Semuliki National Park, also known as “The True Birders Haven” is credited among the best birding watching safari Uganda destinations. Interested in an adventurous Uganda birding safari? Then Semuliki National Park should be one of the Uganda birding tour spots that shouldn’t miss out on your Uganda safari tour itinerary. Semuliki National Park Uganda sprawls across the Semuliki Valley floor on the remote western side of the Rwenzori Mountains.
This true birders’ haven, a famous destination for Uganda birding tours, is part of the Guinea-Congo biome, the only lowland semi-deciduous forest in Uganda with a spectacular scenic beauty enhanced by the presence of hot springs found within the park.
A total number of 53 mammal species have been recorded in the park. These species include both small and of large mammals however, there are over 7 small mammal species that have not been recorded in other parks in Uganda including the recently discovered Bongo Antelope.
Eight species occur nowhere else in Eastern Africa such as mona monkey, forest buffalo, bay duiker, Beecroft’s flying squirrel, pygmy flying squirrel, little collared fruit bat, water chevrotain and target rat. The park also habits over 300 butterfly species and a few of them can be spotted in the forest during nature walks.
Semuliki National Park Uganda is also home to nine primate species, including De Brazza’s monkey, and many mammals not found elsewhere in Uganda, such as Zenker’s flying mice. Both the resident elephant and buffalo are the forest variety, smaller than their savannah comrades.
Semuliki National Park is a distinct ecosystem within the larger Albertine Rift ecosystem. Of the 1067 birds in Uganda, 440 bird species (43%) are found in Semuliki park. Albertine Rift Endemics such as the Dwarf Honeyguide and Purple-breasted Sunbird can occasionally be sighted. All these have attracted a big number of tourists for Uganda safaris particularly for activities like Uganda wildlife safaris, Nature walks, a birding tour Uganda or Uganda birding safaris, Uganda chimpanzee trekking safaris, Uganda cultural safaris and Uganda adventure safaris.
Some of the Congo Biome species /Congo Biodiversity species seen on a Uganda bird watching safari in Semuliki National Park
Before setting off for your birding safari in Uganda, or birding safaris to Uganda read about the different bird species you want to see on your tour Uganda. We have described five of the Congo –biome bird species for you including; Long-tailed Hawk, Lyre tailed honeyguide, Congo Serpent Eagle, Nkulengu Rail, and the Black wattled Hornbill.
Lyre tailed honeyguide
The lyre-tailed honeyguide is named after the lyre, a stringed instrument that is played by plucking the strings. Its tail looks similar to the U-shaped instrument.
Lyre-tailed honeyguides are dull-coloured birds characterized of a long, lyre-shaped tail which is U-shaped, and two middle pairs of rectrices. It has paired flight feathers of the tail, which extend from the tail edges that are curved outward at distal ends (away from the point of attachment). Its outermost rectrices are narrow and short. The birds also have a white undersurface about the tail normally seen as they fly, olive-green upperparts, and whitish underparts.
Most honeyguides sexes look alike, however, the males and females of the Lyre tailed honey guide look different with respect to their plumage. Females show some grey streaks on the rear underbelly, and their tail is not as large. Adults are about 6 inches (17 centimetres) long and weigh between 1.7 and 2.2 ounces (47.0 and 61.5 grams).
Lyre-tailed honeyguides are located in lowland tropical rainforests, primary forests and their edges, secondary forests, and plantations. They eat beeswax, bee larvae, termites, insects, spiders, and fig fruits.
Lyre-tailed honeyguides are not believed to migrate. The mating display of lyre-tailed honeyguides is very interesting. Males fly around while singing several “pee-pee” notes, which go into “ve-bek, ve-ever.” They then go into a rapid and steep dive with their tail feathers spread out. These feathers brush against the wind to make a “kwa-ba kwa-ba” series of sounds. Males may also fly up and down in spiral movements.
An adult Long Tailed Hawk adult as seen in the picture is characterized by lighter grey on the cheeks and veil, and darker on the wings. The rump is smoke grey, sometimes with white spots; the upper tail coverts pure white. The tail is black, graduated, the feathers tipped white and with four irregular crossbars of white. The primaries and secondaries are brown, barred black and notched with white on the base of inner webs. The chin and lower throat are greys. The underside of wings and tail are barred black and white. The eyes are reddish-yellow, the cere and feet pale yellow.
