Grey-backed Fiscal Lanius excubitorius, Queen Elizabeth National Park, Uganda
The following largely unsubstantiated records have been published in recent editions of the ABC Bulletin for information only.
from ABC Bulletin 23.1
Records for the period May–August 2015 include the following. During waterfowl counts on 28 July, 1,270 Intermediate Egrets Ardea intermedia and 2,014 Glossy Ibises Plegadis falcinellus were recorded at the Kibimba rice scheme, whilst the first Shoebill Balaeniceps rex for the site was also noted. In Queen Elizabeth National Park (=NP), two Forbes’s Plovers Charadrius forbesi were observed on the Kasenyi track on 21 May and a single at Ishasha on 23 May; these are the sixth and seventh records for Uganda. Seven Brown-chested Lapwings Vanellus superciliosus were at the Airstrip Ponds near Mutukula, Rakai District, on 16 July. Six early European Bee-eaters Merops apiaster were with eight late Madagascar Bee-eaters M. superciliosus in Toro-Semliki Wildlife Refuge on 15 August. A single Southern Carmine Bee-eater M. nubicoides was found amongst 100 Northern Carmine Bee-eaters M. nubicus in Murchison Falls NP on 18 July. A Black-throated Barbet Tricholaema melanocephala was at Lake Opeta on 31 July. At Fort Portal, a Least Honeyguide Indicator exilis was trapped on 6 August and a Bamboo Warbler Bradypterus alfredi—a rare and little known species—at Tooro Botanical Gardens on 29 August. Three pairs of Black-backed Cisticolas Cisticola eximius were at Lake Opeta on 26 August, with an Emin’s Shrike Lanius gubernator at Awalukok, near Lira, on 2 July. During three five-day surveys of eastern Uganda in April, July and August, in the core area of Fox’s Weaver Ploceus spekeoides, a team from Nature Uganda was unable to locate even a single individual of this poorly known and Near Threatened species. Four Cuckoo Finches Anomalospiza imberbis were recorded at Kabaale, near Hoima, on 20 August.
from ABC Bulletin 22.2
Records for the period late December 2014 - April 2015 include the following. At least 16 Great-crested Grebes Podiceps cristatus, including dependent juveniles, were on Saka Lakes, Fort Portal, on 1 February; there are few breeding records for the country. Two pairs of White-backed Ducks Thalassornis leuconotus with young were noted at Airstrip Ponds, in Rakai District, on 19 March. Two Bat Hawks Machieramphus alcinus were observed in Mpanga Forest on 11 March. More than 200 Steppe Buzzards Buteo buteo vulpinus spiralling over Saka Hill on 1 April was an impressive total, with 30 Black Kites Milvus migrans, four Steppe Eagles Aquila rapax and four Lesser Spotted Eagles Clanga pomarina also there. A Congo Serpent Eagle Dryotriorchis spectabilis showed well at Semliki on 26 April.
An African Finfoot Podica senegalensis was seen on the Ishasha River, in Queen Elizabeth National Park (=NP), on 6 March. On Lake Opeta, >55 Lesser Jacanas Microparra capensis were counted on 17 April. A White-crowned Lapwing Vanellus albiceps was recorded in Murchison Falls NP on 14 January. A Pacific Golden Plover Pluvialis fulva was observed in Queen Elizabeth NP on 30 December; this is a rare vagrant so far inland. At least 50 Lesser Black-backed Gulls Larus fuscus migrated over Fort Portal on 30 March. A Fraser’s Eagle Owl Bubo poensis in Semliki NP on 3 January was the first record for this site; only four records are mentioned for Uganda in Carswell et al. (2005. The Bird Atlas of Uganda). Two Verreaux’s Eagle Owls B. lacteus were at Tooro Botanical Gardens on 9 February. In Semliki NP, two Black Dwarf Hornbills Horizocerus hartlaubi were observed on 8 March, an African Piculet Verreauxia africana on 27 April and six Swamp Palm Bulbuls Thescelocichla leucopleura on 3 January; there are few recent records of any of these species.
A Basra Reed Warbler Acrocephalus griseldis with two Great Reed Warblers A. arundinaceus and 20 Eurasian Reed Warblers A. scirpaceus, was seen well at Semliki Toro Reserve on 1 March; there are fewer than five Ugandan records. A Boran Cisticola Cisticola bodessa was identified at Irriri, Karamoja region, on 18 January. Also there were six Cut-throat Finches Amadina fasciata. A pair of White-collared Olivebacks Nesocharis ansorgei was regularly seen entering an old weaver nest at Fort Portal on 12 February - 3 April. Fifteen Magpie Mannikins Spermestes fringilloides were at the visitor’s centre at Mpanga Forest on 12 March; this is a very local and scarce species in Uganda. A Cuckoo-finch (Parasitic Weaver) Anomalospiza imberbis at Ngariam, near Katakwi, on 16 April is an uncommon visitor. Two pairs of Papyrus Canaries Crithagra koliensis were recorded at Lake Opeta on 17 April. A male Brown-rumped Bunting Emberiza affinis was singing at Awalukok, north of Lira, on 18 February; there are <10 Ugandan records.
from ABC Bulletin 22.1
Records for the period August– December 2014 include the following. An Akun Eagle Owl Bubo leucostictus discovered in Semliki National Park (=NP) on 27 September is the first for the country and East Africa. A pair of Great Crested Grebes Podiceps cristatus with two young was on Lake Saka, Fort Portal, on 26–28 September, with a single on nearby Lake Kyaninga on 12 October, and at least 18, including displaying pairs and a pair with two small young, on Kigere Crater Lake, near Lake Saka, on 19 October. A waterfowl count at Kibimba Rice Scheme on 12 August revealed an exceptional total of 1,046 Glossy Ibises Plegadis falcinellus. An immature Hartlaub’s Duck Pteronetta hartlaubii observed from the Kirumia trail in Semliki NP on 18 December, appears to be only the third country record. At least four pairs of Red-knobbed Coots Fulica cristatus were on small crater lakes near Lake Saka on 19 October.
