Shoebill Stork tours in Uganda
Shoebill Stork Tours are a unique and fascinating kind of tours whereby travelers take time and trek the lands to find the unique shoebill stork. Uganda is not only blessed with the primates such as chimpanzees, mountain gorillas, monkeys, baboons and mammals like Lions, zebras, rhinos, elephants, giraffes, impalas, elands, antelopes, hyenas, topis, and many more but is also a home to the rare and extinct shoebill stork and other bird species summing up to about 1060 bird species in Uganda hence the best destination for bird lovers. All that is required is to book a birding tour to Uganda, then pack the binoculars, cameras and good hiking shoes and get ready to experience the unbeaten birding tour in Uganda
Currently, Uganda harbors about 1000 shoebill storks and the largest populations of Shoebill stork are always found in areas with water including lakes, swamps, and rivers among others since they mainly depend on water mammals. Here are some of the major locations that one is sure of trekking the rare shoebill stork while on a Uganda tour
Shoebill stork tours in Mabamba swamp
Mabamba swamp situated in Entebbe along Lake Victoria and is best known as a home to large populations of shoebill stork and about 300 other bird species that attract several birders while on a Uganda tour especially birding tours. Taking a canoe on Lake Victoria to Mabamba wetland bring you closer to the marsh where the shoe bill stork congest searching for fish and other small water mammals to feast on along the shores of lake Victoria. The best time to spot these shoebills is early in the morning as they parade in the swamp close to Lake Victoria in search of food. However, any take of the day also opens up opportunities to watch them as long as you visit Mabamba wetland
Other bird species seen on Mabamba swamp alongside shoebill stork include Blue swallow, White-winged Warbler, Papyrus Yellow Warbler, Papyrus Gonolek, Pallid Harrier, Goliath Herons, Blue Swallow, Northern Brown-throated Weaver, Papyrus Gonolek, Pygmy Geese, Carruthers’s Cisticola, Spur-winged White-winged Warbler, Papyrus Canary, Northern Brown-throated Weaver, Gull-billed Terns, yellow-backed weaver, Whiskered Terns, White-winged Black Terns, Grey-headed Gulls, Blue-headed Coucal, Malachite kingfisher and many more.
Shoebill stork tours in Murchison falls park
The shoebill stork in Murchison falls National Park is normally seen along the Albert delta thus the best way to encounter these rare birds is by taking a boat cruise along the Nile River towards the Albert delta where there are higher chances of spotting shoe bill stork along the shores. Other bird species seen in Murchison falls include; Fish eagles, king fishers, Bee-eaters, Abyssinian ground hornbill, Blue-headed Coucal, Squacco heron, Black-headed Gonolek, Giant kingfisher, African jacana, Abyssinian ground hornbill, Red-throated bee-eater, Black-billed Barbet, Goliath heron, Swamp flycatcher, Malachite kingfisher, Speckle-fronted weaver, Grey-crowned crane, Silverbird, Palm-nut vulture, White-browed sparrow-weaver among others
Shoebill stork tours on Lake Mburo national park
Taking a boat cruise on one of the biggest lakes in Lake Mburo national park offers a greater probability to encounter the shoebill stork along the shores of the lake. Other birds to watch in lake Mburo alongside shoebill include blue Kingfishers, Yellow-throated Longclaw, African-grey Hornbill, African Fish Eagle, Black-winged Bishop, Grey Woodpeckers, Goliath heron, Rufous-chested Swallow, Pink-backed Pelicans among others that are worth a visit by any birder.
Shoebill stork tours in Ishasha sector – Queen Elizabeth national park
The shoebill tour in Queen Elizabeth National Park is carried out in a swamp along Lake Edward in the Ishasha sector. So once you are on a tour to watch the tree-climbing lions, don’t forget to tell your guide to take to the home of the shoebill stork with in the same sector. Other bird species spotted in Ishasha sector include; Palm-nut Vultures, African green pigeon, martial eagle, Long-toed Plover, African Darter, Yellow-fronted Tinkerbird, Grey-headed Kingfisher, Giant Kingfisher, woodpecker, Hornbills, Osprey, Abyssinian Ground, Black-billed Barbet, Long-tailed Nightjar bird, Veracious Dove, white-headed barbet, and many more that make Ishasha sector a birder’ paradise
Shoebill stork tours in Toro-Semliki wildlife reserve
Semliki forest reserve has always been one of the best birding spots in Uganda due to the fact that it is home to some unique and rarely seen bird species. The best way to view the shoebill stork is by taking a boat cruise on Albert to encounter a good number of them along the shores. Other bird species seen in Toro- Semliki reserve include; Red-throated bee-eaters, Abyssinian ground hornbill, Pennant-winged nightjar, African pygmy goose, Green wood-hoopoe, Blue-breasted bee-eater, Broad-billed roller, Double-toothed Barbet, Red-throated bee-eater, Mustached grass-warbler, Standard-winged nightjar, Black-billed Barbet, Red-necked falcon among others
Shoebill stork tours at Ziwa Rhino sanctuary
Situated in Nakasongola is home to endangered white rhinos in a sanctuary but once you pop inside the sanctuary and take a canoe ride deep into lugogo swamp, you will probably in in close vicinity with the rare shoebills making it the best place for birders. Apart from shoebill stork, there are other bird species seen at Ziwa rhino sanctuary which include; African Pied Wagtail, African Paradise Flycatcher, Crowned Hornbill, Eastern Grey Plantain Eater, Double-toothed Barbet, Curlew Sandpiper, Dusky Tit, African Scop’s Owl, Crested Francolin, Augur Buzzard, Bare-faced Go-away Bird, African Pygmy Kingfisher, Dark-caped Yellow Warbler, Barn Swallow, Egyptian Goose, Bateleur, Black-winged Bishop, Barred Warbler, Black-winged Stilt, Eurasian Hobby, Green Wood Hoopoe, Greater Honey Guide, Bat Hawk, Grey-backed Cameroptera, Blue-naped Mouse Bird, Blue-breasted Kingfisher, Grey-backed Fiscal Shrike, Emerald-spotted Wood Dove, Blue-cheeked Bee-eater, Greater Blue-eared Starling, Green Crombec, Broad billed Roller, African Blue Flycatcher, Brown-crowned Tchagra, Brown-throated Wattle-eye, African Fish Eagle, African Golden Oriole, Common Green hawk, Crested Francolin, African Crowned Eagle, African Pygmy Kingfisher, Crowned Hornbill, African Open-billed Stork, African Jacana, African Green Pigeon, Egret, Dark-caped Yellow Warbler, Black-winged Bishop, Blue-breasted Kingfisher, Ross’s Turaco, Scarlet-chested Sunbird, Standard-winged Nightjar, Thick-billed Honey Guide, Woodland Kingfisher, Yellow-breasted Apalis, Goliath Heron, Great Blue Turaco, Grey-crowned Crane, Pied Kingfisher, Black-headed Heron, Black-headed Gonolek, Yellow-billed Stork, Greater Blue-eared Starling and many more that makes Ziwa rhino sanctuary a best place for bird watching alongside rhino trekking.
Conclusion: Shoebill stork is one of the major attractions in Uganda when it comes to birding but unfortunately, these creatures are at an extinction point with almost 1000 remaining in Uganda the pearl of Africa due to hunting by the fishers in different fishing grounds. But as of now, any birder on a Ugandan tour still has an opportunity of coming closer to rare shoebills especially during the boat cruise and canoeing in designated areas.