Uganda: Semliki - May 24th - 30th 2006

Published by Phil Gregory (info AT

Participants: Phil Gregory, Sir James Hackett, Alfred Twinomujini


Sir James Hackett and I were lucky enough to be able to hire Alfred T., Uganda's #1 birdman, to come with us for a foray over to the Semliki (Semuliki) Valley for 4 days post Field Guides Uganda 06 trip, Alfred being available from May 26. @ US$ 80 per day. Jim and I did a recce at Mabamba, then went back to Mabira and Jinja for the two other days, picking up some nice bonus birds . Shoebill at Mabamba was a nice start, then Mabira gave me Nahan's Forest Francolin, Green-tailed Bristlebill and Blue-headed Crested Flycatcher. Semliki overall was, in the apt Hackett-speak, tickarama- Red-billed Dwarf Hornbill when we arrived, Piping Hornbill and Blue-billed Malimbe on the first afternoon and a bunch of brilliant species over the next few days. It was a fantastic experience, with great drivers in Moses and Baker, and capable staff at the camp who looked after us nicely.

The first full day at Semliki began with usb hearing Nkulengu Rail in the forest behind the HQ, but too far to do much about it. Down to the Kirumiya (Kirumia) Trail and Toro Olive and Xavier's Greenbul came first, then Red-rumped Tinkerbird and a wonderful Spotted Honeyguide, followed by Rufous-sided Broadbill, then Yellow-throated Cuckoo, Crested Malimbe and Chestnut-breasted Negrofinch. Lunch gave us a fantastic Hartlaub's Duck, a fly-by of White-crested Hornbill for me, and the simply unbelievable Black-casqued Wattled Hornbill back by camp.

The following day kicked off in unbelievable fashion with the legendary Nkulengu Rail spotlit pre-dawn roosting in a thicket, and initially very vocal. The Kirumia Trail gave us quality today not quantity- African Piculet, Red-fronted Antpecker and Swamp Palm Bulbul late pm on the palm forest loop, when I also amazingly enough saw another Nkulengu Rail on the trail by the stream! We also heard Leaflove, and Grey Ground-Thrush along the trail.

The last Semliki day saw us hoof it out on the 11 km trail to the river and the Congo border, with angry cries of "fuck" every time Jim got a bootful in the swamp, one of the characteristic sounds of the forest. It was a bit of a trek but the swamp was negotiable with care, and I got my final African kingfisher with White-bellied Kingfisher at the sacred duck spot at the ox-bow, and White-throated Blue-Swallow performed well at the fishing camp on the border.

The final day we whipped back to Kibale and tried again for Green-breasted Pitta, but local politics was at work and an on-leave Harriet was not allowed to come and be our guide, sadly, as we dipped again. July sounds like it's the go here for this bird. Then it was a 5 hour drive back to Entebbe, dropping off Alfred in Kampala, and an evening flight to Dubai and Singapore for Sir James and I.


Tues. May 24 Mabamba Bay 1000-1300, Baker our trusty and very willing driver, Kampala and the Fairway Hotel that night, Ismael the local boatman.

Wed. May 25 D0630 for Mabira FR, 0800-1230 with Ibrahim local guide. Source of the Nile at Jinja pm, Mabira again 1500-1600- Kampala Fairway Hotel.

Thurs. May 26 Met up with Alfred and Moses for 0700 D for Fort Portal (1200-1300)- Semliki NP by 1430. Bought Ugandan wellies in Fort Portal for US$3.00, after some negotiation to get them at the same price that Alfred paid and not muzungu price, a great bargain as it turned out in the swamps at Semliki. Fort Portal to Semliki 90 min, road pretty good. Stayed at Sempaya Gate in a very basic tented camp adjacent to the Park HQ for the next 3 nights.

Fri. May 27 Sempaya Camp 0530- Kirumiya Trail all day to 1630/ Sempaya Camp. Sempaya to Kirumiya 15 min drive.

