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BIRDING IN UGANDA

Birding in Uganda, Birding is one of the most interesting activities that is offered to avid birders on Uganda safari. Uganda is a true birder’s haven, boasting of over 1080 bird species with accounting for about 50 percent of the bird species in Africa and 11 percent of the bird species in the world. Given the huge concentration of avifaunal species, it is possible to spot diverse species of birds in a small territory of the only 90041sq.miles almost the size of Britain.

Bird watching tours in Uganda let birders spot distinct bird records with ease in just a small portion and within the shortest period. Uganda is an unbeatable birding destination with incomparably numerous bird-watching spots, each rewarding bird watchers with the incredible sight of unique birds.

Some of the bird species to sight on a birding tour in Uganda

Uganda prides herself as a home to many impressive bird species which can be spotted early in the morning throughout the day. Interestingly, birds in Uganda are distributed countrywide and on your bird watching safari, expect to identify lots of pelicans, ostriches, goliath heron, saddle-billed stork, shoebill stork, flamingos, helmeted guinea fowl, Africa jacana, African fish eagles, giant kingfisher, red-throated bee-eater, black and white casqued hornbill, African pied hornbill, papyrus gonoleks, lilac-breasted roller, short-tailed warblers, mountain greenbul, martial eagle, cinnamon chested bee-eater, secretary birds, African harrier hawk, Rwenzori Turaco, crowned hornbills, Karamoja Apalis, brown chested pullover, black bee-eater, African green broadbill, African green breasted pitta to mention but a few.

Important Birding Areas in Uganda

There are many birding spots birders on Uganda safaris to explore a variety of bird species and they include among others;

Bwindi Impenetrable National Park

Bwindi Impenetrable National Park to most Uganda safari visitors know it for its thrilling gorilla trekking adventures but it is also a magical birding tour destination worth exploring. This 331sq.kms UNESCO World Heritage Site lies in Southwestern Uganda and remarkably, it featured as number one birding spot in Africa in 2011. It is possible to combine gorilla trekking experience with birding while on Uganda safari in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park.

Bird watching in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park involves sighting diverse birds such as the Kivu ground thrush, red-throated alethe, montane oriole, yellow-eyed black flycatcher, Archer’s robin chat, hairy breasted barbet, African green broadbill, equatorial akalat, grey throated barbet, black-faced rufous warbler, Rwenzori batis and these are endemic to the Albertine rift area.

In Ruhija area of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, the birds to expect to sight include among others brown chested alethe, slender-billed greenbul, banded prinia, grey cuckoo shrike, strange weaver, white browed crombec, yellow streaked greenbul, white starred robin. Other bird species include African white-backed vulture, brown snake eagle, African skimmer, grey kestrel, Chapin’s flycatcher, ruppell’s griffon vulture, Wahlberg’s eagle, white winged warbler, rufous napped lark, palm nut vulture, hooded vulture, black rumped buttonquail, bateleur, Verreaux’s eagle owl, lapped faced vulture and a lot more.

Queen Elizabeth National Park

Queen Elizabeth National Park is one of the best birding safari destinations in Uganda and it is situated in the western side of the country. Over 620 bird species call this stunning savanna safari park a home and birders have opportunity to spot birds such as leaf-love, African skimmer, red necked falcon, pelicans, black billed barbet, papyrus gonoleks, kingfishers, black chinned quail finch, blue breasted bee-eater, white winged warbler, shoebill stork, yellow bishop, white headed barbet, African pygmy-goose, lesser swamp warbler, red necked flacon and others.

You can conduct birding tour as an independent activity or combine it with big game viewing via Kasenyi or Ishasha sector which is also well-known for tree climbing lions and boat cruise along Kazinga channel, a popular activity worth taking part for you to sight variety of water birds.

Kibale Forest National Park

If you plan to go for chimpanzee trekking, Kibale Forest National Park is one exceptional primate safari park not to be missed to explore. But this tropical rain-forest protected area also boasts of over 350 bird species making it an ideal birding spot for bird lovers on Uganda safaris. The birds to expect to spot in this park include the rare African green breasted pitta, black bellied seed cracker, Uganda woodland warbler, white bellied crested flycatcher masker, scaly francolin, bi-colored manikin, white napped pigeon, grey throated flycatcher, Abyssinian ground thrush and many others.

Bigodi Wetland Sanctuary

On chimpanzee safari or birding tour in Kibale Forest National Park a visit to Bigodi Wetland worthwhile on Uganda safari. Not only will you enjoy incredible bird sights but also there are several primate species to look out for ranging from L’Hoests monkeys, black and white colobus monkeys, baboons, red tailed monkeys and others.

Birding safaris in Bigodi Wetland involves you identifying birds such as the white spotted crake, scaly throated honey guide, blue headed coucal, black billed turaco, black faced Rufus warbler, blue breasted kingfishers to mention but a few.

Budongo Forest

If you are interested in forest birds then Budongo Forest has you covered. The birds to expect to identify in this tropical rain-forest include fire crested alethe, African dwarf kingfisher, yellow spotted barbet, dusky long-tailed cuckoo, African pied hornbill, red tailed anthrush, banded snake eagle, grey long  bills, forest flycatcher, Rufous crowned eremomela, chocolate backed kingfisher, yellow billed barbet, Cameroon somber green bull, Ituri batis, yellow browed camaroptera, black bishop and many more.

Mabamba Swamp

Mabamba Swamp is another best birding area in Uganda with incredible birds such as hairy breasted barbets, shoebill stork, malachite kingfisher, sooty boubou, blue breasted kingfisher, black billed turaco, olive green bull, grey parrot, blue shouldered robin chat, grosbeak weaver, black headed weaver, black headed heron, papyrus gonolek, African marsh harrier, dusky long tailed cuckoo, woodland warbler and many more.

Other important birding areas in Uganda include Murchison Falls National Park, Kidepo Valley National Park, Semuliki National Park, Lake Mburo National Park, Mabira Forest Reserve, Rwenzori Mountains National Park and others.

Best time to go for birding in Uganda

Bird watching is one of the best safari activities that visitors on Uganda safari can engage in at any time of the year. But March, April, May and October, November are the best months to visit Uganda for birding because several migratory birds confined in different spots. However, it is possible to combine gorilla trekking adventures with birding tours during the dry season. The dry season runs from June, July, August to September and December, January to February.

What to carry on birding tour in Uganda?

  • Pair of binoculars
  • Good camera for photography
  • A voice recorder
  • A birding book
  • Enough drinking water
  • Snacks
  • Insect repellents
  • Right clothing preferably environmentally friendly
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