbet, the Warbler like Green-Hylia, Red-tailed Ant-Thrush, Black-billed Turaco, Narina Trogon, Brown-chested Alethe, lonesome Forest Robin, shy and endangered Nahan’s Partridge, Rufous-sided Broadbill among others. Have dinner and overnight stay at Masindi Hotel.

Day 5: Bird Watching to The Royal Mile – Ituri Batis and Chocoalate Backed Kingfisher

Our 11 days of Uganda Birding Safari takes us to one of the best places to combine forest and open country birding that is the Royal Mile and Busingiro. The two portions of the Royal Mile and Busingiro are home to important bird species. These include the Black-headed Paradise Flycatcher, Ituri Batis, Crested Malimbe, Yellow and Grey Longbill, African Pygmy, Blue-breasted, African-dwarf and Chocolate-backed Kingfisher, Dusky long-tailed Cuckoo, the machine gun-like calling Rufous-crowned Eremomela, Toro-olive Greenbul, Brown-eared and Golden-crowned (Yellow-crested) Woodpecker, the yellowish-green, Yellow-browed Camaroptera, Crowned Eagle, Forest and Chestnut Capped Flycatcher, Rufous Flycatcher-Thrush, the vivid green Narina Trogon, Chestnut-capped Flycatcher, White-spotted Flufftail, Yellow and Grey Longbills, Olive-bellied Crombec, Little Green, Blue-throated Brown and Green Sunbird, the Waxbill like appearing White-Breasted Nigrita (Negrofinch), Western Black-headed Oriole, Emerald and Klaas’s  Cuckoo, Red-tailed Ant-Thrush, Tit Hylia, Forest Robin, Brown and Scaly-breasted Illadopsis, Lemon-bellied Crombec, Rufous-crowned Eremomela, Yellow-mantled Weaver, the pale blue pouched Yellow-browed Camaroptera, Green Crombec and Red-headed Bluebill, Ituri Batis, Cassin’s Hawk Eagle, Plain, Xavier’s, White-throated, Icterine, Slender-billed, Spotted, and Spotted Greenbul. later drive back to Masindi Hotel for dinner and overnight stay.

Day 6: 11 Days Uganda Birding Safari and Birding as we transfer to Fort Portal

After breakfast, we shall move southwards to Fortportal and then through Hoima City to Kibale Forest National Park. Birdwatching will be done en-route and be eager to search for bird species like the Ross’s and Great Blue Turaco, Black-bellied Firefinch, Whistling Cisticola, Grey-headed Oliveback, Heuglin’s Spurfowl (Francolin), Toro Olive and Honey Guide Greenbul, Western Nicator, Tiny, Green-throated, Olive and Little Green Sunbird, Brown Twinspot, African Firefinch, the Brown Snake-Eagle, Lemon Dove, Brown-throated, Chestnut and Black-throated Wattle-eye, Greater Honeyguide, Lizard Buzzard, Brown Babbler, and White-chinned Prinia, Pale Throated Leaf-love, Green Crombec, Sooty Flycatcher, Stuhlmann’s and Purple-headed Glossy Starling, Black-and-White Mannikin, Narrow-tailed and Waller’s Starling, Black Bee-eater, expect to get amazing views of the unique and exceptional West African forest inhabitants, the Grey-cheeked Mangabey, Vervet, and Red-tailed Monkeys, as well as the Red Colobus, L’Hoest, and Black-and-White Colobus Monkeys. Kibale Forest National Park is well-known for its monkey population. We also arranged for a few of us to go for chimpanzee tracking the following day. In addition to offering excellent birdwatching, the park is home to the highest number and concentration of primates in all of East Africa. Dinner and accommodation at Chimpanzee Forest Lodge for the night.

Kibale Forest’s endemic Green-breasted Pitta perched on one of the forest canopy.

