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Field Guides Tour Report
Uganda: Shoebill, Rift Endemics & Gorillas 2014
May 22, 2014 to Jun 12, 2014
Phil Gregory & Jesse Fagan

What was the bird of the trip? Well, that's easy...this one. At least they say it's a bird! (Thanks to participant Rachel Hopper for this great Shoebill image!)

Where to start? I first came to Uganda in 2004 and have been lucky enough to get back on multiple occasions since for what is still one of my favorite tours. It has everything -- great birds, charismatic mammals, friendly people in a vibrant and lively culture, and fantastic scenery. With Jesse co-leading this year, our group was again treated to some wonderful experiences.

Most of the group arrived in time for a pre-tour familiarization at the Botanic Gardens, always useful to set the scene, then next day we started off with rainy conditions for the Shoebill trip at Mabamba, and now I have a 100% record here, six for six. But it was a close-run thing this year, with one Shoebill located right at the very end, just as the guides were blaming water levels, etc. The bird showed very well and stood phlegmatically regarding us at close range, just terrific. We were later to see two more very well down in the Victoria Nile Delta, so it was a splendid trip for us with this very strange bird.

Murchison Falls is always great, and the north bank was heaving with game animals this year -- good numbers of kob, kongoni, oribi, warthogs, giraffe, and around 70 African Elephant, a real treat to see the park in such good heart after good rains. Birds were nice too, with Stanley (Denham's) Bustard, Black-bellied Bustard in display, Abyssinian Ground-Hornbill, White-thighed Hornbill at Kaniyo Pabidi, Martial Eagle, Rock Pratincole at the spectacular Murchison Falls, Black-headed Lapwing, my first Spotted Thick-knees in Uganda, Swallow-tailed, Northern Carmine and Red-throated bee-eaters, a great look at a skulking Grey-headed Bushshrike, and White-crested Turaco right by the lodge as we were leaving.

Driving back to Masindi down the rift valley, we were blessed with an overcast day which made birding the usually baking-hot Butiaba escarpment quite pleasant, with African Hawk-Eagle, Mocking Chat, Chestnut-crowned Sparrow-Weaver, Foxy Cisticola, Cinnamon-breasted Bunting, and Brown-backed Woodpecker being good trip additions. Finding Chimpanzees feeding in the sugar cane near Masindi was also a surprise!

The next day at Budongo was one of those neck-breakers where you long for a canopy tower, but the cultivation proved diverting with Black-bellied Firefinch, Brown Twinspot, Cabanis's Bunting, Marsh Tchagra, and Black-headed Batis. The Royal Mile in dull overcast conditions gave us African Pygmy, Dwarf, and Chocolate-backed kingfishers, Black-throated Apalis, Ituri Batis for some, a great Red-chested Cuckoo, Lemon-bellied Crombec, and Chestnut-capped Flycatcher, and our first crack at Dusky Long-tailed Cuckoo, which turned into an ongoing duel with these Cercoccyx cuckoos for much of the tour! There was also a nice encounter with Chimps again when a small troupe came down the path at the start -- this has become a good place to see them these days.

Over next to Kibale, with a good view of Masked Apalis and Cassin's Honeyguide en route helping to break up the long travel day. The chimps were unusually quiet, but we had a rewarding encounter with a small group feeding in some huge figs. Bigodi Swamp next day gave us Speckle-breasted Woodpecker, Gray-green Bushshrike, a male White-spotted Flufftail for most, Snowy-crowned Robin-Chat, great looks at Narrow-tailed and Purple-headed starlings, and obliging and spectacular Great Blue Turacos making this outing well worthwhile. Black Bee-eater, Blue-throated Roller, and finally Dusky Long-tailed Cuckoo (dug out by Jesse for scope views) were neat additions too.

Queen Elizabeth National Park is a lovely place to stay for a couple of nights at the spectacular Mweya Lodge, and our morning game drive gave us a distant view of a Lion spotted by Dan, along with Temminck's Courser, Collared Pratincole, Red-capped, Rufous-naped, and White-tailed larks, plus White-backed Vultures and Bateleur. The Kazinga Channel boat trip was a fine photographic extravaganza with close ups of elephants, hippos, buffalo, African Skimmer, Pink-backed Pelican, African Spoonbill, Yellow-billed Stork, and a surprise find of Ruddy Turnstone!

Next day were were able to use the newly graded Ishasha section road en route to Bwindi, thankfully not blocked by Congolese trucks this year, and this rewarded us with two amazing sightings -- a distant Lion up a tree was eclipsed later by finding three animals at point blank range right by the track in the park, with a male disdainfully waking up and looking right at us from just above eye-level, simply heart stopping and a great thrill. Not long after this came a second highlight, with an adult Palm-nut Vulture facing off with a large Spitting Cobra in the main track, the snake with head erect and clearly very agitated whilst the vulture warily eyed it up before it made good its escape! See the photo below.

The ancient highland forests of Bwindi and Ruhija are the major place for the Albertine Rift endemics, and with local guide Alfred's help we did well with luxurious Gorilla Camp as a great base -- Archer's Robin-Chat, Blue-headed and Regal sunbirds, Ruwenzori and Black-faced apalises, Ruwenzori Batis, Grauer's Warbler, Stripe-breasted Tit, Grauer's Swamp-Warbler, Red-faced Woodland Warbler, and Strange Weaver. The gorillas were amazing: my group took the scenic route, got to them in 20 minutes near the park entrance, and spent a marvelous hour with the silverback and 8 members of his group -- see the video below of a female swinging on stringybark eucalyptus bark Jesse's group had a more taxing encounter with a much longer trek, but also had a great experience complete with charging silverback, worth the long walk. Mubwindi Swamp was a beautiful walk down through ancient primary forest, with evidence of Forest Elephant everywhere; we even heard one, but then the rain came and we had a damp ascent back out on slick muddy trails, quite tough going but still enjoyable.

Travelling out to Lake Mburo, we managed to get Handsome Francolin on the road in the bamboo zone, saw Western Tinkerbird, and then had a great view of the resident form of Barred Long-tailed Cuckoo after an epic duel. Lake Mburo was a pleasant wind-down in a nice setting, and here we had African Finfoot female with a juvenile, White-backed Night-Heron at nest, Red-faced Barbet, and Black-shouldered Nightjar, with one lucky couple getting a male Pennant-winged Nightjar go over at dawn.

Mabira was the coda, and the traffic to here gets worse each year, we must look at rejigging how we do this. Still the Rainforest Lodge is a nice enough base and we added 7 or 8 species to the trip tally including Gray Longbill, Weyns's Weaver, Yellow-mantled Weaver, Lowland Sooty Boubou, and a marvelous Blue-breasted Kingfisher which we had oddly missed at Budongo. Back then to the Boma and then home after a wonderful Uganda experience.

It was good working with Jesse again, and we had a fun time with our entertaining and good-humored group. Our thanks to Sharon at Field Guides for the logistics, to Far Horizon for excellent local support, and to Johnny and Jude for hard work with the long drives and assorted spotting of great things. Also thanks to Ismail, Vincent, Alfred, and Ibrahim who helped us in their local areas. Safe travels, and we each look forward to seeing you again sometime somewhere!


One of the following keys may be shown in brackets for individual species as appropriate: * = heard only, I = introduced, E = endemic, N = nesting, a = austral migrant, b = boreal migrant

Anatidae (Ducks, Geese, and Waterfowl)

These two Great Blue Turacos made for quite the eyeful! (Photo by guide Phil Gregory)

WHITE-FACED WHISTLING-DUCK (Dendrocygna viduata) – 30 on the Victoria Nile and Terry saw some fly over at dawn at Kazinga Channel.
COMB DUCK (OLD WORLD) (Sarkidiornis melanotos melanotos) – We had 4 fly over at Mabamba and then 3 on the Victoria Nile. Often split from the New World taxon, this is the Knob-billed Duck here.
EGYPTIAN GOOSE (Alopochen aegyptiaca) – 6 day records with small numbers at various wetlands including at Entebbe Botanic Gardens.
SPUR-WINGED GOOSE (Plectropterus gambensis) – Just 5 on the Victoria Nile.
YELLOW-BILLED DUCK (Anas undulata) – 20 at Mabamba, and a couple near Lake Mburo.
Numididae (Guineafowl)
HELMETED GUINEAFOWL (Numida meleagris) – Small numbers in the southern national parks.
Phasianidae (Pheasants, Grouse, and Allies)
COQUI FRANCOLIN (Francolinus coqui) – Heard at Lake Mburo, where they seem to call very little. I posted a recording I made at the tented camp to xenocanto. [*]
CRESTED FRANCOLIN (Francolinus sephaena) – Just a few at Murchison this trip, and a few folks saw it at Lake Mburo.
HEUGLIN'S FRANCOLIN (Francolinus icterorhynchus) – Heard near Masindi, call posted to xenocanto. [*]
RED-NECKED FRANCOLIN (Francolinus afer) – Quite frequent in QENP and then a few at Lake Mburo, one was feeding enthusiastically in elephant dung at the former site!
HANDSOME FRANCOLIN (Francolinus nobilis) – The swamp trekkers heard it and some glimpsed one, whilst the road walkers got 2 up in the bamboo zone, which were luckily there again next day and gave very nice looks.
Ciconiidae (Storks)
AFRICAN OPENBILL (Anastomus lamelligerus) – Small numbers at the wetlands.
WOOLLY-NECKED STORK (Ciconia episcopus) – Seen near Masindi and then 3 in flight high over later. Expect a split from the Asian one soon.
SADDLE-BILLED STORK (Ephippiorhynchus senegalensis) – An adult with 2 juvs. in a swamp in Murchison and a a couple of other singles, always uncommon.
MARABOU STORK (Leptoptilos crumenifer) – Common around Kampala where they scavenge from dumps, we saw over 70 some days, but otherwise only small numbers in the parks.
YELLOW-BILLED STORK (Mycteria ibis) – Just one at the Kazinga Channel.
Phalacrocoracidae (Cormorants and Shags)
GREAT CORMORANT (WHITE-BREASTED) (Phalacrocorax carbo lucidus) – Only seen at Kazinga Channel where white-breasted birds outnumber black ones by 15:1, the taxon lucidus is split by some.
LONG-TAILED CORMORANT (Phalacrocorax africanus) – Small numbers only, best looks at the Kazinga Channel, they have vivid scarlet eyes in breeding dress.
Anhingidae (Anhingas)

One of our Gorillas climbs up for some bark...and gets a swing! (Video clip by guide Phil Gregory)
AFRICAN DARTER (Anhinga rufa rufa) – Very few, only at the Victoria Nile this trip with 5 birds.
Pelecanidae (Pelicans)
PINK-BACKED PELICAN (Pelecanus rufescens) – A flyover at Entebbe and then a handful at the Kazinga Channel, pelicans were scarce this time.
Balaenicipitidae (Shoebill)
SHOEBILL (Balaeniceps rex) – Mabamba came good despite rainy weather, the boatmen were talking about the water being too high when we heard about one being seen, and found it sat close by the channel for very close views. They have definitely got harder to find here but I kept my 100% record, with 6/6 now. Then we had another 2 on the Nile boat trip in the delta, again giving very close views, one of the great charisma birds and as ever a trip highlight.
Scopidae (Hamerkop)
HAMERKOP (Scopus umbretta) – Small numbers were widespread and their huge untidy nests were seen a few times.
Ardeidae (Herons, Egrets, and Bitterns)
LITTLE BITTERN (Ixobrychus minutus payesii) – A fine male in papyrus along the Nile at Murchison.
GRAY HERON (Ardea cinerea) – Small numbers at the wetlands.
BLACK-HEADED HERON (Ardea melanocephala) – Slightly commoner than Grey Heron and seen in drier habitats.
GOLIATH HERON (Ardea goliath) – Very few, just one at Mabamba and then a handful at Murchison.
PURPLE HERON (Ardea purpurea) – A couple of sightings, starting at Mabamba.
GREAT EGRET (Ardea alba) – Very few but seen at most wetlands.
INTERMEDIATE EGRET (Mesophoyx intermedia) – This was only seen at Murchison, very scarce this trip.
LITTLE EGRET (Egretta garzetta) – Small numbers at the wetlands.
CATTLE EGRET (Bubulcus ibis) – Again, just small numbers but quite widespread.
SQUACCO HERON (Ardeola ralloides) – Seen at Mabamba and Murchison.
STRIATED HERON (Butorides striata) – Nice views at Lake Mburo especially.
BLACK-CROWNED NIGHT-HERON (Nycticorax nycticorax) – Only seen at Murchison with 5 on the Nile boat trip.
WHITE-BACKED NIGHT-HERON (Gorsachius leuconotus) – A lucky find, the boatman had a nest staked out in bushes low over the Mburo lake, and we had pretty good looks at 2 adults of this very elusive species, albeit tough to photograph.
Threskiornithidae (Ibises and Spoonbills)
GLOSSY IBIS (Plegadis falcinellus) – Just 2 by the Nile at Murchison.
SACRED IBIS (Threskiornis aethiopicus) – Sparse, just a few at Murchison and then in the rift valley.
HADADA IBIS (Bostrychia hagedash) – Vocal and widespread, we got some great looks at them.

