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BIRDING UGANDA
by avery wiliam
08/07/09
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Uganda stands out as the most thrilling birding destination in Africa with thousands of bird species there fore being the richest country for birds in Africa. There several birding sites well disturbed in the country. Uganda’s biodiversity lies in its range of habitats which don’t only attract birds but also with the glamour of large mammals in immense wilderness. It boasts more than 1010 species of birds distributed in its wide range of habitats and 13 species which are very vulnerable and are globally threatened. There can be few destinations on earth where one can expect to find almost 612 avian species in one park alone. In Guinea- Congo forest lies Uganda’s richest bird life with 144species of birds ,12 species lies in lake Victoria basin, afro tropical highlands has 87 species, Somali and masai 32species where as Sudan and guinea savanna 22species.
Uganda’s Murchison Falls National Park has recorded 450 species while Queen Elizabeth national park’s habitat has attracted 610 species of birds. These two parks alone are among the richest protected areas to be found any where on Earth. And this immense volume and diversity occurs miraculously in a space, which keen birders can cover in a relatively short visit. Bwindi is believed to hold the richest faunal community in East Africa including over 346 species of forest bird species.
Lake Mburo swamp, northern western and southern areas are fringed with dense stands of the giant sedge cyperus papyrus. This seemingly monotonous habitat in fact harbors an amazing number of bird species and there are in fact six birds here that live only in such swamps the so-called papyrus endemics. The papyrus gonolek is one such bird .It has a yellow nape and crown black wings and red breast and long toes to allow it to grip the thick papyrus stalks.
These parks recorded species of shoebill, papyrus yellow warbler, African fin foot, saddle billed stork, brown crested wattled plover, Carruther’s cist cola, Tabora cist cola, great snipe, Abyssinian ground hornbill and many more.
Allover the mountains are at least 89 species of forest bird 27% of the country’s total.
Mabamba swamp which extends through a narrow bay, miscanthus and cyperus species dominate. This swamp is situated 50km west of Kampala and has got threatened species like pallid harrier and the shoe bills are seen in big numbers. Other species present in this swamp include spur winged, pygmy geese , white winged warbler, gull- billed tern, yellow backed weaver, herons, whiskered terns, northern brown throated weaver, blue headed coucal among oth.
The largest mahogany forest budongo has 340 species of birds which include the African dwarf kingfisher, yellow and grey long bills, crowned eagle, cholate backed kingfisher, red tailed thrush, cassin hawk eagle, pygmy crakes, sabin’s spine tail, brown twin spot, yellow crested wood pecker, little green sun bird, grey headed sun bird Cameroon somber, forest robin and so many others.
Kibale boasts 339 species of birds including bar tailed trogon, fine branded wood pecker/ white billied crested flycatcher. Laying in albertin rift valley, bwambaforest/ semliki forest reserve more than 131 species have recorded of which the congo serpent eagle black throated coucal, grey throated rail, spot- breasted ibis, capuchin babbler, yellow-throated nicator,Northern scrub Robin, Red-chest owlet, western bronze-naped, black-collared lovebird and the quail-finch.
Gazetted in 1991, bwindi host 346 species of birds. It has 8 of 28 globally threatened bird species in Uganda, 4 of which are vulnerable and endangered. Other interesting birds are African green broadbill, Shelley’s crimson wing, black-faced rufous, warbler, graver’s warbler, banded prinia’ Black-faced Apalis, Mountain masked Apalis and the yellow-eyed Black-Flycatcher.
Lastly mgahinga’s vegetation consisting of bamboo forest zone and montane forest belt and also top alpine moorland vegetation has attracted over 115bird species. 4 globally endangered and 390 afro tropical highland biome species are known and scarlet tufted malachite sun bird, are spotted in the park.
AVERY is atraveller in Africa."http://www.katonatours.com">birdingsafari or info@katonatours.com

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