Birds and Butterflies Tour of Uganda.
Birds and butterfly watching go together like peas and carrots, especially here in Africa. For many wildlife safaris, especially in Uganda, birding is best done in the morning hours. As it gets warmer, the birds tend to relax in the shade while butterflies become more active, which allows a natural shift of our attention to another set of beautiful flying creatures.
Our Birds and Butterflies of Uganda tour has been well designed to bring a memorable birding and wildlife safari experience in Uganda. Photographers will have no reason to rest throughout the tour.
Tour at a Glance
Length: 12 days
Best time of year: Nov – March, May – August
Key Sites: Mabira, Budongo, Semiliki and Kibale Forests.
Targets: African Green Broad bill, Dwarf Honey Guide, Archer’s Robin Chat, Purple Breasted Sunbird, Handsome Francolin, Green Breasted Pitta, Red Billed and Black Billed Dwarf Hornbills, Leaf Love, Chestnut Breasted Negrofinch and Crowned Eagle.
Day 1: Arrival.
Upon arrival at Entebbe International Airport, you will be met by one of our professional tour guides. Depending on the time of arrival and your preference, we may have optional birding around Entebbe Botanical Gardens. Families of butterflies found here include; Swallowtails such as Green Banded Swallowtail, Narrow Green Banded Swallowtail, Emperor Swallowtail etc. Charaxes, Hairstreaks, etc. Birds include; Splendid Glossy Starling, Yellow-fronted Tinkerbird, Yellow, Creamy White-eyes, Scarlet-chested, Olive, Green Sunbirds, Double-toothed Barbet, Black-and-White Casqued Hornbill, Woodland, Pygmy, Pied Kingfishers, Blue-spotted Wood Dove, Vieillot’s Black, Slender-billed, Golden-backed, Holub’s Golden Weavers, Grey-headed Sparrow, Scarlet-chested, Red-chested and Marico Sunbirds, Grey Woodpecker, Eastern Grey Plantain Eater, Alpine, Palm and White-rumped Swifts, Palmnut Vulture, African Green-Pigeon, Hamerkop, Sacred Ibis, African Thrush, Grey-backed Camaroptera, Green Crombec, Long-tailed Cormorant, Egyptian Goose, Great Blue Turaco, Marabou Stork, Yellow-billed Duck, Pink-backed Pelican, White-chinned Prinia, Yellow-throated Greenbul, Snowy-headed Robin-chat, Red-bellied Paradise Flycatcher.
Stay at Entebbe Resort Beach Hotel, Lindsay Cottages, or Sophie’s Motel.
Day 2: Birding Mabira Forest.
Mabira Forest Reserve is the largest block of moist, semi-deciduous forest remaining in the central region of Uganda. The reserve occupies gently undulating country, characterized by numerous flat-topped hills and wide, shallow valleys. Some of these valleys have papyrus (Cyperus papyrus) swamps. The proximity of Mabira to Kampala, and the presence of various eco-tourism facilities, makes this Important Bird Area a popular site for birders.
The bird list for Mabira Forest contains almost 300 species. It includes Nahan’s Francolin, Cassin’s Hawk, White-spotted Flufftail, Afep Pigeon, Grey Parrot, Dusky Long-tailed Cuckoo, Black-shouldered Nightjar, Sabine’s Spinetail, Cassin’s Spinetail, Blue-throated Roller, African Dwarf Kingfisher, White – bellied Kingfisher, Black-and-White Casqued Hornbill, Speckled Tinkerbird, Yellow – throated Tinkerbird, Yellow-spotted Barbet, Hairy-breasted Barbet, Yellow-billed Barbet, Cassin’s Honeyguide, Buff Spotted Wood pecker, Brown-eared Woodpecker, Golden-crowned Woodpecker, Green-breasted Pitta, African Shrike Flycatcher, Chestnut Wattle-eye, Jameson’s Wattle-eye, Gray-green Bush-shrike, Papyrus Gonolek, Sooty Boubou, Western Black-headed Oriole, Red-bellied Paradise-flycatcher, Dusky Crested-flycatcher, Dusky Tit, Buff-throated Apalis, Yellow-browed Camaroptera, Olive-green Camaroptera, Grey Greenbul, Plain Greenbul, Honeyguide Greenbul, Leaf love, Toro Olive Greenbul, White-throated Greenbul, Common Bristlebill, Red-tailed Bristlebill, Yellow-spotted Nicator, Yellow Longbill, and many others. Butterflies include among others; Broad Green-banded, Mocker swallow-tails, Immaculate and Opaque Wood-whites, Blue tiger, African Emigrant, Lady’s Maid and Cambridge vagrant.