Papyrus Gonolek along the highway near Kampala (Photo by participant Barbara Williams)

AFRICAN SPOONBILL (Platalea alba) – Two fine adults at the Kazinga Channel were the only ones, much as usual.
Pandionidae (Osprey)
OSPREY (Pandion haliaetus) – A single over Lake Albert was the only sighting.
Accipitridae (Hawks, Eagles, and Kites)
BLACK-SHOULDERED KITE (Elanus caeruleus) – 7 day records of singles and once 2 birds.
AFRICAN HARRIER-HAWK (Polyboroides typus) – Widespread with 5 day records, the last at Mabira.
PALM-NUT VULTURE (Gypohierax angolensis) – Six day records, max. 3 birds, the most remarkable being the one in the road facing off to a spitting cobra at Ishasha.
WHITE-HEADED VULTURE (Trigonoceps occipitalis) – Just one over Ishasha, a rare bird nowadays.
LAPPET-FACED VULTURE (Torgos tracheliotus) – Another rarity, in sharp decline, we saw 2 at Lake Mburo with a single next day there.
HOODED VULTURE (Necrosyrtes monachus) – Also in precipitous decline and only seen briefly in Kampala apart from 4 in QENP.
WHITE-BACKED VULTURE (Gyps africanus) – Slightly better with this one as we had 5 day records: 6 in Murchison, 5 in QENP and a group of 14 at Lake Mburo plus 6 more later.
RUEPPELL'S GRIFFON (Gyps rueppellii) – A lucky find with a fine view of at least one at Murchison, and one at QENP.
BATELEUR (Terathopius ecaudatus) – 7 day records from the parks mainly, with a max of 15 in QENP.
BLACK-BREASTED SNAKE-EAGLE (Circaetus pectoralis) – A single at Lake Mburo.
BROWN SNAKE-EAGLE (Circaetus cinereus) – One at Murchison and 3 birds from QENP.
BANDED SNAKE-EAGLE (Circaetus cinerascens) – One sat by the road near Butiaba was a nice find, then we had 2 en route to Hoima.
CROWNED HAWK-EAGLE (Stephanoaetus coronatus) – One calling over the chimp camp, another at Mubwindi briefly, and then 2 in display over Mabira for some of us.
MARTIAL EAGLE (Polemaetus bellicosus) – A couple of sightings from Murchison, one was seen in QENP by one car load, and a fine pale headed imm. at Lake Mburo.
LONG-CRESTED EAGLE (Lophaetus occipitalis) – Widespread, often seen by the roadside on power poles.
WAHLBERG'S EAGLE (Hieraaetus wahlbergi) – Some of us saw this over the Boma pre-trip, then there were 2 at Lake Mburo.
TAWNY EAGLE (Aquila rapax) – 2 at Murchison and one at QENP, with some folks seeing one at Lake Mburo.
AFRICAN HAWK-EAGLE (Aquila spilogaster) – Two fine adults perched on the Butiaba escarpment were a fine trip addition of a very scarce species, which I am not sure I'd seen at rest before.
LIZARD BUZZARD (Kaupifalco monogrammicus) – Widespread, often on power lines.
DARK CHANTING-GOSHAWK (Melierax metabates) – A total of 5 birds from Murchison.
EASTERN CHANTING-GOSHAWK (Melierax poliopterus) – One bird sat by the road near Butiaba had an orange-yellow cere and was presumably this species.
GABAR GOSHAWK (Micronisus gabar) – One near Mabamba and some saw one next day.
AFRICAN MARSH-HARRIER (Circus ranivorus) – 7 at Mabamba and singles near Masindi and at QENP and Lake Mburo.
AFRICAN GOSHAWK (Accipiter tachiro) – One near Masindi, one at Kibale and heard at Bigodi.
SHIKRA (Accipiter badius) – Just singles at the Boma and near Masindi.
RUFOUS-CHESTED SPARROWHAWK (Accipiter rufiventris) – Two day records of 2 birds from the Ruhija area, a new Uganda bird for me!
BLACK GOSHAWK (Accipiter melanoleucus) – Brief views from Bwindi and near The Neck.

This rather impressive Martial Eagle (Photo by participant Rachel Hopper)

BLACK KITE (YELLOW-BILLED) (Milvus migrans parasitus) – Widespread but only in modest numbers <15, split by most these days.
AFRICAN FISH-EAGLE (Haliaeetus vocifer) – Wonderful views from the parks, especially on the boat trips.
MOUNTAIN BUZZARD (Buteo oreophilus) – One on the Mubwindi Swamp trek.
AUGUR BUZZARD (Buteo augur) – Two day records of 3 individuals each time from the Ruhija area.
Otididae (Bustards)
STANLEY BUSTARD (Neotis denhami denhami) – A fine male in Murchison was a good find, usually called Denham's Bustard as stanleyi is the southern race.
BLACK-BELLIED BUSTARD (Lissotis melanogaster) – A displaying and calling male from Murchison, and many folks had one fly over at Lake Mburo.
Rallidae (Rails, Gallinules, and Coots)
AFRICAN CRAKE (Crecopsis egregia) – 3 birds seen in Murchison looked like a family group.
BLACK CRAKE (Amaurornis flavirostra) – Seen nicely on the various boat trips.
EURASIAN MOORHEN (Gallinula chloropus) – Just 2 at Mabamba.
Sarothruridae (Flufftails)
WHITE-SPOTTED FLUFFTAIL (Sarothrura pulchra) – Heard at Royal Mile and Kibale, then almost all got onto a responsive male at Bigodi, sorry Rick!
Heliornithidae (Finfoots)
AFRICAN FINFOOT (Podica senegalensis) – A female with a juv. showed very nicely albeit warily at Lake Mburo.
Gruidae (Cranes)
GRAY CROWNED-CRANE (Balearica regulorum) – 7 day records, widespread but declining, the max. was 15 + 6 at Murchison, then 14 near Kabale.
Burhinidae (Thick-knees)
WATER THICK-KNEE (Burhinus vermiculatus) – Nice looks at Murchison on the Nile and at Kazinga. Some also saw one at night at Lake Mburo.
SENEGAL THICK-KNEE (Burhinus senegalensis) – 7 at Murchison on the Nile boat trip.
SPOTTED THICK-KNEE (Burhinus capensis) – 2 at Murchison in the delta, spotted by Jude, a new Uganda bird for me.
Recurvirostridae (Stilts and Avocets)
BLACK-WINGED STILT (Himantopus himantopus) – Just 4 in QENP on a salt lake there.
Charadriidae (Plovers and Lapwings)
LONG-TOED LAPWING (Vanellus crassirostris) – 15 at Mabamba, then unexpectedly 15 at some waterworks in Kampala and 16 on the Nile boat trip.
SPUR-WINGED PLOVER (Vanellus spinosus) – Small numbers from the parks.
BLACK-HEADED LAPWING (Vanellus tectus) – 5 at Murchison down by the delta, a good trip addition.
SENEGAL LAPWING (Vanellus lugubris) – Seen on two days in QENP with 3 as we came into the park then 8 next day.
WATTLED LAPWING (Vanellus senegallus) – Small numbers in the national parks.
KITTLITZ'S PLOVER (Charadrius pecuarius) – 10 at Murchison and 3 at Kazinga Channel.
Jacanidae (Jacanas)
LESSER JACANA (Microparra capensis) – 5 at Mabamba this is a scarce irruptive migrant and easily missed.

Murchison Falls, where the river rushes through a gap so small you could almost jump across. (Photo by guide Phil Gregory)

AFRICAN JACANA (Actophilornis africanus) – 15 at Mabamba ad 14 from Murchison, small numbers elsewhere.
Scolopacidae (Sandpipers and Allies)
COMMON GREENSHANK (Tringa nebularia) – 2 at Murchison and one at Kazinga.
RUDDY TURNSTONE (Arenaria interpres) – One at the Kazinga Channel was unexpected and a Uganda tick for me. Jesse saw 2 others as well there.
Turnicidae (Buttonquail)
SMALL BUTTONQUAIL (Turnix sylvaticus) – I flushed one in Entebbe Botanic Gardens on a preliminary walk, seen by Ros at least!
Glareolidae (Pratincoles and Coursers)
TEMMINCK'S COURSER (Cursorius temminckii) – Two on QENP were a nice find, they seem to like burnt ground and we seldom see them on this tour.
COLLARED PRATINCOLE (Glareola pratincola) – One at Murchison and about 40 at Kazinga.
ROCK PRATINCOLE (WHITE-NAPED) (Glareola nuchalis nuchalis) – 5 from above Murchison Falls on the rocks there, this is the white-naped eastern race.
Laridae (Gulls, Terns, and Skimmers)
GRAY-HOODED GULL (Chroicocephalus cirrocephalus) – 2 at Mabamba, 4 in the Nile delta and 5 at Kazinga.
GULL-BILLED TERN (Gelochelidon nilotica) – 14 at Murchison, looking small with slender sharp bills, and about 100 at Kazinga.
WHITE-WINGED TERN (Chlidonias leucopterus) – 5 at Kazinga.
WHISKERED TERN (Chlidonias hybrida) – I think some folks saw some way off on Lake Victoria.
AFRICAN SKIMMER (Rynchops flavirostris) – 30 on the Nile at the delta, and 70 at Kazinga, always great to see this odd bird.
Columbidae (Pigeons and Doves)
ROCK PIGEON (Columba livia) – A few in the main urban centres
SPECKLED PIGEON (Columba guinea) – Seen in Kampala and near Kabale, quite local in Uganda.
RAMERON PIGEON (Columba arquatrix) – Great looks up at Ruhija.
BRONZE-NAPED PIGEON (Columba iriditorques) – One calling at Bwindi which flew high overhead at one stage.
MOURNING COLLARED-DOVE (Streptopelia decipiens) – Nice looks along the Nile and again at Kazinga, also very local in Uganda and tied to river systems.
RED-EYED DOVE (Streptopelia semitorquata) – Widespread in small numbers, noisy at the Boma!
RING-NECKED DOVE (Streptopelia capicola) – Only seen at Murchison and Lake Mburo, where it was quite common.
VINACEOUS DOVE (Streptopelia vinacea) – A few from Murchison/Masindi, not easy to tell from Ring-necked unless calling.
LAUGHING DOVE (Streptopelia senegalensis) – Widespread in small numbers.
EMERALD-SPOTTED WOOD-DOVE (Turtur chalcospilos) – Only seen at Lake Mburo, it is a southern species in Uganda.
BLACK-BILLED WOOD-DOVE (Turtur abyssinicus) – Quite common in the north from Murchison.
BLUE-SPOTTED WOOD-DOVE (Turtur afer) – The wood-dove of the wet forests, usually seen as singles and quite common at Bwindi.
TAMBOURINE DOVE (Turtur tympanistria) – Widespread and usually seen as singles.
AFRICAN GREEN-PIGEON (Treron calvus) – Five day records of very small numbers.
Musophagidae (Turacos)

It was a lazy day for the Lions...(Photo by participant Rachel Hopper)

