The difference that lies between bird aficionados and novices is their ability to identify different bird species. While birds may exist almost everywhere in the world but if you asked yourself how many you can identify, perhaps none. To identify these incredible creatures, you need to be a genius. Very few people are gifted with that ability to identify these fascinating creatures but with great honor, our sincere thanks go to ‘Ashley Brian’-a Ugandan national and secretary Uganda Bird Guides Club who featured in the second position in the Inter Continental Birding competition that took place in Singapore recently. About 78 countries across the world were attracted to be part of this event. The competition mainly aimed at testing birders on various bird species globally where Costa Rica featured on the top list and the Papua New Guinea in the third position and Uganda in the second position. On the other hand, Malawi emerged the fourth and Russia the fifth.
Upon his return, Ashley added that the competition involved identifying different species of birds using their sound, family and appearances. However, some of the birds were new and never been spotted in Uganda but the interesting part of it is that he managed to identify them using their various bird families. The advantage he had was that Uganda is a true paradise of birds and because of this diversity, he was able to identify most of them. Amazingly, he was awarded a silver medal, full set of kits used in birding tours and some money. He further added that the challenge with Uganda’s bird species today is that they are getting extinct due to habitat loss.
John Kamugisha-one of the bird guides under the Birdlife International and American Bird Association also challenged the Ministry of Tourism to ensure that birding is promoted by training more tour guides within the sector. He further added that there is need to market birding outside border areas. Birds are generally a few most fascinating creatures on earth. Their power to inspire, excite and amaze is what brings together different people within and across border areas. Uganda alone offers refuge to more than 1080 distinct avifaunal species with 10% of all those that exist in the whole world and 50% of which are Africa’s birds.
Birding in Uganda
There are many birding sites for you to sight variety of bird species while you are on safari in Uganda and they include the 10 national parks. Each national park features rare species which rewards you with the most fascinating bird sightings. Uganda’s stunning protected areas for you to sight some of these world’s most fascinating creatures include Murchison Falls National Park, Queen Elizabeth National Park, Kidepo Valley National Park, Lake Mburo National Park, Kibale Forest National Park, Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park, Mgahinga Gorilla National Park, Mount Elgon National Park, Mount Rwenzori National Park, Semuliki Valley National Park as well as several forested areas, botanical gardens in Entebbe, wetlands, swamps, Lakes, wildlife reserves a mention but a few.
Birds in Uganda
The notable birds for you to spot out in Uganda include African green broadbill, shoebill stork, green breasted pitta, the Great Blue Turaco, Shelley’s crimson wing, short tailed warblers, standard winged nightjar, Doherty’s bush shrike, bar tailed trogon, black breasted barbet, pelicans, fish eagles and other.
The 24 year old Ashley Brian featured as the 2nd best out of the 78 participants in the Intercontinental Birding Competition for Youths in Singapore. This took about 2 weeks and mainly targeted youths between 17 and 26 years. The event was organized by the Singapore Tourism Board and 3 birding sites were considered-Jurong Bird Park, West Coast Park and Sungei Buloh. Rodriguez from Costa Rica then featured as the winner in this competition followed by Ashley Brian of Uganda, the 3rd person came from Papua Guinea. This world event attracted about 10 (ten) countries in Africa and they include Zimbabwe, Egypt, Liberia, Madagascar, Tanzania and others with the main focus on bird family identification in the world, continental avifaunal species, aviary terms, assessment on migratory birds, bird quiz as well as presentation on aviary.