All Birds

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Ganyana Safaris offers quality domestic tours and holidays in Uganda including group travel, speciality tours, corporate MICE travel and inbound travel.  Our mission is to provide you with fully customised, exclusive, and memorable experiences in Uganda and we can start the journey together, now.

Whether you are planning a honeymoon, a fun holiday with your family or simply want to get away, we can offer you a personalised, flexibly priced travel package.

Choose from several categories or simply give us your ‘must haves’ list and we can then send you a customised itinerary within moments.

 

Day 1

Birding in Uganda Over View

Birding in Uganda Over View

Uganda has up to 34 Important Bird Areas (IBA) many of which have been developed for birdwatching and birding tours. Also, the birding community in Uganda continues to identify other new bird-rich spots across the country and establishing birding trails. Found at most of the birding spots throughout Uganda are local site guides that have been trained in bird identification and can identify all the site’s resident species.

Below are the most visited spots for birding tours in Uganda:

Bwindi Impenetrable National Park – Africa’s number one birding spot according to the African Bird Club

Mabamba Bay Wetland – Best spot to sight the Shoebill

The Entebbe Peninsula

Lutembe bay wetland – bird hotspot near Kampala and Entebbe

Kibale Forest National Park

Rwenzori Mountains National Park

Kidepo Valley National Parka

Lake Mburo National Park

Queen Elizabeth National Park

Semuliki National Park

Budongo Forest – The Royal Mile trail and Busingiro

Murchison Falls National Park

Mabira Forest Reserve

Mpanga Forest Reserve

The top ten Birds of Uganda (Most sought after on birding trips in Uganda)

Shoebill

Green Breasted Pitta

Rwenzori Turaco

African Green Broadbill

Brown-chested Lapwing

Jameson’s Antpecker

Nahan’s Francolin

Black Bee-eater

Karamoja Apalis

Puvel’s Illadopsis

The top ten Birds of Uganda (Most sought after on birding trips in Uganda)
Shoebill

Green Breasted Pitta

Rwenzori Turaco

African Green Broadbill

Brown-chested Lapwing

Jameson’s Antpecker

Nahan’s Francolin

Black Bee-eater

Karamoja Apalis

Puvel’s Illadopsis

Morning birding and Afternoon boat cruise on Lake Mburo

Morning birding and Afternoon boat cruise on Lake Mburo

You will set out for early morning and safari in lake Mburo national Park. Lake Mburo national park has an impressive bird list of about 350 species and many mammals.

In the afternoon you shall go for the a boat cruise on Lake Mburo to spot some birds species. The African Finfoot is the most sought after bird on the lake.

Queen Elizabeth National Park

Queen Elizabeth National Park

Uganda’s most popular and diverse conservation area, Queen Elizabeth National Park enjoys a fabulous setting on the rift valley floor, surrounded by lakes, escarpments and the snow-capped Rwenzori mountain. A variety of habitats, including grassland, acacia woodland, forest, wetland and open water, sustains a wide range of mammals while the park’s 604 bird species is a quite remarkable tally for a protected area covering less than 2000km2

Semuliki National Park

Semuliki National Park

You will set out for birding in Semuliki National Park. Situated on the border with the Democratic Republic of Congo, Semuliki National Park protects the Ituri forest of central Africa which brings central African species into East Africa. You bird along the Kirumia trail which is the most popular trail in Semuliki. Top of on the list of birds to spot in Semuliki is the African Piculet and other species of the central Africa which cannot be found anywhere else in East Africa.

Kazinga Channel Overview

Kazinga Channel Overview

The 32km Kazinga Channel of Queen Elizabeth National Park is haven to the numerous wildlife and bird species that survive in the park.

Classified as an Important Birding Area (IBA) by Birding International, Queen’s great variety of habitats mean it is home to over 600 species. This is the greatest of any East African national park and a phenomenal number for such a small area. The park’s confluence of savanna and forest, linking to the expansive forests of the DR Congo allow visitors to spot East as well as Central African species.

