QUEEN ELIZABETH NATIONAL PARK 
UGANDA

Region (Compass)

Lat:00o00´S/00o00´W ha topography msl 
Protected/registered status 
Best Time for visit (September-October 2004)

 

Birding Site Guide

 

To fully explore this large national park several days are required, accommodation is available inside the park, at either the luxurious Park Lodge or at the much cheaper hostel/campsite. Both places have places to eat, and even if you stay at the hostel, there is no problem going to the lodge to buy your food and drinks there. 


This national park is well signed and easy to get to on the paved road. There are 2 main places to stay within the park, one is the excellent and luxurious park lodge, the other is the barracks like accommodation a little further in (it is possible to camp at the latter). Food is available at both the latter being a bar-restaurant. Even if staying in the cheaper option it is still well worth visiting the lodge on evenings especially when there is a barbecue and traditional dancing etc on. 


The birding here can be done in your own vehicle and not on foot due to the various dangerous animals. If you do have to get out for the toilet do not walk off into long grass or bushes where an animal may be concealed. Driving along the roads there are a variety of habitats to look for various special birds. Night drives are not permitted in the park, however it is possible to be a little late returning for the day (not every evening!) the first half hour or so being particularly good for the many night birds. 


For a relaxing few hours take the boat safari along the river, and see many birds, including African Skimmer. 


Pink-backed Pelican, Woolly-necked- and Yellow-billed Stork, Hadada Ibis, African Spoonbill, Comb Duck, African White-backed Vulture, Brown- and Banded Snake-Eagles, Palm-nut Vulture, Long-crested Eagle, Grey Kestrel, Red Spurfowl, Helmeted Guineafowl, African Crake, Grey-crowned Crane, Black-bellied Bustard, Senegal Thick-knee, Temminck's Courser, Collared Pratincole, Kittlitz's- and Spur-winged Plovers, Senegal-, Crowned- and African Wattled Lapwings, Gull-billed, and Whiskered Tern, Blue Wood-Dove, Ring-necked- and Laughing Doves, African Cuckoo, White-browed-, Black- and Senegal Coucals, Speckled Mousebird, Grey-headed- and African Pygmy Kingfishers, European-, White-throated- and Little Bee-eaters, Green Wood-hoopoe, Crowned Hornbill, Rufous-naped-, Flappet- and Red-capped Larks, Banded- and Plain Martins, Wire-tailed, Angola- and Rufous-chested Swallows, African- and Short-tailed Pipits, Yellow-throated Longclaw, Black-lored- and Arrow-marked Babblers, White-browed Robin-Chat, White-browed Scrub Robin, Swamp Flycatcher, Greater Swamp Warbler, Moustached Grass-Warbler, Fan-tailed Grassbird, African Yellow Warbler, Trilling-, Winding-, Stout- and Croaking Cisticolas, Tawny-flanked Prinia, Yellow-breasted Apalis, Lesser Grey Shrike, Black-crowned Tchagra, Black-headed Gonolek, Fork-tailed Drongo, Wattled Starling, Green-headed-, Scarlet-chested-, Mariqua- and Red-chested Sunbirds, Slender-billed-, Holub’s Golden-, Black-headed and Lesser Masked Weavers, Red-headed Quelea, Black- and Red Bishops, Red-collared Widowbird, Green-winged Pytilia, African Firefinch, Crimson-rumped- and Common Waxbills, Pin-tailed Whydah, Yellow-fronted-, Brimstone- and Black-throated Canaries and Golden-breasted Bunting. 


There were also some common European migrants present. ALong the dirt roads at dusk (night driving is not permitted, but you can be a little late getting back!) look for Swamp- and Square-tailed Nightjar. In other more open grass areas, species such as Small Button- and Harlequin Quail and this is a very good place for Hottentot Button-quail. 


Vervet Monkey, Banded Mongoose, Spotted Hyena, Leopard, African Elephant, Giant Forest Hog, Common Waterbuck, Kob, Scrub Hare, Ugandan Grass Hare. 


QUEEN ELIZABETH (MWEYA side), boat trip along KASINGI CHANNEL 

The boat ride here offers an opportunity to relax and some good birding. The ferry leaves from the area below the hostel, and the boat trip takes several hours. Along the channel such species as Great White- and Pink-backed Pelican, Great- and Long-tailed Cormorant, Goliath Heron, Sacred Ibis, Egyptian Goose, Black Crake, Water Thick-knee, Kittlitz's Plover, Little Stint, Curlew Sandpiper, African Snipe, Marsh Sandpiper, Grey-headed Gull and African Skimmer can be found. We also saw Bar-tailed Godwit, a great Ugandan rarity. 