European Honey Buzzards Pernis apivorus were reported from Lake Saka on 28 September (three) and 5 October (four with 45 Steppe Buzzards Buteo buteo vulpinus and nine Lesser Spotted Eagles Clanga pomarina). Bat Hawks Macheirhamphus alcinus were observed at Tooro Botanical Gardens, Fort Portal, on 26 September (one) and Lutembe Lagoon on 19 October (a pair at dusk with three African Hobbies Falco cuvieri). An adult male Red-footed Falcon F. vespertinus flew over Lake Saka on 5 October. A Verreaux’s Eagle Owl Bubo lacteus remained at Tooro Botanical Gardens, Fort Portal, from 4 November until the end of December.
Two White-throated Blue Swallows Hirundo nigrita were seen on the Semliki River on 11 December; this appears to be only the third record for the country. Two Simple Greenbuls Chlorocichla simplex showed well at a roadside adjacent to Semliki NP on 10 December; there are few Ugandan records. Small numbers of the distinctive race melanops of Banded Prinia Prinia bairdii were recorded in remnant forest near Fort Portal on 24 October and 14 December. Four Red-winged Grey Warblers Drymocichla incana near Hoima on 30 October is a southerly extension of the species’ known range. A Yellow-footed Flycatcher Muscicapa sethsmithi was seen in Semliki NP on 18 December; most records are from Budongo. A Semi-collared Flycatcher Ficedula semitorquata was observed at Tooro Botanical Gardens on 4–5 November, with another there on 15 December. A male Blue-throated Brown Sunbird Cyanomitra cyanolaema visiting gardens on the edge of Lutembe Lagoon, in early October, was far from its preferred forest habitat. An adult male Emin’s Shrike Lanius gubernator was at Awalukok, north of Lira, on 8 August; according to Carswell et al. (2005. The Bird Atlas of Uganda) there are few records, mainly in the far north. A pair of Northern Masked Weavers Ploceus taeniopterus, found breeding in a swamp just north of Fort Portal on 4–10 October, was still present on 29 November, but had departed by 15 December; the outcome of the breeding attempt is unknown. Three Orange-cheeked Waxbills Estrilda melpoda were in herbage adjacent to Semliki NP on 10 December, with seven there on 19 December; there are few Ugandan records.
from ABC Bulletin 21.2
The following records are from the period December 2013 - May 2014. A Rufous-bellied Heron Ardeola rufiventris at Doho Rice Scheme on 12 February is an unusual visitor. At Kibimba Rice Scheme, 63 White Storks Ciconia ciconia on 11 February is a significant count. Also noteworthy by recent standards was a flock of 4,550 Lesser Flamingos Phoeniconaias minor at Maseche crater lake, Kyambura Wildlife Reserve, on 22 January. An adult European Honey Buzzard Pernis apivorus at Kaseta village, c.35 km west of Hoima, on 27 May is an unusual over-summering individual. A Lesser Spotted Eagle Clanga pomarina was observed at Lusanja on 28 December. A Red-necked Falcon Falco chicquera at Lutembe on 8 January was south of its usual haunts.
At least three Buff-spotted Flufftails Sarothrura elegans were calling in the forested area of Mount Elgon in the morning of 21 - 22 April. At least 66 Grey Crowned Cranes Balearica regulorum left the rubbish dump at Kiteezi to roost on the electricity pylons at Luzanja on 28 December. At Doho Rice Scheme, a remarkable gathering of 34 Greater Painted-snipes Rostratula benghalensis was observed on 11 February. A Lesser Sand Plover Charadrius mongolus was on the shores of Lake Albert on 1 March; another, with a Terek Sandpiper Xenus cinereus, was also there two days later. A count of 1,037 Wood Sandpipers Tringa glareola at Kibimba Rice Scheme on 11 February is a noteworthy total. Two Caspian Terns Hydroprogne caspia were at Lutembe on 12 March; this species has only recently become more frequent. Eight African Skimmers Rynchops flavirostris were observed on a mudflat near Entebbe on 30 April.
A Great Spotted Cuckoo Clamator glandarius was located on the shores of Lake Albert on 22 May; the species is principally recorded in October - March, when mainly Palearctic birds are presumably involved, whilst small numbers on northbound passage in May - August are intra-African migrants. Two Thick-billed Cuckoos Pachycoccyx audeberti in Murchison Falls National Park (=NP) on 30 January probably represent only the second record for the park. At least 20 Madagascar Bee-eaters Merops superciliosus on the shores of Lake Albert on 22 May appeared to have arrived ahead of a wet weather front; the species is usually recorded in small numbers in May - November. A Crested Barbet Trachyphonus vaillantii was observed in Lake Mburo NP on 20 January; this species has only recently been recorded in Uganda.
A pair of Red-capped Larks Calandrella cinerea in likely breeding habitat at Katwe on 9 May, represents a range extension (cf. Carswell et al. 2005. The Bird Atlas of Uganda). An estimated one and a half million Common Sand Martins Riparia riparia were at Buliasa, on the shores of Lake Albert, on 28 January. Many hundreds of Barn Swallows Hirundo rustica above the forest at Mount Elgon on 20 - 21 April were late migrants; associated with them were >20 Common House Martins Delichon urbicum, 30 European Bee-eaters Merops apiaster and four Alpine Swifts Tachymarptis melba. A Grey Wagtail Motacilla cinerea was observed at Marabigambo grassland, Rakai District, in early February; the species is usually encountered in upland regions. At least six pairs of Black-backed Cisticolas Cisticola eximius were found in seasonally flooded grassland at Irriri on 31 January; this species has a tenuous hold in Uganda, so the range expansion is noteworthy. A pair of Karamoja Apalises Apalis karamojae was still present at Irriri on 1 February, where breeding was noted in 2011; unfortunately the thorny Acacia scrub has been cleared and burnt, so most of the population will presumably have moved. Two or three Black-collared Apalises Oreolais pulcher were found in the forested area of Mount Elgon on 21 April. A male Semi-collared Flycatcher Ficedula semitorquata was seen at the escarpment above Lake Albert on 3 March; there are few reliable records of this Palearctic migrant.