Sat. May 28 Sempaya camp 0530- Kirumiya Trail 0700-1330, pm Hot Springs Sempaya loop.

Sun. May 29 Sempaya camp 0545-0630 Nkulengu Rail ! Kirumiya Trail 11 hour walk, arrive river on Congo border 1200, back 1700. Heavy showers pm. Fort Portal Traveller's Rest Hotel that night.

Mon. May 30 D 0600 for Fort Portal, Kibale NP 0730-1100, sadly without Harriet the pitta guide who was on leave and thus not allowed to enter the forest- bureaucracy is alive here too it seems, and it cost us our best shot at Green-breasted Pitta. Fort Portal to Kibale NP HQ is 45 min. Arrived Entebbe 1600, in time for a meal at the hotel then out to the airport for the evening flight to Nairobi and Dubai.

Many thanks to Alfred, Moses and Baker for looking after us so well, and especially to Livingstone Kalema who facilitated the whole thing for us with his customary aplomb. It was a fantastic experience to get onto the Congo border forest area which was so long off –limits, a long held ambition. Even though I did get falciparum malaria as a souvenir later (thank you Cotexcin- don't go without it!) I got 23 lifers including some of my most wanted African birds. Thanks also to Jim for asking me to set it up, good on ya mate, glad you got plenty ticks, and to Rose-Ann Rowlett (Grebe) and Richard Webster who gave me lots of advice and some invaluable recordings.

Species Lists

Lifers in bold * denotes heard only

White-breasted (Great) Cormorant Phalacrocorax (carbo) lucidus
30 at Jinja.

Long-tailed Cormorant Phalacrocorax africanus
50 at Jinja.

Grey Heron Ardea cinerea
3 at Jinja.

Black-headed Heron Ardea melanocephala
10 en route to Entebbe.

Purple Heron Ardea purpurea
One imm. at Mabamba.

Little Egret Egretta garzetta
30 at the source of the Nile.

Squacco Heron Ardeola ralloides
6 at Mabamba.

Hamerkop Scopus umbretta
One or two most days.

African Openbill Anastomus lamelligerus
Ten at Mabamba, 30 at Kirumiya R.

Saddle-billed Stork Ephippiorhynchus senegalensis
One at Mabamba.

Marabou Stork Leptoptilos crumeniferus
Ten daily around Kampala and up to 30 on day 3 to Fort Portal.

Shoebill Balaeniceps rex
One at Mabamba, seen nicely after a couple of hours of strenuous paddling from our poor boatman, after we checked various Papyrus-fringed bays. Looks like a very good bet here, a useful back-up if you dip at Murchison.

Sacred Ibis Threskiornis aethiopicus
One at Mabamba.

Hadada Ibis Bostrychia hagedash
Mabamba and Jinja.

White-faced Whistling-Duck Dendrocygna viduata
One at Jinja.

Hartlaub's Duck Pteronetta hartlaubii
One of the birds of the trip, we heard it flush up the overgrown creek at the ox-bow along the Kirumiya Trail on May 27,but got no view. I went back shortly after and spied a tiny chestnut-coloured spot through some dense brush. By dint of perching precariously on the logs of the bridge I was eventually able to make out that it was a Hartlaub’s Duck, and I even got the scope on it! Jim had a very hard time making it out and a dip was looming for him, increasing his panic on a very unsteady platform and becoming almost farcical as it was in the scope, he just couldn’t make it out! Luckily it shifted slightly and we got great looks as it perched on a log and preened. Mega. Next day we flushed a pair from the flooded section of the swamp track, getting a fair flight view and seeing the white patches on the face of this large duck which had long been a major want of mine

Yellow-billed Duck Anas undulata
Ten at Jinja.

Black-shouldered Kite Elanus caeruleus
One near Mabamba.

Yellow-billed (Black) Kite Milvus (migrans) parasiticus
Sparse, just one near Mabira and 4 at Entebbe.

