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14 DAY FOREST BIRDWATCHING TOUR IN UGANDA- 14 DAYS

Birding in Budongo Forest

Uganda is an incredibly beautiful country and is one of Africa's richest areas for birds. There are magnificent ancient forests, mist-shrouded mountains, papyrus-fringed swamps and lakes, as well as wide-open plains. It is home to the truly bizarre Shoebill and we have planned this tour to maximise our chances of locating this special bird. In the Impenetrable Forest, we will search for Gorillas and have an excellent chance of finding these outstanding animals in what can only be described as a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

Uganda is well known as the friendliest country in East Africa, with a stable government, exciting mammals and a bird list of 1,040 species accounting for 50% of Africa's total population. This accredits bird watching in Uganda as the best in East Africa

The forest birding tour allows Muleni Safaris Uganda's guests to visit some of the top sites for bird watching in Uganda, including Budongo Forest, Kibale, and Bwindi. For this particular tour, we shall also specifically target bird watching with a core of finding the Albertine Rift endemics in Uganda and visit lush forests teeming with spectacular birds. To complement all this, we take several drives in search of Africa's big game, as well as spending a special day looking for Chimpanzee.

Day 1

Arrival

On arrival at the Airport in Entebbe, you will be welcomed by a team of professional bird guides and drivers from Muleni Safaris Uganda.
Muleni Safaris Uganda driver guide will drive you to your Hotel in Entebbe or Kampala for an afternoon relaxation and sleep on the first day.

 Dinner and overnight at Airpart View Hotel Entebbe, Nyange Resort and Marina Lodge, Botanical Beach Hotel, and Cassia Lodge Kampala

 Day 2

Mabamba Wetland

Wake up to an early breakfast, Your Birding guide will drive you out to the Mabamba swamp where we could encounter Uganda's most famous bird, the enormous and thoroughly bizarre Shoebill. Other papyrus endemics can be seen, including White-winged Warbler and Papyrus Gonolek. A variety of herons, ducks and other waterside birds such as African Fish Eagle, Black Crake, African Jacana and Malachite Kingfisher can also be found here. Dinner and overnight at Airport view Hotel / Nyange Resort and Marina Lodge

 Days 3, 4 & 5

Budongo Forest

An early start will see us heading to Budongo Forest, bird watching along the road at specific birding spots, known only to our experienced Muleni Safaris Uganda bird guides. There are chances of rarities such as White-shouldered Black Tit, African Penduline Tit, Black Scimitarbill, Spot-flanked Barbet, Red-shouldered Cuckoo-Shrike, Rattling Cisticola, the extremely shy Foxy Cisticola, Black-faced Waxbill, and Cinnamon-breasted Bunting. In the savanna, raptors could include Whalberg's Eagle, Bataleur and Martial Eagle, and this is a good area to search for the localised White-crested Turaco. Patches of marsh, papyrus and scrub around Masindi could well produce Grey-crowned Crane, Red-headed Lovebird, Ross's Turaco, Black-headed Oriole, White-browed Robin Chat, Red-faced and Carruther's Cisticolas, Greater Swamp Warbler, Whitewinged Warbler, Tropical Boubou, the colourful Papyrus Gonolek, Vieillot's Black Weaver, Grosbeak-Weaver, and Red-collared Widowbird, Grey-headed Olive-back and Brown Twinspot.
We stay at Masindi Hotel.

A short birdwatching drive from the hotel at dawn will take us to one of the best of Uganda's birdwatching spots, the Royal Mile. This is Uganda's historically known leisure spot for the Bunyoro King; hence the name Royal Mile. Here the forest has been cut back a few metres along the sides of the main trail, which makes it a particularly good viewing area in this excellent forest. Special birds here include White-thighed and Black-and-white-casqued Hornbills, Yellow-spotted and Yellow-billed Barbets, Western Black-headed Oriole, along with Red-tailed and Blue Monkeys. Overhead, Sabine's and sometimes Cassin's Spinetails soar over the clearings. As we walk quietly along the trail, Red-tailed Ant-Thrushes skulk in the shadows, as do Red-tailed Bristlebill, Scaly-breasted Illadopsis, Pale-breasted Illadopsis, Brown Illadopsis.