A male and two female Northern Masked Weavers Ploceus taeniopterus were identified in Murchison Falls NP on 30 December; if accepted, this will be the first record for Uganda, following several rejected claims. In late May, both the red-collared race tropicus and the all-black concolor of Red-collared Widowbird Euplectes ardens were found in the same grassland c.30 km west of Hoima. In the same area, Brown Twinspot Clytospiza monteiri and Zebra Waxbill Amandava subflava were carrying nesting material on 26 May; there are few breeding records of either species in the country. A Grey-headed Oliveback Nesocharis capistrata at Kaseta, c.35 km west of Hoima, represents a range extension.
from ABC Bulletin 21.1
The most remarkable record in 2013 was of a Franklin’s Gull Leucophaeus pipixcan, photographed in the Kazinga Channel, Queen Elizabeth National Park, on 24 July; this is a major rarity in East Africa and there is just one previous record for Uganda, of an adult discovered in Murchison Falls National Park on 8 June 2011. Three Semi-collared Flycatchers Ficedula semitorquata were observed at close range in the grounds of Makerere University on 16 September after heavy overnight rain; the species is considered to be an uncommon passage migrant, but there are few reliable records in the country. An early male Red-backed Shrike Lanius collurio was at Lira on 20 September; according to Carswell et al. (2005. The Bird Atlas of Uganda) autumn passage usually commences in October. A male Hartlaub’s Marsh Widowbird Euplectes hartlaubi was observed near Kajjansi, south of Kampala, on 22 September; apparently the bird had been present for some time.
from ABC Bulletin 19.2
Records from a visit in May - June 2012 include the following. Five Bat Hawks Macheiramphus alcinus together in Murchison Falls National Park (=NP) on 20 June is an unusually high number. In the same park, an Egyptian Plover Pluvianus aegyptius was photographed on 12 - 13 March; this is much further south than the only documented records for the country, from the Aswa River, on the Uganda–South Sudan border, mentioned in The Bird Atlas of Uganda (Carswell et al. 2005), although the species is listed for the park by Roussouw & Sacchi (1998. Where to Watch Birds in Uganda). Also there, an adult and three subadult / second year Slender-billed Gulls Larus genei were seen on 21 June, with a Common Black-headed Gull L. ridibundus in breeding plumage and many Grey-headed Gulls L. cirrocephalus. A pair of Thick-billed Cuckoos Pachycoccyx audeberti was photographed at Dura, between Kibale and Queen Elizabeth NP, on 25 March; there are very few reports from Uganda. Two Horus Swifts Apus horus were observed at Kidepo Valley NP on 31 May; no previous records for the north-east are mentioned in the Atlas. A pair of African Green Broadbills Pseudocalyptomena graueri was displaying at Mubwindi swamp, Bwindi Impenetrable NP, at a nest in the early stages of construction, on 12 June. Plain-backed Pipits Anthus leucophrys photographed at Kidepo appeared more like the extralimital race goodsoni than the expected A. l. zenkeri. A female Ruaha Chat Pentholaea (=Myrmecocichla) collaris, recently split from White-headed Black Chat Myrmecocichla arnotti was seen at Rubanda on 13 June. A Common Chiffchaff Phylloscopus collybita was observed at Mgahinga Gorilla NP on 31 March; this species has rarely been recorded in Uganda. A Red-pate Cisticola Cisticola ruficeps mongalla was singing at Aloet, south of Kumi, on 18 June; this locality is much further to the south-west than previously reported. At Buhoma good views were obtained of the recently described Willard’s Sooty Boubou Laniarius willardi on 10 - 11 June; the most conspicuous distinguishing morphological feature of this taxon is its grey to blue-grey iris. A male and two female Fox’s Weavers Ploceus spekeoides, Uganda’s only endemic, were observed at Lake Bisina on 18 June, whilst a female of the rarely recorded Shelley’s Crimsonwing Cryptospiza shelleyi was seen in Mgahinga Gorilla NP on 14th.
from ABC Bulletin 19.1
Records from June - December 2011 include the following. Three new species for the country were recorded: Grey Pratincole Glareola cinerea (3–5 on the Kasinga Channel on 10 November), Franklin’s Gull Larus pipixcan (an adult photographed in Murchison Falls National Park on 8 June) and Blue-capped Cordon-bleu Uraeginthus cyanocephalus (a pair in the Moroto / Karamoja region, north-eastern Uganda, in early September).
A Madagascar Squacco Heron Ardeola idae was observed in the Nabugabo grasslands on 28 June and a Black Heron Egretta ardesiaca at Port Bell on 2 June. At least four Shoebills Balaeniceps rex were seen in a swamp at Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary on 7 October. In Queen Elizabeth National Park (=NP), an adult Greater Flamingo Phoenicopterus (ruber) roseus was on Lake Nyamunuka on 7 - 9 December and 1,800 Lesser Flamingos Phoeniconaias minor on 15 July (a good count by recent standards), with 33 there on 7 December (an unusual date). At least three European Honey Buzzards Pernis apivorus moved south over Ziwa with >30 Steppe Buzzards Buteo buteo vulpinus on 6 October. An immature Steppe Eagle Aquila nipalensis picked up dead at Mbende in November had been ringed and satellite-tagged in Romania; its cause of death is unknown, but poisoning is suspected. A Booted Eagle Hieraaetus pennatus flew south over Ggaba on 2 December; there are only five previous Kampala records.
In Nakiwogo Bay, 190 Red-knobbed Coots Fulica cristata were counted on 22 September. Ten Denham’s Bustards Neotis denhami observed along the Channel track in Murchison Falls NP, on 26 July, is a noteworthy number. A pair of Greater Painted-snipes Rostratula benghalensis was displaying at Lake Munyanyange on 15 July; there are few breeding records for Uganda. In the Nabugabo grasslands, a juvenile Black-winged Pratincole Glareola nordmanni was observed on 23 September and a Forbes’s Plover Charadrius forbesi on 29 June; the latter is the third record for Uganda. A Greater Sand Plover C. leschenaultii was discovered on a sandy beach south of Entebbe on 22 September, with a Whimbrel Numenius phaeopus there on 27 November; although previously not uncommon, the latter has recently become quite rare.
A pair of Fischer’s Lovebirds Agapornis fischeri remained at Ggaba waterworks in October; this species has only recently been confirmed for Uganda. A Thick-billed Cuckoo Pachycoccyx audeberti was claimed from Buhoma on 20 August. Also in August, Greyish Eagle Owls Bubo cinerascens seen in Murchison Falls NP and between Mgahinga and Kabale were perhaps further south than usually stated. A Plain Nightjar Caprimulgus inornatus at Ggaba on 29 October was the first for Kampala since 1983. Twenty male and 18 female Pennant-winged Nightjars Macrodipteryx vexillarius counted at dusk at Murchison Falls NP airstrip on 24 July, with a further six unidentified nightjars, is an excellent count . An Abyssinian Scimitarbill Rhinopomastus minor photographed at Lake Bisina on 7 August constitutes a slight range extension. Two Hoopoes Upupa epops of the race waibeli were identified in Queen Elizabeth NP on 19 and 21 August; apparently this form is usually recorded in October - April. A male Brown-backed Woodpecker Picoides obsoletus was seen at Ziwa on 8 October.