African Fish-Eagle Haliaeetus vocifer
3 at Jinja and one Mabamba.

Palm-nut Vulture Gypohierax angolensis
Up to 4 at Semliki in the palms by the hot springs, and 15 on our long trek to the border in the palm groves there.
Hooded Vulture Necrosyrtes monachus
Up to 4 around Kampala, the decline beginning?

African Marsh-Harrier Circus ranivorus
3 at Mabamba and one en route to Fort Portal.

African Harrier-Hawk (Gymnogene) Polyboroides typus
One near Mabamba.

Lizard Buzzard Kaupifalco monogrammicus
One near Mabamba.

African Goshawk Accipiter tachiro
An imm. perched in the forest at Mabira.

Long-crested Eagle Lophaetus occipitalis
Singles at Semliki.

Crowned Hawk-Eagle * Stephanoaetus coronatus
Heard along the Kirumiya Trail.

Nahan's Francolin Francolinus nahani
A brief view of one dashing across the track at Mabira, after Jim asked me what was the bird he'd just seen cross, and the other one snuck out. A very small francolin, typical gamebird shape. BVD.

Crested Guineafowl* Guttera pucherani
Heard at Semliki and Kibale. I did find a feather!

White-spotted Flufftail* Sarothrura pulchra
Heard at Mabira but not readily accessible.

Nkulengu Rail Himantornis haematopus
Heard calling loudly pre-dawn May 27, and again on May 28 when we went in after them, getting pretty close before they went quiet. We went in to the forest and shone the light but no luck, and no more response to the tape, so we came back out and waited, and fortunately they began calling again from the same spot. We went back in and snapped on the light, to reveal two birds roosting on a diagonal limb about 5 m up, right where we had been standing before! Superb view, we watched for about a minute then left them in peace as dawn approached. A US$100 bonus for Alfred from Jim resulted from this coup, who was anxious to grip off Terry Stevenson who has not seen this species! They behave like Okinawa Rail roosting on sloping branches, and were not coming to the tape although they did respond. The amazing call sounds like "I'm a purple prostitute" and has a great rhythm......Bizarrely, I saw another that same day late in the afternoon, walking along a forest track by a stream not far from the palm grove, and running off off to the side when I saw us. Heard again next day but the photo op was lost as they were not in the same place, and the malaria risk high.

Black Crake Amaurornis flavirostra
Great looks at Mabamba.

Lesser Moorhen Gallinula angulata
An adult and imm. were near the Shoebill at Mabamba, my first for years, a Uganda tick for me and a lifer for Jim.
African Jacana Actophilornis africanus
10 at Mabamba.

Long-toed Lapwing Vanellus crassirostris
10 at Mabamba, great close views in the swamp.

Three-banded Plover Charadrius tricollaris
One near Fort Portal.

Rameron (African Olive) Pigeon Columba arquatrix
30 at Semliki along the Kirumiya Trail.

Red-eyed Dove Streptopelia semitorquata
A couple en route to Fort Portal.

Laughing Dove Streptopelia senegalensis

Blue-spotted Wood-Dove Turtur afer
15 at Semliki and 4 near Kibale.

Tambourine Dove Turtur tympanistria
One's and two's at Semliki.

African Green-Pigeon Treron calva
Two at Kibale.

Great Blue Turaco Corythaeola cristata
Seen daily, max. 6 at Semliki.

Black-billed Turaco * Tauraco schuettii
Heard at Semliki.

Ross' Turaco Musophaga rossae
One at Semliki.

Eastern Plantain-eater Crinifer zonurus
Small numbers at Semliki and on the way back to Kampala.

Levaillant's Cuckoo Oxylophus levaillantii
One at Semliki.

Red-chested Cuckoo * Cuculus solitarius
Heard at Semliki.

Dusky Long-tailed Cuckoo * Cercococcyx mechowi
Heard daily at Semliki, and at Mabira.

