Uganda is one of the few countries in the world that boasts over 1,000 bird species! In addition it is blessed with some of Africa’s finest Game Reserves and protected areas, and several of the world’s most iconic animals, including Mountain Gorillas. However, on the avian front Uganda also has its fair share of ‘superstars’, including 24 Albertine Rift endemics, the inexplicably rare and localized Grauer’s Broadbill, beautiful Green-breasted Pitta, Black Bee-eater, Great Blue Turaco, Ituri Batis, Grey-chested Babbler, Jameson’s Antpecker, Black-bellied Seedcracker, Red-headed Bluebill – and much besides!
Yet there is one bird in particular that towers head and shoulders (literally!) above all the others – the huge, bizarre and incomparable Shoebill. Placed in its own monotypic family and restricted to large papyrus swamps, it derives its very appropriate name from its massive shoe-shaped bill, which reaches an incredible 30cm (12″) in length! This it uses to good effect to prey upon fish (the strange lungfish forming the bulk of its diet), frogs, reptiles (including baby crocodiles), and even small mammals. These it usually catches by standing motionless at the edge of a papyrus swamp, suddenly dropping face-first into the water to grasp its unsuspecting victim. Such was the case with this bird and its hapless lungfish, which Markus Lilje photographed in the now-famous Mabamba Swamp.
For a chance to see this colossal and impressive bird (which we have never missed on all the 50 tours we have operated in Uganda!), as well as numerous other sought-after African birds and wildlife, then we welcome you to join one of our upcoming Uganda birding and wildlife adventures, both of which still have spaces available.
Our Uganda departures are as follows:
Budget Uganda Birding: 4 – 15 Jul 2014 (12 days), USD$4,675 per person sharing; and
Uganda – Birds & Gorillas II: 4 – 22 Aug 2014 (19 days), USD$8,550 per person sharing.
For more information about these tours, either click on the above links or contact our office.