Greenbuls are ever a challenge and include Cameroon Sombre, Slender-billed, Honeyguide and Spotted, whilst other regular species are Speckled Tinkerbird, Yellow-crested Woodpecker, Green Crombec, Rufous-crowned Eremomela, Yellow-browed Camaroptera, Buff-throated Apalis, and both White-breasted and Grey-headed Negrofinches. Lower down we should see Chocolate-backed and African Dwarf Kingfishers, White-spotted Flufftails and the elusive Nahan's Francolin. Other possibilities here are Great Sparrowhawk, Cassin's Hawk-eagle, Crested Guineafowl, Tambourine Dove, Grey Parrot, African Emerald and Dusky Long-tailed Cuckoos, Yellowbill, White-throated Bee-eater, Yellow-throated Tinkerbird,Yellow-spotted Barbet, Yellow-crested Woodpecker, Dusky Tit, Western Nicator, Blue-shouldered Robin-Chat, Forest Robin, Black-throated and Black-capped Apalis, Yellow-browed Camaroptera, Brown-crowned Eremomela, Lemon-bellied Crombec, Sabine's and Cassin's Spinetails, Wilcock's Honeyguide, Yellow and Grey Longbills, Jameson's Wattle-eye, Blue-throated Brown Sunbird, Little Green Sunbird, Rufous Flycatcher Thrush, Yellow-mantled Weaver, Red-headed Malimbe and Uganda Woodland Warbler, Ituri Batis.

 Days 6, 7 & 8

Kibale Forest

Leave early for Kibale Forest National Park. This is a rather long drive, but there are a few bird watching spots along the way.

Kibale forest birds include Grey-winged Robin, Blue-shouldered Robin Chat, Yellow-spotted Barbet, Black-billed Turaco, White-naped Pigeon, Green-breasted Pitta, Red-chested Flufftail, African Pitta, Cabanis Greenbul, Grey-throated Flycatcher, White-bellied Crested Flycatcher, Masked Apalis, Nahan’s Franclolin, Tiny Sunbird, White collard Olive Back etc.

Others include White-headed Wood Hoopoe, Crowned Hornbill, Yellowbill, Narina Trogon, Joyful and Honeyguide Bulbuls, Streaky-throated Barbet, Yellow-spotted Barbet, Wahlberg's Honeybird, Cassin's Honeybird, Masked Apalis, White-chinned Prinia and Banded Prinia, Pink-footed Puffback, Black-and-White Flycatcher, Olive Sunbird, Green Sunbird and Superb Sunbird, Mountain Wagtail, Velvet-mantled Drongo, Purple-headed Starling, Black-necked Weaver, Dark-backed Weaver, and Red-headed Bluebill. There are a grand total of 13 species of primates to be found here including Olive Baboon, Chimpanzee, Grey-cheeked Mangabey, and Central African Red Colobus. Birding continues in the afternoon in the nearby swamps.
Accommodation of choice: Primates Lodge and Kibale Forest camp. The surroundings of both lodges are very productive birding areas.

 Days 9 &11

Bwindi Impenetrable Forest - Buhoma (Gorilla Tracking and Birding)

Drive to Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, birding along the way. Bird watching in the evening around the forest margins of forest is productive.

 Bar-tailed trogon

Bwindi is generally at a higher altitude and therefore is cooler. Temperatures range between 10 and 18 degrees centigrade. Forest birding at Bwindi ranks Uganda birdwatching the best in East Africa. It is home to over 23 highly localized Albertine Rift endemics. Special birds include Black-faced Rufous Warbler, Grauer's Warbler, Banded Prinia, Black-faced Apalis, Black-throated Apalis, Mountain Masked Apalis, Red-throated Alethe, Yellow-eyed Black-Flycatcher, Ashy Flycatcher, Dusky-blue Flycatcher, Chapin's Flycatcher, Chin-spot Batis, Cassin's Grey Flycatcher, Rwenzori Batis, Black-and-white Shrike-flycatcher, White-bellied Crested-flycatcher, Pale-breasted Illadopsis, Mountain Illadopsis, African Hill-Babbler, Dusky Tit, Blue-throated Brown Sunbird, Blue-headed Sunbird, Northern Double-collared Sunbird, Grey-headed Sunbird, Mackinnon's Fiscal, Sooty Boubou, Pink-footed Puffback, Doherty's Bush-shrike, White-naped Raven, Montane Oriole, African Golden Oriole, Stuhlmann's Starling, Narrow-tailed Starling, Waller's Starling, Strange Weaver, Brown-capped Weaver, Black-billed Weaver, Dusky Crimsonwing, Yellow-bellied Waxbill, Magpie Mannikin, Yellow-crowned Canary, Thick- billed Seedeater, Streaky Seedeater, African Green Broadbill, Shelly's Crimsonwing, Oriole Finch, Mountain Buzzard, Ayre's Hawk-eagle, Handsome Francolin, Black-billed Turaco, Barred Long-tailed Cuckoo, African Wood-Owl, Rwenzori Nightjar, Scarce Swift, Bar-tailed Trogon, Cinnamon-chested Bee-eater, Black Bee-eater, (Western) Bronze-naped Pigeon, Red-chested Owlet, Tullberg's Woodpecker, Elliot's Woodpecker, African Broadbill, Western Green Tinkerbird, African Green Broadbill, Lagdens Bush Shrike, Petit's Cuckoo-shrike, Grey Cuckoo-shrike, Archer's Ground Robin, Toro Olive-Greenbul, Ansorge's Greenbul, Equatorial Akalat, White-bellied Robin Chat, Olive Thrush, White-tailed Ant-Thrush, Grauer's Rush-warbler, Short-tailed Warbler, Neumann's Warbler and Red faced Woodland-Warbler.
In addition to being an excellent birding spot, Bwindi is home to the most sought after cousins of human beings, the mountain gorillas. Other mammals include Rwenzori and Yellow-backed Duikers and L'Hoest Monkey.
Lodges of Choice are Gorilla Forest Camp, Gorilla Resort or Buhoma Homestead.

