Shoe bill stork safaris in Uganda are a popular activity for tourists who want to see this unique and rare bird in its natural habitat. The shoe bill stork (Balaeniceps rex), also known as the whale-headed stork, is a large bird with an enormous bill that is shaped like a shoe. This bird derives its name from its enormous shoe-shaped bill. It is classified with the storks in the order Ciconiiformes based on this morphology. Most bird lovers traveling to Uganda enjoy watching this amazing bird.
Bird-watching safaris in Uganda guarantee sighting of the shoebill. Shoe bill stork safaris in Uganda will take you to some of the best bird-watching spots in the country where you will have plenty of opportunities to spot other resident birdlife in the country. For bird lovers Uganda is a bird haven with up to 10% of the world’s bird species present within the country’s boundaries.
Plan your Uganda Bird watching safari with Acacia Safaris Limited and experience the best birding adventure in Uganda. Uganda is also home to incredible wildlife and our customized tours will allow you to combine a birding safari or Shoe bill stork safaris in Uganda with wildlife safaris in top safari parks. Not to forget the amazing gorillas and chimpanzees that will make your visit even more eventful.
The best places to see this bird in Uganda are in the swamps and wetlands areas around the country. Some of the most popular places for a shoe bill stork safari include:
Mabamba Wetland or Swamp
This is the most famous site for bird watching and particularly, for seeing the shoe bill stork. Mabamba Swamp is located in Entebbe, a few hours’ drive from Kampala. It is a recognized RAMSAR site for its rich biodiversity.
Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary
Located in the Nakasongola district, the Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary is a conservation area that is home to various animals including the shoe bill stork. Here, visitors can also spot white rhinoceros.
Semuliki National Park
The park is located in the western part of Uganda and is one of the locations with the largest populations of the shoe bill stork.
This is the only place in Uganda where you can experience a jungle walk and spot the shoe bill stork. The gorge is home to various primates and bird species and also offers beautiful views of the Rwenzori Mountains.
It is recommended to book a guided tour with a reputable operator like Acacia Safaris Limited to maximize your chances of seeing the shoe bill stork and to learn more about their behavior and habitat.
A shoe bill stork safari experience in Uganda is a unique and unforgettable adventure for bird lovers and nature enthusiasts. The safari usually starts early in the morning, as the shoe bill storks are most active during this time.
The tour guide will take the visitors to the swamps, rivers, or wetlands where the storks are known to inhabit. Once there, visitors will quietly observe the storks feeding, nesting, or wading in the water. The shoe bill stork has a unique way of manipulating its enormous bill which is fascinating to observe. Visitors can take photos or videos of this rare bird and its behavior.
In addition to the shoe bill stork, tourists may also spot other bird species such as the African fish eagle, kingfishers, pelicans, and other water birds. Depending on the safari location, there may also be opportunities to see other wildlife such as monkeys, hippos, crocodiles, or antelopes.
To make the safari more comfortable and enjoyable, visitors are advised to wear comfortable hiking shoes, bring a hat, sunglasses, sunscreen, insect repellent, and a camera with a zoom lens. It is also important to follow the park regulations and respect the animals’ habitat.
Generally, a shoe bill stork safari experience in Uganda is a unique and exciting opportunity to observe one of the most distinctive birds in the world and experience the beauty of Uganda’s natural landscapes
The best time to go for shoe bill stork safaris in Uganda is during the dry season, which runs from December to February and June to August. During this time, the swamps and wetlands where the storks live are less flooded, making it easier to access the areas where they are often seen.
In addition, the dry season is generally a good time for bird watching as many bird species are more active at this time due to the abundant food available. The dry season also offers pleasant weather conditions, with cooler temperatures and less rain, making it more comfortable for visitors to spend time outdoors.
However, shoe bill storks can be seen all year round in Uganda, as they do not migrate and are mostly sedentary. During the wet season, from March to May and September to November, the wetlands and swamps can be flooded, making it harder to reach the areas where the storks are known to inhabit. However, the wet season offers a different experience with lush green landscapes, and an opportunity to see migratory bird species.
It is important to note that weather patterns can be unpredictable and can vary from year to year, so it is advisable to check the forecasts before planning a safari trip to Uganda.