Day 7:  Birding To Kibale Forest: Green-breasted Pitta and Chimpanzee Tracking

We shall have an early morning breakfast and set off for birding before dawn with high hopes of seeing the Green-breasted Pitta, which is the primary bird of the day. Once this bird is sighted, the park introduces us to other species, including, Black-bellied Seed-cracker, Tiny, Green, Little Green, Green-throated Olive Bellied, and Eastern Olive Sunbird, White-spotted Flufftail, White-tailed Ant-Thrush, Grey-throated Tit Flycatcher, White-bellied Crested Flycatcher, White-shouldered, Red-capped, and Grey-winged Robin-chat, which is common at forest edges, White-collared Oliveback, Stuhlmann’s Starling, Chestnut-winged Superb, and others.

Our 11 Days Uganda birding safari will introduce us to Chimpanzee tracking, which is optional. Early in the morning, you will be transferred to the park headquarters for briefing about the tracking exercise. The closest relatives of humans, chimpanzees, have complex social structures similar to those of human communities. They are able to resolve conflicts peacefully, create and use tools, participate in complex social interactions, and communicate using a wide range of sounds and gestures. When you come across these acclimatised chimpanzees, you can observe a range of behaviours. Observing them engage in play and social interactions is worthwhile.

We shall have Lunch at the hotel and later walk around the hotel in the late afternoon, or the Bigodi wetland, which offers chances of the Bronze and Black-and-white Mannikin, Red-faced Cisticola, Black-headed, Village and Vieillot’s Black Weavers, Yellow-rumped Tinkerbird, White-chinned Prinia, Yellow-throated and Toro-olive. Little and Joyful Greenbul, Grey-winged and Snowy-headed Robin-Chat, Double-toothed, Yellow-spotted, Hairy-breasted, Yellow-billed and Grey-throated Barbet, this trail offers the best views of Great-blue Turaco, Black-headed Paradise Flycatcher, Buff-spotted Woodpecker, African Shrike, and the Vanga Flycatchers White-spotted Flufftail always shows up very well here if the rains are not much. Black-necked Weaver, Red-chested, Green-throated, Collared, Scarlet-chested and Green-headed Sunbird, Green Hylia. While at the boardwalk vicinity, which traverses part of the swamp, expect more species such as White-winged Warbler and Papyrus Gonolek and primates that look like Red-tailed Monkeys, Grey-cheeked Mangabey, Red Colobus Monkey, Vervet and L’hoest’s Monkey. Later, back to the Lodge for dinner and overnight.

Day 8: Birding To Semliki – Special Guinea-Congo Biome Endemics

You will depart early and travel to Semliki Valley National Park, where our 11-day Uganda birding safari will start at the Kirumia main trail, which offers unique endemic species from the Guinea-Congo biome. The safari will begin with a variety of hornbills, such as the Red-rumped Tinkerbird, Rufous-sided Broadbill, Piping, Red-billed Dwarf, Black-billed Dwarf, the tense White-crested, African pied, and Black-casqued Wattled Hornbill, among others. Keep your eyes peeled for the rare Long-tailed Hawk, the shy Hartlaub’s duck, the Congo Serpent Eagle, and the Nkurengu Rail, Gabon Woodpecker, Lemon-bellied Crombec, Regal Sunbird Red and Green-tailed Bristlebill, the surprising large Fiery-breasted Bush-shrike, Xavier’s, Chestnut-winged Starling, Simple and Eastern Bearded Greenbul, Swamp-palm Bulbul, Capuchin Babbler, Maxwell’s Black Weaver, Forest and Grey Ground Thrush, Northern bearded Scrub Robin, Orange-tufted Sunbird, Rufous-crowned Eremomela. Blue-headed Crested Flycatcher, Grant’s bluebill, Ituri Batis, Red-billed Helmet-Shrike, Black-winged Oriole, Blue-billed, Crested and Red-bellied Malimbes, Pale-Fronted and Chestnut-breasted Negrofinch, Black-bellied Seedcracker, Western Bronze-naped Pigeon, White-bellied, Forest and Grey ground Thrush, Chocolate-backed, Blue-breasted, and African Dwarf Kingfisher, African Piculet, Lyre-tailed, Spotted, and Zenker’s Honeyguide and many others. Dinner and overnight at Chimpanzee Forest Lodge.