Classified as an Important Birding Area (IBA) by Birding International, Queen’s great variety of habitats mean it is home to over 600 species. This is the greatest of any East African national park and a phenomenal number for such a small area. The park’s confluence of savanna and forest, linking to the expansive forests of the DR Congo allow visitors to spot East as well as Central African species.

Present in the park is numerous water birds, woodland and forest dwellers in the Maramagambo Forest, 54 raptors and various migratory species. Key species include the Martial Eagle, Black-rumped Buttonquail, African Skimmer, Chapin’s Flycatcher, Pink-backed Pelican, African Broadbill, Verreaux’s Eagle Owl, Black Bee-eater, White-tailed Lark, White-winged Warbler, Papyrus Gonolek, Papyrus Canary, Corncrake, Lesser and Greater Flamingo, Shoebill, Bar-tailed Godwit.

Budongo Forest - Royal Mike

Budongo Forest - Royal Mike

Today you shall have a whole day birding in Budongo Forest which is the biggest forest in Uganda and East Africa. Budongo is home to about 360 bird species, of which 2 species are not found anywhere else in East Africa. You will take on the “Royal Mile” the main birding trail in Budongo forest.

This is the best place in Uganda for Nahan’s Francolin, Cassin’s Spinetail, and Chestnut-capped Flycatcher. There are many confusing forest Greenbuls to test us including; Spotted, Xavier’s, White-throated, Red-tailed and Honeyguide Greenbuls. Canopy flocks support Yellow-mantled Weaver, Rufous Thrush and Uganda Woodland Warbler. The undergrowth along the track holds numerous skulkers including; Scaly-breasted, Brown and Pale-breasted Illadopses, Fire-crested Alethe, Blue-shouldered Robin-Chat, Rufous Flycatcher-Thrush, Red-tailed Ant-Thrush, Yellow-browed Camaroptera, Yellow Long-bill, and Grey-throated Tit-Flycatcher. We will keep an eye on any openings in the forest canopy such as; Cassin’s and Crowned Hawk Eagles, Cassin’s and Sabine’s Spinetails, and White-throated Bee-eaters are all possible. The area around the Park Headquarters is the only site in East Africa for the elusive canopy dwelling Ituri Batis.

Day 2

Whole day birding in Mubwindi Swamp to look for the African Green Broadbilll

Whole day birding in Mubwindi Swamp to look for the African Green Broadbilll

Today shall go birding in the Mubwindi Swamp which is known to offer the highest chances of recording the elusive African Green Broadbill, one of the most sought after Albertine rift endemics.

Birding in Mabira Forest

Birding in Mabira Forest

After close to 4 hours of birding in Mabamba wetland you shall leave for Mabira forest, have lunch and continue birding in Mabira forest for the rest of the afternoon. Mabira forest is the biggest in the central region of Uganda. Mabira has a bird list of about 316 species and offers may forest specials.

Whole Day Birding in Mgahinga National Park

Whole Day Birding in Mgahinga National Park

The best birding in Mgahinga also takes in some of its most beautiful scenery - in the gorge between Mts Gahinga and Sabinyo, through the bamboo forest, and in the montane forest, where the beautiful Rwenzori Turaco may be observed.

Also look out for spectacular sightings of the Dusky turtle Dove, Cape Robin-chat, Kivu-ground Thrush, Olive Thrush, Brown-crowned Tchagra, Bronze Sunbird, Regal Sunbird, Blue-headed Sunbird, Rwenzori Batis, Black-headed Waxbill and Streaky Seedeater.

Birding in Mabamba Wetlands

Birding in Mabamba Wetlands

Have early breakfast and go birding in the Mabamba wetlands which are situated a few minutes’ drive from Nkima Forest Lodge. Up to 260 birds species have been recorded in Mabamba, and these include a number of Lake Victoria biome species and several swamp specials.Taking a local motorized boat, you shall explore the papyrus wetlands to record many water birds. Top on the list is the famous Shoebill.