NYAKALENGIJA entrance (Ruwenzori mountains) trail to 1st bridge 

As the road approaches the park up a hill, in the last row of houses on the right is the park headquarters, where tickets can be bought and a guide hired. On this trail the first part of the trail is not too difficult, but after halfway it get progressively harder and steeper and there is much scrambling over boulders and trees, which means birding is difficult. Fortunately the first couple of km are very rewarding bird wise, and there is no real reason to climb higher in these spectacular mountains for most species. A full list of the species we saw on our half day were as follows. Rufous-breasted Sparrowhawk, Mountain Buzzard, Cassin's Hawk-Eagle, Rameron Pigeon, Crowned Hornbill, Black Saw-wing, Cape Wagtail, African Hill Babbler, White-eyed Slaty Flycatcher, Black-faced Apalis, Chin-spot Batis, Mackinnon's Shrike, Slender-billed Starling, Blue-headed-, Montane Double-collared- and Purple-breasted Sunbirds, Bronze Sunbird, Baglafecht- and Brown-capped Weavers.

 

Rwenzori Sun Squirrel. Johnson’s Cameleon. 


Albertine Rift Endemics 

Not all Albertine Rift Endemics species occur in Uganda. Albertine Rift Endemics species in square brackets were not recognised by Clements. 

  • Handsome Francolin Francolinus nobilis
  • Ruwenzori Turaco Ruwenzorornis johnstoni
  • Congo Bay Owl Phodilus prigoginei
  • Albertine Owlet Glaucidium albertinum
  • Itombwe Nightjar Caprimulgus prigoginei
  • Montane Nightjar Caprimulgus ruwenzorii
  • Dwarf Honeyguide Indicator pumilio
  • Green Broadbill Calyptomena viridis
  • Prigogine’s Greenbul Chlorocichla prigoginei
  • Red-collared Mountain-Babbler Kupeornis rufocinctus
  • Chapin's Mountain-Babbler Kupeornis chapini
  • Archer's Robin-Chat Cossypha archeri
  • Red-throated Alethe Alethe poliophrys
  • Kivu Ground Thrush Zoothera tanganjicae
  • African Dusky Flycatcher Muscicapa adusta
  • Yellow-eyed Black Flycatcher Melaenornis ardesiacus
  • Red-faced Woodland Warbler Phylloscopus laetus
  • Grauer's Shrub-Warbler Bradypterus graueri
  • Black-faced Apalis Apalis personata
  • Ruwenzori Apalis Apalis ruwenzori
  • [Kungwe Apalis Apalis argentea] Buff-throated Apalis Apalis rufogularis argentea
  • [Kabobo Apalis Apalis kaboboensis] Chestnut-throated Apalis Apalis porphyrolaema kaboboensis
  • Grauer's Warbler Graueria vitta
  • Neumann's Warbler Hemitesia neumanni
  • Chapin’s Crombec Sylvietta chapini
  • Stripe-breasted Tit Melaniparus fasciiventer
  • Ruwenzori Batis Batis diops Batis diops
  • Yellow-crested Helmet-Shrike Prionops alberti
  • Grauer’s Cuckoo-Shrike Coracina graueri
  • Blue-headed Sunbird Cyanomitra alinae
  • Regal Sunbird Cyanomitra alinae
  • Purple-breasted Sunbird Cinnyris regius
  • Stuhlmann’s Double-collared Sunbird Nectarinia purpureiventris
  • Rockefeller’s Sunbird Nectarinia rockerfelleri
  • Strange Weaver Ploceus alienus
  • Dusky Crimsonwing Cryptospiza jacksoni
  • Shelley's Crimsonwing Cryptospiza shelleyi 


In all --- species of bird have so far been recorded.


Other Fauna

 
There are some huge tusked elephants in the denser scrub, these are great to see but caution should be used even in the vehicle. Rhinos are to be re-introduced here (and other parks in Uganda), funded by the EU at $2,000,000 a pair! Leopards are not uncommon in this park and may be encountered anywhere day or night. 


Author: BSG

 

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