A pair of Mocking Cliff Chats Thamnolaea cinnnamomeiventris was on the Rift escarpment ovelooking Lake Albert on 9 October. Three Rufous-crowned Eremomelas Eremomela badiceps were foraging in the canopy of Budongo Forest on 9 October. A Common Chiffchaff Phylloscopus collybita at Irriri in Karamoja on 24 October is the first record in Uganda for 50 years. A Barred Warbler Sylvia nisoria was seen at Entebbe Zoo on 27 November; this is an uncommon migrant to Uganda. Two Buff-bellied Warblers Phyllolais pulchella feeding in Acacia scrub at Ggaba on 3 July are the first for Kampala. At least ten Karamoja Apalises Apalis karamojae were recorded in Karamoja, including the first breeding pair for the country, during a Nature Uganda survey on 24 - 26 October. A Yellow-footed Flycatcher Muscicapa sethsmithi was noted in Budongo Forest on 9 October; this species is seldom recorded. Four Brown Babblers Turdoides plebejus at Kajjansi on 30 July is an unusual record for the Kampala area. In August, a group of up to four Dusky Babblers T. tenebrosus was seen twice in Murchison Falls NP. Three Red-backed Shrikes Lanius collurio, including two adult males, were at Ggaba on 4 November, with another three, all immatures, there on 26 November; an immature was also found at Port Bell on 5 December. A flock of >300 Weyns’s Weavers Ploceus weynsi observed in Mpanga Forest on 9 - 10 December included many males in breeding plumage. A female African Quailfinch Ortygospiza atricollis was incubating three eggs in the Nabugabo grasslands on 21 - 29 June; the Atlas mentions only one previous breeding record.
Noteworthy species recorded in the little-visited Moroto / Karamoja region in north-eastern Uganda on 1–8 September include Pygmy Falcon Polihierax semitorquatus (at least seven), Buff-crested Bustard Eupodotis gindiana (two), Temminck’s Courser Cursorius temminckii (two pairs), Heuglin’s Courser Rhinoptilus cinctus (one pair), Black-throated Barbet Tricholaema melanocephala (two pairs and three singles - the second most common barbet), White-tailed Lark Mirafra albicauda (two near Kobere Dam), Red-winged Lark M. hypermetra (at least six), Long-billed Pipit Anthus similis (three sightings of birds resembling this species), Boran Cisticola Cisticola bodessa (two heard and seen in the foothills of Mount Moroto; this species has recently been found at a few sites on Mount Moroto and in the surrounding hills), Red-fronted Warbler Spiloptila rufifrons (>12, including a group of seven), Grey Wren Warbler Calamonastes simplex (common in most habitats, even degraded, with two birds carrying nesting material - there are no previous breeding records for Uganda), Mouse-coloured Penduline Tit Anthoscopus musculus (two), Shining Sunbird Cinnyris habessinica (one), Three-streaked Tchagra Tchagra jamesi (one near Kobere Dam), Magpie Starling Speculipastor bicolor> (one), and Purple Grenadier U. ianthinogaster (at least six).
from ABC Bulletin 18.2
Records from December 2010 - May 2011 include the following. An adult Dwarf Bittern Ixobrychus sturmii was photographed at Kidepo, in the extreme north-east, on 26 April. In January, two White-backed Night Herons Gorsachius leuconotus were at Lake Mburo on 24th, three Rufous-bellied Herons Ardeola rufiventris at the Airstrip Ponds near Kyotera on 18th, and 67 Black Herons Egretta ardesiaca at Doho rice scheme on 12th. In Queen Elizabeth National Park (=NP), two Greater Flamingos Phoenicopterus (ruber) roseus were on Lake Munyanyange on 14 April, whilst 1,350 Lesser Flamingos Phoeniconaias minor were on Masech Crater Lake on 28 January. A Lesser Flamingo in Lake Mburo NP on 5 March appears to be the first for the park. On 11 January, 2,214 Fulvous Whistling Ducks Dendrocygna bicolor were at Kibimba rice scheme reservoir. Four White-backed Ducks Thalassornis leuconotus were at the Airstrip Ponds on 18 January and a female / immature Northern Shoveler Anas clypeata at Nachiwogo Bay, off Entebbe, on 9 December.
An African Cuckoo Hawk Aviceda cuculoides at Kidepo on 25 April constitutes an extension of its known range. A Bat Hawk Macheirhamphus alcinus was over Namowongo Market on the evening of 9 May and at Mulago Hill on the morning of 30 May. At Semliki, a Congo Serpent Eagle Dryotriorchis spectabilis and a Long-tailed Hawk Urotriorchis macrourus were observed on 28 December. A pale Booted Eagle Hieraaetus pennatus flew over Port Bell on 18 December. A Common (=Kurrichane) Buttonquail Turnix sylvaticus was at Lutembe on 4 February. On Mount Elgon, two Buff-spotted Flufftails Sarothrura elegans were singing at Kapchorwa research station on 7 May. Allen’s Gallinules Porphyrio alleni were noted at Lake Mburo on 24 January (two adults) and at Mpologoima Swamp near Mbale on 5 May (one displaying). Forty Red-knobbed Coots Fulica cristata were in Nakiwogo Bay off Entebbe on 6 January. Two Lesser Jacanas Microparra capensis were at the Airstrip Ponds on 18 January.
