New Birding Records for Uganda

June 26, 2012

It’s been a great month so far for birders in Uganda.

Ruaha Chat - Picture from planetofbirds.comOn 13th June, news broke that Johnny Kamugisha, one of our top birding guides in Uganda, and Nik Borrow, an internationally respected bird artist and ornithologist, had spotted a new birding record for Uganda – the Ruaha Chat. Both men were guiding a TFH birding group through international operator Birdquest, when they spotted what looked at first like a Sooty Chat, but something wasn’t quite as it seemed. Johnny tells it better: “As we were driving from Ruhija to Mgahinga I happened to see this bird at Rubanda trading center. I thought it was a Sooty Chat but when it took off…uumm! I pulled the hand break and all I said was; I need to see that bird and like H Bolt I was off. Found the bird again, called Nik Borrow and group and what was it; Ruaha Chat. First for Uganda.”

Later on the same tour, Johnny and the rest of the group also spotted 4 Slender-billed Gulls at a Hippo Pool in Murchison Falls National Park – a birding first for this area, having previously only been recorded around Lake Victoria.

Scarlet Tufted Malachite Sunbird - Picture from hiroto.kt.fc2.comThen today, we get news from Achilles Byaruhanga from Nature Uganda. He’s been busy birding down in the lovely and much over-looked Echuya Forest Reserve, where Nature Uganda have worked in conjunction with the National Forest Authority to create clearly signed birding and nature trails. Whilst in Muchuya Swamp, Achilles spotted a Scarlet-tufted Malachite Sunbird in Muchuya Swamp, Echuya Forest Reserve – probably a first record for this area. During the same trip Achilles also sighted a Black Duck in the same area, a Dwarf Honeyguide and several Albertine endemics, so Echuya looks set to become a popular birding spot.

Posted by Anne-Marie Weeden

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