Stay at Mabira Forest Lodge.
Day 3: Birding tour to Budongo Forest.
On this day, we start our journey birding to Budongo Forest, the largest natural forest area in East Africa. If time allows, we may bird this beautiful forest upon arrival. We can expect to find a wide range of bird species, such as the; the Crested Guinea-fowl sporting their punk “hairdos,” White-crested Turaco, Yellow and Grey Longbills, Olive-bellied Crombec, Yellow-browed Camaroptera, Little Green Sunbird, and Red-headed Blue Bill among others. There are also many other special birds with a West African origin: White-thighed Hornbill, Green-breasted Pitta, Rufous-sided Broadbill, Blue-breasted, Dwarf & Chocolate-backed Kingfishers, Yellow-crested & Brown-eared Woodpeckers, Yellow Bill, Western Black-headed Oriole, Yellow-spotted, Hairy-breasted & Yellow-billed Barbets, Green Hylia, Buff-throated, Black-throated & Black-capped Apalises, Black-eared Ground-Thrush, Rufous-crowned Eremomela, the elusive Lemon-bellied Crombec, Crested & Red-headed Malimbe and also various forest starlings among others.
This forest is also a prime area for a wide range of primates such as Blue & Red-tailed Monkeys and Black-and- White Colobus – and some Chimpanzees. There is also a wide variety-more than 200-of butterfly species in the forest, so we’ll keep our eyes open for species such as; Acreas and Charaxes, which call this tropical rain forest home. The Green-veined and the Blue-spotted Charaxes are two of the most common butterfly species in Budongo Forest.
Stay at Masindi Hotel or Court View Hotel.
Day 4: Birding Royal Mile and Busingiro sections of Budongo forest.
After breakfast we will embark on a tour of The Royal Mile, one of Uganda’s best forested bird watching spots. This is Uganda’s historically known leisure spot for the Bunyoro King; hence the name Royal Mile.
The Royal Mile is also 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 like the; 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 Longbill, 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. Our guides will point out the various butterfly species present here.
In the afternoon, we bird the Busingiro section. Birds here include; Red-headed Malimbe, Sooty Flycatcher, Ituri Batis, Tit Hylia, Lemon-bellied Crombec, Buff-throated Apalis, Black-throated Apalis, Chestnut Wattle-eye, Chestnut-capped Flycatcher, Green Sunbird, Superb Sunbird, Tambourine Dove, Golden-breasted Bunting, Rufous Flycatcher Thrush. We will also stop at a pond where we may get specialties like the; African Jacana, Swifts, African Fish Eagle, Sabine’s Spinetail, Pied Kingfisher, Angola Swallow, Purple-headed Starling, Hamerkop, White-headed Saw-wing, Osprey, Black-shouldered Kite, Senegal Coucal.
Day 5: Birding to Semliki Forest National Park.
On this day, we embark on a whole-day’s drive to Semliki Forest National Park in the Bundibugyo district. We will make frequent stops to scout for birds and to stretch our legs. Along the way, we may see birds such as; Lilac-breasted Roller, Ross’ Turaco, Eastern Grey Plantain Eater, Village Indigo Bird, Ruppel’s Long-tailed Starling, Jackson’s Widowbird, Hooded Vulture, Black Kite, Common Stonechat, Baglafecht Weaver, African Dusky Flycatcher, Common Fiscal, Forest Wood-hoopoe, Black-winged Red Bishop.