An immature White-fronted Plover Charadrius marginatus in Murchison Falls NP on 15 February is a first for this site. The Great Knot Calidris tenuirostris, discovered at Lutembe on 9 December, was still present on 5 January. About 90,000 Grey-headed Gulls Larus cirrocephalus were on the Musambwa Islands on 17 January. Caspian Terns Sterna caspia were at Nachiwogo Bay on 9 December (two), Lutembe on 20 December (one), Lake Munyanyange on 25 January (one in a roost of 2,400 Gull-billed Terns S. nilotica) and Lutembe on 14 - 18 May (three). At least 500 Whiskered Terns Chlidonias hybrida in breeding plumage were at Ggaba Water Works on 17 April. Two African Skimmers Rynchops flavirostris were at Lutembe on 5 January, whilst 904 on the Kasinga Channel, Queen Elizabeth NP, on 27 January was a high count. Two Lichtenstein’s Sandgrouse Pterocles lichtensteinii were at Kidepo on 25 April. A Northern White-faced Scops Owl Ptilopsis leucotis was calling at Muyenga on 16 April.
A pair of Abyssinian Ground Thrushes Zoothera piaggiae showed well in primary forest above Kapchorwa research station on Mount Elgon on 6 May. Also there, a pair of Black-faced Rufous Warblers Bathmocercus rufus was nest building on 7 May; there are few breeding records in Uganda. At Kidepo, two Rock-loving Cisticolas Cisticola aberrans and a Red-fronted Warbler Spiloptila rufifrons were seen on 24 - 25 April. A pair of Southern Black Flycatchers Melaenornis pammelaina was in Lake Mburo NP on 12 April. An Orange-tufted Sunbird Cinnyris bouvieri was at Griffin Fall’s campsite, Mabira Forest, on 22 May. A pair of Violet-backed Starlings Cinnyricinclus leucogaster was feeding three fledged young at Kajjansi on 29 May; there are few breeding records for Uganda. A group of ten Red-billed Buffalo Weavers Bubalornis niger at Kidepo on 25 April is the second country record. Three Dark-backed Weavers Ploceus bicolor were on Mount Elgon on 6 May; the species was apparently last recorded there early last century. At Semliki, two Orange-cheeked Waxbills Estrilda melpoda were encountered on 27 December. A Papyrus Canary Serinus koliensis was at Mpologoima Swamp on 5 May.
Records from May - December 2010 include the following. A flock of 650 Lesser Flamingos Phoeniconaias minor on Masech Crater Lake on 16 July is a significant count by recent standards. Two Rufous-bellied Herons Ardeola rufuventris were seen at Lukaya Flats on 21 July. A Red-chested Flufftail Sarothrura rufa was noted at Lake Nabugabo on 10 September. Fifteen Red-knobbed Coots Fulica cristata were present in Nakiwogo Bay, south of Entebbe, on 11 October. A Forbes's Plover Charadrius forbesi was photographed at Lake Nabugabo on 27 May.
Two plovers at Nabugabo on 26 August were tentatively identified as Lesser Sand Plovers C. mongolus; if accepted, this would be the third record for Uganda. A Greater Sand Plover C. leschenaultii at Entebbe on 4 September appears to be the second record for the country. Two White-crowned Lapwings Vanellus albiceps were on the Nile in Murchison Falls National Park (=NP) on 28 July; this species has only recently been recorded in Uganda. A Great Knot Calidris tenuirostris was photographed at Lutembe on 9 and 20 December; this would be the first for Uganda, if accepted. Also found there, on 12 October, was a juvenile Broad-billed Sandpiper Limicola falcinellus. Two Great Snipes Gallinago media first seen at Lake Nabugabo on 27 August were still present on 9 September. A Caspian Tern Sterna caspia occurred at Lutembe Lagoon on 13 August and 17 September. Also at Lutembe, at least 94,000 White-winged Terns Chlidonias leucopterus were counted on 17 September. A flock of 230 African Skimmers Rynchops flavirostris was seen on the Kasinga channel in Queen Elizabeth NP on 15 July. Nine Pennant-winged Nightjar Macrodipteryx vexillarius were noted in Murchison Falls NP on 26 July. Also there, a gathering of 150 Broad-billed Rollers Eurystomus glaucurus was seen on 25 July.
During a partial survey of Mbamba, Nabugabo and Sango Bay wetlands on 9 - 11 September, 167 Blue Swallows Hirundo atrocaerulea were counted. A male Common Stonechat Saxicola torquatus showing characteristics of the race albofasciatus was observed at Sango Bay on 11 September; this race was previously known to occur only in extreme northern Uganda. A flock of ten Sharpe's Starlings Cinnyricinclus sharpii seen in Mgahinga NP was a new record for the park. A Cinnamon-breasted Rock Bunting Emberiza tahapisi was found at the Bukata landing site near Nabugabo on 26 August.
Records from November 2009 - May 2010 include the following. An adult Greater Spotted Eagle Aquila clanga was photographed at Murchison Falls National Park on 15 December; although a few sight records have been reported previously, the species does not figure on the Uganda list, as no substantiating details are available. A juvenile Amur Falcon Falco amurensis was observed at Ruhija, Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, on 3 December; there are few records for the country.
Lesser Jacanas Microparra capensis were seen at Mbwamba swamp on 10 January (three), Lake Opeta on 26th (30+) and Lake Bisina on 27th (three). A Little Ringed Plover Charadrius dubius flew over Muyenga on on 7 January; this is an uncommon Palearctic visitor to Uganda. Two Great Snipe Gallinago media were at Nabugaba wetland on 7 March. A Caspian Tern Sterna caspia was noted at Lutembe on 28 February. A first-winter Black Tern Chlidonias niger was photographed among hundreds of White-winged Terns C. leucopterus on the Kazinga Channel, Queen Elizabeth National Park, on 8 December; this appears to be the first for Uganda.
An African Skimmer Rynchops flavirostris was at Makanaga swamp on 2 May; this species is very local in the country. A Black-throated Barbet Tricholaema melanocephala observed at the Katurum gate of Kidepo Valley National Park, in the north-east, on 17 January constitutes the second record for Uganda, the first dating from 1994. Palearctic passerines seen during the same visit and apparently not on the park's list include Tree Pipit Anthus trivialis (fairly common), Eurasian Reed Warbler Acrocephalus scirpaceus (two singing) and Olivaceous Warbler Hippolais pallida (one). Little Rush Warblers Bradypterus baboecala were seen and heard at Muyenga swamp, Kampala, on 17 November (one) and at a swamp between Muyenga and Port Bell, on 1 January (three). A pair of Southern Black Flycatchers Melaenornis pammelaina was observed at close range in Lake Mburo National Park on 5–7 March; the birds were glossy blue-black and the song was very similar to a tape recording from Zambia, but unlike that of Northern Black Flycatcher M. edolioides. Although there have been other recent records of Southern Black Flycatchers from Mburo, the species does not yet figure on the Uganda list. An Isabelline Shrike Lanius isabellinus was at Port Bell on 17 February. In January, six House Sparrows Passer domesticus were seen at the landing site at Bogota, and a male was at Port Bell on 1 February. Fox's Weavers Ploceus spekeoides were found at Lake Opeta (two) and Lake Bisina (five) on 26 - 27 January. A 'nuthatch weaver' subsequently identified as a female Yellow-capped Weaver P. dorsomaculatus, was observed in the Buhoma area of Bwindi in December; this would constitute another first for Uganda. Also new for the country is Southern Citril Serinus hypostictus, of which at least ten were seen on the slopes of Mount Elgon at Sipi on 5–7 April.
