12 Days Birding Trip

Departure Date

Daily

Duration

12 Days

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12 Days Uganda Bird Trip

DAY 1

On your arrival at Entebbe International Airport

Our driver guide will transfer you to the 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 colorfully 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.
DAY 2

Mabamba Bay (Shoebills)

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 is an uptick bird for so many birders on earth and Africa’s number one and highly sought-after; Mabamba offers over 80% chances for seeing this alien-looking-like bird the (Shoebill). As we drive 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. 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

A whole day at Lake Mburo National Park

Morning birding and wildlife viewing in the park which is an extension of the Tanzanian Plains with big herds of Zebra, Impala, Eland, Warthogs, buffalo, and other savannah species; Today we explore the beautiful woodlands and thickets of the 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 the 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.
DAY 4

Boat ride at Lake Mburo and transfer to Ruhija sector – Bwindi forest

Today after an early breakfast, we transfer to Ruhija which is famously known as Africa’s number one birding spot. Before leaving lake Mburo we 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. 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 Bamboo area near around Ruhija sector offers Handsome Francolin, White-starred Robin, Strange Weaver, Red-throated Alethe, Dusky Crimsonwing, and Grauer's Warbler. The L’Hoest’s and Blue Monkeys are among the new primates we should find for our continuously growing mammal list.
DAY 5

Whole day in Ruhija-Bwindi

This is usually a big day; we anticipate the big one! Mountain gorilla tracking 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 hours. 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, and Grey Cuckoo-shrikes.
DAY 6

Whole day on the trail and at Mubwindi Swamp

After our early morning breakfast, we start our hike to the famous Mubwindi swamp in pursuit of some of the 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 and high-quality birds. In the first hours of the day, while we walk down the slopes of this mountainous terrain and habitat, we should spot 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’s 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, a small forest-dwelling antelope, frequently shows up during this walk.
DAY 7

Transfer to Buhoma

After an early breakfast, we drive to Buhoma, another section of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. The drive will go through the famous spot “The Neck” where we hope to find the delicate-looking Mountain Wagtail and Cassin’s Grey Flycatcher as they gourd the rocks in the stream. This stretch is at 1500m asl, and is an overlapping area for low and high elevation wildlife! Here, you start seeing the real beauty of Greenbuls; Plain, Little, Grey, 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, 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.
DAY 8:

Whole day birding Buhoma’s main trail

This morning, we will bird the 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 Negrofinches, White-bellied Robin-Chat, Cabanis’s Greenbul, Red-headed Malimbe, Dusky Tit, Red-chested, Klass’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 to the list by the end of the day.
DAY 9:

Transfer to Queen Elizabeth National Park

After early breakfast, transfer to the rift valley of Queen Elizabeth National Park. We shall bird through the Ishasha area which is the southern section of Queen Elizabeth National Park and have a wonderful time birding the woodland and open country. On sunny days, the sky here is excellent for observing some raptors many of which may have been seen earlier. Most likely to be new should include Gabar Goshawk, White-headed, 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 Widowbirds, White-headed Barbet, Pin-tailed Whydah, Moustached Grass-Warbler, Broad-tailed Warbler, Greater-painted Snipe, Malagasy Pond-Heron, African Crake, Red-shouldered Cuckoo-shrike, Scaly and Red-necked Francolins. In this area you should spot wild cats and herbivores, we will be having good chances for African Elephants, Topis, Uganda Kobs, Buffalos, Hyenas, Leopards, and Lions in the trees.
DAY 10:

Whole day in Queen Elizabeth National Park

We start early at dawn with an early cup of coffee and go for a game drive to look for the big game and beautiful scenery. This afternoon, after our lunch at the lodge, we have a boat cruise on the spectacular Kazinga Channel.
DAY 11:

Transfer to Kibale National Park or Bigodi wetland sanctuary

Today early morning we transfer to Bigodi wetland for birding or to Kibale forest for chimp tracking and Green-breasted Pitta. We carry our packed lunch which we shall enjoy on the way. The key attraction, however, is the opportunity to track habituated chimps, more closely related to humans than to any other living creature, are remarkably fun to watch as they squabble and play in fruiting trees. A network of sheltered forest trails provides much to delight botanists and butterfly lovers, while birders are in for a treat with 335 species. The elusive forest elephant, smaller and hairier than its savannah counterpart, moves seasonally into the developed part of the park, while other terrestrial mammals include leopard, buffalo, giant forest hog, and a half dozen antelope species.
DAY 12:

Transfer to Entebbe International Airport

We may start early at dawn with an early cup of coffee and travel to Entebbe International Airport for your homebound flight.