Whole Day Birding in Buhoma looking for a short tailed Warbler

Whole Day Birding in Buhoma looking for a short tailed Warbler

Today you shall commence your birding Bwindi National park. Bwindi National Park is ranked by the African Bird Club as the number one birding destination in Africa. Bwindi is home to 23 of the 24 Albertine rift endemics found in Uganda. Today you will bird in the Buhoma sector and top on the list of the Albertine rift endemics is the Short-tailed Warbler

Bwindi Impenetrable Forest

Bwindi Impenetrable Forest

Bwindi Impenetrable Forest is a home to about 310 tree species, 100 luscious fems, 310 butterfly species, 346 bird species that exist in only Western Rift Valley. There are also forest elephants, duiker antelopes, bush pigs, leopards, civets, giant forest hogs, clawless otter, golden cats, genets, side striped jackals, bats and rare rodents.

A combination of other primates are also inhabited in Bwindi and they include the rare L’Hoests monkeys, red tailed monkeys, blue monkeys, black and white colobus monkeys, olive baboons, vervet monkeys and nocturnal prosimians like bush babies and pottos. In simple terms the impenetrable forest is an island of rare biodiversity which is also surrounded by the ocean of densely populated picturesque terraced farmlands!

Kidepo National Park

Kidepo National Park

Located in Uganda’s distant northeastern corner, close to Kenya and South Sudan and forming the farthest extremity of the remote, sparsely populated Karamoja region, Kidepo represents one of Africa’s most magnificent wildernesses. Big game favourites, including elephant, buffalo, giraffe, zebra, eland, lion, cheetah and ostrich, roam grasslands that extend towards distant mountain ranges in all directions.

Today you shall have a full day of birding in Kidepo Valley National Park. Kidepo is tucked away in the remote northeastern corner of Uganda where it is receives very view visits compared to other parks in Uganda. Kidepo and surrounding semi-arid region provide species that you cannot find anywhere else in Uganda. It is especially outstanding for birds of prey. The park is home to about 475 species. Some of the birds to look out for include Kori Bustard, Egyptian Vulture, Pygmy Falcon, etc…

Mount Elgon National Pak

Mount Elgon National Pak

The 1,145km² Mount Elgon National Park protects the higher slopes of Mount Elgon, an extinct volcano, on the Uganda-Kenya border. The mountain, which measures 80km in diameter, once towered above Kilimanjaro’s current 5900m. Though now reduced to 4321m, still rises 3000m above the hot, dusty plains of Karamoja to provide a cool respite for humans and a refuge for flora and fauna.

Today you shall spend the day birding in Mount Elgon National Park. About 300 species have been recorded in Mountain Elgon National Park which includes 56 out of the 87 Afrotropical highland biome species and 40 restricted range species. Some of the key species to look out for in Mount Elgon include Alpine Chat, Moustached Green Tinkerbird, Jackson’s Francolin, Black-collared Apalis, Black-shouldered Kite, Lammergeyer etc…

Kibale National Parking Birding Overview

Kibale National Parking Birding Overview

You will have an early morning set off into Kibale Forest national Park. Kibale forest is home to about 375 birds species that have been recorded so far. One of the highlights of Kibale is the Blue-breasted Pitta.

You will return from Kibale National Park in the afternoon.

After lunch you shall go for a walk in Bigodi wetlands which is quite productive as well.

Day 3

Sango Bay Area

Sango Bay Area

The Sango Bay area, north of the Uganda–Tanzania border, adjoins the Lake Nabugabo area (IBA UG016) to the north. The main road between Masaka and Mutukula at the Tanzanian border marks its western limit; its eastern limit is the Lake Victoria shoreline. There are wetlands, grasslands and forests.In total, the forests within this site cover c.15,000 ha. There are five Forest Reserves: Kaiso, Tero East and West, Namalala and Malabigambo. All are of a rather homogeneous nature, broadly classified as swamp-forest, formerly important for its Podocarpus timber species, most of which have been logged out over the past 100 years. The canopy is generally lower than that of medium-altitude mixed evergreen forest, although many of the component species are the same. The area is considered of biogeographic interest because it lies in the transition between the East and West African vegetation zones.