Records July - October 2009 include the following. A Beaudouin’s Snake Eagle Circaetus beaudouini was photographed at the Kazinga Channel on 26 July. On 23 October, in the south, a juvenile male Pallid Harrier Circus macrourus and a Crested Barbet Trachyphonus vaillantii were seen at Mityebili, south of Kyotera, and a White Wagtail Motacilla alba in the Sango Bay area. Three Red-knobbed Coots Fulica cristata were observed on Lake Victoria during a boat trip to the Sesse Islands, on 11 October, whilst on 31 October, Common Teal Anas crecca, Dunlin Calidris alpina and Caspian Tern Sterna caspia were noted en route to the lagoon at Lutembe. The report of a pair of Bronze-winged Coursers Rhinoptilus chalcopterus in Lake Mburo National Park in July 2008 has prompted an earlier record of a pair at the same locality on 19 September 2000 to be submitted.
A Semi-collared Flycatcher Ficedula semitorquata was at Makerere University on 15 October. Three Yellow Penduline Tits Anthoscopus parvulus were seen just south of the Nile River in Murchison Falls National Park in July 2009; there have been other (as yet unpublished) reports from the area recently and also one from the north-west of the country. At Kajansi, south of Kampala, four Brown Twinspots Clytospiza monteiri were seen on 24 September and a pair of White-collared Olivebacks Nesocharis ansorgei next day.
On 2 May 2009, a Wattled Crane Bugeranus carunculatus was seen foraging at the Kibimba rice scheme, in the south-east, and was photographed the next day; this appears to be the first record of this globally threatened species for Uganda. A female Golden-naped Weaver Ploceus aureonucha was seen in a feeding flock near an oxbow lake in Semliki National Park on 16 June; this species was discovered at this site as recently as 2006.
In July 2008, several Striped Crakes Aenigmatolimnas marginalis were flushed during a boat trip on Lake Bisina on 8 July; this was presumably a seasonal influx of this rarely seen species for which The Bird Atlas of Uganda (Carswell et al. 2005) gives only three previous sight records. A pair of Bronze-winged Coursers Rhinoptilus chalcopterus was found on recently burnt ground in Lake Mburo National Park on 29 July; according to the Atlas there have been no records of this species since 1971. A juvenile Great Spotted Cuckoo Clamator glandarius was seen well near Soroti on 7 July; this appears to be a little-known species in Uganda. In December, Jack Snipe Lymnocryptes minimus was recorded from Kibimba; this constitutes a new distribution record of this rarely recorded Palearctic migrant. Also in late 2008, House Sparrow Passer domesticus was found at Hoima, south of Murchison Falls National Park, and at Kabale, in the south-west; these records plug a gap between Iganga (Kibimba), where the species was first recorded for Uganda, and the west of the country. Four Pacific Golden Plovers Pluvialis fulva were on Lake Edward Flats, Ishasa, on 1 January 2009.
Four Lesser Jacanas Microparra capensis were seen at Mabamba Swamp on 18 February. Two White-headed Lapwings Vanellus albiceps were with two Little Ringed Plovers Charadrius dubius on the north bank of the Nile in Murchison Falls National Park on 20 February. Another two Little Ringed Plovers were found along the Kazinga Channel in Queen Elizabeth National Park on 24th.
In July-September 2007 the following were reported. A Booted Eagle Hieraaetus pennatus near Kampala on 11 September is an early date. Around 2 September, a Ruddy Turnstone Arenaria interpres was discovered in Queen Elizabeth National Park and a Thick-billed Cuckoo Pachycoccyx audeberti in Lake Mburo National Park. Southern Carmine Bee-eaters Merops nubicoides were photographed in Murchison Falls National Park on 27 July; according to The Bird Atlas of Uganda (Carswell et al. 2005) the only previous record is of a bird presumed to be this species in Lake Mburo National Park, in the south of the country.
A pair of African Green Broadbills Pseudocalyptomena graueri was seen at their nest near Mubwindi Swamp, Ruhija, Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, on 20 July. Capuchin Babbler Phyllanthus atripennis (two families) and Blue-billed Malimbe Malimbus nitens were observed in Semliki National Park in September; the main range of these species lies west of Uganda and few records exist for the country.
In late May 2006, a four-day visit to Semliki National Park yielded some predominantly Central African species that reach the eastern limit of their range here, including Hartlaub’s Duck Pteronetta hartlaubii (one on 27th and a pair on 28th), Nkulengu Rail Himantornis haematopus (two perched c.5 m above ground before dawn on 28th and another on the forest floor the same day), Yellow-throated Cuckoo Chrysococcyx flavigularis (heard daily; one seen on 27th), Red-billed Dwarf Hornbill Tockus camurus (four on 27th, three on 29th), Black-casqued Hornbill Ceratogymna atrata (pair on 27th), Red-rumped Tinkerbird Pogoniulus atroflavus (one on 27th), African Piculet Sasia africana (one on 28th), White-throated Blue Swallow Hirundo nigrita (eight on the Semliki River on 29th), Swamp Palm Bulbul Thescelocichla leucopleura (four on 28th), Yellow-throated Nicator Nicator vireo (one on 28th), Blue-billed Malimbe Malimbus nitens (three on 26–27th) and Chestnut-breasted Negrofinch Nigrita bicolor (one on 26th).