Yellow-throated Cuckoo Chrysococcyx flavigularis
This was scarce and we basically got a very nice scope view on May 27, taping one in, and heard it daily along the trail. One of my most wanted birds, a great tick.

Klaas' Cuckoo Chrysococcyx klaas
A fine male at Semliki.

African Emerald Cuckoo * Chrysococcyx cupreus
One heard along the Kirumiya Trail, interesting it is sympatric with Yellow-throated Cuckoo here.
Yellowbill (Green Coucal) Ceuthmochares aereus aereus
Two along the Kirumiya Trail on May 28 and one May 29.

Black-throated Coucal * Centropus leucogaster
Frustrating, we heard what we presume to be this species daily along the Kirumiya Trail, but never really close and no views possible.

Blue-headed Coucal Centropus monachus
One at Mabamba and one near Fort Portal.

Senegal Coucal Centropus senegalensis
One at Semliki.

African Palm-Swift Cypsiurus parvus
A few at Semliki.

Alpine Swift Tachymarptis melba
A flock of 60 over Semliki pm May 27, with 3 the previous day.

Little Swift Apus affinis
Seen at Kampala.

White-rumped Swift Apus caffer
4 near Kibale.

Speckled Mousebird Colius striatus
Seen near Kibale.

Narina Trogon * Apaloderma narina
Heard at Kibale.

Malachite Kingfisher Alcedo cristata
One at Mabamba.

White-bellied Kingfisher Alcedo leucogaster
Yay! My final African mainland kingfisher was perched over the stream at the oxbow, giving us a brief but clear look on May 29, and seeing the white belly. I'd suspected it here on the previous visit but it shot off.....
Dwarf Kingfisher * Ispidina lecontei
Heard at Semliki, Jim and Alfred saw one.

Woodland Kingfisher Halcyon senegalensis
A few at Semliki.

Blue-breasted Kingfisher * Halcyon malimbica
Heard daily at Semliki, with 7 heard on the long trek day, I'm ashamed to say I did not hunt one down having just seen it on the main Uganda trip.

Pied Kingfisher Ceryle rudis
Lots at Mabamba.

Little Bee-eater Merops pusillus
6 at Semliki one day.

Blue-breasted Bee-eater Merops variegatus
3 of this local species gave nice looks at Mabamba.

White-throated Bee-eater Merops albicollis
One at Mabira was unexpected and was a tick for Jim.

Madagascar (Olive) Bee-eater Merops superciliosus
6 over the river by the fishing camp on the Congo (Zaire) border, actually in Congo I suppose.
Broad-billed Roller Eurystomus glaucurus
A few at Mabira and odd birds at Semliki.

Blue-throated Roller Eurystomus gularis
One at Mabira was nice as this seems to be quite a scarce species.
White-crested Hornbill Tockus albocristatus
Lucky, I got a fairly good flight view on the walk back on our first trail day May 27, the huge great long tail and white crown obvious. We taped in a vocal couple on the long trek day but they were very wary and we never got a good look, I think Jim never ticked it.

Red-billed Dwarf Hornbill Tockus camurus
I was well impressed with this bird, such an odd greenish-brown colour and a strange voice, I sw 4 on May 27 at Sempaya and 3 on May 29.

Crowned Hornbill Tockus alboterminatus
Seen near Mabamba and near Mabira, and on the way to Semliki.
African Pied Hornbill Tockus fasciatus
Two in Semliki May 27.

Piping Hornbill Ceratogymna fistulator
7 on May 26 at Sempaya, 12 on May 28 and 8 on May 29. Also seen in Congo.

Black-and-white Casqued Hornbill Ceratogymna subcylindricus
6 near Mabamba, 2 at Mabira, and a couple of singles at Semliki.
White-thighed Hornbill Ceratogymna albotibialis
Two near Sempaya May 27.

Black-casqued Hornbill Ceratogymna atrata
Magnificent, one of the birds of the trip, a huge pair flew over at Sempaya on May 27 in the late pm, giving a brief but countable flight view, but my tape brought them zooming back and we had superb looks at them calling and perching up, with great raucous vocals, a wonderful bird.