Unique fauna have been recorded in the area. These include 65 species of mammals and 417 species of birds including huge congregations of migratory species such as the White-winged Black Tern Chlidonias leucopterus and large numbers of Squacco Herons (Ardeola ralloides). Musambwa islands in Sango Bay contain the biggest known breeding colony of Grey-headed Gulls (Larus cirrocephalus) as well as the only breeding area known for the Little Egrets (Egretta garzetta) and Long-tailed Cormorants (Phalacrocorax africanus) in Uganda. The Papyrus Gonolek Laniarius mufumbiri is a papyrus endemic which is common and vocal in the Sango Bay-Kagera swamps. Great White Pelicans (Pelecanus onocrotalus) roost at the mouth of the River Kagera in several hundreds and small numbers of Pink-backed Pelicans (Pelecanus rufescens).

In addition, this wetland complex contains over 50 guinea-congo biome bird species of the 142 bird species found in the whole biome that stretches from Liberia to Kakamega Forest in Eastern Kenya: of these over 30 are restricted to the forest interior. It contains 8 out of the 12 bird species of the lake Victoria basin restricted Biome and one record of an afrotropical Highlands biome bird species, Chubbs Cisticola (Cisticola chubbi). The occurrence of these species at such low altitude is indicative of a unique and complex biological diversity.

Lake Bisina

Lake Bisina

The shallow Lake Bisina covers an area of about 192 km², and is some 32 km long by 6 km wide, with a thin strip of fringing papyrus (Cyperus papyrus) swamp. The major river entering the lake is the Apedura, which flows from the north. It has a 30-km long and up to 6.5-km wide flood-plain. The IBA includes the marsh at the south-western end of the lake, beginning with a shallow part dominated by submerged and partially submerged plants such as Nymphaea, Najas and Ceratophyllum. The lake edge is covered by floating grass Vossia that extends into seasonal Hyparrhenia-dominated grassland. Echinochloa grass also grows extensively in the swamp, forming strong mats on the edges of the marsh.

The dense thorn and savannah vegetation near the T-junction along Mbale road 11 kilometers from Town are known habitat to exceptional bird species such as the handsome silver bird, Jackson’s Hornbill, Brubru and Eastern Vilet-backed Sunbird, Fawn-colored Lark, White-bellied Go-away Bird, African Grey Flycatcher, Pygmy Batis, Yellow-bellied Eremomela, Mouse-colored Penduline Tit and many others. When you continue south from the junction for approximately 5 kilometers, you will find the Dark Chanting Goshawk, beautiful Black-headed plovers, Yellow-necked Spur fowl and the Crested Bustard while the Temminck’s Courser, D’Arnaud’s Barbets and the Grey Wren Warbler are commonly spotted at the airstrip near Town.

Doho Rice Scheme

Doho Rice Scheme

Most of the Doho Rice Scheme in eastern Uganda was formerly a seasonal wetland on the River Manafwa flood-plain. Doho Rice Scheme is an area of intensive irrigated rice cultivation with adjacent areas of natural wetland, mainly in the south. The swamps immediately to the north of the scheme have also been drained for rice-growing by independent farmers referred to as ‘outgrowers’. The swamps to the north form part of the Lake Kyoga complex. All of the rice-fields have irrigation channels which supply water to the rice-paddies from River Manafwa. Rice cultivation has not destroyed the wetland, but has changed the character and flora of most of the area from a natural ecosystem to a managed artificial environment. The remaining natural vegetation consists of reeds Phragmites, floating grass Vossia and various species of sedge (Cyperaceae), including papyrus Cyperus papyrus. Wet grasslands dominate seasonal swamps.

