Birding in Semuliki National Park
Birding in Semuliki National Park is one of the top activities done in the park since it holds quite a large number of bird species compared to other places. Semuliki national park is a true birding haven for birders and along here birding is one of the most done activities because it harbors with over 450 bird species which represents a total bird species of about 40% of the total number of birds that are living in Uganda. It also represents 66% which is a half number of the country’s forest bird species, the 46 guinea Congo biome bird species which cannot be seen in any other East African countries and 32 of these are only seen in 2 to 3 others protected area of Uganda. There are also other 5 species of Albertine Rift endemic species. All these bird species make up Semuliki national park the top birding destination in Uganda.
Among Uganda’s protected area, Semuliki national park still become Uganda’s number one greatest and most famous place for bird watching. The park is partly covered with the other side of Congo Basin vegetation adjoining from the Albert side to Congo Area. Moreover, a large variety of Guinea-Congo biome species reach their Eastern limits which affect Semuliki forests, and in this regard, it has made Semuliki national park the best birder’s haven in the pearl of Africa.
With a total number of 131 of out 144 Guinea-Congo forest Biome species have been recorded in Semuliki national park, such bird species include Capuchin Babbler, Blue-headed, white tailed/piping Hornbill ‘’it is also recorded in Budongo forest reserve’ ’Crested flycatcher can also be seen in Mabira forest, Orange weaver commonly seen along the Northern shores of lake Victoria, Red-billed Mulumba can be spotted in so closely Kibale forest national park known for Chimpanzee trekking experience.
Semuliki forest national park is located in the western region in Bundibugyo district of Uganda and it was established in 1993. The park recently become one of the newly existing national parks, covering over 220 square kilometres of its lowland. However, it is rich in floral and faunal diversity in Africa with a variety of unique birds and butterfly species. Semuliki national park sits on Uganda’s border with the Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwenzori Mountain to its south-east while Lake Albert to park’s north and also lies to the western arm of the East African Albertine Rift. However, it is located on a flat landform that ranges from 670 to 760 meters above sea level. The park itself receives an average rainfall of about 1,250mm within peak seasons which happens from March to May and from September to December. And during the wet season, the park experiences lots of floods. Semuliki forest national park has a temperature which varies from 18 to 30 degrees Celsius with relatively small daily variations.
The park is very accessible to other western tourism sites of the national parks such as the snow Mountain Rwenzori National park, Kibale national park which allows the best bird watching experience ranges.
Travellers who prefer birding on the continent of Africa visit Uganda and experience the super birding Semuliki national park. To birders who usually make it to Semuliki get rewarded with some of Africa’s best forest birding, you can as well visit the hot springs like Sempaya and Ntandi where you can get great viewing of the bird like Red-billed Dwarf Hornbill, White-crested Hornbill, Piping Hornbill, Yellow throated Nicator, Great blue and Ross’s Turacos.
To your birding tour in Semuliki national park expect to encounter beautiful and unique bird species, some of these birds to be encountered include; Lemon bellied Crombec, Red-bellied Malimbe, Blue-billed malimbe, Leaf love, Swamp palm bulbul, Maxwell’s Black swallow, white-throated blue swallow, Yellow throated Nicator, Dwarf Hornbill, Black-casqued wattled Hornbill, Blue-billed, Crested and Red-bellied Malimbe, Red-eyed puff back, Black winged starling, Red-billed Helmet shrike, Lyre tailed Honeyguide, Ituri Batis, Nkulengu Rail, Long-tailed Hawk, Congo Serpent Eagle and many more. Most of the tourists visit Semuliki national park purposely to spot this rare shoebill stork which can be opted while using a boat ride with help of a local guide who takes you through the lake to search for this unique shoebill stork.
What to carry on your birding tour to Semuliki?
These are the essentials you shouldn’t miss to carry on your birding tour, they include; Clear cameras fully charged, binoculars, field bag, optics, Field guide book, mineral water bottles, hiking shoes, rain gears, hat, insect repellent among others.
What is the best time to do birding?
The best time to do birding in Semuliki national park is all year round but best from February to April and in September. June to September are the best months for the fruiting season, food is abundant and many birds to spot during this season. migratory birds are to be seen in the forest starting from November to April and December to February has the least rain fall while April to May and September to October experiences heavy rain fall which causes hiking trails slippery, it also limits on bird watching time.
Where to stay on your birding tour in Semuliki
Semuliki national park boasts with very many comfortable accommodation facilities which can fit your need, they range from mid-range to luxury range such lodge include; Semuliki safari lodge, Ntoroko Game lodge –luxury, Kirimia Guesthouse –Budget, Bandas, and Campsite.