Semuliki National Park sprawls across the floor of the Semuliki Valley on the remote, Western side of the Rwenzori Mountains. Semuliki park is part of the Guinea-Congo biome, the only lowland semi-deciduous forest in Uganda with a spectacular scenic beauty enhanced by the presence of hot springs found within the park.
A total number of 53 mammal species have been recorded of which species of large mammals and 7 species of small mammals have not been recorded in other parks including the recently discovered Bongo Antelope. Eight species occur nowhere else in Eastern Africa such as, mona monkey, forest buffalo, bay duiker, beecroft’s flying squirrel, pygmy flying squirrel, little collared fruit bat, water chevrotain and target rat. The park also habits over 300 butterfly species and a few of them can be spotted in the forest during nature walks.
Semuliki National Park Uganda is home to nine primate species, including De Brazza’s monkey, and many mammals not found elsewhere in Uganda, such as Zenker’s flying mice. Both the resident elephant and buffalo are the forest variety, smaller than their savannah comrades.
The area that Semuliki National Park covers is a distinct ecosystem within the larger Albertine Rift ecosystem. Of the 1047 birds in Uganda, 440 bird species (43%) are found in Semuliki National park. Albertine Rift Endemics such as the Dwarf Honey guide and Purple-breasted Sunbird can occasionally be sighted. All these has attracted a big number of tourists for Uganda safaris particularly for activities like Uganda wildlife safaris, Nature walks, Uganda birding safaris,Uganda chimpanzee trekking safaris, Uganda cultural safaris and Uganda adventure safaris.
Some of the Congo Biome species /Congo Biodiversity species in Semuliki National Park
In this article we have described five bird species including; Long tailed Hawk, Lyre tailed honey guide, Congo Serpent Eagle, Nkulengu Rail, and the Black wattled Hornbill.
Long tailed Hawk
An adult Long Tailed Hawk adult as seen in the picture is characterized by lighter grey on the cheeks and veil, and darker on the wings. The rump is smoke grey, sometimes with white spots; the upper tail coverts pure white. The tail is black, graduated, the feathers tipped white and with four irregular crossbars of white. The primaries and secondaries are brown, barred black and notched with white on base of inner webs. The chin and lower throat are grey. The underside of wings and tail are barred black and white. The eyes are reddish yellow, the cere and feet pale yellow.
The immature Long Tailed Hawks are blackish brown above, including the upper-tail coverts, with tawny markings. The tail is broadly banded black and brown above, black and white below, perhaps shorter than that of the adult. The under parts are white, sometimes almost unmarked, sometimes with large blackish spots on breast and sides.
The long-tailed hawk primarily eats squirrels, especially scaly-tailed squirrels and small birds. It can also hunt chicken in the villages close to the forest. It kills prey by breaking the neck. This bird is also known to attack hammer-headed fruit bats. Its strong legs and feet suggest its main prey are mammals.
The mating season occurs in July and August, when the pair build a nest on a high tree.
Lyre tailed honey guide
The lyre-tailed honeyguide is named after the lyre, a stringed instrument that is played by plucking the strings. Its tail looks similar to the U-shaped instrument.
Lyre-tailed honeyguides are dull-colored birds characterized of a long, lyre-shaped tail which is U-shaped, and two middle pairs of retrices. It has paired flight feathers of the tail, which extend from the tail edges that are curved outward at distal ends (away from the point of attachment). Its outermost retrices are narrow and short. The birds also have a white under surface about the tail normally seen as they fly, olive-green upperparts, and whitish under parts.
Most honeyguides sexes look alike however, the males and females of the Lyre tailed honey guide look different with respect to their plumage. Females show some gray streaks on the rear underbelly, and their tail is not as large. Adults are about 6 inches (17 centimeters) long and weigh between 1.7 and 2.2 ounces (47.0 and 61.5 grams).
Lyre-tailed honeyguides are located in lowland tropical rain forests, primary forests and their edges, secondary forests, and plantations. They eat beeswax, bee larvae, termites, insects, spiders, and fig fruits.
Lyre-tailed honeyguides are not believed to migrate. The mating display of lyre-tailed honey guides is very interesting. Males fly around while singing several “pee-pee” notes, which go into “ve-bek, ve-vek.” They then go into a rapid and steep dive with their tail feathers spread out. These feathers brush against the wind to make a “kwa-ba kwa-ba” series of sounds. Males may also fly up and down in spiral movements.
Congo Serpent Eagle
The crown and mantle are blackish brown, with brown sides to the neck and a broad brown collar. The rest of upper parts are dark chocolate brown. The tail is light brown with six broad blackish bars. The wing coverts are blackish, the lesser coverts tipped with white. The primary flight feathers are dark brown on outer web, light brown on inner, with a black tip and black bars. The cheeks are light brown, throat darker, and a black moustachial streak, and a black streak down centre of throat. Under parts are mostly white, with large round black spots. Mid-belly and under-tail coverts are pure white. The thighs are closely barred sepia and white. Under-wing again largely white, with some sepia and black spots and bars, the flights pale brown with darker bars. The eyes are dark brown or grey, cere yellow, legs and feet yellow. The males and females sexes are similar in size.
In the immatures the crown and mantle are basally white, the terminal half of the feathers ferruginous, and the tips black. Under parts are closely spotted with round ferruginous and blackish spots, which disappear gradually with age.
Lowland tropical rain forest. This is a bird of dense evergreen forest with large eyes that enable it to catch prey in the dim light of the forest.
Its diet consists mostly of snakes and lizards, including chameleons and toads. Sometimes its diet is evidenced of small mammals, however, these could have been swallowed with snakes which had eaten them earlier. Food is taken on the ground, or in trees, probably by dropping on it from a perch.
The Nkulengu Rail is a species of bird in the Rallidae family. It belongs to the monotypic genus Himantornis. It is found in Angola, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Republic of the Congo, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ivory Coast, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Ghana, Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Togo, and Uganda.
Black wattled Hornbill
A Black wattled Hornbill is just one of the many species of large forest Hornbills found in Uganda. These huge birds or adult species are about 90cm in length and they make a huge noise with their wingbeats, often the first thing alerting you to their presence.
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