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A Birder’s Guide to the Butterfly Kingdom

Safari tour package: A custom, tailor-made, private safari
Prices: $3456 - $4000
Includes internal flights: No
Length of safari: 11 days
Best months: January - February, June - December
Countries visited: Uganda Uganda
Parks visited: Bwindi Impenetrable, Kibale, Semuliki
Activity level: Very Active - Trekking, mountain biking, kayaking
Safari type:
  • Cultural
  • Birding
Uganda is a birder’s paradise. Over half of all bird species in Africa can be found in Uganda making it the richest African birding destination. Even within the surroundings of the capital city Kampala, you can record nearly 300 species in a day, and all this is thanks to the richly diverse of habitats from the scenic shores of Lake Victoria to the lush forests of the Albertine Rift and the banks of the mighty Nile River. One of the best times for birding is early morning when the birds are feeding. As the day gets warmer, the birds tend to relax in the shade while butterflies become more active, which allows a natural shift of attention to another set of beautiful flying creatures

Day 1


Upon arrival at Entebbe International Airport, you will meet our professional tour guide. Depending on the time of arrival and your preference, we may have an option of 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 Tinker bird, 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, Sunbird, Grey Woodpecker, Eastern Grey Plantain Eater, Alpine, Palm, White-rumped Swifts, Palm nut 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, Snow-headed Robin-chat, Red-bellied Paradise Flycatcher.  Dinner and overnight in Entebbe at Sophie’s Motel.


Day 2

Mabira Forest

After breakfast, we will transfer you to Mabira Forest Reserve; it 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 ecotourism 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, Gray Parrot, Dusky Long Tailed Cuckoo, Black Shouldered Nightjar, Sabine’s Spine Tail, Cassin’s Spine tail, Blue Throated Roller, African Dwarf Kingfisher, White – bellied Kingfisher, Forest Wood hoopoe, Black and White Casqued Hornbill, Speckled Tinker bird, Yellow – throated Tinker bird, Yellow-spotted Barbet, Hairy-breasted Barbet, Yellow-billed Barbet, Cassin’s Honey guide, 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, Blue-headed Crested Flycatcher, Black-headed Paradise Flycatcher, Dusky-crested Flycatcher, Dusky Tit, Buff-throated Apalis, Yellow-browed Camaroptera, Olive-green Camaroptera, Gray Greenbul, Plain Greenbul, Honey guide Greenbul, Leaf love, Toro Olive Greenbul, White-throated Greenbul, Common Bristlebill, Red-tailed Bulbul, Yellow-spotted Nicator, Yellow Long bill, and many others. Butterflies include among others Broad Green-banded, Mocker swallowtails, Immaculate and Opaque Wood-whites, Blue tiger, African Emigrant, Lady’s Maid and Cambridge vagrant. Stay in Mabira Forest Lodge.


Day 3

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 Crested Guinea fowl sporting their punk “hairdos,” White-crested Turacco, Chestnut-crowned Eremomela, Yellow and Gray Longbills, Olive-bellied Crombec, Yellow-browed Camaroptera, Little Green Sunbird, and Redheaded 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 will 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 in  Court View Hotel.


Day 4

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 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. 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, SuperbSunbird, Tambourine Dove, Golden-breasted Bunting, Rufous Flycatcher Thrush. We also stopped at a pond where we got specialties like the African Jacana, Spinetails, Swifts, African Fish Eagle, Sabine’s Spinetail, White-rumped Spinetail, Pied Kingfisher, Angola Swallow, Purple-headed Starling, Hamerkop, White-headed Saw-wing, Cassin’s Spinetail, Osprey, Black-shouldered Kite, Senegal Coucal. Dinner and overnight at Court View.


Day 5

Semiliki National Park

On this day, we embark on a whole-day’s drive to Semliki Forest National Parkin 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’ Turacco, 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, Woodhoopoe, Scimitar Bill, and Black-winged Bishop. Stay in  Semiliki safari lodge.


Day 6

Semiliki Forest

After an early breakfast, we go birding in the Kirumya Trail in Semliki. Some of the birds here include Black and White Casqued hornbill, Forest Robin, Great Blue Turacco, Red-tailed Greenbul, Red-bellied Paradise Flycatcher, Palm-nut Vulture, Piping Hornbill, Little Green Sunbird, 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 Variable Sunbird, 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, Grey-headed Negrofinch, Grey-headed Sunbird, Jameson’s Wattle-eye, Red-tailed Greenbul, Xavier’s, 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, Grant’s Bluebill, Sooty Boubou, Red-headed Bluebill, Male Tambourine Dove, Red-chested Cuckoo, Dusky Long-tailed Cuckoo, White-spotted Flufftail, Pygmy Kingfisher, Cabanis’s’ 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.Dinner and overnight at Semiliki Safari lodge.


Day 7

Kibale 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, Joyful Greenbuls, Ashy Flycatcher, Grosbeak, Brown-capped, Black-necked Weavers, White-headed Wood Hoopoe, Masked Apalis, White-chinned Prinia, Brown-eared Woodpecker, Yellow White-eye, Olive Long-tailed Cuckoo, Great Blue Turacco, Grey-throated Barbet, Red-headed Malimbe, Petit’s Cuckoo Shrike, Bush Shrike, Blue-throated Sunbird, Purple-headed Starling, Emerald Cuckoo, White-breasted Negro-finch. Stay in Chimpanzee Guesthouse


Day 8

Kibale National Park

After breakfast, we have a whole day of birding. The activity may last from a few to several hours. Kibale Forest is exceptional for being home to 13 different primate species. Other primates you may find here include Red & Guereza Colobus, Olive Baboon, Grey-cheeked Mangabey, L’Hoest’s Blue, Vervet and Red-tailed Monkey. 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 Speckle-breasted Woodpecker, Cabanis’s Greenbul and Joyful Greenbul as well as White-spotted Fluff tail, Dusky and Olive Long tailed Cuckoo, Lesser Honey guide, Blue-shouldered Robin Chat, White-chinned Prinia, Grey Apalis, Olive-green Camaroptera and White-collared Olive back. Dinner and overnight at Chimpanzee guesthouse.


Day 9

Maramagambo Forest

We start early today and proceed to Maramagambo 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 in Buffalo Lodge.


Day 10

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-napped 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, StreakySeedeater, African Green Broadbill, Shelly’s Crimsonwing, Oriole Finch,Mountain Buzzard, Ayre’s Hawk Eagle, Handsome Francolin, Black-billed Turacco, Barred Long-tailed Cuckoo, African wood Owl, Ruwenzori Nightjar, Scarce Swift, Bar-tailed Trogon, Cinnamon-chested Bee-eater, Black Bee-eater, Western Bronze-napped 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 Ground Robin, 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. Dinner and overnight at Gorilla Safari lodge.


Day 11


After breakfast drive back to Kampala

Listed below are hotels/lodges/resorts that the safari tour operator can accomodate for you.

  • Sophie’s Motel in Entebbe
  • Mabira Rain Forest Lodge in Mabira
  • Court View Hotel in Masindi
  • Semiliki Safari lodge in Semiliki
  • Chimpanzee Guest house in Kibale
  • Buffalo Lodge in Queen Elizabeth
  • Gorilla Safari Lodge

Murchison Falls National Park lies at the northern end of the Albertine Rift Valley, where the sweeping Bunyoro ...

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A week long wildlife safari that takes you to gorilla country in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, then to the vast sa...

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