On 11 January 2007 a Greater Kestrel Falco rupicoloides was observed in Murchison Falls National Park; the Bird Atlas of Uganda (Carswell et al. 2005) mentions only two previous records for the country. Also there on that date was a flock of c.120 Caspian Plovers Charadrius asiaticus. Two Ring-necked Francolins Francolinus streptophorus were seen crossing a track in the same park and could be observed in detail on 20 February; there are only a few records of this species. On 18 March, six Black-collared Lovebirds Agapornis swindernianus were observed twice around the Sonso River at the end of the Royal Mile in Budongo forest; there are very few records of this West African species which just reaches western Uganda, and only a couple from this site. A Speckle-breasted Woodpecker Dendropicos poecilolaemus was at Bigodi Wetland Sanctuary, near Kibale National Park, on 13 February.
Records from January – September 2006 include the following. At Lake Mburo National Park (=NP), a White-backed Night Heron Gorsachius leuconotus was seen on 4 February and two Madagascar Squacco Herons Ardeola idae on 29 July. A Verreauxs' Eagle Aquila verreauxii flew over Kitintale on 23 June; this is a new record for the Kampala area. One in Queen Elizabeth NP on 4 August was new for the park, as was a Swallow-tailed Kite Chelictinia riocourii in Murchison Falls NP on 12 Aug.
Although Grey Crowned Crane Balearica regulorum appears to be in serious decline, flocks are still relatively common outside the breeding season, e.g. 60 c.15 km west of Mbarara on 10 July; 83, a high number for the Albertine Rift, at Kashaka, Lake George, on 28 July, and 171 at the Kaku swamp, Masaka District, on 29 July; the latter site holds the national record, of 650, in 2003. A pair of White-headed Lapwings Vanellus albiceps with chicks was observed at Murchison Falls NP on 6 July; the first and second records for Uganda have recently been accepted, both from Murchison: a single in July 2003 and a pair in January 2004. An adult Common Sandpiper Actitis hypoleucos with three young was seen at Lutembe on 22 July; there is a documented breeding record from Buddu, near Masaka, involving an incubating bird photographed in 1911. Grey-headed Gulls Larus cirrocephalus continue to increase on the Musambwa Islands, where they breed; over 51,000 were recorded there on 13 July. A remarkable 1,363 Pied Kingfishers Ceryle rudis were counted on the Kazinga Channel on 26 July, a record number for that site. On 30 January there was a Crested Barbet Trachyphonus vaillantii near Rwonyo, Lake Mburo NP.
A pair of African Green Broadbills Pseudocalyptomena graueri was seen nest building in Bwindi Impenetrable NP on 22 May. In early August, two nests had chicks, whilst a third pair was feeding a fledgling. Four White-breasted Cuckoo-shrikes Coracina pectoralis seen in Lake Mburo NP on 6 February were new to the park and indeed to southern Uganda.
In Semliki NP, a Forest Scrub Robin Cercotrichas leucosticta was observed on 25 August and a Grey Ground Thrush Zoothera princei on 28 August. A Bocage’s Bush Shrike Malaconotus bocagei was seen south of Mabira Forest in August; though described as ‘fairly common’ in The Bird Atlas of Uganda (Carswell et al. 2005), it is now rarely recorded. On 7 August, four tiny birds near Sambiya River Lodge in Murchison Falls NP were identified as Yellow Penduline Tits Anthoscopus parvulus; this would be a new species for Uganda and East Africa, if accepted. A pair of Golden-naped Weavers Ploceus aureonucha was observed in Semliki NP on 1 August; this is the first record for Uganda and also the first anywhere since 1986, when it was seen in the Ituri Forest, Kivu Province, DR Congo. Orange-cheeked Waxbills Estrilda melpoda were seen in Semliki NP in August and September; the species was only discovered in Uganda, at this site, in 2003. In Kidepo NP a male Steel-blue Whydah Vidua hypocherina in full breeding plumage was seen on 1 September.
The following records are from February 2006. Two Blue Quail Coturnix adansonii were observed near Masindi on 25th. An unusually large flock of 60 Stone-curlews (Eurasian Thick-knees) Burhinus oedicnemus was claimed from the north bank of the Nile in Murchison Falls National Park on 23rd; this species is an occasional winter visitor to Uganda. A Ruddy Turnstone Arenaria interpres was seen on the Kazinga Channel in Queen Elizabeth National Park, on 28th. A pair of African Green Broadbills Pseudocalyptomena graueri were nest-building in Bwindi-Impenetrable Forest on 16th. Two White-browed Sparrow Weavers Plocepasser mahali were at their nest in Murchison Falls National Park on 23rd.
The following records were received for July-August 2005. A Broad-billed Sandpiper Limicola falcinellus was found at Lake Katwe, Queen Elizabeth National Park, on 29 August; there are few records for this Palearctic migrant in Uganda. The previous day, a Ruddy Turnstone Arenaria interpres was seen on Kazinga Channel in the park. A pair of Green-breasted Pittas Pitta reichenowi was nest building in Kibale National Park on 22 July; what was almost certainly the same pair was seen again on 7 August. At Mubwindi Swamp, Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, a pair of Green Broadbills Pseudocalyptomena graueri was observed at its nest on 15 July, and a pair with a juvenile was seen on 14 August.
Two Fischer’s Lovebirds Agapornis fischeri were seen in Entebbe’s Botanical Garden on 14 January 2006; they had apparently been recorded before at this site and would constitute an addition to the Ugandan list, if accepted as wild birds.
The small breeding population of Northern Masked Weavers Ploceus taeniopterus reported from the shores of Lake Bunyoni in Bull. ABC 12: 73 are in fact Victoria Masked Weavers Ploceus victoriae described by John Ash in 1986; this form is now suspected to be a hybrid between Northern Brown-throated P. castanops and Black-headed P. melanocephalus or Golden-backed Weavers P. jacksoni (cf. Birds of Africa 2004). A visit to Semliki National Park in early March 2005 yielded Chapin's Flycatcher Muscicapa lendu, apparently the first record here, and Orange-cheeked Waxbill Estrilda melpoda. At Lake Mburo, a displaying Thick-billed Cuckoo Pachycoccyx audeberti was seen on 24 March; this is the second or third record for Uganda.