GREAT BLUE TURACO (Corythaeola cristata) – Great views of them in various locations, especially at Kibale Chimp Camp and Bigodi where trees were in fruit.
BLACK-BILLED TURACO (Tauraco schuettii) – Nice looks from Ruhija and Bwindi. A juv. with a short purplish crest was seen at the latter site.
WHITE-CRESTED TURACO (Tauraco leucolophus) – We eventually got them at Paraa Lodge just as we were leaving, just as well as one of my other sites no longer looks suitable!
ROSS'S TURACO (Musophaga rossae) – Lovely looks at Entebbe, near Masindi and a couple of other sites, mostly singles.
BARE-FACED GO-AWAY-BIRD (Corythaixoides personatus) – Great looks from Lake Mburo where they sit up prominently, but only in small numbers and usually in pairs.
EASTERN PLANTAIN-EATER (Crinifer zonurus) – Common around Entebbe and Kampala.
Cuculidae (Cuckoos)
LEVAILLANT'S CUCKOO (Clamator levaillantii) – A good trip for them with singles at some five sites, the first near Masindi.
RED-CHESTED CUCKOO (Cuculus solitarius) – Great looks at the Royal Mile and Bwindi, and heard most days.
BLACK CUCKOO (Cuculus clamosus) – Mainly heard with one being seen near Masindi.
AFRICAN CUCKOO (Cuculus gularis) – A single at Lake Mburo.
DUSKY LONG-TAILED CUCKOO (Cercococcyx mechowi) – Heard at the rainforest sites and seen very nicely at Kibale after Jesse managed to track one down and get the scope on it.
OLIVE LONG-TAILED CUCKOO (Cercococcyx olivinus) – Heard at Bwindi and Ruhija but not responsive.
BARRED LONG-TAILED CUCKOO (Cercococcyx montanus) – Heard at Bwindi, and seen very well at Ruhija where Phil finally spotted the bird that had been calling for ages, always a big score when you get to see one of these Cercococcyx cuckoos. Note that the southern form patulus is about to be split as Njobo's Long-tailed Cuckoo, this one here is the resident version.
KLAAS'S CUCKOO (Chrysococcyx klaas) – Seen nicely several times and quite vocal.
AFRICAN EMERALD CUCKOO (Chrysococcyx cupreus) – Vocal but always hard to see, we saw a fine male at Royal Mile and Bwindi, and a female later at Mubwindi Swamp.
DIDERIC CUCKOO (Chrysococcyx caprius) – Vocal and seen a few times at the drier sites.
YELLOWBILL (Ceuthmochares aereus) – Seen well at The Neck and Ruhija, clambering about in vine tangles; often called Blue Malkoha and split from the southern and eastern one, Green Malkoha.
BLUE-HEADED COUCAL (Centropus monachus) – Four day records, seen well at Mabamba, Murchison and Bwindi.
SENEGAL COUCAL (Centropus senegalensis) – A couple up at Murchison.
WHITE-BROWED COUCAL (Centropus superciliosus) – Six day records of singles from the drier country, seen well at Lake Mburo especially.
Strigidae (Owls)
AFRICAN SCOPS-OWL (Otus senegalensis) – Heard at Lake Mburo, a tough one to get to see. [*]
GRAYISH EAGLE-OWL (Bubo cinerascens) – One at Murchison on the night drive back to the lodge, it flushed up from the road and flew over us.
AFRICAN WOOD-OWL (Strix woodfordii) – Two fine birds were roosting right by Gorilla Camp, for great looks. Heard at Mabira too.
Caprimulgidae (Nightjars and Allies)
PENNANT-WINGED NIGHTJAR (Caprimulgus vexillarius) – One in the track on the Murchison night drive, a male sans pennants, and Terry saw one over his tent at Lake Mburo one dawn.

Gray Crowned-Cranes are, well, just marvelous! (Photo by participant Rachel Hopper)

BLACK-SHOULDERED NIGHTJAR (Caprimulgus nigriscapularis) – Calling at Lake Mburo and successfully taped in, we saw the big white wing and tail spots; the call is very like Fiery-necked Nightjar and there are proposals to lump both this and Ruwenzori Nightjar with that species.
SWAMP NIGHTJAR (Caprimulgus natalensis) – Heard at Lake Mburo, but distant. [*]
SLENDER-TAILED NIGHTJAR (Caprimulgus clarus) – Seen nicely on the dusk drive at Murchison, sat in the road for good looks.
SQUARE-TAILED NIGHTJAR (Caprimulgus fossii) – Heard churring at Lake Mburo and glimpsed by some of us, it did come in and sat on the road, but sadly Johnny came back and flushed it before we could get to see it.
Apodidae (Swifts)
SABINE'S SPINETAIL (Rhaphidura sabini) – Frustrating, we had a couple of really quick glimpses over forest at Royal Mile and Kibale.
ALPINE SWIFT (Apus melba) – A couple of folks saw one flash by at Bigodi Swamp, they breed up in the Ruwenzoris here.
LITTLE SWIFT (Apus affinis) – Common at roadside culverts.
WHITE-RUMPED SWIFT (Apus caffer) – 4 near Masindi and 6 at Lake Mburo.
AFRICAN PALM-SWIFT (Cypsiurus parvus) – Widespread wherever there were palms.
Coliidae (Mousebirds)
SPECKLED MOUSEBIRD (Colius striatus) – Seen almost every day of the trip.
BLUE-NAPED MOUSEBIRD (Urocolius macrourus) – The dry thorn scrub mousebird, we saw them at Murchison and very nicely feeding on berries at Lake Mburo.
Trogonidae (Trogons)
NARINA TROGON (Apaloderma narina) – Calling at Kaniyo Pabidi, and a very nice male was attracted in at Royal Mile.
BAR-TAILED TROGON (Apaloderma vittatum) – Seen well at Bwindi after it began calling.
Alcedinidae (Kingfishers)
SHINING-BLUE KINGFISHER (Alcedo quadribrachys) – Glimpsed at Bigodi, it was very shy and elusive this time.
MALACHITE KINGFISHER (Corythornis cristatus) – Lovely views from most wetlands.
AFRICAN PYGMY-KINGFISHER (Ispidina picta) – A couple at Entebbe Botanic Gardens and a few sightings from Murchison.
DWARF KINGFISHER (Ispidina lecontei) – As always only seen at Royal Mile, a great place to get this tough to find species, which was nesting in a hole in a bank there.
CHOCOLATE-BACKED KINGFISHER (Halcyon badia) – Heard at Kaniyo Pabidi and then seen quite well at Royal Mile, the usual place for it.
GRAY-HEADED KINGFISHER (Halcyon leucocephala) – Two immatures near Masindi were odd as they lacked the chestnut belly, but later adults were seen very nicely at Murchison and other drier sites.
WOODLAND KINGFISHER (Halcyon senegalensis) – Common and vocal, I got a nice tape of the bird calling at that service station at Kasese.
BLUE-BREASTED KINGFISHER (Halcyon malimbica) – Heard at Kaniyo Pabidi and Kibale but oddly not at the Royal Mile where we usually get it. Fortunately we had a fine bird sat over a pond at Mabira on the very last day, I had feared a dip!
STRIPED KINGFISHER (Halcyon chelicuti) – Good views from Masindi, Murchison and Lake Mburo.
GIANT KINGFISHER (Megaceryle maximus) – A terrific look at a male on the Nile boat cruise, a spectacular species.

This Temminck's Courser blended beautifully into the background, but with a little extra ornamentation. (Photo by guide Phil Gregory)

PIED KINGFISHER (Ceryle rudis) – Common on Lake Victoria and at most wetlands, with great views at colonies on the boat trips.
Meropidae (Bee-eaters)
BLACK BEE-EATER (Merops gularis) – Lovely looks at this highly desired species from Kibale and Bwindi, with an imm. at the former site.
RED-THROATED BEE-EATER (Merops bulocki) – Great looks along the Nile, but in much smaller numbers than usual.
LITTLE BEE-EATER (Merops pusillus) – Best views were from Lake Mburo where they were very obvious on the game drives.
BLUE-BREASTED BEE-EATER (Merops variegatus) – We made a special effort and got this one from Mabamba, with bad views later near Butiaba for some. The white cheek stripe is a good field character, as is the wetter habitat than Little Bee-eater.
CINNAMON-CHESTED BEE-EATER (Merops oreobates) – Seen well in the tea estate highlands and then near Kabale.
SWALLOW-TAILED BEE-EATER (Merops hirundineus) – Great looks from Murchison and then en route to Butiaba in the rift valley.
WHITE-THROATED BEE-EATER (Merops albicollis) – A few near Butiaba, a strong migrant.
MADAGASCAR BEE-EATER (Merops superciliosus) – Just a single in QENP, we usually see far more.
NORTHERN CARMINE BEE-EATER (Merops nubicus) – Great looks from Murchison, one spectacular bird.
Coraciidae (Rollers)
LILAC-BREASTED ROLLER (Coracias caudatus) – As always only seen from the Lake Mburo area, the most on wires in towns as we came out.
BROAD-BILLED ROLLER (Eurystomus glaucurus) – Widespread and seen well.
BLUE-THROATED ROLLER (Eurystomus gularis) – Most folks saw this at Kibale chimp camp, and there was one briefly on the Mubwindi trek.
Phoeniculidae (Woodhoopoes and Scimitar-bills)
WHITE-HEADED WOODHOOPOE (Phoeniculus bollei) – Nice views from Bwindi and then Ruhija, this species was the big #5000 for Pete too, see the photo on the website.
COMMON SCIMITAR-BILL (Rhinopomastus cyanomelas) – A good look at 2 along the Ishasha road.
Bucerotidae (Hornbills)
CROWNED HORNBILL (Tockus alboterminatus) – A few around Kampala and Entebbe, also at Masindi.
AFRICAN PIED HORNBILL (Tockus fasciatus) – Luckily we got a fne bird calling by the main road not far from the Equator near Kampala, I had feared a dip as it is quite local in Uganda. Photo on the Internet Bird Collection (IBC) and FG website.
AFRICAN GRAY HORNBILL (Tockus nasutus) – Quite common in Murchison and Lake Mburo, and very vocal.
BLACK-AND-WHITE-CASQUED HORNBILL (Ceratogymna subcylindrica) – Big, spectacular and quite widespread, we saw them very well and had especially fine looks at Bigodi wetlands. The female lacks the large casque of the male.
WHITE-THIGHED HORNBILL (Ceratogymna albotibialis) – This is quite a scarce species, we had a great view at Kaniyo Pabidi and then saw them near the Royal Mile.
Bucorvidae (Ground-Hornbills)
ABYSSINIAN GROUND-HORNBILL (Bucorvus abyssinicus) – One of my favourites, we found a pair in the forest at Kaniyo Pabidi which seems a good site for them, then had a total of 9 birds on one day in Murchison, with 4, 2 2 then a single. Wonderful in flight with that huge white wing patch.
Lybiidae (African Barbets)
YELLOW-BILLED BARBET (Trachyphonus purpuratus) – Three nice sightings from Royal Mile, Bigodi then Mabira, a most outlandish looking thing.
GRAY-THROATED BARBET (Gymnobucco bonapartei) – Good views from Bwindi and Ruhija, the two nasal tufts look like mini-pipe cleaners!
SPECKLED TINKERBIRD (Pogoniulus scolopaceus) – Seen well at Bwindi and Kibale.