Stay at Vanilla Hotel or Semliki safari lodge.
Day 6: Birding Semliki Forest.
After an early breakfast, we go birding the Kirumya Trail in Semliki. Some of the birds here include; Black-and-White Casqued Hornbill, Forest Robin, Great Blue Turaco, Red-tailed Greenbul, Red-bellied Paradise Flycatcher, Palm-nut Vulture, Piping Hornbill, Grey-throated Tit Flycatcher, Western Nicator, Yellow-billed Barbet, Red-rumped Tinkerbird, Bronze-naped Pigeon, Splendid Glossy Starling, Brown Illadopsis, Pale-fronted Negrofinch, Blue-throated, Little Green , Grey-headed Negrofinch, Grey-headed, Variable Sunbirds, Blue-breasted Kingfisher, Little Grey Greenbul, Olive Green Camaroptera, Yellow-throated Nicator, Crested Guinea fowl, Chestnut-breasted Negro-finch, Crested Malimbe, Blue-headed Crested Flycatcher, Red-tailed Ant-Thrush, Red-tailed Bristlebill, Grey-throated Sunbird, Collared Sunbird, Black-winged Oriole, Blue-shouldered Robin-chat, Grosbeak Weaver, Jameson’s Wattle-eye, Red-tailed Greenbul, Xavier’s Greenbul, Brown-eared Woodpeckers, Green Hylia, Blue-throated Sunbird, Buff-throated Apalis, Green Crombec, Red-billed Dwarf, African Pied, White Crested, Black Dwarf Hornbills, Green-tailed Bristlebill, Eastern Bearded Greenbul, Blue-billed Malimbe, Sooty Boubou, Grant’s and Red-headed Bluebill, Tambourine Dove, Red-chested Cuckoo, Dusky Long-tailed Cuckoo, White-spotted Flufftail, Pygmy Kingfisher, Cabanis’ Greenbul, Blue-shouldered Robin-chat, Fire-crested Alethe, Rufous Flycatcher Thrush, Toro Olive Greenbul, Rufous-sided Broadbill, Green Pigeon, Hairy-breasted Barbet, Yellow-browed Camaroptera in addition to many butterfly species.
Day 7: Morning birding and transfer to Kibale Forest National Park.
During this day’s forest outing, we will make an effort to pick up any birds we may have missed on the previous day. Thereafter, we continue birding to Kibale Forest National Park. We may have chances of birds like; Northern Black Flycatcher, Palm-nut Vulture, Black-winged Bishop, White-faced Barbet, and White-headed Saw-wing. Birding by the roadside may also yield birds like the; Slender-billed and Joyful Greenbuls, Ashy Flycatcher, Grosbeak, Brown-capped and Black-necked Weavers, White-headed Wood Hoopoe, Masked Apalis, White-chinned Prinia, Brown-eared Woodpecker, Yellow White-eye, Olive Long-tailed Cuckoo, Great Blue Turaco, Grey-throated Barbet, Red-headed Malimbe, Petit’s Cuckoo Shrike, Blue-throated Sunbird, Purple-headed Starling, Emerald Cuckoo, White-breasted Negro-finch.
Stay at Ndali Lodge, Chimpanzee Guesthouse or Nature lodges.
Day 8: Birding and chimp tracking Kibale Forest.
After breakfast, we have a whole day of birding and chimp tracking. The activity may last from a few to several hours. Kibale Forest is an exceptional for being home to 13 different primate species. Other primates you may find here include; Red & Guereza Colobuses, Olive Baboon, Grey-cheeked Mangabey, L’Hoest’s Blue, Vervet and Red-tailed Monkeys. Bush Pig and Buffalo, Bushbuck, Blue, Harvey’s and Peter’s Duikers are other shy inhabitants of the forest interior.
