Posts Tagged ‘Shoebill’


September 13, 2011

Partnershipfor International Birding now has 80 trips scheduled for 2012 with a score more in the works.  Check out our website for the list.  We can take you to almost every birdable cranny of the planet.  And you’ll be in small groups, not with a busload.

AFRICA:  We now have trips to Gambia, South Africa, Namibia, Malawi, Ghana, Uganda. There are many birds you’ll never see if you don’t get to Africa.

This four-foot high, pedestrian pelican is the Shoebill.  He lives in papyrus swamps around Lake Victoria in Uganda.  Once we’d seen this guy at eye-level from our small canoe the other hundreds of birds, the numerous antelope species, the elephants, the warthogs digging up the lawn…those were all a bonus.  Shoebill is the single best reason to bird Uganda.  He won’t show up as a vagrant at Cape May.

ASIA: India, Phillipines, Sri Lanka, Malaysia.

In all our overseas trips we use only the best local guides.  We stay in local eco-lodges.  And we plan these trips with your lifelist in mind.  And we can get you to six continents and then get you to the birds you want to see.

This colorful character is the Masked Trogon female.  She liked hunting outside our breakfast hall at one Ecaudoran lodge.

LATIN AMERICA; Ecuador, Colombia, Brazil, Peru, Costa Rica, Panama, Argentina,
Guyana.  And our Ecuador trips can include a few days in the amazing world of Darwin’s Galapagos.

OCEANA: New Zealand and Australia, where the endemics are pandemic.  Don’t you want a couple Kiwis and a Kookabura on your life list?

We can put together custom trips for your small group of birding friends so you get the time to find your target birds.

NORTH AMERICA AND EUROPE.  Of course we also provide great trips in the U.S. From Lark Bunting to Hermit Warbler.  From Sprague’s Pipit to Cassin’s Auklet, we have the trip you need to fill out your lifelist.  North Dakota, Colorado, Pacific Northwest for winter specialties from the Arctic, Northern California, Tennessee in spring.  If you hanker after some of Europe’s goodies, we can plan your trip for Great-crested Grebe, Black and Red Kite, Hoopoe or Wallcreeper.  From Spain to the U.K.  Or from Turkey to France, we have your ideal bird trip to the Old World.  Below: a Common Shelduck at the Camargue in southern France.  Then a Pied Wagtail playing the ancient field at Stonehenge.


November 30, 2010

When birders get to travel in a distant land, they often take along a mental checklist of the regional birds they REALLLLY want to see.  In Latin America it may be a quetzal or a certain macaw, even an antpitta.  In Eastern Africa, it;s safe to bet nearly every first-time birder in that region has THE BIG ONE on the private checklist.   Well, here’s ours, seen in the Mabamba Swamp on the western shore of Lake Victoria, a short ferryboat ride and rough road away from the Entebbe International Airport.  Feast your eyes on this four-foot tall beastie:

Once we got to the edge of the Mabamba Swamp, we got into canoes.  They sit so low in the water you cannot see over the papyrus wilderness towering over your head on all sides of the narrow, twisting channels of open water.

We paddled out toward the edge of the swamp where it meets open water on the lake.  And there he stood, stolid and solid, next to a narrow channel.  He was watching for any fish foolish enough to pass within beak-scooping distant.  It was a hot and humid day.  Like every day on Lake Victoria in East Africa.  Even a patient Shoebill gets a little botred, as another day of fishing yawns before him.

After the exertion of a full yawn, it;s nice to close your eyes and catch a bird-nap.

Ever wonder whether those featherless bipeds in those silly floating logs might be scaring away lunch?  Guess they’re as little too big to be bite-size, even for me.

The Shoebill was once considered a kind of stork.  DNA evidence a closer tie to pelicans.  He does fly though much of his time is spent standing around, as we saw from close range.  This species is in its own taxonomic family.  They are fish-eaters found only in some papyrus swamps of sub-Saharan Africa.  Even our local guide had never seen a young Shoebill or a nest.  They raise their young in the densest inaccessible parts of papyrus swamps.  When their habitat is protected and the water relatively clean, the Shoebill is well-adapted and seems to be doing well.  Go see for yourself.

Africa: Virtual, or Real

May 11, 2010

You can do some virtual Africa birding via the Internet, just click here.

Or you can come along on one of the many fine PIB trips: Uganda, South Africa, et al.  And see some of these birds for yourself.

Black Beeeaters above.  Shoebill below.  Pictures by PIB partner, John Drummond, in Uganda.

Uganda trips this year and next. South Africa trips.

Or Madagascar next year.

Uganda Could Be Your-ganda. You Bet!

March 26, 2010

This trip would be worthwhile just to see the Shoebill in Mabamba  Swamp.  After that it’s all gravy.  Here are the details of our PIB autumn trip to Uganda.

Not only does the Shoebill’s visage make an impression.  They stand four-five feet tall.  The wingspan, when they bother to open them for flight, can be over ten feet.  They can weigh more than fifteen pounds.  Though traditionally considered a stork relative, recent DNA evidence indicates they are closer to pelicans.  I say, let the beak speak.

One Shoebill is NOT going to appear as a vagrant at Cape May or Point Reyes.  So you gotta get out of your chair and go.

Of course, once you’ve seen the Shoebill, you could content yourself with over 350 other species you’re likely to see. I happen to be one of those birders who will go anywhere to see a crane.  So the Gray Cresated Cranes of Uganda are as magnetic to me as any mere five-foot mysterious swamp bird could ever be.

This picture of the Gray Crested Crane flock was taken by our super-guide, Johnnie Kamugisha. 

And the geography brings forth names to conjure: Kibale National Park, Semuliki Park, Budongo Forest.  To see the places and the birds, reserve your spot. Call: 1-888-203-7464.
Abd I am looking forward to going along as the PIB host.

–Harry Fuller

Bird the World With the Pros

January 4, 2010

Partnership for International Birding puts together small groups for great trips to Latin America and Africa.  This could be your chance to really see dozens of new bird species in exotic, dramatic countries.   We work hard to keep both the price and the size of the group as low as practical.  Most of our trips include fewer than a dozen birders so you don’t get stuck in the back of a huge bus while the first off see the fleeting rarities.

We also do some short trips to the hot spots of North America from Arizona and North Dakota to the Pacific Coast.  Check out our list of great trips.

There’s still time to get into our trip to Colombia this spring.

Want to add a Shoebill to your life list?  Try our Uganda trip in the autumn.