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Birdwatching In Buhoma Sector Of Bwindi
The diverse habitats in Uganda’s most ancient forest harbour a diversity of bird species. About 350 species have been recorded, with 23 endemics.
Birders with a limited amount of time in Buhoma are strongly urged to stick to the Munyaga River Trail, which starts on the edge of the park behind the gorilla trekking trailhead, and follows the same old road through the forest south of Buhoma as the Waterfall Trail.
The open road provides better birding opportunities than narrow forest path and on a good morning you could hope to see around 50 – 60 species, a high proportion of which are more easily seen here than in any similarly accessible part of Uganda.
Among the great many remarkable birds commonly seen along this road, some of the more readily identifiable include;
- Great blue turaco
- Black-billed turaco
- Barred long-tailed cuckoo
- Bar-tailed trogon
- Black bee-eater
- Grey-throated barbet
- Petit’s cuckoo-shrike
- Elliot’s woodpecker
- Red-tailed greenbul
- Mountain greenbul
- Icterine greenbul
- Yellow-whiskered greenbul
- White-bellied robin-chat
- White-tailed ant thrush
- Rusty-faced woodland warbler
- White-browed crombec
- Yellow-eyed black flycatcher
- White-tailed blue flycatcher
- White tailed crested flycatcher
- Narrow-tailed starling
- McKinnon’s shrike
- Doherty’s bush shrike, and
- Black-headed waxbill
In addition to outstanding birding, this road supports a dazzling array of colourful butterflies and lovely L’Hoest’s monkey is often encountered. Birders who specify their area of interest when they book a walk could ask for one of the several UWA guides with above average birding skills
Birding In Ruhija Sector Of Bwindi
Because it lies at a higher altitude than Buhoma, the tree composition of Ruhija is more characteristic of Afro-montane than lowland forest, and supports significantly different avifauna, making it an essential destination for enthusiasts.
It is one of the few places where you stand a chance of seeing all four crimsonwings recorded in Uganda and other specialities include a variety of apalis species, Lagden’s bush-shrike, and handsome francolin. The only Ugandan record for yellow-crested helmet-shrike is an unconfirmed sighting at Ruhija.
Ruhija’s top birding walk has to be the Mubwindi Swamp Trail, which descends several hundred meters from the trailhead to a swamp area that harbours 20 bird species listed in IUCN Red Data Book and/or endemic to the Albertine Rift.
The first part of the trail passes through highlands where there are several clearings offering good views into the canopy, and common birds include great blue turaco, black-billed turaco, Rwenzori batis, Chubb’s cisticola, blue-headed sunbird and stripe-breasted tit.
There are great views across Mount Muhabura and other volcanoes in Virunga Range. The trail descends into an area of thick-leafed scrubby marsh rated the most reliable site anywhere for the extremely localized African green broadbill (often sighted from May to July).
Other good birds often seen here include cinnamon-chested bee-eater, Rwenzori apalis, banded prinia, Grauer’s warbler, pink-footed puffback, yellow-eyed black flycatcher, Lagden’s bushshrike and dusky crimsonwing.
Eventually, you emerge on the edge of Mubwindi Swamp, where the main avian draws are the quite easily seen Grauer’s rush warbler and Carruthers’s cisticola and the vocal but visually elusive red-chested flufftail.
Bird watching in Rushaga sector of Bwindi
Birdlife is broadly similar to Buhoma.