Rice cultivation has not destroyed the wetland, but has

changed the character and flora of most of the area from a natural ecosystem to a managed

artificial environment. The remaining natural vegetation consists of reeds Phragmites, floating

grass Vossia and various species of sedge (Cyperaceae), including papyrus Cyperus papyrus.

African jacana, Ibis Egrets, Creeds, Ducks, Crowned cranes, Hammer kops, storks and herons

are the dominant birds in this area.

Ajai Wildlife Forest Reserve

Ajai Wildlife Forest Reserve

The distinguishing feature of this Reserve is the presence of Ajai’s Island, from which it derives its name. This island lies in the middle of a seasonally waterlogged swamp called Ala, which is fed by two rivers, the Ala and the Acha. It lies immediately to the west of the Albert Nile, and comprises permanent swamp (including papyrus Cyperus papyrus) seasonal swamp, seasonally flooded woodlands and grasslands. The vegetation consists of Echinochloa grassland in the swampy areas bordering the Nile, while better-drained higher ground carries tree-savanna of Combretum, Acacia and Terminalia. The River Nile forms the major drainage for the reserve in the east, while the Acha, Ala and Linya rivers drain the peripheries into the Nile. Between June and January of most years the swamp is flooded, cutting off the island from the mainland. This is one of the factors responsible for the survival of wildlife in the reserve.

PHYSICAL FEATURES

This area of rivers and riverine swamp borders the River Nile and two tributaries, the Ala and Acha. The reserve includes a number of swamp islands including Ajai island formed by gradual deposition of soil from the hills by the Ala River. The swamp is surrounded by savanna woodland. Most of the swamp is flooded during the rainy months (June to January), but dries out from February to May.

VEGETATION

Wooded savanna and grassland communities of Loudetia-Eragrostis and Hyparrhenia. There is a variety of vegetation on the island due to its gradual formation. The older eastern sector has a mosaic of savanna forest and sandy plains, areas of thick forest, rain forest and open grass plains with Imperata (a grass occurring elsewhere only in the highlands which are the source of the Ala River). The western sector is covered in dense elephant grass Pennisetum with clumps of wild date plum Phoenix.

FAUNA

Migration of animals onto the island during the dry season is necessitated by lack of forage in the surrounding dry scrubland. Mammals include hippopotamus Hippopotamus amphibius along the Nile, Uganda kob Kobus kob ihomasi, hartebeest Alcelaphus buselaphus, bushbuck Tragelaphus scriptus, and waterbuck Kobus elUpsiprymnus. Black and white colobus Colobus guereza and baboon Papio sp. have been recorded.

Lutembe Bay

Lutembe Bay

Lutembe Bay is a secluded backwater at the mouth of Lake Victoria’s Murchison Bay, between Kampala and Entebbe. It is shallow, fringed by papyrus Cyperus papyrus, and almost completely cut off from the main body of Lake Victoria by a papyrus island. The dominant vegetation is a mosaic of papyrus on the open waterside, with Miscanthus and Vossia towards the dry land. The bay extends into a Miscanthus swamp and merges with forest remnants to the north and with a recently cleared horticultural farm to the north-west on the landward side. Its protection from the wave action of the open water facilitated the establishment and proliferation of the invasive water hyacinth Eichhornia, although that has recently declined. The bay and its associated swamps are important for the surrounding communities as a source of raw materials for local crafts, building, water for domestic use and, probably more importantly, fish as food and income.

