Uganda is among the best destinations for incredible Bird Watching Safaris in the whole of Africa. It has a diversity of bird species a number of which are not easily spotted in any other part of the African continent. There are more than 1010 bird species all of which you have the opportunity to enjoy on a Uganda safari. The various national parks within Uganda are actually home to the largest habitats for most of the bird species in the country. As you take time to marvel at the spectacular birds, you will certainly come across a diversity of additional wildlife that will turn your bird watching safari into a very memorable encounter. The time to spot these birds is actually early in the morning and late in the evenings.
Uganda offers remarkable birding opportunities for experienced birdwatchers with an amazing opportunity to tick off more than 1000 bird species off your list while being led with the expertise and professionalism of our birding guides. Uganda hosts over 1050 bird species with the rest found in DR Congo, Rwanda, and Burundi. Birds were protected over the years because of the cultural norms attached.
Birding happens both in protected areas and in private areas, with the habitats for birds being wetlands, and papyrus swamps, forests, Savannah, agricultural lands, woodlands, rocky ridges and Afro-pine moorland. Though birds can be seen anywhere in Uganda, some of the best bird watching spots include:
- Mabamba Swamp
This Important Bird Area (IBA) is one of the best marshy areas along the northern shores of Lake Victoria for bird watching. The Mabamba Wetland area is famous for harboring the rare Shoe Billed stork.
- Kibale Forest National Park
This Forest is mostly known for its Chimpanzee Trekking Safaris though it is also home to a variety of forest birds including the Red Winged Francolin, Red Chested Fluftail, African Pita, Joyful Greenbul and many other bird species totaling about 335.
- Queen Elizabeth National Park
Birding in Queen Elizabeth National Park is an incredible experience as this is Uganda’s most popular and most scenic national park that contains a variety of habitats that range from savanna to wetlands. The park hosts over 600 bird species. Some of the bird habitats offered within this national park are open woodlands, rivers, open grassland, lakes seasonal as well as permanent swamps. Prominent species include the Malachite, Black-Ramped Buttonquail, Collard Pranticles, Papyrus Canary, Verreauv’s Eagle-owl, Black Bee-eater, Squacco Heron, African Fish Eagle, Swamp Fly-catcher, Long-tailed Cormorants, Martial Eagle, Black- rumped Buttonquail African Skimmer, White-winged Terns, White-winged Warbler, Shoebill, African Skimmer, Grey-headed Kingfisher, Papyrus Gonolek, and the Thin-tailed Nightjars, which are normally heard in the morning echoing in the tree branches.
- Bwindi Impenetrable National Park
The impenetrable forest is commonly known for its Mountain Gorillas but the place is also a paradise for bird watchers. It has over 347 bird species including the Albertine Rift Endemics, Rwenzori Batis, Black Bee eater and the African Green Broadbill.
- Murchison Falls National Park
Murchison Falls is among Uganda’s best birding spots with over 451 bird species which include; the Gray-crowned Crane (Uganda’s National bird), Giant Kingfisher, Giant Heron, Shoebill stork, Abyssinian Ground Hornbills, Nightjars, Marabou stork, Black headed lapwing, Back-bellied Bustard and many others. Birds in Murchison can be best spotted while on a game drive, nature walks through the savannah grasslands and on the boat cruise along the Nile and on Lake Albert Delta.
Semuliki National Park
Semuliki Forest Reserve was created in 1932 and upgraded to national park status in 1993. It is the only tract of true lowland tropical forest in East Africa, hosting 441 recorded bird species and 53 mammals. Large areas of this low-lying park may flood during the wet season,a brief reminder of the time when the entire valley lay at the bottom of a lake for seven million years.
Four distinct ethnic groups live near the park – Bwamba farmers live along the base of the Rwenzori while the Bakonjo cultivate the mountain slopes. Batuku cattle keepers inhabit on the open plains and Batwa pygmies, traditionally hunter gathers, live on the edge of the forest.
Lake Mburo National Park
Lake Mburo’s key birding spots include swampy valleys and viewing platforms near the salt licks and in the forest. Species found at these locations include the Rufous-bellied Heron, Bateleur, Coqui Francolin, Grey Crowned Crane, Black-bellied Bustard and Brown-chested Lapwing.
There are also ideally-situated viewing platforms at the salt lick, in Miriti Valley, and in Rubanga Forest. Species observed at these locations include the Rufous-bellied Heron, Bateleur, Coqui Francolin, Grey Crowned Crane, Black-bellied Bustard, Brown-chested Lapwing, Emerald-spotted Wood-Dove, Brown Parrot, Red-headed Lovebird, Ross’s Turaco, Bare-faced Go-away-bird, Green Wood-hoopoe, Common Scimitarbill, White-headed Barbet, Red-faced Barbet, Nubian Woodpecker, Red-shouldered Cuckoo-shrike, Long-tailed Cisticola, Yellow-breasted Apalis, White-winged Tit and Finfoot among others.
Rubanga Forest can be visited using a vehicle or on foot. This is a real draw for keen birders, and prior arrangement should be made with the warden. The rare Red-faced Barbet – only seen in Lake Mburo National Park – is one of the of the forest’s featured species.
Mt Elgon National Park
Excellent birding opportunities exist around Kapkwai Forest Exploration Centre, in particular in the secondary forest and thick shrub along the loop trail to Cheptui Falls. It supports the African Goshawk; Chubb’s Cisticola, White-chinned Prinia and African Blue Flycatcher among others.
It supports the African Goshawk; Chubb’s Cisticola, White-chinned Prinia, African Blue Fly-catcher, Chinspot Batis, Mackinnon’s Fiscal, Dohertys and Luhders Bush-shrikes, Baglafecht Weaver, Cinnamon Bee Eater, Moustached Tinkerbird, Hartloub`s Turaco, Tacazze Sunbird, Olive- and Bronze-naped pigeons, Black Kite and Black-collared Apalis.
Rwenzori National Park
Birding opportunities are greatest in the montane forest. Bee-eaters, robins, sunbirds and barbets are some of the 217 species found in Rwenzori Mountains National Park
Other species to watch out for include the Rwenzori Turaco and Long-eared Owl; while higher up on the slopes, Bearded Vultures, Swifts and Black Eagles may be seen circling for prey.
Why opt for birding Uganda Safari?
Uganda houses a number of sites to explore and spot rare species with Mabamba Swamp which offers a particularly special experience. A visit to Mabamba Swamp where several pairs of Shoebills can be seen is very special indeed. Uganda is a first-rate destination for travelers who want to witness the best birding experience due to its varied landscape with swamps, forests, lakes, mountains and savannas inhabiting 1025-1065 bird species.