Birding in the afternoon along the main road may be productive. Depending on the weather predictions, birding Bigodi Wetland is also productive with riverine forest birds. Kibale Forest National Park is a good site for a number of birds that are hard to find elsewhere including; the Speckle-breasted Woodpecker, Cabanis’s Greenbul and Joyful Greenbul as well as White-spotted Fluff tail, Dusky and Olive Long-tailed Cuckoo, Lesser Honeyguide, Blue-shouldered Robin Chat, White-chinned Prinia, Grey Apalis, Olive-green Camaroptera and White-collared Olive back.
Day 9: Birding Vacation to Maramagambo Forest.
We start early today and proceed to Imaramagambo Forest, birding along the way. A few bird specialties at Imaramagambo Forest include; the Yellow-bellied and Jameson’s Wattle-eyes, Black Bee-eater, White-tailed and Red-tailed Ant-Thrush, Brown and Grey-chested Illadopsis, Shinning Blue Kingfisher, Brown-eared Woodpeckers, Narina Trogon, Least Honey guide, Grey Greenbul, Brown-chested Alethe, and the African Fin foot plus a host of butterfly species. The trail through the forest leads past an impressive bat cave; if we are lucky we may come across a Python that lives in the cave and feasts on the bats.
Stay at Mweya safari lodge, or Mweya hostel.
Day 10: Birding tour to Bwindi Impenetrable National Park.
Forest birding in Bwindi ranks as the best in Uganda and is home to 23 highly localized Albertine Rift Endemics. Specialty birds include; Black-faced Rufous Warbler, Grauer’s Warbler, Banded Prinia, Black-faced Apalis, Mountain Masked Apalis, Red-throated Alethe, Yellow-eyed Black Flycatcher, Ashy Flycatcher, Dusky-blue Flycatcher, Chapin’s Flycatcher, Chin-spot Batis, Rwenzori Batis, Black-and-white Shrike Flycatcher, White-bellied Crested Flycatcher, Pale-breasted Illadopsis, Mountain Illadopsis, African Hill Babbler, Dusky Tit, Blue-throated Brown Sunbird, Blue-headed Sunbird, Northern Double-collared Sunbird, Grey-headed Sunbird, Mackinnon’s Fiscal, Sooty Boubou, Pink-footed Puffback, Doherty’s Bush Shrike, White-naped Raven, Montane Oriole, African Golden Oriole, Stuhlmann’s Starling, Narrow-tailed Starling, Waller’s Starling, Strange Weaver, Brown-capped Weaver, Black-billed Weaver, Dusky Crimsonwing, Yellow-bellied Waxbill, Magpie Mannikin, Yellow-crowned Canary, Thick-billed Seed-eater, Streaky Seedeater, African Green Broadbill, Shelly’s Crimsonwing, Oriole Finch, Mountain Buzzard, Ayre’s Hawk Eagle, Handsome Francolin, Black-billed Turaco, Barred Long-tailed Cuckoo, African wood Owl, Rwenzori Nightjar, Scarce Swift, Bar-tailed Trogon, Cinnamon-chested Bee-eater, Black Bee-eater, Western Bronze-naped Pigeon, Red-chested Owlet, Tullberg’s Woodpecker, Elliot’s Woodpecker, African Broadbill, Western Green Tinkerbird, African Green Broadbill, Lagden’s Bush Shrike, Petit’s Cuckoo Shrike, Grey Cuckoo Shrike, Archer’s Robin-Chat, Toro Olive Greenbul, Ansorge’s Greenbul, Equatorial Akalat, White-bellied Robin Chat, Olive Thrush, White-tailed Ant Thrush, Grauer’s Rush Warbler, Short-tailed Warbler, Neumann’s Warbler, and Red-faced Woodland Warbler.
Day 11: Birding and optional Gorilla tracking.
On this day, you have an option to either go Gorilla tracking or bird-and-butterfly watching.
Day 12: Birding to Entebbe.
Our tour gently winds down as we bird along the way from Kampala to Entebbe.
Stay at Lake Victoria Hotel, Entebbe Travellers’ Inn or Sophie’s Motel.