Red-rumped Tinkerbird Pogoniulus atroflavus
Brilliant views of one along the Kirumiya Trail May 27, taped in for great looks.
Yellow-throated Tinkerbird Pogoniulus subsulphureus
Two at Mabira and one at Semliki.

Yellow-rumped (Golden-rumped) Tinkerbird Pogoniulus bilineatus
One at Semliki.

Yellow-spotted Barbet* Buccanodon duchaillui
Heard daily at Semliki.

Hairy-breasted Barbet Tricholaema hirsuta
One at Mabira and heard at Semliki.

Yellow-billed Barbet Trachyphonus purpuratus
One at Mabira that Jim dipped, then a catch up for him at Semliki (after much angst!)
Spotted Honeyguide Indicator maculatus
Great looks at this spotty beast about 3 km along the Kirumiya Trail, me in some panic as I did not get onto it initially, but luckily it hung about.

Lesser Honeyguide Indicator minor
Heard at Mabira, and one at Semliki on the Kirumiya Trail the pale belly making initial i.d. as Thick-billed seem wrong, and Alfred came around after my query.

African Piculet Sasia africana
Brilliant, one of my most wanted African birds, found by Alfred about 2 km along the Kirumiya Trail on May 28, feeding quietly from bamboo stems at eye level beside the track. It gave a quiet trilling call and was quite tame, we watched it for several minutes tapping at the stems before it flew across the track.

Buff-spotted Woodpecker Campethera nivosa
Two on May 28 and one next day, quite hard to get a good view but eventually succeeded.

Brown-eared Woodpecker Campethera caroli
Singles on May 28 and 29 along the Kirumiya Trail.

Yellow-crested (Golden-crowned) Woodpecker * Dendropicos xantholophus
Heard on May 27 at Semliki.

Rufous-sided Broadbill Smithornis rufolateralis
Fantastic, my second new broadbill of the trip, giving the odd whirring call with the little jump quite similar to African Broadbill, but a larger bird and with rufous flanks. We got a great look some way along the trail on May 27, and I snuck off to see another near the start of the track next day.

Banded Martin Riparia cincta
Three seen at Mabamba.

Angola Swallow Hirundo angolensis
Quite common, lots at Mabamba and a few at Semliki on several days.
White-throated Blue-Swallow ` Hirundo nigrita
The long walk out to the Semliki River on the Congo border got us this species, the last tick of the trip for me, with about 8 birds perched out on posts in the river by the fishing camp. Gave pretty good views, seen in both countries too. Rich navy blue with a white throat, and small sized.

Lesser Striped-Swallow Cecropis abyssinica
A few each day, estimates around 10 daily.

Mosque Swallow Cecropis senegalensis
Seen on 3 days, twice at Semliki with one then 2 birds.

White-headed Sawwing Psalidoprocne albiceps
Up to 6 at Semliki, on 3 days.

African Pied Wagtail Motacilla aguimp
Singles at Semliki.

Yellow Wagtail Motacilla flava
Two late migrants at Mabamba May 24.

Mountain Wagtail Motacilla clara
Great views at the stream at Kibale where the Cassin's Grey Fly lives, with 3 individuals of this very attractive species, a tick for Jim. We dipped here on the main tour.

Purple-throated Cuckoo-shrike Campephaga quiscalina
A pair at Mabira were a tick for Jim and showed nicely.

Common (Dark-capped) Bulbul Pycnonotus barbatus

Swamp Palm Greenbul Thescelocichla leucopleura
We had to work quite hard for this, going into some swamp palm thickets in the hot springs area late on May 28 and getting 4 noisy birds taped in high in the palms, just as I thought it was going to be too late to nail them. Another long sought species for me, but really the first time I've been in the range.

Leaf-love * Phyllastrephus scandens
This was a bit annoying as we got them calling back in the tall trees by the road on 3 days, May 26-28, but never managed a countable view, just flits. They really stayed in the leaves, yet another heard lifer from Semliki.

