BIRDING IN UGANDA
Birding is the observing birds in their natural habitats either as a recreational activity or as a form of citizen science. To enjoy birding in Uganda you need to be prepared to stay out for long hours and have some considerable hiking in certain areas. Uganda is a home of over 1050 bird species making up 10 percent of all of the world’s bird species and also a home to the 24 of the Albertine rift endemics with the rest found in DR Congo, Rwanda and Burundi, this has made Uganda a preferred destination for birding in Africa. Here birding happens in both protected and private areas with habitats for birds being wetlands, papyrus swamps, forests, savannah, agricultural lands, woodlands, rocky ridges and Afro-pine moorland.
Some of the major sites for birding in Uganda are,
Mabamba bay wetland. Located on the edge of Lake Victoria, it is one of the few places where the rare Shoebill Stork can be found. Sighting the Shoebill at Mabamba will make your Uganda birding safari the more exciting. Mabambas proximity to Lake Victoria provides the perfect conditions for birds especially those that like to live near water, a canoe ride through Mabamba is a great way to explore the abundant bird species like the Shoebill Stork, malachite kingfisher, swamp flycatcher, pied kingfisher, black headed heron, African open billed stork, black kite, papyrus gonolek among others.
Murchison Falls National Park. The Uganda’s largest National Park and is named after the mighty Murchison falls, about 450 bird species have been recorded in this Park and these can best be seen during a wild game drive through the park or when on a boat ride to the bottom of Murchison falls. Some of the bird species here are Goliath heron, swamp flycatcher, Abyssinian ground hornbill, Red throated bee eater, Northern red bishop, African Quail Finch, Giant kingfisher among others.
Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. Although this park is more popular for Gorilla trekking, bird watching also comes at a close second due to the abundance of rare species of birds. About 350 species of birds can be found in Bwindi and these include, Black-billed Turaco, African Green Broadbill, Chapin’s Flycatcher, Frasers eagle, Handsome Francolin, Collared Apalis, White-bellied Robin Chart among others.
Mgahinga National Park. Located in south western part of Uganda, Mgahinga park is a home to about 180 bird species. Apart from tracking the Nyakagezi Gorilla family in Mgahinga, tourists can also take part in bird watching and here the most bird species are, Cape Robin, White-starred Robin, Brown Woodland Warbler, Cinnamon Bracken Warbler, Rwenzori Batis, Greater Double-collared Sunbirds, Archers Robin chat among others.
Kibale Forest National Park. With over 375 species of birds, Kibale is one of the best bird watching destinations in Uganda. In addition to Chimpanzee Tracking Safari, bird watching is also popular due to the dense vegetation cover that favours bird life. Bird species here include Red Chested Owlet, Purple-Breasted Sunbird, Blue-Breasted kingfisher, Crowned Eagle, Little Greenbul, Black Bee-eater, Dusky-blue Flycatcher, White-naped Pigeon among others.
Queen Elizabeth National Park. One of the Uganda’s most visited National Park and is home vast animal and bird species. With over 600 bird species, Queen Elizabeth National Park is one of the best spots where birders can encounter even the most rare bird species can be encountered while on a wildlife game drive through the park or while on a boat cruise along the Kazinga Channel. Common birds her are, African Skimmers, Sedge Warbler, White-winged Tern, Martial Eagle, Gabon and Slender-tailed Nightjars, Collared Pranticole, Swamp Flycatcher among others.
Lake Mburo National Park. Is one of the 10 beast birding spots in Uganda. In addition to being home to plenty of Zebras, Lake Mburo National Park is a home to about 351 bird species, making it one of the 10 best birding spots in Uganda. The Pak is the only one where horseback riding safaris in Uganda can be done and some of the bird species can be spotted during horseback riding. Most bird species here include Nubian Woodpecker, Trilling Cisticola, Cheeky bronze tailed starling, Crested Francolin, Brown parrot, Emerald spotted Wood Dove among others.
Semuliki National Park. Located in Western Uganda in the Albertine Rift Valley, Semuliki National Park is one of the 10 best birding spots in Uganda. There are about 441 bird species in Semulikis riverine forest and these include, Maxwell’s Black Weaver, Blue-billed Malimbe, Yellow-throated Nicator, Black Dwarf Hornbill, Pipping Hornbill among others.
Budongo Forest. Lies at the edge of the Albertine Rift valley in Murchison falls National Park and is a home to more than 350 bird species. The forest is also a popular destination for Chimpanzee Tracking. Bird species in Budongo forest include, Blue-breasted kingfisher, African Dwarf king fisher, Cassin’s Spine Tail, Ituri Batis, Nahans Francolin among others.
Rwenzori Mountains National Park. Located in Western Uganda is a home to over 177 bird species most of which can be spotted while hiking Rwenzori Mountains. Bird species here include, Rwenzori Turaco, Long-eared Owl, Lagden’s Bush Shrike, White-starred Robin, Slender-billed Robin Chat among others.
More sites for birding include Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, Maramagambo forest, Kalinzu forest, Echuya forest, Pian Upe game reserve, Mabamba swamp, Nyamuriro swamp and several agricultural lands.
Bird Watching Safari in Uganda
- 1 Day Birding Mabamba Swamp tour
- 9 Days Birding Uganda for Albertine Rift Endemics
- 15 Days Uganda Birding and Gorilla Safari
- 21 Days Birding Uganda and Gorilla Trekking Safari
- 25 Days best of Uganda Birding and Gorilla safari
The average birder probably spends 110 dollars to 42o dollars a year, and its entirely on travel costs.