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ULTIMATE UGANDA

Sunday 15th July - Wednesday 8th August 2018

Dani Lopez-Velasco

Green-breasted Pitta (Dani Lopez-Velasco)

Green-breasted Pitta (Dani Lopez-Velasco)

For any world-travelling birder, a visit to Uganda should definitely be on the agenda. Why? The fabulous Shoebill is probably a good-enough reason to visit this magical, friendly and welcoming country, but there are many more, including a good selection of Albertine Rift endemics, with such megas as Grauer´s Broadbill or Green-breasted Pitta, as well as other difficult western African forest species. Together with some great mammal watching, with of course primates as the icing of the cake, in particular the mighty Eastern Gorillas and Chimpanzees. Combined with excellent accommodation and food, impressive scenery and a good road network, it´s easy to understand why this African country is undoubtedly one of my favourites in the whole world! Rwanda has a lot to offer too, Nyungwe forest is a wonderful and very birdy place, and in the bird front, the unique Red-collared Mountain Babbler stands out. By visiting the 2 countries, any visiting birder greatly increases the chances of seeing a very good selection of Albertine Rift endemics.

This year´s tour was, with over 580 species recorded, packed with highlights, but several stand out: Shoebill, of course, was one of the birds of the trip, and we succeeded in getting walk-away views both at Mabamba and Murchison Falls NP. A stunning Green-breasted Pitta was seen extremely well, at very close quarters, at Kibale, while, after some hard word, 3 of the near-mythical Grauer´s (African Green) Broadbills were watched at length at Bwindi Impenetrable Forest. On the mammal front, our encounters with the incredible Eastern Gorillas of Bwindi were truly unforgettable, as were the Chimpanzees at Kibale, while we were also lucky with Lions, with sightings both in Murchison Falls and Queen Elizabeth NP.

There were of course many more avian highlights. A whole host of Albertine Rift endemic species included the superb Ruwenzori Turaco, seen in Nyungwe, Rwanda, where we also saw Red-collared (Mountain) Babbler, the rare Kungwe Apalis and the stunning Kivu (Abyssinian) Ground Thrush, whilst other favourites seein in the main tour included several amazing adult male Pennant-winged Nightjars flying around our vehicle in Murchison Falls NP or the gorgeous Doherty’s Bushshrike singing its heart out in the highland forest. Amongst the many other mouth-watering specialities that we saw were 3 Nahan’s Partridges, Heuglin’s and Handsome Francolins, White-backed Night Heron, Mountain Buzzard, perched Crowned Eagle, Brown-chested Lapwing, African Finfoot, African Crake, Afep Pigeon, Black-billed Turaco, Forest Wood Hoopoe, Dusky and Barred Long-tailed Cuckoos, Northern White-faced Owl, Ruwenzori Nightjar, Chocolate-backed and African Dwarf Kingfishers, White-thighed Hornbill, Willcock´s, Least and Dwarf Honeyguides, Tullberg’s, Speckle-breasted and Elliot´s Woodpeckers, Ruwenzori and Ituri Batises, Jameson’s Wattle-eye, Lowland, Willard´s and Mountain Sooty Boubous, Lühder´s, Lagdens and Doherty´s Bushshrikes, Papyrus Gonolek, Petit’s Cuckooshrike, White-tailed Lark, Mountain Oriole, White-tailed Blue Flycatcher, Stripe-breasted Tit, Kakamega, Olive-breasted (Mountain), Toro Olive and White-throated Greenbuls, Yellow-lored Bristlebill, White-browed Crombec, Neumann´s (Short-tailed) Warbler, Grauer’s Warbler, Red-faced and Uganda Woodland Warblers, White-winged and Grauer’s Swamp Warblers, Whistling, Chubb’s, Carruthers’s, Foxy and Long-tailed Cisticolas, Black-faced Prinia, Ruwenzori Apalis, Red-winged Grey Warbler, Lowland and Mountain Masked Apalises, Chestnut-throated Apalis, Scaly-breasted and Mountain Illadopsises, Dusky and Black-lored Babblers, Ruwenzori Hill Babbler, Red-faced Barbet, Sharpe’s Starling, Red-throated and Fire-crested Alethes, (Eastern) Forest Robin, Archer’s Ground Robin, Blue-shouldered, Grey-winged and White-bellied Robin Chats, Equatorial Akalat, Jameson´s Antpecker, Yellow-eyed Black Flycatcher, Chapin´s Flycatcher, Silverbird, Purple-breasted, Grey-headed, Superb, Blue-headed, Ruwenzori Double-collared, Regal and Red-chested Sunbirds, Shelley’s Sparrow, Strange Weaver, Weyns’s Weaver, Dusky Crimsonwing, Grey-headed Oliveback, Dusky and Brown Twinspots, Kandt’s Waxbil and Western Citril.

Red-collared Mountain Babbler (Dani Lopez-Velasco)

Red-collared Mountain Babbler (Dani Lopez-Velasco)