 Day 12

Bwindi - Ruhiija

Ruhiija is the Uganda birding spot that has caused Bwindi to be ranked the best birding spot in Africa by members of African Bird Club.
It is here that the most sought-after endemics of the Albertine Rift in Uganda are found. As we move up to Ruhiija, the high altitude section of Bwindi, we pass through the Neck, an excellent birding area in its own right which we will explore as we go along. Roadside birding to Ruhiija provides a good chance of encountering Black Bee-eater, Augur Buzzard, Handsome Francolin, Red-throated Wryneck, Archer's Robin Chat, Collared Apalis, Bronze Sunbird, Scarce Swift, Black Saw-wing, Cassin’s Grey and White-eyed Slaty Flycatchers, Brown-crowned Tchagra,Toro Olive Greenbul, Black-faced Rufous Warbler, Red-faced Woodland Warbler, Doherty's, Many-coloured Bush-Shrikes, Ruwenzori Batis, Stripe-breasted Tit, Yellow Bishop, Collared Apalis, Purple-breasted Sunbird, Stripe-breasted Tit, White-naped Raven, Strange and Baglafecht Weaver, Dusky Crimson-Wing, Yellow Bishop, Yellow-bellied Waxbill, Black-and-White Mannikin, the rare Dusky Twinspot, and Streaky Seedeater. Archer's Robin-Chat, Grauer's Rush Warbler, Lagden's Bush-Shrike, Dusky and Shelley's Crimsonwings. Other high elevation species occurring here are Olive Pigeon, White-starred Robin, Cinnamon Bracken Warbler and Mountain Illadopsis. Nights spent at researcher's station at Ruhiija.

 Day 13

Ruhiija - Mubwindi Swamp
After breakfast we head to the Mubwindi Swamp for a whole day birding.

The 4km trail to Mubwindi Swamp drops from 2350m to 2050m and is the best place for some of the most difficult to find of all rift endemics including Grauer's (African Green) Broadbill, the beautiful Regal Sunbird and Archer's Robin Chat.
Mubwindi Swamp is home to Dwarf Honeyguide, Stripe-breasted Tit, Rwenzori Apalis and African Hill Babbler (sometimes treated as a separate species), Rwenzori Hill Babbler, the rare and localized Grauer's Scrub-Warbler and Carruthers' Cisticola, including very difficult to see species Fraser's Eagle-Owl,African Green Broadbill, Grauer's Rush Warbler, Purple-breasted, Blue-headed and Regal Sunbirds, Grauer's Broadbills, Archer's Robin Chat, Eastern Mountain-Greenbul, Strange Weaver, Black-headed Waxbill, Bar-tailed Trogon, White-headed Woodhoopoe, Waller's and Stuhlmann's Starling, and Ludher's Bushshrike, Handsome Francolin and Montane Nightjar.

 Day 14

Travel to Kampala
This morning we wind-up our tour with a drive to Kampala; birding along the main road through the bamboo area for more chances of Albertine Rift and Highland Endemics.

 End of tour/ Departure.