Highlights of Birds in this area;

Papyrus Gonolek, Black-headed Gonolek, Blue-breasted Bee-eater, Africa Wattled Lapwing, Orange Weaver, Slender-billed Weaver, Weyns’s Weaver, Malachite Kingfisher, Pied Kingfisher, Red-chested Sunbird, Northern Black Flycatcher, Great Blue Turaco, Double-toothed Barbet, Black-billed Barbet, Diederik Cuckoo, African Marsh Harrier, African Hobby, Angola Swallow, White-headed Saw-wing, Splendid Starling, Black-and-white-casqued Hornbill, Grey Crowned Crane, Swamp Flycatcher, Yellow-billed Duck, African Jacana, Eastern Grey Plantain-eater, Broad-billed Roller, Sooty Chat

Nabugabo Wetland

Nabugabo Wetland

The IBA consists of Lake Nabugabo (c.3,500 ha), a shallow freshwater lake of c.8 km by 5 km, and extensive swamps and small forests to the north, east and south, where Sango Bay (IBA UG013) adjoins. Three much smaller satellite lakes, Birinzi (formerly Kayanja), Manywa and Kayugi are located to the north-west at a slightly higher altitude. Nabugabo is separated from Lake Victoria by an arm of the Lwamunda swamp and a sandbar. Large plants such as Loudetia dominate, but Miscanthus and Vossia, as well as Sphagnum bogs, are also present. Papyrus occurs, but does not dominate any part of the swamp. There is a belt of depleted tropical forest along much of the western shore, and sandy shores along the windward, north-western shoreline. Similar forests exist along the eastern sandbank, some of which are gazetted Forest Reserves. The lakes have been isolated from Lake Victoria for about 3,700 years, during which time the cichlid fauna has undergone speciation.

Over bird 180 species have been recorded and the scarce Serinus koliensisis among the species of the Lake Victoria Basin biome that are present. Two additional species of global conservation concern, Gallinago media and Circus macrourus, were recorded in December 2000 on seasonally flooded grassland. Hylia prasina and Alcedo quadribrachys occur in the forested areas close to the lake.

Nine species of indigenous fish of the family Cichlidae have been recorded from the lakes, including five endemic species of Haplochromis. The introduction of the non-native fish Oreochromis niloticus, O. leucosticus and Tilapia zillii in the 1950s and Lates niloticus in the early 1960s in both Lakes Victoria and Nabugabo has impacted negatively on the indigenous fish, which may now only remain in the satellite lakes.

Lutoboka Point

Lutoboka Point

Lutoboka point is found on the eastern side of Lugala island, the largest (at c.200 km²) of the 84 islands in the Ssese island archipelago. Lutoboka point juts into Lutoboka Channel in Lake Victoria at the edge of Lutoboka Forest Reserve, a medium-altitude moist evergreen forest dominated by species of Piptadeniastrum and Uapaca. The most important area for breeding birds is the narrow strip of tall trees at the edge of the forest which is mainly within the Forest Reserve, but with small excursions into Kalangala town, the biggest urban centre on the islands. The edge of the Forest Reserve is covered by grassland, extending up towards the town.

Echuya Forest Reserve

Echuya Forest Reserve

This site is mostly forest (the 3,400 ha Echuya Forest Reserve) , but includes a permanent high-altitude swamp (Muchuya) at 2,300 m, about 7 km long by up to 750 m wide, in a narrow valley surrounded by steep forested hillsides. The swamp vegetation is dominated by sedges Carex and includes tussock vegetation and giant lobelias. The swamp drains north-west into the Murindi river. The reserve is dominated by Hagenia-Rapanea moist montane forest and montane bamboo Arundinaria. Echuya may not be as diverse overall as other Ugandan forests, but in terms of the conservation value of the species represented (based on their worldwide distributions and occurrence in Ugandan forests), Echuya is ranked among the top 10% of the 65 sites visited by the Forest Biodiversity Inventory Team.

It is home to roughly 150 species of birds, eighteen of which are endemic to the reserve, including the elusive Grauer's Swamp warbler. The forest is ranked as Uganda's most important forest habitat due to the rarity of it's flora and fauna and has much potential for sustainable tourism initiatives due to the dense human population of the area and the growing interactions between these people and the forest.

Musambwa Islands

Musambwa Islands

Musambwa Islands are three rocky islands about five kilometers offshore from Kasensero Landing site in Rakai District off the shores of Sango Bay region in Lake Victoria. The largest of the islands is about three hectares, the medium sized one about 2 ha and the smallest are rocky outcrops jutting out of Lake Victoria.

