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Rwenzori Batis

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Rwenzori Batis

Birding opportunities are great in the montane forest where few bird species choose to make their home in the inhospitable world of the high Rwenzori. The extraordinary “MOUNTAINS OF THE MOON” lie in the western Uganda on the Congolese border, with snow –covered, equatorial peaks rising to a height of 5110m and lower slopes blanketed in the moorland and the rich montane for magnificent scenery and 19 Albertine Rift endemics amongst the rwenzori Turaco and Shelley’s Crimsonwing, would be ample reward for a birder. You can spot a variety of bird species while in Rwenzori Mountain National Park such as Rwenzori batis, Bee-eaters, Robins, Sunbirds Barbets, Rwenzori Turaco, Long-eared Owl, Bearded vultures and so on are among the 217 species found in this Park. It is habitat for 90% of all Albertine Rift endemics including Rwenzori Batis which is so interesting and appealing that one should not miss to view while in Rwenzori National Park.

The Rwenzori Batis (Batis diops) is a species of bird in the wattle-eyes family platysteiridae usually found in the Albertine Rift montane forests above 1,400 m in eastern central Africa. In Uganda the Rwenzori batis are found in Rwenzori mountains National Park as they like staying in lower elevation montane evergreen forest between 1340m and 3300m above sea level. The Rwenzori batis can be spotted easily in thick bamboo forest or closed canopy forest on ridges, suboptimal habitats with mixed forest and scrub. The interesting facts about Rwenzori batis are:

The Rwenzori batis is a small, active black and white flycatcher-like bird.

It is a shy, active bird which constantly keeps on moving but tends to keep hidden in the foliage.

The upper parts are dark bluish black with white stripe along the wing and a white loral spot has black thighs and grey axillaries as well as the belly.

Has a black tail with the feathers having white tips and white edges on the outer tail feathers.

The male batis has yellow eyes and females have orangey red eyes

The Rwenzori batis measures 11-12 cm high and normally weighs 8-15.5g

The voice for the territorial call is a slow, low pitched whistle known as ventriloqual and eerie which is repeated with an interval of 2-4 seconds between whistle.

In times of breeding, it forages in mid-levels in undergrowth at 2-6m above the ground but may also be found in lower canopy of tall trees.

It is insectivorous and flycatching using short flights but most food is probably gleaned from the foliage and twigs. The males regularly feed the incubating or brooding females in the nests.

All these make the Rwenzori batis an interesting and attractive bird that can give you an exciting opportunity to relax. However, Rwenzori Mountains National Park is a good birding destination where the activity can be done excitingly while hiking in the forest zone. Come and explore the beauty of the Rwenzori mountains which cannot leave your life unchangeable with unforgettable experiences.

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