Bigodi Wetland Sanctuary is located about 6 km south of the Kibale Forest Park’s Kanyanchu visitor center.It’s a birdwatcher’s haven, with around 200 species of birds found here.Its main birding attractions are Great Blue Turaco, Red-chested Cuckoo, African Pigmy kingfisher, Shinning-Blue Kingfisher, Hairy-breasted Barbet, Western Nicator, Papyrus Gonolek, White-winged Warbler, Willow’s Warbler,Green Hylia, African Blue Flycatcher and Brown Illadopsis among others.
The park is also home of eight primate species as Grey-cheeked Mangabey, Red Colobus Monkey, L’Hoest Monkey, Red-tailed Monkey, Black and white Colobus, Vervet Monkey, Blue Monkey, Olive Baboons and sometimes even Chimpanzees that come from Kibale NP.Other mammals can be found here as well: sitatungas, bushbucks, mongooses, bushpigs otters and more.
To get there i catched a van from Entebbe to Fort Portal and then another one to Mbarara that went through Kibale National Park and dropped me in the little and peaceful town of Bigodi.Once there i went to Chimp’s Nest Lodge, following Lonely Planet recommendation.The location and the rooms were nice and cozy but the staff was lazy and quite unfriendly.I decided to move to another guesthouse, where i could sleep and eat for about 15 euros per night.
Next morning,i woke up early at 6 o’clock.I went to Bigodi Wetland Reserve.It’s just a short stroll from the town.In the entrance, I paid about 25 euros for a 3 hours guide.We started following the trail that surrounds the swamp area.
Our first lifer was a Red-chested Cuckoo perched on a branch early morning.
We continued walking when after a while we could spot a Red-tailed Monkey on the top of a tree,see picture on the top of the post.This cute monkey has a unmistakable white patch in his nose and white cheeks.It was seen foraging for fruits, although it can sometimes eat leaves,flowers and insects when fruits are scarce.This primate is found from Angola to Tanzania in a different variety of habitats.However it’s becoming endangered due mainly to hunting and deforestation.
The swamp forest area was very prolific in birds.Shinning-Blue Kingfisher is a stunning bird with an electric blue coloration in its head and back that i spotted here. African Green Pigeon,Blue-spotted Wood Dove,Great Blue Turaco,Yellow-rumped Thinkerbird, African Pigmy Kingfisher, Yellow-billed and Hairy-breasted Barbet, Buff-spotted Woodpecker, Western Nicator, Little Greenbul, African Thrush, Green Hylia, Ashy and African Blue Flycatcher, Brown Illadopsis, Black-headed, Black-necked and Viellot’s black Weaver were found in this forest area among others.
The Black and White Colobus and the less common L’Hoest Monkey was seen here as well.L’Hoest monkey is a vulnerable species that lives mainly in DR Congo.It has a dark fur with a brownish patch on the back and a white beard.Unfortunately the day was quite dark and i couldn’t take decent shots of these animals to post them here.
On a clearing area,we saw a solitaire Wolly-necked Stork accompanied by a Black-headed Heron.Wolly-necked Stork is a vulnerable species, although widespread in a different variety of habitats in Africa and Asia.Its white “furry” neck gives its name and its wings have a beautiful iridiscent purple dark coloration. You can appreciate its iridiscent wings and reddish eyes in the picture if you check carefully.
We spotted the rare Grey-cheeked Mangabey moving and feeding on fruits at about 10 o’clock.This species of monkey is found in Central Africa, form Nigeria to Uganda.This is mainly a lowland species of monkey that lives in primary and swamp forests.
A Western Nicator was seen when going back to the main gate.This bird is a medium sized passerine bird that inhabits from Senegal to Uganda.It has olive green upperparts and pale white underparts.Notice its characteristic yellow spots on its wings on the picture below.
On the nearbies of the park i spotted Bronze Manikin, Bronze Sunbird and Red-chested Sunbird several times late morning and mid afternoon.Grey-headed Negrofinch was another nice bird seen on the nearbies early morning.
Nice variety of primates and birds seen in only one morning !!!
Next stop Kibale National Park, seeking for chimpanzees in the wild !!!
See you soon my friends !!!