Toro Olive-Greenbul Phyllastrephus hypochloris
Finally ticked this one off along the Kirumia Trail, with 2 on May 26. A subtle species and I was glad to have someone along who knew the call. New for me, never ticked at Kakamega.

Xavier's Greenbul Phyllastrephus xavieri
This was the common small bulbul at Semliki, I saw 10 on May 26, 8 next day and a couple in passing on May 28. New for me.

Common (Red-tailed) Bristlebill Bleda syndactyla
This was vocal and quite common at Semliki and we heard it daily, seeing one on May 26 near the Hot Springs.

Green-tailed Bristlebill Bleda eximia ugandae
I was lucky enough to see one briefly and very close at Mabira which Jim missed, then another similarly along the Kirumia Trail. Oddly the tape seems to drive them away and you just have to try and spot a calling one, which is hard as they are very skulky. This may be a split as Yellow-lored Bristlebill Bleda ugandae

Western (Yellow-spotted) Nicator Nicator chloris
I saw a couple along the Kirumia Trail.

Yellow-throated Nicator Nicator vireo
I saw one along the Kirumia Trail on May 28, high in a tree, very wary and much smaller than Western Nicator.

Red-tailed Bulbul Criniger calurus
This was quite common along the Kirumia Trail with up to 6 in a day.

Rufous Flycatcher-Thrush Neocossyphus fraseri
One along the Kirumia Trail May 28.

Red-tailed Ant-Thrush Neocossyphus rufus
A couple most days in Semliki.

White-tailed Ant-Thrush Neocossyphus poensis
Jim's last tick, with 4 singles from along the roadside at Kibale.
Grey Ground-Thrush * Zoothera princei
Aaargh, Alfred pointed out a quiet call from the understorey as this species, along the Kirumiya Trail on May 28. No way to get it out though, another mega heard only.

African Thrush Turdus pelios
One at Kibale.

Fire-crested Alethe Alethe diademata castanea
I saw single 3 birds along the Kirumia Trail on 3 days.

Brown-breasted Alethe Alethe poliocephala
Nice views of one near the start of the Kirumia Trail

Red-faced Cisticola Cisticola erythrops
Heard and a single seen at Semliki.

Winding (Black-backed) Cisticola) Cisticola (galactotes) marginatus
Seen at Mbamba and singles at Semliki. Following the recent splitting of this species this would seem to be the central African taxon the Winding Cisticola C. marginatus.

Carruthers' Cisticola Cisticola carruthersi
Ten at Mabamba, seen nicely.

Banded (Black-faced) Prinia * Prinia bairdii melanops
Heard at Semliki on one day.

Buff-throated Apalis * Apalis rufogularis
Heard at Semliki.

Green-backed Camaroptera Camaroptera brevicaudata
Two at Mabira and 2 near Kibale.

Yellow-browed Camaroptera * Camaroptera superciliaris
Heard at Mabira.

Olive-green Camaroptera Camaroptera chloronota
A few at Semliki.

Greater Swamp-Warbler Acrocephalus rufescens
One fairly unobliging singing bird at Mabamba gave brief views and was my first for years.

Green Crombec Sylvietta virens
One at Semliki.

Lemon-bellied Crombec Sylvietta denti
Heard at Kirumia, Semliki on May 27 and one seen there May 28.

Yellow Longbill Macrosphenus flavicans
One at Mabira and heard at Semliki.

Grey Longbill * Macrosphenus concolor
Heard at Mabira May 25.

Green Hylia Hylia prasina
Heard daily at Semliki and about three actually sighted.

Sooty Flycatcher Muscicapa infuscata
One at Mabira.

Swamp Flycatcher Muscicapa aquatica
Three at Mabamba.

Cassin’s Grey Flycatcher Muscicapa cassini
One in Congo May 28 and 1 at the usual Kibale stream site on May 30.