Flora and Fauna

The island is an important Bird Area (IBA) with an estimated bird population of 150,000 these are the Grey Headed Gull, the Long Tailed Cormorant, Greater Cormorant, and the Little Egret. They are known to have the largest breeding colony for the Grey-headed Gulls in Africa. Other birds on this island include White-winged Black Tern ,Sacred Ibis, Egyptian Goose, Spur-winged Plover, Black Crake, Cattle Egret, Yellow-billed Duck, Grey Heron, Lesser Flamingo, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Common Moorhen, African Fish Eagle, Pink-backed Pelican ,Open-Billed Stork, Water Thick-knee, Common Sandpiper, Herring Gull, Green-backed Heron, Hamerkop, African Marsh Harrier, Black-headed Heron, Pied Kingfisher, Squacco Heron.

Mount Kei Forest Reserve

Mount Kei Forest Reserve

Mount Kei Forest Reserve (formerly Mount Kei Rhino Sanctuary) is in the extreme north-west of Uganda. The northern boundaries are the Kaya river and the international border with Sudan; the Kechi river is to the east. The reserve can broadly be classified into dry Combretum-Terminalia savanna and Butyrospermum savanna woodland. There is only a sparse human population around the reserve, and it is largely undisturbed, but for small-scale human activities and some agricultural encroachment along the southern border. It is also important as a source of fuelwood, building poles, medicinal plants and honey, and serves as a water catchment area, which is one reason for its retention—it contains no tropical forest.

Lake Nakuwa

Lake Nakuwa

This site, the Nakuwa area, is in the south-eastern part of the Kyoga system, which is an important natural water reservoir for the Nile. It includes Lakes Nawampasa, Budipa, Nkodokodo and Murlu, as well as swamps in the east, and the northern swamps of Lakes Nakuwa and Kyebiseke. The swamps are predominantly dense papyrus Cyperus papyrus, broken in parts by pools of water forming sudds (clumps of floating papyrus). Sometimes these sudds open up completely, forming small lakes. Some lakes, like Nawampasa, are very shallow and covered by water-lilies Nymphaea, with short sedges (dominated by Cyperus) occupying the drier parts of the fringing papyrus swamp. These shallow areas are important for both waterbirds and surrounding fishing communities

Mount Otzi Forest Reserve

Mount Otzi Forest Reserve

Mount Otzi Forest Reserve is located on an escarpment overlooking the confluence of the Achwa river with the White Nile as it flows into Sudan. It is bounded to the north by the international border with Sudan. About half of the area can broadly be classified as a Butyrospermum wooded savanna, whilst most of the rest is Combretum savanna with undifferentiated semi-deciduous thicket. Due to the sparse population density around the reserve, as well as steep slopes and rugged terrain which limit cultivation, it is mainly intact except for light encroached enclaves, mainly at the lower altitudes. To local people, the reserve is important for building materials, especially bamboo poles and non-timber products; it is not important for timber production. However, it is ranked highly for biodiversity conservation by the Forest Department. The forest is also important as a water catchment area.

Mount Otzi Forest Reserve also offers shelter to over 168 bird species including 14 of the 22 species native to the Sudan-guinea Savannah Biome found in Uganda. Besides Kidepo Valley National Park, the Falco alopex has been recorded only within this Forest Reserve in the whole country hence making it one of the richest avifauna areas within the Northern Uganda region with majorly open habitats and savannah woodland species.

Other notable bird species in the Forest Reserve worth spotting during Uganda safaris include the purple glossy starling, the white chestnut turaco, black-bellied firefinch, the bronze-tailed glossy starlings, Red-throated bee-eater, Piapiac, foxy Cisticola, Uganda’s spotted woodpecker, the brown-rumped bunting, Chestnut crowned sparrow weaver, red pate Cisticola, Emin’s shrike and the black-rumped waxbill among others. Additionally, a population of Chimpanzees was recorded within Mount Otzi Forest Reserve during a survey in the 1990s but presently, their numbers or current status is still not clear.