Rothschild's Giraffe (Photo by participant Rachel Hopper)

WESTERN TINKERBIRD (Pogoniulus coryphaea) – Two singles up at Ruhija as always, the swamp trek folks caught up with one next day, a striking and uncommon bird.
YELLOW-THROATED TINKERBIRD (Pogoniulus subsulphureus) – Widespread in the rainforests at the lower and mid-levels.
YELLOW-RUMPED TINKERBIRD (Pogoniulus bilineatus) – Seen well at Bwindi and Ruhija, and often heard.
YELLOW-FRONTED TINKERBIRD (Pogoniulus chrysoconus) – Very vocal, the first were at the Boma, and it was often heard in the lower areas.
YELLOW-SPOTTED BARBET (Buccanodon duchaillui) – Seen nicely at Kibale.
HAIRY-BREASTED BARBET (Tricholaema hirsuta) – Seen well at Bwindi, some saw it at Bigodi, then again at Mabira.
SPOT-FLANKED BARBET (Tricholaema lacrymosa) – Seen in Murchison, QENP and then at Lake Mburo where 3 birds visited a nest hole and one was often seen peeking out, maybe co-operative breeding going on here?
WHITE-HEADED BARBET (Lybius leucocephalus) – First near Masindi in figs, then again at Lake Mburo.
RED-FACED BARBET (Lybius rubrifacies) – Once again we did well with this rather rare and local bird from its only Uganda site at Lake Mburo, with a single on one day and 5 birds the next.
BLACK-BILLED BARBET (Lybius guifsobalito) – An attractive diminutive species that we saw at Murchison and then at Butiaba.
DOUBLE-TOOTHED BARBET (Lybius bidentatus) – Scarce this tour, we did see them at Entebbe early on and then near Masindi.
Indicatoridae (Honeyguides)
CASSIN'S HONEYGUIDE (Prodotiscus insignis) – One nice close bird at the Kibale roadside stop near Fort Portal.
DWARF HONEYGUIDE (Indicator pumilio) – A rare and localized one that we seem to find nicely at Ruhija, where we had one calling and seen badly on the swamp walk, then much better looks at a calling bird in the usual spot near the exit gate next day. The small stubby bill is a useful character.
WILLCOCKS'S HONEYGUIDE (Indicator willcocksi) – Seen well at Royal Mile and then Bwindi.
LESSER HONEYGUIDE (Indicator minor) – Heard at Murchison only. [*]
GREATER HONEYGUIDE (Indicator indicator) – A fine view of one at the Ishasha gate, then another heard at Lake Mburo, this is the classic one that gets people to follow it to bee nests.
Picidae (Woodpeckers)
NUBIAN WOODPECKER (Campethera nubica) – Great views of a male in QENP.
TULLBERG'S WOODPECKER (Campethera tullbergi) – A fine showy male by the school track at Ruhija.
BUFF-SPOTTED WOODPECKER (Campethera nivosa) – Briefly seen at Kibale, then much better at Bwindi.
BROWN-EARED WOODPECKER (Campethera caroli) – Some saw it at Kaniyo Pabidi, then one showed well at Bigodi.
SPECKLE-BREASTED WOODPECKER (Dendropicos poecilolaemus) – Our usual place is at Bigodi, and once again we saw had fine views of two birds, one some sort of odd subadult in an unfamiliar plumage. Used to be called Uganda Spotted Woodpecker, a much nicer name.
CARDINAL WOODPECKER (Dendropicos fuscescens) – One male in Murchison, then also seen at Bwindi and Lake Mburo.
GOLDEN-CROWNED WOODPECKER (Dendropicos xantholophus) – Just a single at Royal Mile.
ELLIOT'S WOODPECKER (Dendropicos elliotii) – Great looks from Bwindi, our usual site for it.
GRAY WOODPECKER (Dendropicos goertae) – Seen at Boma, Masindi, near Royal Mile and Bigodi.

African Finfoot: there are only three finfoots in the world, each one a very classy bird! (Photo by participant Rachel Hopper)

BROWN-BACKED WOODPECKER (Dendropicos obsoletus) – One flew across at Butiaba and I think many folks saw it better than I did!
Falconidae (Falcons and Caracaras)
EURASIAN KESTREL (Falco tinnunculus) – Just 4 birds near Kampala near the end of the tour, this is the local race rufescens.
GRAY KESTREL (Falco ardosiaceus) – We had a number of nice sightings from Entebbe, Kampala and Ishasha.
RED-NECKED FALCON (Falco chicquera) – Barbara found us one in Luwero, and we had another unexpectedly near the Royal Mile, a species that is easily missed on tour.
LANNER FALCON (Falco biarmicus) – The non-swamp walkers had one near the Ruhija lodge.
Psittacidae (Parrots)
RED-HEADED LOVEBIRD (Agapornis pullarius) – Phil found a cracking male feeding on sorghum in the cultivation as we went to The Neck, elusive and also easily missed. Dan saw it at Paraa too.
GRAY PARROT (Psittacus erithacus) – Seen twice near Entebbe, even at the Boma in fact pre-trip, and a flock of 12 at Busingiro near Masindi was a good count for a declining species. Finally there was one over Bigodi, a good site for it.
MEYER'S PARROT (Poicephalus meyeri) – Quite common around the Boma and Kampala, also seen at Lake Mburo.
Calyptomenidae (African and Green Broadbills)
AFRICAN BROADBILL (Smithornis capensis) – A good look at one at Bwindi, in display on a branch in mid-stratum.
Platysteiridae (Wattle-eyes and Batises)
BROWN-THROATED WATTLE-EYE (Platysteira cyanea) – Heard more than seen, starting at Entebbe then nicely at Mabamba and Murchison. The species is named after the brown throat of the female.
CHESTNUT WATTLE-EYE (Platysteira castanea) – Good looks at the Royal Mile, Bwindi and Mabira, could be quite Batis-like but the rainforest habitat is a clue.
JAMESON'S WATTLE-EYE (Platysteira jamesoni) – Heard at Royal Mile but unresponsive, I have not seen this species for some years now. [*]
RUWENZORI BATIS (Batis diops) – This Albertine Rift Endemic gave nice looks at Ruhija, where it is sympatric with Chinspot Batis.
CHINSPOT BATIS (Batis molitor) – A couple at Ruhija and Lake Mburo.
BLACK-HEADED BATIS (Batis minor) – One at the cultivation near Masindi, told by the narrower black chest band than Chinspot. They can show grey on the crown too.
ITURI BATIS (Batis ituriensis) – One very elusive bird at neck breaking height at Royal Mile, a few of us eventually got to see it sit out. Anything with the evocative name Ituri is bound to be good!
Vangidae (Vangas, Helmetshrikes, and Allies)
AFRICAN SHRIKE-FLYCATCHER (Megabyas flammulatus) – One male at Royal Mile was a good pick up of an uncommon bird.
BLACK-AND-WHITE SHRIKE-FLYCATCHER (Bias musicus) – Good views at Entebbe, Bigodi and Bwindi. I greatly prefer the old name of Vanga Flycatcher instead of the prosaic and cumbersome new name!
Malaconotidae (Bushshrikes and Allies)

Hmmm... (Photo by participant Rachel Hopper)

BRUBRU (Nilaus afer) – Seen very nicely once again in Lake Mburo NP after a first up at Murchison. Once you know the call they become easier to find!
NORTHERN PUFFBACK (Dryoscopus gambensis) – Very few, just at Entebbe and near Masindi this trip.
PINK-FOOTED PUFFBACK (Dryoscopus angolensis) – Sen at Bwindi and Ruhija, where we had an odd experience with a bird down at Mubwindi Swamp that had bright yellow eyes, it was initially called a Batis until I saw it lacked a breast band and had the wing pattern of a puffback. What is going on here? We will write a note for the African Bird Club journal and check with the Dowsetts about this.
MARSH TCHAGRA (Tchagra minutus) – Great looks near Masindi and again at Murro, an elusive bird.
BLACK-CROWNED TCHAGRA (Tchagra senegalus) – A few records from the drier areas, more often heard than seen.
BROWN-CROWNED TCHAGRA (Tchagra australis) – Seven day records were more than usual, we saw them very well at Bigodi and near Masindi and Ruhija.
LUEHDER'S BUSHSHRIKE (Laniarius luehderi) – Seen well at Bwindi as usual, always good to get this one to show.
TROPICAL BOUBOU (Laniarius aethiopicus) – Seen near Masindi, The Neck and at Lake Mburo, not very common here.
BLACK-HEADED GONOLEK (Laniarius erythrogaster) – This striking and noisy bird was very visible and showed well at The Boma, Masindi, QENP and Lake Mburo.
PAPYRUS GONOLEK (Laniarius mufumbiri) – Johnny had a spot by the main road in Kampala and we got great views of them here, see the photos on the web page and IBC. Heard at sundry other papyrus swamps but we did not really try for them again.
SOOTY BOUBOU (Laniarius leucorhynchus) – Great looks at Mabira, it showed very well and climbed up quite high in the mid-stratum.
WILLARD'S SOOTY BOUBOU (Laniarius willardi) – Heard briefly at The Neck, some calls are like Mountain Sooty Boubou but one trilled series is supposedly diagnostic...... A recent split from the latter species, differing in voice and eye colour. [*]
MOUNTAIN SOOTY BOUBOU (Laniarius poensis) – Seen up a Ruhija lurking in the depths of a vine tangle, and heard at Mubwindi.
GRAY-GREEN BUSHSHRIKE (Telophorus bocagei) – Some good looks at Bigodi and then Bwindi of this odd small bush-shrike, which was calling daily by the tents at Gorilla Camp.
SULPHUR-BREASTED BUSHSHRIKE (Telophorus sulfureopectus) – One was seen well at Luwero and it was heard at various sites.
MANY-COLORED BUSHSHRIKE (Telophorus multicolor) – A tough one, it actually showed pretty well at Bwindi, and then again at The Neck, lucky it began calling. It was being persistently chased by a male Petit's Cuckooshrike, I wonder if it was being mistaken for a female?
DOHERTY'S BUSHSHRIKE (Telophorus dohertyi) – The swamp group saw it en route back up from Mubwindi, and the roadside group also had it, a fantastic member of a great family but not calling much this year at all.
GRAY-HEADED BUSHSHRIKE (Malaconotus blanchoti) – This was calling at Murchison and after a lengthy search Barbara spotted it at the back of a tall leafy tree and we had very nice looks. One we often don't get to see.
Campephagidae (Cuckooshrikes)
GRAY CUCKOOSHRIKE (Coracina caesia) – A couple of sightings from Ruhija.
BLACK CUCKOOSHRIKE (Campephaga flava) – The female bird at Lake Mburo seemed to have an olivey crown and Johnny seemed happy with it as this species, the females of this and Red-shouldered are very similar.
PETIT'S CUCKOOSHRIKE (Campephaga petiti) – Nice looks at both sexes at Bwindi. A male was persistently chasing a Many-coloured Bush-shrike here.

White-necked Raven in Ruhija (Photo by guide Phil Gregory)

RED-SHOULDERED CUCKOOSHRIKE (Campephaga phoenicea) – A male near Masindi then a couple in the park at Murchison, before a final grayish-crowned female at Lake Mburo.
Laniidae (Shrikes)
GRAY-BACKED FISCAL (Lanius excubitorius) – Quite common in the drier areas, usually in small groups of 3-4.
MACKINNON'S SHRIKE (Lanius mackinnoni) – Good views of a couple near Bwindi and one right by Gorilla Camp each morning.
NORTHERN FISCAL (Lanius humeralis) – Localized in Uganda, we saw them Masindi and Kabale and had a juv. near Bwindi.
Oriolidae (Old World Orioles)
WESTERN BLACK-HEADED ORIOLE (Oriolus brachyrhynchus) – One at Royal Mile and one at Mabira.
AFRICAN BLACK-HEADED ORIOLE (Oriolus larvatus) – Heard at Masindi and Murchison, but the only sighting was a brief flyby of 2 at Lake Mburo as we were leaving.
BLACK-TAILED ORIOLE (Oriolus percivali) – Seen well on the Mubwindi Swamp trek and often heard in these higher altitude wet forests; also called Montane Oriole.
Dicruridae (Drongos)
FORK-TAILED DRONGO (Dicrurus adsimilis) – Surprisingly scarce, the first was at Luwero, and we had others at QENP and Lake Mburo.
VELVET-MANTLED DRONGO (Dicrurus modestus modestus) – One at Mabira was a nice find of this forest dwelling species.
Monarchidae (Monarch Flycatchers)
BLUE-HEADED CRESTED-FLYCATCHER (Trochocercus nitens) – Heard at Mabira but not responsive. [*]
BLACK-HEADED PARADISE-FLYCATCHER (Terpsiphone rufiventer) – Seen in the rainforest areas at Budongo, though one at Entebbe Botanic Gardens was unexpected.
AFRICAN PARADISE-FLYCATCHER (Terpsiphone viridis) – Widespread in the drier forest areas and at Bwindi, where one was sat on a tiny nest.
Corvidae (Crows, Jays, and Magpies)
PIAPIAC (Ptilostomus afer) – Nice looks at this strange colonial corvid en route to and from Murchison.
PIED CROW (Corvus albus) – Widespread in small numbers.
WHITE-NECKED RAVEN (Corvus albicollis) – One flying over at Bwindi was a surprise, then 2 seen well up at the lodge at Ruhija.
Nicatoridae (Nicators)
YELLOW-SPOTTED NICATOR (Nicator chloris) – We were able to tape one in in the farmbush at Murro, and then again at Bigodi, which was great as it's now placed in its own family. More usually called Western Nicator.
Alaudidae (Larks)

