Red-headed Lovebird (Agapornis pullarius)

The Red-headed Lovebird (Agapornis pullarius) also known as the Red-faced Lovebird is a member of the genus Agapornis, a group commonly known as lovebirds. Like other lovebirds it is native to Africa.  Although I have seen them in foliage in both Accra and Entebbe, I wasn’t able to get a photo so I will have to use Wikipedia’s.  I don’t know why these beauties are so bashful but at least it’s not me as I couldn’t find many other pics or videos of them in the wild.

Their range covers a swathe through central Africa but only Ghana and Uganda are easy to get to for eco-tourists on a budget.  I got glimpses of them in Accra and Entebbe Botanical Gardens.



World Parrot Trust



Once again, I had a hard time tracking down clips of wild birds on Youtube.  This is an older one.

And a close up of captive birds just to show the gorgeous colours.


Great Blue Turaco (Corythaeola cristata)

The Great Blue Turaco (Corythaeola cristata) is a turaco, a group of African near-passerines. It is the largest species of turaco.

They have a large range across Central Africa but the easiest place to see them is in Uganda.  I saw them both at Entebbe Botanical Gardens and Mpanga National Forest.






Thankfully I was able to find a couple good clips (both filmed in Uganda) on Youtube, mostly because these birds were hungry and therefore sitting still-ish!

Black-and-white-casqued Hornbill (Bycanistes subcylindricus)

The Black-and-white-casqued Hornbill (Bycanistes subcylindricus) also known as the Grey-cheeked Hornbill, is a large—approximately 70 cm (28 in) long—black and white hornbill. It has an oversized blackish bill with a large casque on top. The female is slightly smaller than the male and has a significantly smaller casque.

Although their range covers a large part of Africa it is very spread out so you have to be lucky to see one but they are well worth it, they are such cool looking birds!  I saw this one in the Entebbe Botanical Gardens in Uganda.






Hungry birds!

Just impressive!



Ross’s Turaco (Musophaga rossae)

Ross’s Turaco or Lady Ross’s Turaco (Musophaga rossae) is a mainly bluish-purple African bird of the turaco family, Musophagidae.

They have large range throughout central Africa.  I saw this one in Entebbe Botanical Gardens in Uganda.





I couldn’t find any Youtube clips of wild birds so I will have to use some captive birds to show the call and behaviour of this beautiful bird.  The call is very distinctive and that was how our guide located the birds we saw in Entebbe.


Entebbe Botanical Gardens – The Birds

If you’ve been to most botanical gardens around the world, you may be expecting lots of flowers in organized garden plots. That’s not what the Entebbe Botanical Gardens is like.  It’s more like a large city park or small nature reserve with lots of trees-which of course attract lots of birds!  It’s also one of the most reliable places to see wild African Grey Parrots which was why I planned this visit.  Even if you are headed elsewhere in Uganda, it’s well worth a visit.

If you want to see as many birds as possible you need 2 things.  A vehicle (because this place is HUGE and you have to chase the birds if they fly off) and a guide.  Most hotels can organize a car for a set number of hours.  I paid around 100,000 UGS for 2 or 3 hours, I forget what it was.  You can pick up a guide at the gate, there will be several waiting and they seem to have their own rostering system.  Just make sure the one you get knows birds, maybe test them on a few photos first.  We got a guy named Bright who was excellent in both bird spotting and identification.  The standard fee is 20,000 UGS and I gave him a bonus of 20,000 UGS for finding the Grey Parrots because he really worked hard to find them.

Cool sculpture along the road.

Entrance to the Entebbe Botanical Gardens, this is where you pay the entry and hire a guide.

Monkeys were all over the place.

The shores of Lake Victoria is where you see a lot of water birds.  We were driving back and forth so the same birds were seen on different passes in this area.


Pied Kingfisher

Little Egret

Red-chested Sunbird Now we’re in a more wooded area as Bright heard the Ross’s Turaco calling and quickly spotted him.

Wicked looking spider!

Great Blue Turaco

This one is too obscured, if anyone knows what it is, please comment.

Woodland Kingfisher

Fish Eagle

Bad shots of random birds, if anyone can help with these, let me know.  I do have a bird checklist on eBird.

Black and White Casqued Hornbill

Colobus Monkey

Saving the best for last-the wonderful African Grey Parrots!  There were around 10-12 frolicking in the trees but not all of them came into view.  Thankfully a few did!

