14 Days Bird Finding

Departure Date

Daily

Duration

14 Days

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678

14 Days Bird Finder

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 in Mgahinga National Park

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 volcanic mountainous views. Incomparably scenic views of this small montane forest park! 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 colorful 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

Travel to the Ruhija sector of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park

Today after an early breakfast, we transfer to Ruhija which is famously known as Africa’s number one birding spot. Sometimes, the Grey-capped Warbler, Dusky-brown Flycatcher, and White-necked Raven, around the parking lot attract our attention before we depart. Driving through Kisoro town, we White-naped Raven; this is a good-looking raven that has a very huge and thick-looking bill. At Echuya forest, we will do a few more 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 enrich our list endemics list. 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 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 7

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 8:

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 9:

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 10:

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 11:

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 12:

The whole day in Queen Elizabeth National Park

The park tends to start with a lovely sunrise, if we have a clear day, we should expect it. The Kasenyi side is most preferred in this section of the park; this is because it offers excellent lekking grounds for the Kob. Game viewers and birders drive there the first thing in the morning, the area has 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 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, Black-chinned, and Black-faced Quail-finches, and also observe Kob lekking ground activity. Keeping up with the game and birding we will scan the openings, thickets, and Euphorbia Candelabrums for Lions. Euphorbia Candelabrum is a cactus-like plant that dominates this part of the park. 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.
DAY 13:

Transfer to Bigodi wetland

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 in the early afternoon, check-in at our accommodation, and proceed to the sanctuary a community-based initiative and one of the most successful wetlands 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 Olive back, Superb Sunbird and a Shinning Blue Kingfisher. The walk also being famous for primates, we should see Red Colobus Monkey which is threatened in this region for being preyed on by Common Chimpanzees. The Grey-cheeked Mangabey, Olive Baboon, Mantled Guereza, L’Hoest’s, and Blue Monkey are also very likely to show up.
DAY 14:

Transfer to Entebbe International Airport

This day we may opt to visit Bigodi wetland one more time for the species we might have missed the previous day before we leave the place.

Transport

We will use Toyota Land cruisers for this tour. Each vehicle has sufficient window seats for the whole group to have one, although we would ask that you rotate around the vehicle to give everyone the opportunity to have a seat towards the front of the vehicle. A good amount of our time will be spent away from the vehicles on bird walks.

There is a good amount of luggage space in the vehicles, however, it is preferable if you can bring soft-sided luggage as this is easier to pack in, and keep your packing to a sensible, practical minimum.

At Mabamba Swamp and Queen Elizabeth National Park, we will also use boats or canoes to view birds from the water. Life jackets are available and it is recommended that these are worn throughout the boat trips.

Weather

A typically equatorial climate ensures that the weather will be varied, and you are likely to encounter some rain on tour. Showers should not last too long and will not hamper the birdwatching. Days will generally be warm or hot and sunny; however, overcast conditions are frequent, particularly in the forest and mountain areas. Nights will be mild to warm, cooler at higher altitudes.

Group Size

This tour can be accompanied by an International tour leader together with a local field ornithologist, and a driver. The minimum group size is 1 pax and the maximum group size will be 14 pax. Group size determines the number of field guides leading a tour. For example, if the group size is 14 pax we 2 field guides with 2 vehicles participate in the trip. If a big group opts to travel in one vehicle, we use a mini coaster. All the two transport options are perfect for your tour.

Food & accommodation included in the package

All accommodation and meals are included in the cost of this holiday trip, drinking water will be available in the tour vehicles during the day throughout the trip. Please bring a water bottle, so that you can refill it from the larger containers.

We use a combination of comfortable lodges, tented camps, and guesthouses on this tour. Whilst standards are improving in Uganda, some of the accommodations can be quite simple in nature. All rooms are clean, however, with private facilities and should be perfectly adequate for the group’s needs. If you experience any problem with your room, please let your local guide know and they will always endeavor to rectify the problem with the lodge. A number of lodges operate generators for electricity, which are only run during the day so keeping a torch by your bedside is useful in case you need to get up at the night.

The Package Price Includes

Park entrance for vehicles and clients, Accommodation and Meals, drinking water on the road, Gorilla permits, Chimpanzee permits, Field bird guides, driver guides, Park rangers, Nature walks, boats, fuel, and Ground transport in 4WD safari vehicles.

The Package Excludes

Visas, air tickets, laundry, tips, items of a personal nature, gifts, government taxes, and other services are not mentioned on the trip.