The immature Long Tailed Hawks are blackish-brown above, including the upper-tail coverts, with tawny markings. The tail is broadly banded black and brown above, black and white below, perhaps shorter than that of the adult. The underparts are white, sometimes almost unmarked, sometimes with large blackish spots on breast and sides.
The long-tailed hawk primarily eats squirrels, especially scaly-tailed squirrels and small birds. It can also hunt chicken in the villages close to the forest. It kills prey by breaking the neck. This bird is also known to attack hammer-headed fruit bats. Its strong legs and feet suggest its main prey are mammals.
The mating season occurs in July and August when the pair build a nest on a high tree.
Congo Serpent Eagle
The crown and mantle are blackish-brown, with brown sides to the neck and a broad brown collar. The rest of the upperparts are dark chocolate brown. The tail is light brown with six broad blackish bars. The wing coverts are blackish, the lesser coverts tipped with white. The primary flight feathers are dark brown on the outer web, light brown on inner, with a black tip and black bars. The cheeks are light brown, throat darker, and a black moustachial streak, and a black streak down the centre of the throat. Underparts are mostly white, with large round black spots. Mid-belly and under-tail coverts are pure white. The thighs are closely barred sepia and white. Under-wing again largely white, with some sepia and black spots and bars, the flights pale brown with darker bars. The eyes are dark brown or grey, cere yellow, legs and feet yellow. The males and females sexes are similar in size.
In the immatures the crown and mantle are basally white, the terminal half of the feathers ferruginous, and the tips black. Underparts are closely spotted with round ferruginous and blackish spots, which disappear gradually with age.
Lowland tropical rain forest. This is a bird of dense evergreen forest with large eyes that enable it to catch prey in the dim light of the forest.
Its diet consists mostly of snakes and lizards, including chameleons and toads. Sometimes its diet is evidenced by small mammals, however, these could have been swallowed with snakes which had eaten them earlier. Food is taken on the ground, or in trees, probably by dropping on it from a perch.
The Nkulengu Rail is a species of bird in the Rallidae family. It belongs to the monotypic genus Himantornis. It is found in Angola, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Republic of the Congo, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ivory Coast, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Ghana, Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Togo, and Uganda.
Black wattled Hornbill
A Black wattled Hornbill is just one of the many species of large forest Hornbills found in Uganda. These huge birds or adult species are about 90cm in length and they make a huge noise with their wingbeats, often the first thing alerting you to their presence.
A bird watching tour Uganda or bird watching tours Uganda are one of the most sought Uganda tour activity frequently booked by travellers on Uganda safaris tours. It is also wise you supplement your birding safari Uganda on your Africa tour with a Uganda wildlife tour, a Uganda gorilla tour or short Uganda gorilla safari, a Uganda chimpanzee trekking safari, a Jinja city tour or 1 Day Jinja city tour, a Kampala city tour or a 1-day Kampala city excursion, a Uganda cycling safari depending on your choice of safari in Uganda.
It is also possible to modify your Birding safari in Uganda or Birding tour in Uganda to feature other Africa safari destinations like Congo, Rwanda, Tanzania, Kenya among the many. Congo safaris or a Congo safari offers you chance enjoy a Congo gorilla safari in Kahuzi Biega National Park to trek lowland gorillas or a Congo gorilla trekking tour in Virunga National Park to trek the famous Mountain gorillas.
Rwanda has lots of Rwanda safari activities to offer travellers interested in Rwanda tours like Rwanda birding safaris, Rwanda gorilla safaris in Volcanoes National Park, Rwanda Chimpanzee trekking safaris in Nyungwe Forest National Park, a canopy walk in Nyungwe, a Kigali city tour or a Rwanda wildlife safari in Akagera National Park.
Tanzania safaris offer one of the best Africa wildlife safaris including Tanzania birding safaris. A Tanzania wildlife safari offers you the chance to visit Africas’ most famous Serengeti National Park while Kenya safaris offer Kenya birding safaris and Kenya wildlife safaris that bid you the chance to visit Masaai Mara National Park.