Grey-throated Tit-Flycatcher Myioparus griseigularis
An adult and a juv. at Semliki May 27.

African Stonechat Saxicola torquata
One en route to Fort Portal.

African Shrike-Flycatcher Megabyas flammulatus
A pair in Semliki.

Vanga (B & W Shrike-) Flycatcher Bias musicus
Heard in Semliki.

Brown-backed Scrub-Robin Cercotrichas hartlaubi
One at Semliki May 28.

Chestnut Wattle-eye Platysteira castanea
Females on two dates at Semliki.

Jameson's Wattle-eye Platysteira jamesoni
A male at Semliki on the Kirumiya Trail on May 27.

Chestnut-capped Flycatcher Erythrocercus mccallii
Three along the Kirumiya Trail at Semliki on May 28.

Blue-headed Crested-Flycatcher Trochocercus nitens
A female at Mabira May 25, and a fine male along the Kirumiya Trail Semliki on May 27.

Black-headed Paradise-Flycatcher Terpsiphone rufiventer
Up to 6 in a day at Semliki.

African Paradise-Flycatcher Terpsiphone viridis
One at Semliki

Scaly-breasted Illadopsis Illadopsis albipectus
Two at Mabira gave good views, my first decent sighting beyond a fly-by in 2004, and then heard at both Semliki and Kibale.

Brown Illadopsis * Illadopsis fulvescens
Heard at Mabira and Semliki.

Capuchin Babbler * Phyllanthus atripennis
Heard along the Kirumia Trail on May 28 but kept back and out of view, yet another heard lifer.

Grey-headed Sunbird Deleornis axillaris
Three on May 28, 6 on May 29 at Semliki, and 2 on May 30 at Kibale.

[Little Green Sunbird Anthreptes seimundi]
I dipped on one at Semliki on May 29.

Collared Sunbird Hedidypna collaris
Four at Semliki on May 28.

Green Sunbird Anthreptes rectirostris
One at Mabira and I dipped on one at Semliki.

Blue-throated Brown Sunbird Cyanomitra cyanolaema
One f. in Semliki and one at Kibale.

Western Olive Sunbird Cyanomitra obscura
A couple of singles of this doubtful split in Semliki.

Scarlet-chested Sunbird Chalcomitra senegalensis
A f. at Mabira.

Olive-bellied Sunbird Cinnyris chloropygius
A male at Mabira and another at Semliki.

Copper Sunbird Cinnyris cupreus
A male at Semliki on May 28.

African Yellow White-eye * Zosterops senegalensis
Heard at Mabira.

Western Black-headed Oriole Oriolus brachyrhynchus
A couple of sightings in Semliki.

Grey-backed Fiscal Lanius excubitoroides
One en route to Mabira.

Common Fiscal Lanius collaris
Three en route to Fort Portal.

Sooty Boubou Laniarius leucorhynchus
Two at Semliki May 28.

Pied Crow Corvus albus
Common in the towns.

Piapiac Ptilostomus afer
Ten at the source of the Nile at Jinja.

Lesser Blue-eared Starling Lamprotornis chloropterus
Four on May 30 near Kibale.

Splendid Glossy-Starling Lamprotornis splendidus
Three on May 27, one on 28 at Semliki, and 3 on May 30 Kibale.

Rueppell’s Glossy Starling Lamprotornis purpuropterus
Two on May 24 near Mabira and 4 near Fort Portal May 30.

Purple-headed Glossy-Starling Lamprotornis purpureiceps
Two at Semliki May 27.

Slender-billed Weaver Ploceus pelzelni
Two at Mabamba.

Orange Weaver Ploceus aurantiifrons
This Lake Victoria near-endemic showed really well at Mabamba with 2 birds by the toilet block at the canoe site. There was a nest at Semliki along the river with a single bird attending.

Black-necked Weaver Ploceus nigricollis
One at Kibale and one at Semliki.

