Thursday, 2 March 2017

BIRDS IN UGANDA: BIRDING TOURS / SAFARIS IN UGANDA

MIGRATORY BIRDS IN UGANDA: BIRDS IN UGANDA


Well if you thought migration is only to human, even birds in Uganda, this is attributed to changes in the climate globally which affects the movement of both migratory and resident bird species.
Bird migration is a regular seasonal journey undertaken by various bird species; it is one of the world's most extraordinary wonders. Millions of birds travel thousands of miles, only to make the return journey a few months later. Birds move to areas to improve their chances of survival, usually because of climatic changes that provide better environment in regards to feeding, habitat or weather, breeding, etc. Migration patterns for some birds have been determined using mark recapture using rings or more recently using satellite location.
Uganda harbors over 1010 species of birds i.e. half of the world’s total population with over 20% of the birds of Uganda being migratory, the various birds occupy the rich landscape and diverse habitats in Uganda, including but not limited to, wetlands and forests.  The high diversity of habitats makes Uganda the richest country in terms of birds species compared to its size, hence making bird watching tours / safaris popular activity in Uganda.
Migratory birds in Uganda are linked to the Mediterranean flyway mainly using the Nile basin for the movements and wintering in Asia, Eastern Europe and Siberia regions. Palearctic Migrants- includes species that migrate to the northern hemisphere particularly Europe, Asia and arctic regions to breed during the summer months (May -July). These species migrate to the southern hemisphere during the north winter months (September –March). Millions of birds fly back and forth to breeding and wintering areas every year, providing one of the most spectacular and fascinating migrations in nature. Some of these species include gulls, terms, raptors, passerines, small waders, storks and ducks and geese. Nevertheless large congregations of this group of migrants, especially first years (young birds), over -winter and stay in wintering ranges during migrations. 
Intra-African Migrants, comprise of birds from the south and those that wonder around the continent. During the southern winter months, some of the species migrate to the tropical regions and fly back to breed during summer.  Such species include the Blue Swallow. These are few,  in number of species and individuals.  Other species comprise of migrants that wander around African continent. The species movements are triggered by rains and availability of food.  For example, storks follow the rains due to the resurgence of insects after a rainy period, but other species such as scavengers, follow the dry season due to carrion brought about by drought.

Birds migrating to Uganda temporarily settle in different places like Murchison Falls National Park, Kazinga Channel, Munyanyange, Mabamba wetland, Nakiwogo Shoebill swamp, Kasenyi landing site Lake George, Banda Island, Musambwa Islands, Kaku swamp, Airstrip Ponds, Lake Mburo national park, L.Bisina, and many other areas across the country.

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