Northern Carmine Bee-eaters (Photo by guide Jesse Fagan)

WHITE-TAILED LARK (Mirafra albicauda) – This was a nice surprise, with several in the road at QENP.
RUFOUS-NAPED LARK (Mirafra africana) – One near Mabamba was unexpected, then we had a few in QENP.
FLAPPET LARK (Mirafra rufocinnamomea) – The distinctive flappeting noise was often heard, and we saw them at Butiaba, QENP and Lake Mburo.
RED-CAPPED LARK (Calandrella cinerea) – Two in QENP were a surprise and a Uganda tick for Phil.
Hirundinidae (Swallows)
PLAIN MARTIN (Riparia paludicola) – Only along the Kazinga Channel again this year, with 20+ birds seen.
BANDED MARTIN (Riparia cincta) – One near Mabamba and 7 over grassland in QENP.
ROCK MARTIN (Ptyonoprogne fuligula) – Only see near Bwindi.
ANGOLA SWALLOW (Hirundo angolensis) – Widespread around Entebbe and Mabamba, with a few at Kibale and Ruhija, the common Uganda swallow.
WIRE-TAILED SWALLOW (Hirundo smithii) – A few along the Nile and at the Kazinga Channel.
RED-RUMPED SWALLOW (Cecropis daurica) – Just a single at Mabamba, and some of us saw it at Kazinga.
LESSER STRIPED-SWALLOW (Cecropis abyssinica) – Widespread around Entebbe and Mabamba, also at Lake Mburo, a common lowland species.
RUFOUS-CHESTED SWALLOW (Cecropis semirufa) – Just 6 near Mabamba.
MOSQUE SWALLOW (Cecropis senegalensis) – Two near Masindi and seen well at Lake Mburo.
WHITE-HEADED SAWWING (Psalidoprocne albiceps) – Common and quite widespread in the lowlands and hills, the males are distinctive but females very tricky.
BLACK SAWWING (Psalidoprocne pristoptera) – Seen at Bwindi and up at Ruhija, where it nests in roadside banks, it seems to be a high altitude species here. I am still bothered by the many all black birds we saw at the Royal Mile, field separation from female White-headed Saw-wing is very tricky.
GRAY-RUMPED SWALLOW (Pseudhirundo griseopyga) – Just 2 near Mabamba once again were a nice find of what is a scarce bird in Uganda.
Stenostiridae (Fairy Flycatchers)
AFRICAN BLUE-FLYCATCHER (Elminia longicauda) – Great looks at Bigodi Swamp, a very attractive little bird that constantly fans its tail.
WHITE-TAILED BLUE-FLYCATCHER (Elminia albicauda) – This beautiful little bird showed very well at Gorilla Camp Bwindi, and was seen later near Ruhija.
WHITE-TAILED CRESTED-FLYCATCHER (Elminia albonotata) – Heard up at Ruhija, my first Ugandan record of this uncommon skulking species. [*]
Paridae (Chickadees and Tits)
WHITE-WINGED BLACK-TIT (Melaniparus leucomelas) – We got 3 of this scarce East African bird at Lake Mburo.
WHITE-SHOULDERED BLACK-TIT (Melaniparus guineensis) – We again this trip saw 4 of this dark-eyed species near Mabamba.
DUSKY TIT (Melaniparus funereus) – The first was at Kibale, then seen again up at Ruhija.
STRIPE-BREASTED TIT (Melaniparus fasciiventer) – Nice looks along the school trail at Ruhija and along the road later, this is an Albertine Rift Endemic.
Pycnonotidae (Bulbuls)
SLENDER-BILLED GREENBUL (Stelgidillas gracilirostris gracilirostris) – Seen well at the Royal Mile, Bwindi and Kibale, nice that it sits up high!
COMMON BRISTLEBILL (Bleda syndactylus woosnami) – Heard at Budongo, Kibale, Bigodi and then again at Bwindi, far more often heard than seen. [*]
LESSER BRISTLEBILL (Bleda notatus ugandae) – Terry saw this by his cabin at Mabira Lodge.

A lovely pair of Woodland Kingfishers (Photo by guide Jesse Fagan)

SHELLEY'S GREENBUL (KAKAMEGA) (Arizelocichla masukuensis kakamegae) – Seen at Bwindi and The Neck, this race is usually split as Kakamega Greenbul these days.
EASTERN MOUNTAIN-GREENBUL (OLIVE-BREASTED) (Arizelocichla nigriceps kikuyuensis) – Now split out from A. tephrolaemus, we saw his species very nicely at Mubwindi and Ruhija. The IOC actually split this as Olive-breasted Greenbul A. kikuyuensis so the choice is yours!
HONEYGUIDE GREENBUL (Baeopogon indicator indicator) – Seen at Bwindi, the female has a dark eye, and heard at Budongo and Kibale.
YELLOW-THROATED GREENBUL (Atimastillas flavicollis) – Singles seen well at Masindi then at Lake Mburo from the boat.
SPOTTED GREENBUL (Ixonotus guttatus) – Johny spotted a flock of 5 out in an isolated tree in cultivation en route to Hoima, a very odd site for what is basically a species of primary forest. The white underparts and undertail are very distinctive, as are the wing spots and clicking call.
RED-TAILED GREENBUL (Criniger calurus emini) – Seen well at Bwindi, Ruhija and Mabira.
GRAY GREENBUL (Eurillas gracilis ugandae) – Two at Kaniyo Pabidi were the only record.
ANSORGE'S GREENBUL (Eurillas ansorgei) – This small greenbul with the gingery undertail coverts and reddish tail was seen at Bwindi and The Neck. The call is a very distinctive quite fast dry ticking "tik-chik-tik".
PLAIN GREENBUL (Eurillas curvirostris) – One at Kaniyo Pabidi, several sightings from Bwindi and 2 at Mabira, they resemble Little Greenbul but have whitish around the eye, and a distinct call. Formerly called Cameroon Sombre Greenbul.
YELLOW-WHISKERED GREENBUL (Eurillas latirostris) – Vocal in the higher altitude wet forest and seen well at Bwindi and Ruhija.
LITTLE GREENBUL (Eurillas virens virens) – Heard more than seen, we had a few sightings from Bwindi and the Mabira.
TORO OLIVE-GREENBUL (Phyllastrephus hypochloris) – The confusing bird was shown to us by Alfred at Bwindi, but the call I taped was actually that of Little Greenbul when i checked it later, it was clearly calling close by.
WHITE-THROATED GREENBUL (Phyllastrephus albigularis albigularis) – Heard at Royal Mile, then seen well at Mabira where it seems to be quite common, the reddish tail was a useful character.
YELLOW-STREAKED GREENBUL (YELLOW-STREAKED) (Phyllastrephus flavostriatus olivaceogriseus) – Nice looks at this one on the Mubwindi swamp trek and again next day at Ruhija, this taxon olivaceogriseus doesn't seem to wing flick and I suspect may actually be a split.
COMMON BULBUL (DARK-CAPPED) (Pycnonotus barbatus tricolor) – Seen every single day of the trip, even down at Mubwindi Swamp!
Macrosphenidae (African Warblers)

African Jacana (Photo by participant Rachel Hopper)

GREEN CROMBEC (Sylvietta virens) – Good views of this at a nest at Kibale, low down in the shrubs near the road.
LEMON-BELLIED CROMBEC (Sylvietta denti) – One quite vocal bird at Royal Mile, its only site in East Africa.
WHITE-BROWED CROMBEC (Sylvietta leucophrys) – Heard at Ruhija but not responsive this trip [*]
RED-FACED CROMBEC (Sylvietta whytii) – Heard at Lake Mburo but also stayed out of sight. [*]
MOUSTACHED GRASS-WARBLER (Melocichla mentalis) – Quite often heard and seen several times, the best being in the cultivation at Murro.
YELLOW LONGBILL (Macrosphenus flavicans) – Heard at Mabira. [*]
GRAY LONGBILL (Macrosphenus concolor) – One at Mabira showed quite well.
GRAUER'S WARBLER (Graueria vittata) – This cryptic Albertine Rift Endemic has a great quiet purring call, and showed in dense tangles at Ruhija. One of Phil's favourites, such an obscure and skulking bird.
GREEN HYLIA (Hylia prasina) – Vocal but hard to see, we got it nicely at Kaniyo Pabidi and Mabira and it was often heard in the wet forests.
Cettiidae (Bush-Warblers and Allies)
CHESTNUT-CAPPED FLYCATCHER (Erythrocercus mccallii) – Seen nicely at the Royal Mile, an uncommon primarily West African species.
Phylloscopidae (Leaf-Warblers)
RED-FACED WOODLAND-WARBLER (Phylloscopus laetus) – One at Bwindi, an Albertine rift endemic.
BROWN WOODLAND-WARBLER (Phylloscopus umbrovirens alpinus) – This was an odd dull Phylloscopus I saw quite high in the canopy on the Mubwindi Swamp trek, very dull and quite brownish on the chest, it was only later I realized Brown Woodland Warbler occurs here. This was a Uganda tick for me and I think several others got onto it.
Acrocephalidae (Reed-Warblers and Allies)
MOUNTAIN YELLOW-WARBLER (Iduna similis) – Seen very well singing on the Mubwindi trek, and then again next day in the bamboo at Ruhija.
LESSER SWAMP-WARBLER (Acrocephalus gracilirostris) – Heard on the Nile at Murchison. [*]
GREATER SWAMP-WARBLER (Acrocephalus rufescens) – Some folks heard this at the Kazinga Channel road crossing. [*]
Locustellidae (Grassbirds and Allies)
FAN-TAILED GRASSBIRD (Schoenicola brevirostris) – The bird formerly called Broad-tailed Warbler has now been renamed, even though it doesn't have a fan tail and is not a grassbird as such, such are the vagaries of bird names. We got a scope view of a singing one in the lush grasslands at QENP.
EVERGREEN-FOREST WARBLER (Bradypterus lopezi barakae) – Heard at Mubwindi, this is the race barakae and may well be a split as it seems quite distinctive. [*]
CINNAMON BRACKEN-WARBLER (Bradypterus cinnamomeus) – Heard up at Ruhija, giving a couple of distinct calls which I posted on xenocanto. [*]
GRAUER'S SWAMP-WARBLER (Bradypterus graueri) – This is always tricky, but we eventually managed to get a couple to sit up a few times. It's a rare and localized Albertine Rift Endemic and this is the second largest site population apparently.
WHITE-WINGED SWAMP-WARBLER (Bradypterus carpalis) – Frustrating, we heard it at several papyrus swamps and tried hard on the Victoria Nile and at Kazinga without success. [*]
Cisticolidae (Cisticolas and Allies)

Black-and-white Casqued Hornbills (Photo by guide Jesse Fagan)

