Freelance photographer, guide, divemaster and travel blogger. Travelled 47 countries and counting; 30 in Africa plus the Caribbean, Europe and SE Asia. Now in South America and as always, still working and involved in the tourism and hospitality industries.
Green-breasted Pitta found! Kanyanchu, Kibale Forest (Day 2)
11 Aug: Birding from Kanyanchu UWA office, Kibale Forest with UWA guide Gerald T. 06:00 - 11:00
Once again we started off our morning hearing the Wood Owl calling as we left Chimp's Nest, the lodge where we were staying. At Kanyanchu, we set off 6am with Gerald and our head torches to the area where we were hoping to hear (and see!) the Green-breasted Pitta. The waiting was a bit nerve racking as this was our last chance during this visit to find the bird - no pressure! The first forest calls we heard were the Black & White Colobus followed by the Great Blue Turaco and Red-chested Cuckoo.
At 6:55 we heard the 1st "prrrrp" of the Green-breasted Pitta's display followed a couple of minutes by a second, although by the second display we were already moving and Gerald was homing in on the display area. It was the 3rd or 4th "prrrrp" when we saw the bird displaying on a branch, doing it's hop into the air and creating the "prrrrp" sound with its wings. This was followed by a second softer version and a few metres away there was another GB Pitta, also displaying in response!! This Gerald explained was most likely the female.
There were a few more displays, gradually lower eventually, till the displays stopped and the 2 birds met up on the ground and started moving around foraging for food. Now the challenge was for me to try and get some photos - with some sneaking and staying still alternately, the birds became reasonably relaxed and I managed to get some photos. They seemed to have a knack of finding centipedes under the leaf litter and at times turned the heads like they're listening before a quick move and dart and lifting the head with a centipede in the bill.
My second species of Pitta but by no means a lesser experience. Being able to watch this pair move around and forage was just simply put - amazing! Eventually we left the pair on their own and we walked back to the main trail with huge smiles. Other birds were now heard calling as well and included Yellow-billed and Yellow-spotted Barbets, Blue-breasted Kingfisher, Speckled and Yellow-throated Tinkerbirds, and Red-capped Robin-chat; also a great view of a pair of African Shrike Flycatchers. A troop of Baboons moved past and some Grey-cheeked Mangabeys were calling further away.
Butterfly hovering at Kanyanchu, Kibal Forest
Back at the UWA office, a quick coffee and tea and then moved on to some birding down the road. Pied Wagtail, Little Greenbul, Vieillot's Black and Black-necked Weavers, Yellow-rumped Tinkerbirds and an immature Green Crombec were the first batch of sightings from here. Further down onto the main forest road we found Cameroon Sombre Greenbul, Afep Pigeon, Little Green and Collared Sunbird. A White-breasted Nigrita immature was begging food from a parent and was size-wise in stark contrast the large Yellowbill nearby. A pair of White-tailed Ant-thrushes seemed to be nesting.
Two Green Hylia made an appearance followed by Slender-billed Greenbul, Chestnut-fronted Wattle-eye, Speckled, Yellow-throated and Yellow-rumped Tinkerbirds, Purple-headed Starling and good views of Buff-throated Apalis and Cassin's Grey Flycatcher. Moving further along the road the bird traffic continued with White-headed Wood Hoopoe, Green-backed Camaroptera, Black & White Casqued Hornbill and a cracking view of Great Sparrowhawk. A few Red-tailed Monkeys were trying to entertain us nearby.
Epiphytes in Kibale Forest
The final birds were hardly "lesser" species as we ended with brilliant views of a pair of Brown-chested Alethes. I missed out on a Velvet-mantled Drongo but considering the above sightings, there was hardly reason to be complaining - I would just have to come back again.
Around lunchtime back at the lodge, I saw two White-thighed Hornbills flying over the canopy of the forest adjacent to the lodge property.
Both the Green-breasted Pittas