Enjoy Bird watching in Uganda
Uganda is an equatorial country with astonishing contrasts. No other area in Africa can match its amazing diversity of habitats and this richness is reflected in its bird list of over 1000 species. From the source of the Nile on Lake Victoria to the snow capped Rwenzori Range, the montane forests of the Virunga volcanoes to the desert plains of karamoja, bird watching is an aslso an exciting adventurous experience for the traveler.
Uganda is home to over 1000 bird species making it a preferred destination for bird watching in Africa. The number of species make up 10% of all of the worlds bird species. It is also home to 24 of the Albertine rift endemics with the rest found in DR Congo, Rwanda, and Burundi. Birds were protected over the years because of the cultural norms attached like being totems for clans or believed to communicate messages from the gods and seasons.
One of major sites for birding in Uganda is Queen Elizabeth national park. The park boasts of 612 bird species, the diversity of birdlife is due to the impressive range of habitats that can be found in this amazing park. It is a dream come true for any avid bird watcher. Some of the bird species that can be seen include; Chapin’s flycatcher, pink-backed pelicans, greater and lesser flamingo, African skimmer.
Top Birding Spots in Uganda
- Mabamba Swamp: famous spot for the Shoe bill stork. Located 30 km’s west of Kampala Opposite Mpanga Forest. Public transport is available from Kampala New Taxi Park up to Kasanji. A bodaboda will get you to the spot which is 13.5 kms away from Kisanji.
- Kibale forest birding: Red winged francolin, red chested fluftail, white napped pigeon, African pita, white-naped pigeon, Joyful greenbul, grey winged pigeon, Abyssinian ground thrush, grey throated fly catcher, white bellied crested flycatcher masker ,Uganda woodland warbler ,chestnut-winged starling.335 species.
- Queen Elizabeth national park: Over 550 bird species, includes 11 types of king fisher, several falcons eagles and other raptors, flamingoes,shoebill,African skimmer,white-winged warbler,papyrus Gonolek,black bee eater
- Bwindi Impenetrable National park:This is one of the richest flora and fauna forests of East Africa.It has over 357 bird species.See the Albertine rift Endemics,Arhcer’s Robin chat,Kive gorund thrush,Collared apalis,yellow-eyed black flycatcher,rwenzori batis and strange weaver, Buhoma- Ruhinja Black Bee eater, African Green Broadbill.
- Murchison Falls national park: 370 birds including giant shoebill, bee eater,giant kingfisher,shoebill stork and other species.
- Budongo Forest: Kaniyo Pabidi-Purvels IIIdopsis, Shinning blue kingfisher, White crested Turaco.
- Mabira Forest: Nahan’s Francolin and various forest birds.
- Bigodi Wetland Sanctuary: Whitespotted crake and the black billed Turaco.
- Mgahinga National Park: a few birders will be able to resist the attraction of some of Uganda’s most spectacular birds such as the Scarce Rwenzori Turaco , Lagden’s Bush Shrike and scarlet- tufted Malachite sunbird .
- Rwenzori Mountains National Park: The fabled “MOUNTAINS OF THE MOON” lie in the western Uganda on the Congolese border, with snow –covered, equatorial peaks rising
- Entebbe Botanical Gardens: They offer a superb introduction to Ugandan birds and are situated conveniently close to the capital and international airport.
- Mpanga Forest: Mpanga Forest is a stunning patch of remnant medium- altitude evergreen and swamp forest that lies 37 km from the round about in Natete along Masaka road.
- Kampala and Environs: Kampala is Uganda’s largest and modern capital city. It lies on the northern shores of Lake Victoria. It’s well- wooded outskirts supporting a wide variety of birds.
- Kajansi Fish Farm :It is situated between Kampala and Entebbe. The Kajansi fish farm, with it’s several artificial ponds attracts a variety he of water birds.
- Entebbe Sewage Pond: The sewage treatment pond is an excellent spot for waders and well worth a visit during the migration period.
- Moroto Town and surrounding areas
- Mount Elgon National Park
- Kidepo Valley National Park
- Semliki National Park
Most watched Bird Species of Uganda
- Ostrich, It the World’s largest bird and its restricted to Kidepo Valley National Park.
- Pelicans, these are water birds and commonly found in Kazinga Channel in Queen Elizabeth National Park.
- African darter, it’s a snake bird with an elongated rufus neck extended in a serpentine fashion.
- Goliath heron, this commonly seen during boat trips in Murchison Falls NP.
- Hamerkop, This is a medium sized water bird seen on the Mweya Peninsula in QENP
- Saddle billed stork, This is the largest and most hand some of several storks usually seen in pairs on game drives in Murchison falls.
- Marabou stork, this is a Macabre carrion-eating stork common in rural and urban Environments especially in down town Kampala.
- Shoebill, Unmistakable large grey swamp-dweller and is the main motivating factor behind many ornithological tours to Uganda. They are mainly seen in Semliki Wildlife Reserve, Mabamba Swamp and in Murchison falls.
- Flamingos, astonishing and sociable pink-white algae eaters commonly seen in large concentrations in Katwe and Flamingo crater lakes in QENP.
- African Fish Eagle, Unique grey snake-eating raptor.
- Helmeted guinea fowl
- Africa Jacana; common in most wetlands in Uganda
- Grey crowned crane; Uganda’s national bird common in swamps and grasslands
- African grey parrot; they are mostly seen in any forested habitat.
- Great blue turaco; found I forested areas including Entebbe Botanical gardens
Other Bird Species in Uganda
Ross’s turacco, Eastern grey plantain-eater, African emerald cuckoo, Coucals, Verreaux’s eagle-owl, Pied Kingfisher, Giant Kingfisher, Malachite Kingfisher, Red-throated bee-eater; breeds in tall sandbanks on Lake Albert and the Nile below Murchison falls, Lilac-breasted roller, Hoopoe, Black and white casqued hornbill, For-tailed drongo, Piacpiac; commonly found in Jinja and Murchison falls, African Finfoot, Jackson’s francolin, Denhams bustard, African skimmer, Blue throated roller, Black bee eater, African pied hornbill, Chocolate-backed kingfisher, Papyrus gonolek, Red headed bluebill, and many more.