Records from 2004 include the following. A Black Heron Egretta ardesiaca was seen on the Kazinga Channel in Queen Elizabeth National Park (NP) on 28 January; this is a rarely seen species in Uganda. Another egret seen there on 17 August appeared to show characteristics of Western Reef Egret E. gularis (identified at this site in 2003) but was quite distant and the bill looked too dark and more like that of E. garzetta. An individual seen well during a Lake Mburo boat trip on 26 August, however, had the greenish legs and pale bill typical of the race asha; this species is a rare vagrant to Uganda. A snake eagle with a greyish head, whitish throat, broken breast band and plain white underwing-coverts was identified as an adult male Beaudouin’s Snake Eagle Circaetus beaudouini in the Ishasha sector of Queen Elizabeth NP on 18 August; this is a vagrant to western Uganda. Another vagrant in the same park was a Slender-billed Gull Larus genei, seen on the Kazinga Channel on 28 January. A Madagascar Lesser Cuckoo Cuculus rochii was captured on video along the ‘Royal Mile’ in Budongo Forest on 13 August; this migrant is rarely recorded in East Africa and there are apparently no official records from Budongo, although a local guide claimed that the species was also present in 2003. A Speckle-breasted Woodpecker Dendropicos poecilolaemus was found at Buhoma on 21 August; this may constitute the first for the area.
A displaying Little Rush-Warbler Bradypterus baboecala was observed in Murchison Falls NP on 9 August; this appears to be a new record for the park although the local guide was familiar with the species. Three Southern Black Flycatchers Melaenornis pammelaina were seen in Lake Mburo NP on 5 February; this may represent the third record for Uganda. A male Red-eyed Puffback Dryoscopus senegalensis was claimed from the Neck, Bwindi Impenetrable NP; this is an eastern range extension as Semliki, on the border of the Democratic Republic of Congo, is the only other site in Uganda from where the species is known. A small breeding population of c20 Northern Masked Weavers Ploceus taeniopterus was found on the shores of Lake Bunyoni on 5 February.
On 26 February 2004, a Congo Serpent Eagle Dryotriorchis spectabilis was observed at The Neck, Bwindi Impenetrable National Park; this constitutes the fourth sighting for Uganda.
Records from January to February and August 2003 include the following. A pair of Great Crested Grebes Podiceps cristatus was present at the crater lake below Ndali Lodge, near Kabale on 28 January; this species is rarely recorded in Uganda. Also rarely seen is Black Egret Egretta ardesiaca, of which two were in Queen Elizabeth National Park on 30 January. A Western Reef Egret Egretta gularis was on the Kazinga Channel, Queen Elizabeth National Park on 19 August. A Spotted Crake Porzana porzana, another rare Palearctic migrant to Uganda, was seen in a wetland near Hoima on 27 January. An African Green Broadbill Pseudocalyptomena graueri was observed in its nest near Mubwindi Swamp, Bwindi Impenetrable National Park on 4 February. A pair of Southern Black Flycatchers Melaenornis pammelaina with a juvenile were observed in Lake Mburo National Park on 6 February, at the same place where a pair was observed on 25 July 2002; these sightings apparently represent the first records in Uganda. The long-staying Yellow-footed Flycatcher Muscicapa sethsmithi at Buhoma, Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, was still present in August. A pair of Dusky Twinspots Euschistospiza cinereovinacea was seen at the Sebitoli section of Kibale National Park on 28 January; this is a new park record and a range extension for this species.
A Congo Serpent Eagle Dryotriorchis spectabilis was claimed from the Buhoma area of Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, on 19 August 2003; scope views from a distance of c30m were obtained of the bird, which was perching at c3 m along the river below the entrance of the park. There are only two previous records of this species in Uganda, from Bwamba, Semliki, in 1990 and 1994. Also in Bwindi, near Mubwindi Swamp, Ruhija, a pair of African Green Broadbills Pseudocalyptomena graueri were watched as they fed two nearly fully-grown nestlings on 4 August.
In November 2002, two species were seen that would appear to be new for Uganda. The first was a Great Bittern Botaurus stellaris at Kibimba rice scheme, 140 km east of Kampala on 20th, the second a White-eyed Gull Larus leucophthalmus in breeding plumage at Lutembe bay, between Kampala and Entebbe, on the 24th. In December 2002, a third species new to the country was found when a group of eight Orange-cheeked Waxbills Estrilda melpoda was seen just outside Semliki National Park at c700 m altitude on 26th; in East Africa, this species was previously only known from the Bujumbura area in Burundi, c550 km to the south.
During a field survey conducted specifically to elucidate status and distribution of the Blue Swallow Hirundo atrocaerulea in the country, 630 individuals of this threatened species were counted along Lake Victoria's shore between Sango Bay and Mabamaba in nine days in August 2001. A flock of ten House Sparrows Passer domesticus were found at the Kibimba rice scheme, Iganga Province, south-east Uganda, on 21 November 2001; this is apparently the first record for the country. Two displaying male Northern Masked Weavers Ploceus taeniopterus were found in a small colony of Yellow-backed (=Black-headed) Weavers P. melanocephalus at Entebbe Zoo in February 2002; the species, which is not on the Uganda list, was previously only known in East Africa from an isolated colony in Lake Baringo, Kenya.
In Murchison Falls NP, 15-17,000 Abdim's Storks Ciconia abdimii were filmed at Nyamsika, by the River Nile, by a BBC crew in March 2001. In October 2001, an immature male Madagascar Lesser Cuckoo Cuculus rochii was mist-netted on the Entebbe peninsula on 24th; this species is normally recorded from April to September in East Africa. The presence of Ansorge's Greenbul Andropadus ansorgei in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, suspected since 1992, was finally confirmed on 2 August when a bird was well seen and heard. In July a Grauer's Swamp-Warbler Bradypterus graueri was found in a patch of rushes just outside Bwindi NP; there are probably only six sites for this Albertine Rift endemic in Uganda, of which only two are protected. Two Gambaga Flycatchers Muscicapa gambagae, seen in Murchison Falls NP on 3 July, constitute the first record for the park. What appears to be the first Yellow-footed Flycatcher Muscicapa sethsmithi for Semliki NP was observed on 7 July.
About 5,000 Cattle Egrets Bubulcus ibis were at a single roost at Kabaka's Lake, Kampala, in November and December 2000. Up to 36 Grey Crowned Cranes Balearica regulorum roosted on electricity pylons in central Kampala, from March 2000 to at least March 2001. Several Northern White-crowned Shrikes Eurocephalus rueppelli were reported from the southern part of the country in savanna woodland on the road to Kabale, end 2000; previously, they were only known to occur in the northeast.