The Handsome Spurfowl one of the sought after birds in Lake Mburo National Park.

Day 9: 11 days Uganda birding safari and transfer to lake Mburo 

Today we proceed to Lake Mburo National Park. En route to Lake Mburo, the journey will take you through the stunningly magnificent rolling landscapes covered with tea plantations, valleys and woodlands of south-western Uganda. Along the way, keep an eye on several bird species, such as the Black-headed Bustard, Red-faced Barbet, Couqui Francolin, Lilac-breasted Roller, Bare-faced go-away bird, Long-tailed Cisticola, among others.

Later, we shall have an evening game and birding drive in Lake Mburo National Park, which is a very different environment from the lakes we have not been to and the Acacia savannah, with a wildlife that is similarly different from that of the other reserves we have visited. Rothschild’s Giraffe, Zebra, Topi, Giant Eland, Cape Buffalo, Bush and Water-buck, and the graceful Impala are also found in the park. Many common East African savannah bird species, such as the locally found Coqui Francolin, Crested Francolin, Red-faced, Crested, Collared, and Spot-flanked Barbet, Bare-faced Go-away-bird, Black-headed Gonolek, Common Scimitarbill, Green Wood-hoopoe, and Sulphur-breasted Barbet, will keep you occupied and provide a respite from the stress of the forest. The list includes the Bush-shrike, Brubru, White-winged Black Tit, Nubian, Bearded, and Green-backed Woodpeckers.

Day 10: Birding Lake Mburo and Kampala onwards

After break fast, we shall start early morning in search for bird species such as African Grey Hornbill, Blue-napped Mouse Bird, Trilling Cisticola, Bare-faced Go-away Bird, Red-faced Barbet, Brown Parrot, Rufous-chested Swallow, Tabora Cisticola, Southern Red Bishop, Red-necked Spurfowl, Green-wood Hoopoe, Emerald-spotted Wood Dove, Temminck’s Courser, Brown-chested Plovers, Common Quails, White Winged Black-Tit, Buff Bellied Warbler, Black-bellied Bustard, Green Capped Eremomela, Rufous-naped and Flappet Larks, and Yellow-throated Long Claw. secretive papyrus specialty, like the Papyrus Gonolek, is also hidden in the park’s bordering marshes. Common Scimitarbill, Spot-flanked Barbet, Northern Black Tit, Chin-spot Batis, Great Blue-eared Starling, Yellow-breasted Apalis, and others. Have lunch at the lodge and relax for a while as you prepare for the evening boat ride. This will enable you to search for water birds such as African Fish Eagle, Rous-bellied Heron, White-backed Night Heron, African Finfoot, and Giant Kingfisher, among others. Return to the lodge for dinner and over night.

Day 11: Early Transfer to Mabamba wetland and Entebbe International Airport

After your early morning breakfast, on our 11 days Uganda Birding Safari, set off early in search of missed-out favourite species such as the Red-faced Barbet, Couqui Francolin, Long-tailed Cisticola, and many others. Head to Mabamba Wetland, a large papyrus swamp with its intricate network of channels and lagoons. This area is recognised as an Important Bird Area (IBA) and is home to multiple pairs of Shoebills, Uganda’s most renowned resident birds. We will go above and beyond today to locate this elusive species, which is the lone member of its family and one of the most sought-after birds in Africa. We will paddle through the canals and use powered canoes to aid in our search.

In addition, expect more bird species like the Long-toed Plover, Blue-breasted Bee-eater, Blue-headed Coucal, Papyrus Gonolek, Papyrus Canary, Swamp Flycatcher, White-winged and Papyrus Yellow Warblers, Rufous-bellied Heron, Pygmy Goose, and White-back Dark. There will undoubtedly be a good selection of classic East African water birds like African Water Rail, Pink-backed Pelican, African Marsh-Harrier, Long-tailed Cormorant, Goliath Heron, African Fish Eagle, Yellow-billed Duck, Allen’s Gallinule, and Malachite Kingfisher, among other bird species in Mabamba Wetland. After that, we will return to Entebbe International Airport.

End of our Tour.

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