RUWENZORI APALIS (Apalis ruwenzorii) – This Albertine Rift Endemic gave nice looks at Ruhija after bit of a duel.
BLACK-CAPPED APALIS (Apalis nigriceps collaris) – Heard at Royal Mile only. [*]
BLACK-THROATED APALIS (Apalis jacksoni jacksoni) – Nice views at Budongo, Bwindi and then Mubwindi.
MASKED APALIS (Apalis binotata) – We got an immediate response to the tape, and saw one very well on the Kibale escarpment, the only place that we get this elusive species.
BLACK-FACED APALIS (Apalis personata) – Mountain Masked Apalis is an Albertine Rift Endemic, and we got to see it at Bwindi and Ruhija.
YELLOW-BREASTED APALIS (Apalis flavida caniceps) – A nice look at one at Lake Mburo.
BUFF-THROATED APALIS (Apalis rufogularis nigrescens) – Quite noisy and seen well at Budongo, Kibale and Bwindi.
CHESTNUT-THROATED APALIS (Apalis porphyrolaema affinis) – Seen well up at Ruhija, it has a great dry purring call a bit like a phone tone.
GRAY APALIS (Apalis cinerea cinerea) – Seen well at the Kibale escarpment and then Bwindi, also at The Neck.
GREEN-BACKED CAMAROPTERA (GRAY-BACKED) (Camaroptera brachyura brevicaudata) – Widespread, seen at Entebbe, QENP and Lake Mburo. This is actually the Grey-backed Camaroptera, often split from the nominate Green-backed taxon. I still like the name Bleating Bush Warbler....
OLIVE-GREEN CAMAROPTERA (Camaroptera chloronota toroensis) – One was seen well at Budongo and it was heard at Bwindi and Kibale.
WHITE-CHINNED PRINIA (Schistolais leucopogon) – This striking species was seen at Kibale escarpment and Bwindi.
RED-FACED CISTICOLA (Cisticola erythrops sylvia) – First near Masindi, then at Murchison, also often heard in the cultivation.
SINGING CISTICOLA (Cisticola cantans belli) – We saw one well in the cultivation near Buhoma.
WHISTLING CISTICOLA (Cisticola lateralis antinorii) – Seen near Masindi and near Butiaba.
TRILLING CISTICOLA (Cisticola woosnami woosnami) – Common and vocal in QENP.
CHUBB'S CISTICOLA (Cisticola chubbi chubbi) – Noisy up at Bwindi and Ruhija, the first were on the escarpment near Fort Portal. The black gape is quite distinctive as is the loud musical voice.
RATTLING CISTICOLA (Cisticola chiniana simplex) – Common in Murchison only, a Cisticola of the thorn scrub .
WINDING CISTICOLA (WINDING) (Cisticola galactotes marginatus) – The default Cisticola, seen and heard in most wetlands, the red on the wings is a good field character as is the dry winding voice. A young bird at Ishasha was tinged yellowish below.
CARRUTHERS'S CISTICOLA (Cisticola carruthersi) – Always tough, we heard it on the Victoria Nile and the Mubwindi Swamp trekkers got to see it there.
STOUT CISTICOLA (Cisticola robustus nuchalis) – A pleasing find on the Ishasha section, we saw and heard it nicely then got onto an arboreal Lion.....It was one of 8 Cisticola species today (and we missed Chubb's!)
CROAKING CISTICOLA (Cisticola natalensis strangei) – This large bird showed nicely at Masindi, Murchison, QENP and Lake Mburo,
TABORA CISTICOLA (Cisticola angusticauda) – Dan and Terry saw this tricky one at Lake Mburo, the only site on the tour for it.
SIFFLING CISTICOLA (Cisticola brachypterus hypoxanthus) – Nondescript or what? We saw them en route to Masindi and at Murchison and Lake Mburo, presumably the race hypoxanthus.
FOXY CISTICOLA (Cisticola troglodytes troglodytes) – A couple seen very well at the usual Butiaba site. An uncommon and very distinctive cisticola.
ZITTING CISTICOLA (Cisticola juncidis uropygialis) – Heard and seen at Murchison, Butiaba and QENP, the zitting call is a characteristic sound of the grasslands.
GRAY-CAPPED WARBLER (Eminia lepida) – This striking bird was seen at the Boma by some, then at Kampala and QENP.
BLACK-FACED RUFOUS-WARBLER (Bathmocercus rufus vulpinus) – A skulking pair along the trail at Bwindi and a male later also, a great little bird.

Burchell's Zebras (Photo by participant Rachel Hopper)

BUFF-BELLIED WARBLER (Phyllolais pulchella) – 3 in acacias at Butiaba showed very well.
TAWNY-FLANKED PRINIA (Prinia subflava subflava) – Quite common in Murchison and the Budongo area, also at QENP and Lake Mburo.
BANDED PRINIA (BANDED) (Prinia bairdii obscura) – Good looks at Mubwindi and then at Ruhija, a very striking species which again seemed oddly skulking this year.
RED-WINGED PRINIA (Prinia erythroptera jodoptera) – A good look at one at my usual site near Sembiya River Lodge in Murchison.
GREEN-BACKED EREMOMELA (Eremomela canescens) – 3 near Masindi were a good find of a scarce and very attractive little bird.
RUFOUS-CROWNED EREMOMELA (Eremomela badiceps badiceps) – Seen at the Royal Mile this year, quite a rare and local species.
Sylvidae (Sylvids)
AFRICAN HILL BABBLER (RUWENZORI) (Sylvia abyssinica atriceps) – Split as Ruwenzori Hill Babbler by the IOC, this black-headed bird has a lovely thrush-like song. We saw it well at Ruhija.
Zosteropidae (Yuhinas, White-eyes, and Allies)
AFRICAN YELLOW WHITE-EYE (Zosterops senegalensis) – Good numbers at various sites, starting at Entebbe then near Mabamba.
Pellorneidae (Ground Babblers and Allies)
BROWN ILLADOPSIS (Illadopsis fulvescens) – Seen by a few at Bigodi, and heard at Mabira.
MOUNTAIN ILLADOPSIS (Illadopsis pyrrhoptera) – Good looks on the Mubwindi Swamp trek where birds were calling excitedly low in the bracken, cut posted on xenocanto, and also seen similarly at Ruhija bamboo zone.
SCALY-BREASTED ILLADOPSIS (Illadopsis albipectus) – Heard at Budongo and Bwindi but stayed out of sight. [*]
PUVEL'S ILLADOPSIS (Illadopsis puveli) – Fine views of 2 at the only site at Kaniyo Pabidi, it came in without calling.
Leiothrichidae (Laughingthrushes and Allies)
BLACK-LORED BABBLER (Turdoides sharpei) – Good views in the Ishasha sector of this pale-eyed species, also seen in the main QENP as we came out.
BROWN BABBLER (Turdoides plebejus) – A couple of sightings from the Masindi and Royal Mile areas.
ARROW-MARKED BABBLER (Turdoides jardineii) – A few records from QENP where they like to sit atop acacias.
Promeropidae (Sugarbirds)
GRAY-CHESTED ILLADOPSIS (Kakamega poliothorax) – The roadside group got some brief looks at this odd species at Ruhija, now placed by some authorities in a new family, Arcanatoridae and suddenly a very important tour bird!
Muscicapidae (Old World Flycatchers)
SILVERBIRD (Empidornis semipartitus) – A couple of sightings in Murchison of this striking and attractive species.
PALE FLYCATCHER (Bradornis pallidus murinus) – Just a single in cultivation near Masindi.

Yellow-billed Oxpeckers on their African Buffalo movable feast (Photo by guide Jesse Fagan)

WHITE-EYED SLATY-FLYCATCHER (Melaenornis fischeri toruensis) – Common over at Bwindi, this taxon toruensis lacks an eye-ring and may well be a split. They feed on the ground like a chat, which seems very odd- photo on IBC.
NORTHERN BLACK-FLYCATCHER (Melaenornis edolioides lugubris) – Quite common in Murchison and QENP, and around Bigodi Swamp.
SOUTHERN BLACK-FLYCATCHER (Melaenornis pammelaina) – A single at two sites at Lake Mburo, the only Ugandan locality for it.
YELLOW-EYED BLACK-FLYCATCHER (Melaenornis ardesiacus) – Good views of one down in Mubwindi Swamp, and one next day near the exit gate. An Albertine Rift Endemic.
AFRICAN FOREST-FLYCATCHER (Fraseria ocreata) – One seen well at the Royal Mile.
SOOTY FLYCATCHER (Muscicapa infuscata minuscula) – Two at Kibale, and also seen at Bwindi,
SWAMP FLYCATCHER (Muscicapa aquatica infulata) – Good views at various wetlands and of course at Mweya where they are very confiding.
CHAPIN'S FLYCATCHER (CHAPIN'S) (Muscicapa lendu lendu) – Great views of this rare bird at Bwindi.
DUSKY-BROWN FLYCATCHER (Muscicapa adusta pumila) – A few sightings from Bwindi and Ruhija. I don't know why the name has changed from African Dusky Flycatcher....
DUSKY-BLUE FLYCATCHER (Muscicapa comitata comitata) – This subtle species gave nice looks at Bwindi and The Neck, the only sighting this trip.
CASSIN'S FLYCATCHER (Muscicapa cassini) – Two at the usual site at Kibale with one on a nest there, then one at The Neck, very much a riverine habitat species. Also seen near Hoima on a stream there.
GRAY-THROATED TIT-FLYCATCHER (Myioparus griseigularis griseigularis) – Heard at all the wet forest sites, and seen at Kibale and Mabira.
GRAY TIT-FLYCATCHER (Myioparus plumbeus plumbeus) – A great look at a responsive bird at Lake Mburo.
FIRE-CRESTED ALETHE (FIRE-CRESTED) (Alethe diademata castanea) – Heard at Kaniyo Pabidi and the Royal Mile, but once again stayed out of sight. [*]
BROWN-BACKED SCRUB-ROBIN (Cercotrichas hartlaubi) – Seen at Murchison, Mweya and near Bwindi, good looks, the double wing bars are a useful character.
RED-BACKED SCRUB-ROBIN (Cercotrichas leucophrys) – A fine singing bird at Lake Mburo as we left, usually called White-browed Scrub-robin.
WHITE-BELLIED ROBIN-CHAT (Cossyphicula roberti) – One seen well at Bwindi, an Albertine Rift Endemic and a good bird to get.
ARCHER'S ROBIN-CHAT (Cossypha archeri) – The Mubwindi Swamp group got mixed views of this Albertine Rift Endemic, but we had a very obliging one in the bamboo zone next day for all.
BLUE-SHOULDERED ROBIN-CHAT (Cossypha cyanocampter) – Singing well at Bwindi and I think a couple of folks got a quick look at this skulker.
GRAY-WINGED ROBIN-CHAT (Cossypha polioptera) – A great look at this elusive species at Bwindi.
WHITE-BROWED ROBIN-CHAT (Cossypha heuglini) – Good looks at the Boma then especially up at Mweya where they are tame. Also called Heuglin's Robin-chat.

African Fish-Eagle (Photo by participant Rachel Hopper)

RED-CAPPED ROBIN-CHAT (Cossypha natalensis) – One at Bwindi mimicked Nahan's Francolin, Crowned Eagle and Chocolate-backed Kingfisher, whilst one at Mabira was a good mimic of Blue-breasted Kingfisher. We saw the species nicely at Bwindi.
SNOWY-CROWNED ROBIN-CHAT (Cossypha niveicapilla) – Good looks in the farmbush at Mabamba then at Murro, and again at Bwindi.
SPOTTED MORNING-THRUSH (Cichladusa guttata) – Brief looks near the Paraa ferry in Murchison, where we usually see it.
WHITE-STARRED ROBIN (Pogonocichla stellata ruwenzorii) – Lovely looks at this attractive species up at Ruhija, this is the race ruwenzorii, also seen down by Mubwindi Swamp.
RED-THROATED ALETHE (Pseudalethe poliophrys) – Some folks got to see one along the trail at Mubwindi, but it wasn't too easy, also heard and glimpsed up at Ruhija. It's an Albertine Rift endemic too.
FOREST ROBIN (EASTERN) (Stiphrornis erythrothorax xanthogaster) – A good view of one at Kaniyo Pabidi for most, and heard at Royal Mile and Mabira at close range.
EQUATORIAL AKALAT (Sheppardia aequatorialis) – Heard at Bwindi but stayed out of sight. [*]
AFRICAN STONECHAT (AFRICAN) (Saxicola torquatus axillaris) – Now split by most from Common Stonechat as African Stonechat, we saw them in the Kibale tea estates and the Ruhija area, this is the taxon axillaris and quite a striking bird.
SOOTY CHAT (Myrmecocichla nigra) – Widespread in the parks at Murchison and QENP, also Lake Mburo.
MOCKING CLIFF-CHAT (Thamnolaea cinnamomeiventris) – Great views of an initially elusive singing bird on the Butiaba escarpment, the usual site.
Turdidae (Thrushes and Allies)
RUFOUS FLYCATCHER-THRUSH (Neocossyphus fraseri vulpine) – One seen well at Kaniyo Pabidi.
RED-TAILED ANT-THRUSH (Neocossyphus rufus gabunensis) – Only heard this trip at Budongo and Kibale.
WHITE-TAILED ANT-THRUSH (Neocossyphus poensis praepectoralis) – A good view of one at Bigodi Swamp was a nice pick-up.
OLIVE THRUSH (Turdus olivaceus) – Good views at Mubwindi and then in the bamboo at Ruhija for all.
AFRICAN THRUSH (Turdus pelios centralis) – Widespread, with good views at Entebbe, Murchison and QENP.
Sturnidae (Starlings)
WATTLED STARLING (Creatophora cinerea) – A bad view of a flock of 30 flying away over the Ishasha road, then a great look at 13 at Lake Mburo as we came out, including several wattled adults.
GREATER BLUE-EARED GLOSSY-STARLING (Lamprotornis chalybaeus) – Just 2 at Lake Mburo this year.
LESSER BLUE-EARED GLOSSY-STARLING (Lamprotornis chloropterus) – One or two distant ones on the Butiaba escarpment.
BRONZE-TAILED GLOSSY-STARLING (Lamprotornis chalcurus) – One on power lines in Masindi was unexpected, I had thought we were going to miss it.
SPLENDID GLOSSY-STARLING (Lamprotornis splendidus) – Common around Entebbe with great views and pre-dawn vocals at the Boma.
RUEPPELL'S GLOSSY-STARLING (Lamprotornis purpuroptera) – Widespread and common, seen on most days away from the mountains.
PURPLE-HEADED GLOSSY-STARLING (Lamprotornis purpureiceps) – A single at the Kibale escarpment, then about 20 at Bigodi which showed very well.
VIOLET-BACKED STARLING (Cinnyricinclus leucogaster) – Just 3 day records, the best from Lake Mburo where we saw a male and several females.
WALLER'S STARLING (Onychognathus walleri) – A single down in Mubwindi Swamp, the bright red wing patch and squared-off tail were diagnostic and it's quite a bit bigger than Stuhlmann's Starling.