Nyamuriro Swamp

Nyamuriro Swamp

This IBA lies within the Ruhuhuma swamp in Kageyo valley, in which a river from Lake Bunyonyi flows. It is an extensive natural swamp dominated by papyrus Cyperus papyrus and, in parts, herbaceous plants. The drainage from this swamp connects to Lakes Mutanda and Murehe in Kisoro District. The swamp is a remnant of the extensive papyrus swamp system that once covered the whole of the Ruhuhuma valley, but which was extensively drained in the 1970s for vegetable growing and dairy farming.

Unique fauna have been recorded in the area. These include 65 species of mammals and 417 species of birds including huge congregations of migratory species such as the White-winged Black Tern Chlidonias leucopterus and large numbers of Squacco Herons (Ardeola ralloides). Musambwa islands in Sango Bay contain the biggest known breeding colony of Grey-headed Gulls (Larus cirrocephalus) as well as the only breeding area known for the Little Egrets (Egretta garzetta) and Long-tailed Cormorants (Phalacrocorax africanus) in Uganda. The Papyrus Gonolek Laniarius mufumbiri is a papyrus endemic which is common and vocal in the Sango Bay-Kagera swamps. Great White Pelicans (Pelecanus onocrotalus) roost at the mouth of the River Kagera in several hundreds and small numbers of Pink-backed Pelicans (Pelecanus rufescens).

In addition, this wetland complex contains over 50 guinea-congo biome bird species of the 142 bird species found in the whole biome that stretches from Liberia to Kakamega Forest in Eastern Kenya: of these over 30 are restricted to the forest interior. It contains 8 out of the 12 bird species of the lake Victoria basin restricted Biome and one record of an afrotropical Highlands biome bird species, Chubbs Cisticola (Cisticola chubbi). The occurrence of these species at such low altitude is indicative of a unique and complex biological diversity.

Kyambura Wildlife Reserve

Kyambura Wildlife Reserve

The reserve (KWR) lies immediately south of Lake George (a Ramsar Site), and east of Queen Elizabeth National Park (QENP: IBA UG007) where the Kazinga Channel leaves the lake, flowing towards Lake Edward. Although KWR has similar ecosystems to QENP, the natural barriers formed by the Kyambura Gorge and Kazinga Channel make it possible to manage the area as a separate entity. KWR serves as a buffer zone for the north-eastern part of QENP.There is no land connection between the reserve and the park, animals simply fording the Kyambura river where it is shallowest during the dry seasons to move between the protected areas. The river gorge supports a high-canopy tropical forest which grades to a swamp-forest and papyrus (Cyperus papyrus) swamp near the river mouth. The eastern border follows Buhindagi river from Lake George, south-east to Kasyoha-Kitomi Forest Reserve (a moist semi-deciduous forest not presently included within the IBA) where the boundaries of the Forest and Wildlife Reserves abut. A road from the main Mbarara–Kasese highway runs up to Kashaka fish-landing site, bisecting the reserve.There are seven volcanic crater-lakes, both fresh and saline, in the reserve, the most significant of which are the saline Lakes Nshenyi, Bagusa and Maseche; Lakes Chibwera, Kinera, Kararo and Kyamwiga have fresh water.

A total of 332 bird species has been recorded in Kyambura Wildlife Reserve, including seven species of global conservation concern. Lake George, the Kazinga Channel and the seven crater-lakes within the reserve offer a large and varied habitat to many birds, including about 110 wetland species. Lakes Maseche, Nshenyi and Bagusa are within a few kilometres of each other, and the populations of Phoenicopterus minor in these craters can be considered as one. Since 1994, the number recorded on the three saline lakes together has exceeded 20,000 on several occasions, and reached 30,000 in February and August 1999.

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