Notable birds that I didn’t get pics of were the Meyers Parrot that flew overhead that Bright couldn’t find perching and the Red-headed Lovebirds we spotted on our last visit (no guide available as it was late) who were flitting around the flowered bushes near the lake.

Mabamba Shoebill Safari

One of the highlights for anyone visiting Entebbe (even before or after a gorilla safari) is the canoe ride through Mabamba Swamp to see the prehistoric looking Shoebill Stork.  I booked with Mabamba Shoebill Tours based in the Sunset Hotel in Entebbe on Church Road which was just down the road from Lake Heights Hotel.  The manager, Olive was very friendly and helpful as were all her staff.  It’s great how they involve the local community, eco-tourism in action!  The price was very reasonable at $150 for both of us.

The driver picked us up early and we drove through the town to the boat dock.

My husband Ina, the driver and Vincent the guide

Red-eyed Dove near the dock

Fishermen at work

Bird making use of floating junk as a fishing launch!

Entering the Mabamba Swamp

Vincent on the lookout for Shoebills

Beautiful Malachite Kingfisher Weaverbirds

At last we spot our target bird, the amazing Shoebill Stork!

The Shoebill flew away and we tried to follow but the water was too low and we ran aground.  I was nervous until they pushed us free and headed back to the main waterway.

US Air Force plane flying overhead as we head back to shore.  I have no idea why it was there, I didn’t even know what it was until I got the pic uploaded!

Hotel Review: Lake Heights, Entebbe

I had some special criteria when choosing the accommodation for our 2 night stay in Entebbe.  I wanted a nice birdy location and I wanted it to feel African.  Finally, it had to be bookable through the Flying Bue/Pointshound portal so I could get 10,000 miles bonus!  After doing some searches, I found the Lake Heights Hotel in Entebbe.  As an added bonus, people on eBIrd had reported seeing African Grey Parrots fly over!

I had emailed them ahead of time and their driver was waiting for us at the airport.  He led us out to the minibus and it was about 8 minutes to the hotel.

Security is tight and we felt very safe there.

The grounds are beautiful…………….

………..the staff very friendly……………………..

…………………and the room was awesome!

The decor was simple but elegant.

The bathroom was spacious and very clean.

The pool was beautiful albeit somewhat too cold to swim (April) but still a nice place to hang out.

There’s a roof top bar and you can also have them bring food up from the restaurant below.

From the rooftop, the view gets even better!

We did see a few birds but we also were out most of the day so not much time to bird the grounds.

The breakfast buffet had a lot of choices for both African and Western palates.

The last night there was a BBQ with delicious roast meats and live entertainment.

On top of all that, the wifi was very strong and they were nice about letting us use the facilities up to 11pm (after the BBQ) when we had to go to the airport in their shuttle for a 3am flight.  I really loved this place and would definitely stay there again if we returned to Entebbe!

Flight Review: Dubai-Entebbe On Kenya Airways

Kenya Airways is one of the most interesting airlines of Sky Team for its vast African network.  I used 20,000 Flying Blue miles each for our routes Dubai-Nairobi-Entebbe in economy.

Since we would have a full day of activities in Dubai, I figured we would be exhausted enough to get some sleep on the Dubai-Nairobi leg and I was right.  LOL, I’m a ghost of myself in this shot as we waited to board!

A few quick snaps of business class as we walked to our seats which were in the 3rd row of economy.

I wasn’t hungry but my husband ate the meal.  I was asleep pretty quickly.

I woke as we made final approach to Nairobi.

We had a few hours to kill so I walked around the shops but didn’t buy anything as I knew I would get better deals in the markets. 

My husband snagged an amenity kit as we disembarked and was now showing it off.  These are more his colours than mine so I let him keep it.  The socks are cute, maybe I’ll confiscate those!

Time to board the next flight to Entebbe.  This was a short flight, around an hour or so and the economy seat was fine.  I wouldn’t use miles on business unless it was long haul and a lie-flat seat.

Arriving in Entebbe, we had our visas printed out and $50 each ready to go, everything went smoothly.  I was pleased to see they take conservation seriously in Uganda!

Proudly displaying the national bird of Uganda, the Crested Crane in the arrival hall.

A little Weaverbird was the first bird to welcome us to Uganda. And now let the Godmother of All African Adventures begin!