Goliath Heron (Photo by guide Jesse Fagan)

NARROW-TAILED STARLING (Poeoptera lugubris) – Seen at Kibale and the escarpment, then amazingly well at Bigodi, some of my best ever views and even a decent photo - see FG website and the IBC!
STUHLMANN'S STARLING (Poeoptera stuhlmanni) – 3 down in Mubwindi Swamp, and a pair next day at Ruhija bamboo zone, the tail looks slightly notched.
SHARPE'S STARLING (Pholia sharpii) – 3 down in Mubwindi Swamp and a nice single next day in the bamboo zone, an uncommon species.
Buphagidae (Oxpeckers)
YELLOW-BILLED OXPECKER (Buphagus africanus) – Seen up in Murchison, and about 6 at Kazinga, on Giraffe and African Buffalo respectively.
Nectariniidae (Sunbirds and Spiderhunters)
GRAY-HEADED SUNBIRD (Deleornis axillaris) – Some saw this at Royal Mile and The Neck, and we all caught up with it at Mabira, an odd straight billed species.
LITTLE GREEN SUNBIRD (Anthreptes seimundi) – Just a couple at Kibale this trip.
GREEN SUNBIRD (GRAY-THROATED) (Anthreptes rectirostris tephrolaemus) – Seen at Royal Mile, Bwindi and Mabira.
COLLARED SUNBIRD (Hedydipna collaris garguensis) – Common, widespread in small numbers in all the forests at low to mid-altitude.
GREEN-HEADED SUNBIRD (GREEN-HEADED) (Cyanomitra verticalis viridisplendens) – Six day records, starting in the garden at the Boma, then at Masindi and near Bwindi.
BLUE-THROATED BROWN SUNBIRD (Cyanomitra cyanolaema octaviae) – Seen at Kibale and Bwindi, they have a distinctive rather clicking call.
BLUE-HEADED SUNBIRD (Cyanomitra alinae alinae) – Brief looks at this scarce Albertine Rift endemic at Bwindi and then up at Ruhija, they were calling very well but very elusive. I posted a sound cut on xenocanto.
WESTERN OLIVE SUNBIRD (Cyanomitra obscura) – A few sightings of this dubious split from Eastern Olive Sunbird, first at Kaniyo Pabidi.
GREEN-THROATED SUNBIRD (Chalcomitra rubescens) – A single male at The Neck, coming repeatedly to a flower clump so we got good scope views. Sunbirds overall were quite scarce this trip.
SCARLET-CHESTED SUNBIRD (Chalcomitra senegalensis lamperti) – Common around Entebbe and Masindi, then seen again at Lake Mburo.
BRONZE SUNBIRD (Nectarinia kilimensis kilimensis) – A few seen well up at The Neck and Ruhija.
OLIVE-BELLIED SUNBIRD (Cinnyris chloropygius) – Only seen near Masindi this trip.
TINY SUNBIRD (Cinnyris minullus) – We had two sightings of singles of this uncommon and diminutive small-billed species, with one by Gorilla Camp and a male at The Neck.
NORTHERN DOUBLE-COLLARED SUNBIRD (Cinnyris reichenowi preussi) – Quite common around Bwindi and Ruhija.
REGAL SUNBIRD (Cinnyris regius regius) – Nice views of this beautiful bird up at Ruhija, one of the most spectacular of the family, but it seemed scarce this trip.
BEAUTIFUL SUNBIRD (Cinnyris pulchellus pulchellus) – We got a couple of nice looks up in Murchison of this gorgeous species.
MARIQUA SUNBIRD (Cinnyris mariquensis suahelicus) – One near Masindi, one at Bigodi was unexpected, and one in QENP.

Abyssinian Ground-Hornbill (Photo by guide Phil Gregory)

RED-CHESTED SUNBIRD (Cinnyris erythrocercus) – Common around Entebbe and at Kibale and Mabira.
SUPERB SUNBIRD (Cinnyris superbus) – Just a couple of sightings from Kibale and Bigodi, a large species with a very long bill.
VARIABLE SUNBIRD (ORANGE-CHESTED) (Cinnyris venustus igneiventris) – This orange-bellied race was seen at Ruhija in the farmland, a very distinctive thing it is too.
COPPER SUNBIRD (Cinnyris cupreus cupreus) – Seen near Masindi and Budongo this trip.
Motacillidae (Wagtails and Pipits)
CAPE WAGTAIL (Motacilla capensis) – Four day records, from Mabamba swamp, then The Neck and Bwindi.
MOUNTAIN WAGTAIL (Motacilla clara) – This lovely long-tailed species was feeding along the stream at The Neck, one of the most beautiful of the family. It looked like a young bird and an adult.
AFRICAN PIED WAGTAIL (Motacilla aguimp) – Seen on most days this trip.
AFRICAN PIPIT (Anthus cinnamomeus) – Just a few in QENP, with a bird at Ruhija cultivation being identified as the taxonomically challenged Jackson's Pipit A. latistriatus by Alfred and Johnny. I got photos and I can't agree, it seems too pale and not well marked below, a shame as I have yet to see that taxon, whatever it is.
PLAIN-BACKED PIPIT (Anthus leucophrys) – The only record came from grassland near Mabamba.
YELLOW-THROATED LONGCLAW (Macronyx croceus) – A few good sightings of this odd Meadowlark mimic, a wonderful example of convergent evolution, from near Masindi, QENP and at Lake Mburo.
Emberizidae (Buntings and New World Sparrows)
CINNAMON-BREASTED BUNTING (Emberiza tahapisi) – A good view on the Butiaba escarpment, as ever the only site for it.
GOLDEN-BREASTED BUNTING (Emberiza flaviventris) – Seen near Masindi and at Bwindi.
CABANIS'S BUNTING (Emberiza cabanisi) – A fine bird in the cultivation near Royal Mile was a good trip addition.
Fringillidae (Siskins, Crossbills, and Allies)
YELLOW-CROWNED CANARY (Serinus flavivertex sassii) – A few up around the Lodge at Ruhija.
YELLOW-FRONTED CANARY (Serinus mozambicus) – Widespread, we had 6 day records of singles starting at Luwero.
WESTERN CITRIL (Serinus frontalis) – A fine black faced male in the cultivation below Ruhija.
BRIMSTONE CANARY (Serinus sulphuratus sharpii) – Some saw this at Mweya, and a few more got a single near Kabale as we came out from Ruhija.
STREAKY SEEDEATER (Serinus striolatus graueri) – A few sightings of singles up around Ruhija.
THICK-BILLED SEEDEATER (Serinus burtoni kilimensis) – Three day records from Bwindi (where it was nesting) and Ruhija, they have a whitish ear covert patch here which is not shown in the illustrations.
Passeridae (Old World Sparrows)
HOUSE SPARROW (Passer domesticus) – This new colonist was seen in Kasese by Barbara, then by all of us at Kihihi, they come in on container trucks from Kenya and look to be getting established. [I]
NORTHERN GRAY-HEADED SPARROW (Passer griseus) – Widespread in small numbers.
Ploceidae (Weavers and Allies)
SPECKLE-FRONTED WEAVER (Sporopipes frontalis) – Four birds from Murchison, a scarce species here.
WHITE-BROWED SPARROW-WEAVER (Plocepasser mahali) – Only seen at Murchison, where they have an outlying colony on the delta loop.
CHESTNUT-CROWNED SPARROW-WEAVER (Plocepasser superciliosus) – Great looks at Butiaba where they were nesting in an acacia.
RED-HEADED MALIMBE (Malimbus rubricollis) – Seen at Bigodi, Bwindi and then Mabira, a striking species.
BAGLAFECHT WEAVER (Ploceus baglafecht) – Seen at the Boma and Masindi, then at Bwindi and The Neck, with the race emini in the north and reichenowi in the west both looking very different.
LITTLE WEAVER (Ploceus luteolus) – Single males seen at Murchison on two days.

You'd think the thorns would make things a bit uncomfortable, but apparently not... (Photo by participant Rachel Hopper)

SLENDER-BILLED WEAVER (Ploceus pelzelni) – Common and tame in QENP, also seen at the Boma where they were common this year with females greatly outnumbering males.
BLACK-NECKED WEAVER (Ploceus nigricollis) – This striking species showed well near Royal Mile, then near Kibale and at Bwindi.
SPECTACLED WEAVER (Ploceus ocularis) – Four day records, seen at Entebbe then near Masindi and Bigodi, usually singles but once a pair.
BLACK-BILLED WEAVER (Ploceus melanogaster) – This attractive bird was seen at Bwindi and Ruhija, where it is uncommon and low density.
STRANGE WEAVER (Ploceus alienus) – Seen along the Mubwindi track, and in the bamboo zone. This is an Albertine Rift endemic which is quite scarce.
HOLUB'S GOLDEN-WEAVER (Ploceus xanthops) – One near Ishasha and a couple in cultivation near The Neck.
ORANGE WEAVER (Ploceus aurantius) – A single briefly near Mabamba, it's an uncommon species. Most folks saw it at the Entebbe zoo pre-trip.
NORTHERN BROWN-THROATED WEAVER (Ploceus castanops) – Just a couple near Mabamba.
LESSER MASKED-WEAVER (Ploceus intermedius) – Dan saw it at Mweya Lodge, the pale eye is distinctive, and it was also nesting at Lake Mburo.
VITELLINE MASKED-WEAVER (Ploceus vitellinus) – A male in thorn scrub as we neared Butiaba.
VIEILLOT'S WEAVER (Ploceus nigerrimus) – Widespread this trip from Entebbe and Mabamba on to Masindi.
VILLAGE WEAVER (Ploceus cucullatus) – The common lowland weaver with colonies at lots of sites.
WEYNS'S WEAVER (Ploceus weynsi) – A couple of females at Mabira were a good find of what is a scarce and irruptive species.
BLACK-HEADED WEAVER (Ploceus melanocephalus) – Common and widespread, seen in Murchison, QENP, Bigodi and Bwindi. This is the race fischeri, and is actually called Yellow-backed Weaver in most of the African references, as Black-headed used to refer to Village Weaver......
GOLDEN-BACKED WEAVER (Ploceus jacksoni) – Uncommon, the birds we saw near Mabamba were a useful trip bird, also seen later at Lake Mburo, a striking bird.
YELLOW-MANTLED WEAVER (Ploceus tricolor) – We scraped in with a nice sighting of one at a nest at Mabira on the last day.
BROWN-CAPPED WEAVER (Ploceus insignis) – Three sightings in Bwindi/Ruhija, foraging along mossy branches like nuthatches, a striking bird.
COMPACT WEAVER (Pachyphantes superciliosus) – Two birds in farmbush near Masindi as we headed north were a useful pick-up of an uncommon species, and 2 were later seen near Royal Mile.
RED-HEADED QUELEA (Quelea erythrops) – 3 near Luwero and then about 40 in cultivation near Murro.
RED-BILLED QUELEA (Quelea quelea) – About 30 in QENP.
ORANGE BISHOP (Euplectes franciscanus) – Nice looks this trip around Masindi and Murchison, the fiery red plumaged males of the nominate race being very obvious. Quite why Clements calls it Orange Bishop is again beyond me, Northern Red is the usual and long-established name!
RED BISHOP (Euplectes orix) – Great looks at a breeding dress male on the escarpment near Fort Portal. Usually known as Southern Red Bishop.