Vieillot's Weaver Ploceus nigerrimus
20 at Mabamba, and small nos. daily at Semliki.

Yellow-backed Weaver Ploceus melanocephalus
A few at Mabamba.

Yellow-mantled Weaver Ploceus tricolor
The pair at Mabira were still by their nest at the junction.

[Maxwell's Black Weaver Ploceus albinucha]
Nearly ticked this, a bird we got in the scope perched up on the riverbank in Congo looked to have a white eye, but was not quite good enough to list.

Compact Weaver Pachyphantes superciliosus
One along the Kirumia Trail.

Gray's (Blue-billed) Malimbe Malimbus nitens
Two by the hot springs May 26, and then one well along the Kirumia Trail past the ox-bows

Crested Malimbe Malimbus malimbicus
Great looks in Semliki along the Kirumia Trail, one on May 27 and 2 on May 28, but they could be quite shy and hard to get a good look at.

Fan-tailed Widowbird Euplectes axillaris
Four at Mabamba and one later en route to Fort Portal.

Grosbeak Weaver Amblyospiza albifrons
A couple of singles along the Kirumia Trail.

Red-fronted Antpecker Parmoptila rubrifrons
A fantastic pair along the Kirumia Trail on May 28, feeding close by at eye-level too, really strange little birds with slender slightly decurved bills. The male had a bright crimson forehead. Yet another mega-tick.
White-breasted Negrofinch Nigrita fusconota
One at Semliki.

Chestnut-breasted Negrofinch Nigrita bicolor
Great views of one along the Kirumia Trail on May 26, a species I thought I saw in Kakamega years back then decided they were immatures of another species, so a pleasing lifer.

Black-bellied Seedcracker Pyrenestes ostrinus
One at Mabira and one at Semliki.

Red-headed Bluebill Spermophaga ruficapilla
A couple heard and one seen at Semliki.

Red-cheeked Cordonbleu Uraeginthus bengalus
One at Jinja.

Fawn-breasted Waxbill Estrilda paludicola
Two at Semliki, but alas still no Orange-cheeked for me.

Common Waxbill Estrilda astrild
Ten at Mabamba.

Bronze Mannikin Spermestes cucullatus
A couple at Semliki. 20748d 393 129

Black-and-white Mannikin Spermestes bicolor
We saw 5 at Semliki on May 28.

Fawn-breasted Waxbill Estrilda paludicola
Two at Semliki, but still no Orange-cheeked Waxbill!

Magpie Mannikin Spermestes fringilloides
Three at Mabira as you enter the forest reserve gave nice looks, and were a chance find as I heard our guide mention them in passing and queried it. We've not seen it yet on the FG trip as we didn't know they were here. My first since Malawi days and a species I only ever saw once or twice back then.

Brimstone (Bully) Canary Serinus sulphuratus
One at Mabira.

Species that were heard only and join the dreaded heard lifers sub-list:
Black-throated Coucal Centropus leucogaster
Grey Ground-Thrush Zoothera princei,
Capuchin Babbler Phyllanthus atripennis
Leaflove Phyllastrephus scandens


Red-tailed Monkey Cercopithecus ascanius
Seen daily at Semliki with up to 6 in day.

Blue Monkey Cercopithecus mitis
Four seen in Semliki, where it was also heard.

Ugandan Red Colobus Piliocolobus tephrosceles
Two at Kibale NP.

Black & White Colobus Colobus angolensis / guereza
Two at Sempaya, not sure which species of black and white colobus occurs here, probably Guereza.

Grey-cheeked Mangabey Lophocebus albigena
One on May 26, 6 on May 27 and 6 on May 28 in Semliki.

Black-faced Vervet Monkey Chlorocebus aethiops
Two at Mabira.

Olive Baboon Papio anubis
15 near Fort Portal and 6 in Semliki.


Forest Cobra
One at Mabira and one on the Kirumia Trail

Green snake sp.
One at Sempaya Camp May 26.

© Phil Gregory, Kuranda March 07.