Mountain Gorilla (Photo by participant Rachel Hopper)

BLACK-WINGED BISHOP (Euplectes hordeaceus) – Three near Masindi and a male at Murro.
BLACK BISHOP (Euplectes gierowii) – Great views of a fine male near the Royal Mile, this is the taxon ansorgei.
YELLOW BISHOP (Euplectes capensis) – A fine male as we came out from Ruhija, and I think this is what Pete saw near The Neck.
YELLOW-SHOULDERED WIDOWBIRD (Euplectes macroura macroura) – Four day records of males of the Yellow-mantled nominate form around the Masindi and Budongo areas.
YELLOW-SHOULDERED WIDOWBIRD (Euplectes macroura macrocerca) – Two males of this yellow-shouldered taxon en route to Luwero, and one near Masindi, the exact taxonomic status is still uncertain and it does seem to be sympatric with the Yellow- mantled form in some places.
RED-COLLARED WIDOWBIRD (Euplectes ardens) – A few around Masindi and Budongo. Birds here seem to be almost entirely black and lack the red collar, they may be the West African race concolor.
FAN-TAILED WIDOWBIRD (Euplectes axillaris) – A few at Mabamba and Luwero, and one near Hoima later.
MARSH WIDOWBIRD (Euplectes hartlaubi) – Two at Luwero, a scarce and hard to find species on this tour.
GROSBEAK WEAVER (Amblyospiza albifrons) – Five day records of singles, starting at Entebbe.
Estrildidae (Waxbills and Allies)
GRAY-HEADED NIGRITA (Nigrita canicapillus) – Widespread in the wet forests, but only small numbers.
WHITE-BREASTED NIGRITA (Nigrita fusconotus) – We had 8 day records of singles, starting at Royal Mile.
RED-FRONTED ANTPECKER (Parmoptila rubrifrons) – This turned up at Bwindi just as Dan and I stepped aside for a moment, we have been seeing it here fairly regularly of late, an odd species of wet primary forest.
GRAY-HEADED OLIVEBACK (Nesocharis capistrata) – Two birds in the cultivation near Murro, not great views but only my second sighting ever, an elusive species.
DUSKY CRIMSON-WING (Cryptospiza jacksoni) – This was seen along the school track at Ruhija, and those of us who went there after the swamp walk also got brief looks at it.
FAWN-BREASTED WAXBILL (Estrilda paludicola) – Pete found us one in the cultivation near Masindi, a rather scarce bird.
CRIMSON-RUMPED WAXBILL (Estrilda rhodopyga) – Terry saw this uncommon bird at Ishasha.
BLACK-RUMPED WAXBILL (Estrilda troglodytes) – A few folks saw this in Murchison.
COMMON WAXBILL (Estrilda astrild) – Distinctly uncommon, we saw them on 3 days at Mabamba, Masindi and L. Mburo.
BLACK-CROWNED WAXBILL (Estrilda nonnula) – Several nice sightings around Masindi, Bigodi and The Neck, and I think the grey and crimson waxbill Pete and I glimpsed at Lake Mburo must be this species.
KANDT'S WAXBILL (Estrilda kandti) – Just 4 birds in the bamboo zone as we were leaving Ruhija, oddly not figured in Terry's EA Field Guide where it is subsumed in Black-headed Waxbill.

Olive Baboon (Photo by participant Rachel Hopper)

RED-HEADED BLUEBILL (Spermophaga ruficapilla) – A great look at a pair at Bigodi.
RED-CHEEKED CORDONBLEU (Uraeginthus bengalus) – Fairly common, it gave some nice looks at Murchison, and was also seen at Lake Mburo.
BROWN TWINSPOT (Clytospiza monteiri) – A Nice look at one near Royal Mile, with grey bill and pinky legs, then another next day in the cultivation at Murro, a good species to get.
RED-BILLED FIREFINCH (Lagonosticta senegala) – Widespread, the default firefinch for the trip.
BAR-BREASTED FIREFINCH (Lagonosticta rufopicta) – A couple of folks saw this in Murchison.
BLACK-BELLIED FIREFINCH (Lagonosticta rara) – Nice views of 2 near Budongo and then a female at Murro next day.
BRONZE MANNIKIN (Spermestes cucullatus) – Widespread in small numbers.
BLACK-AND-WHITE MANNIKIN (Spermestes bicolor) – A few near Mabamba and Masindi, and nice views of 4 at Mabira.
Viduidae (Indigobirds)
PIN-TAILED WHYDAH (Vidua macroura) – Quite common, seen on many days, including some nice pin-tailed males.
VILLAGE INDIGOBIRD (Vidua chalybeata) – This species with the white bill and pinkish legs was seen near Masindi, this bird having brownish wings and tail and more reddish legs. I wonder if Brown-backed Firefinch Indigobird might be here as well, but these are cryptic species and almost impossible to identify. It seems odd that only one species is at all widespread, when the host firefinch species are also equally widespread.

YELLOW-WINGED BAT (Lavia frons) – A couple of this striking species were seen at Murchison.
BLUE MONKEY (Cercopithecus mitis) – Widespread and quite vocal in the rainforest habitats.
BLACK-CHEEKED WHITE-NOSED MONKEY (Cercopithecus ascanius) – I finally realized that this clumsily named species is actually Red-tailed Monkey, also widespread in the damp forests!
L'HOEST'S MONKEY (Cercopithecus l'hoesti) – Nice views from Gorilla Camp, a striking handsome species.
BLACK-FACED VERVET MONKEY (Cercopithecus aethiops) – Widespread in the drier habitats including at Entebbe, with an example of a Tantalus Monkey seen by Terry in a papyrus swamp near Hoima, either a race or a separate species depending on your taxonomy.
PATAS MONKEY (Erythrocebus patas) – A big troupe of about 15 animals on the north bank of Murchison, another handsome primate.
GRAY-CHEEKED MANGABEY (Cercocebus albigena) – Great looks at Bigodi swamp of this uncommon blackish mangabey.
OLIVE BABOON (Papio anubis) – Widespread, including at the Royal Mile.
MANTLED GUEREZA (Colobus guereza) – The Black and White Colobus was quite common and widespread, starting at Entebbe.
CHIMPANZEE (Pan troglodytes) – A good trip for them, with a couple foraging in cane fields near Masindi, then 7 at the Royal Mile and a nice encounter with a feeding group on the chimp trek at Kibale.

With Kunyonye the Silverback (Video clip by guide Phil Gregory)
MOUNTAIN GORILLA (Gorilla beringei beringei) – Phil's group had a short 20-minute scenic walk to get to the Mubare group, who proved highly entertaining -- see his video of the female swinging on eucalpytus bark, and that marvelous silverback -- whilst Jesse's 2 folks had a much longer harder slog to reach their group but had a nice encounter with a charging silverback and got back tired but rewarded. One of the great charisma animals, I still love seeing them and rated this experience very highly.
CAPE HARE (Lepus capensis) – A couple seen on the night drive in Murchison are presumably this species.
STRIPED GROUND SQUIRREL (Xerus erythropus) – Seen near Mabamba and at Masindi.
CARRUTHER'S MOUNTAIN SQUIRREL (Funisciurus carruthersi) – Seen at Bwindi and Ruhija.
ALEXANDER'S BUSH SQUIRREL (Paraxerus alexandri) – This was seen at Kaniyo Pabidi by some folks.
BOEHM'S BUSH SQUIRREL (Paraxerus boehmi) – Seen at Kibale, and then at Ruhija, we had a good trip for squirrels but it may be a niche market for tours.....
RED-LEGGED SUN SQUIRREL (Heliosciurus rufobrachium) – Seen well at Bwindi and Mabira, quite a large squirrel
EGYPTIAN MONGOOSE (Herpestes ichneumon) – One over the road as we neared The Neck, a large grey mongoose with a thin black tipped tail. One was also seen by some at Lake Mburo, not one we usually see.
SLENDER MONGOOSE (Herpestes sanguineus) – Just a single across the track at Murchison, oddly enough we saw none later and also no Banded Mongoose at Mweya where they are usually obvious and often tailed by film crews!
MARSH MONGOOSE (Atilax paludinosus) – Some folks saw this one at Lake Mburo.
LION (Panthera leo) – A single distant animal was found by Dan in the main park, Jesse's lifer lion, then next day Jude spotted one far away up a tree in Ishasha; this was merely a prequel though, as we then had fantastic looks at two males and a female up a big fig tree right by the track in the park, they woke up to look at us before going back to sleep. The female was nodding as she slept, just fantastic, see the photos on the web page.
AFRICAN ELEPHANT (Loxodonta africana) – Great views from Murchison and QENP, and thankfully none seen to be maimed by snares this year; also we heard Forest Elephant whilst on the Mubwindi Swamp walk and luckily did not encounter them on the way out, their tracks and signs were just everywhere this year.
TREE HYRAX (Dendrohyrax arboreus) – Very vocal at Mabira, they scream throughout much of the night but are amazingly hard to see. [*]
BURCHELL'S ZEBRA (Equus burchelli) – More than usual at Lake Mburo this year where they seemed to be everywhere.
WARTHOG (Phacochoerus aethiopicus) – So endearing it's ridiculous, and seen at all the lowland parks.
HIPPOPOTAMUS (Hippopotamus amphibius) – Fantastic looks on the Nile at Murchison and then again at Kazinga and Lale Mburo.
ROTHSCHILD'S GIRAFFE (Giraffa rothschildi) – Wonderful as ever at Murchison, they vary a lot in colour of the patches and some were very dark indeed.
BUSHBUCK (Tragelaphus scriptus) – Some nice views from each of the main parks, but always low numbers.

Palm-nut Vulture meets Spitting Cobra -- neither seemed quite sure how things might turn out! (Photo by guide Phil Gregory)

AFRICAN BUFFALO (Syncerus caffer) – Great looks at Murchison, QENP and Lake Mburo.
BLACK-FRONTED DUIKER (Cephalophus nigrifrons) – One on the trail at Bwindi, and some saw one at Mubwindi.
DEFASSA WATERBUCK (Kobus defassa) – Nice looks at this big shaggy antelope at all the main lowland parks.
KOB (Kobus kob) – Common at Murchison.
BOHOR REEDBUCK (Redunca redunca) – One at Murchison and I think some saw one at Lake Mburo.
TOPI (Damaliscus lunatus) – A purple hartebeest, we saw them nicely at Lake Mburo.
HARTEBEEST (KONGONI) (Alcelaphus buselaphus) – Wonderful looks at this strange orange hartebeest at Murchison.
ORIBI (Ourebia ourebi) – Very common at Murchison this trip.
IMPALA (Aepyceros malampus) – Great looks at Lake Mburo, their main Ugandan site.



Nile Crocodiles were very scarce at Murchison, the high water levels meant nowhere to lay out, but we had better views along the Kazinga Channel.

Various blue-headed Agama species were seen, with orange-headed females, and also a number of skinks, but one big highlight was a large 7'+ spitting cobra (Naja sp.) with hood fully erect facing off against an inquisitive Palm-nut Vulture in the road going through Ishasha. The snake made good its escape!

A bright green Chameleon with paler vertical bars was seen near Masindi, there seem to be at least 7 species here.


Mammal highlights obviously centred around those wonderful gorillas, but the various chimp encounters were none too shabby, and elephants are, well, just plain marvelous, though no one wanted me to try and tape in a Forest Elephant on the swamp walk... (even though we heard one and there was abundant sign of them). I was pretty pleased with Egyptian Mongoose too, not one we usually see. I have to confess, though, that those incredible Lions up the tree at Ishasha were just breathtaking, when that male looked right at us from so close by it was heart-stopping.

There was some fun with bats too, with the Thayers seeming to lure them into their accommodations -- those at Kibale Primate Lodge seem to be Mountain Fruit-Bat (Stenonycteris lanosus); the blonde one with the bluish eyes may be a colour morph.


As ever a great trip for butterflies, what a shame there is no accessible reference for Ugandan species. We saw and photographed probably over 70 species, including Mackinnon's Swallowtail, Eastern Blue Beauty, and the spectacular Blood-red Glider.

Totals for the tour: 519 bird taxa and 37 mammal taxa