Bird Watching in Uganda : Uganda is regarded to be among the best birding paradise with more than 1,000 bird species recorded. This makes Bird Watching in Uganda very popular as more than 28 birding sites considered for bird spotting. The country has 50% of Africa’s bird species and 11% of the world’s bird species. Uganda lies on over 241,038 km2 and it has a big list of bird species that found a home in this place. Uganda is famous for its great climate and wildlife that attracts so many people for Uganda Rwanda tours. Birding in Uganda may not be as progressive as the Uganda gorilla trekking experience but it’s considered among the 8 Top Safari Tour Attractions in UgandaThat Will Take Your Breath Away. Uganda is one of the best birding spots in the world and probably the best in Africa.
This small country offers plenty of bird sightings before moving a long distance in the countryside. As soon as you arrive at the airport in Entebbe, you get to see plenty of birds flying all over the far lake shore sites and outside the airport. You can also see birds outside your hotel room or as you move around the city. Uganda as a country has major birding spots that you need to visit on your Bird Watching safari in Uganda.
Most Spotted Birds in Uganda
The most spotted bird species in Uganda are the Shoebill Stork, Black Bee-Eater, African Green Broadbill, Yellow-Billed Stork, Western Green Tinkerbird, Grey Crested Crane, African Darter, Short-Tailed Warbler, Shelley’s Crimsonwing, Secretary Bird, Mountain Greenbul, Martial Eagle, Green Pigeon, Goliath Heron, Giant Kingfisher, Crowned Hornbill, Cinnamon-Chested Bee-Eater, African Harrier Hawk, Rwenzori Turaco, Red Fronted Anti Pecker, Nahan’s Francolin, Puvel’s Illadopsis, Purcell’s Illadopsis, Karamoja Apalis, Jameson’s Antpecker, Jahan’s Francolin, Green-Breasted Pitta, Brown-Chested Pullover, Brown-Chested Lapwing and many more species.
Top Birding Watching sites in Uganda
- Budongo Forest Reserve
This forest is found in Budongo Sub County and it has the biggest Mahogany forest in East Africa. It is found on the northwestern side of Kampala on your way to Murchison Falls National Park. It is found on the northeast cliff of Lake Albert and is famously known for chimpanzee trekking though birding is also one of the popular activities done there.
Budongo forest reserve has over 200 bird species that include the African Dwarf Kingfisher, African Pied Hornbill, Banded Snake-Eagle, Black Bishop, Black-Bellied Fire Finch, Yellow-Spotted Barbet, Yellow-Footed Flycatcher, Yellow-Browed Camaroptera, Yellow-Billed Barbet, Yellow And Grey Longbills, White-Thighed Hornbill, Spotted Green Bull, Slender-Billed Green Bull, Rufous-Crowned Eremomela, Red-Tailed Antthrush, Pale-Breasted Illadopsis, Lemon-Bellied Crombec, Ituri Batis, Green Hylia, Forest Francolin, Forest Flycatcherand, Fire-Crested Alethe, Dusky Long-Tailed Cuckoo, Crowned Eagle, Chocolate-Backed Kingfisher, Cameroon Somber Green Bull, Brown-Backed Scrub-Robin, Brown Twin Sport, And Black-Capped Apalis among others.
- Mabamba Swamp
This is Uganda’s prime wetland located on the western side of Entebbe city on the northern shore of Lake Victoria. The swamp covers over 15,800 hectares and is surrounded by thick marshes of papyrus, water lilies, and more wetland grass. Mabamba swamp is a birding site famously known for shoebills with more than 250 bird species. This site hosts a big number of tourists from October to March annually. When birding at Mabamba, you are authorized only to use a motorized wooden boat while you ride through a maze of trails cutting through the thick marshes of the papyrus.
Besides the shoebills, expect to see more birds like the African Fish Eagle, Purple Swamphe, African Green Pigeon, Yellow-Billed Duck, Black-Headed Weaver, Yellow-Billed Kite, Woodland Kingfisher, Wood Sandpiper, Winding Cistocola, Marsh Harrier, Malachite Kingfisher, Long-Toed Lapwing, Long-Tailed Cormorant, Little Stilt, Little Egret, Glossy Ibis, Double Toothed Barbet, Common Squacco Heron, Common Sandpiper, Common Moorhen, Cattle Egret, Blue-cheeked Bee-Eater, Blue Swallow, Black-Winged Stilt, Black-Headed Heron, Black-Crowned Waxbill, Black-Crowned Night Heron, Black Heron, Black Crake, African Pigmy Goose, African Marsh Harrier, African Jacana among others.
- Mabira Forest Reserve
This is a tropical rainforest which is the largest natural forest in Uganda. Mabira forest reserve is located in the Buikwe district alongside Jinja road between Lugazi and Jinja. From Kampala city it’s over 54 kilometers which is a two-hour drive to the forest. This tropical rainforest lies on over 300 km2 and was declared a forest reserve in 1932. Mabira forest reserve is home to over 300 bird species that include Tit Hylia, Nahan’s Francolin, Yellow and Grey Longbills, Purple-Throated Cuckoo Shrikes, Illadopsises, Jameson’s Wattle Eyes, and many more.
- Semuliki National Park
This is one of Uganda’s smallest national parks found in the western region of Uganda. It is found in Bundibugyo district bordering the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). It’s over 380 km from Kampala the capital city of Uganda which will take 6 to 7 hours by road. The park is home to over 400 bird species recorded and bird spotting can be quite an exciting experience. This is an ultimate spot for all birdwatchers who come to Uganda.
Once you visit Semuliki National Park, expect to see plenty of birds that include the Akun Eagle Owl, Blue Billed Malimbe, Western Bronze Napped Pigeon, Maxwell’s Black Weaver, Congo Serpent Eagle, Red-Billed Dwarf, African Dwarf Kingfisher, the rear Capuchin Babbler, Red-thighed and Long-Tailed Hawk and many others.
- Bwindi Impenetrable National Park
Bwindi Impenetrable national park is found in the southwestern part of Uganda in Kisoro district. It is over 510 kilometers from Kampala the capital city. The park is famously known for the gorilla trekking experience but birding is one of the exciting activities that tourists love to do. While organizing a bird watching tour in Uganda, Bwindi can be one of your choices because it has over 350 bird species recorded and 14 of them are only found in this park. Birding in Bwindi is done alongside the main Trail, the Buhoma Trail, Bamboo Zone, and Mubwindi Trail in Ruhiija.
In 2011, Bwindi impenetrable national park was voted as Africa’s best birding site with plenty of birds including the Albertine rift natives. Bird species include; the Short-Tailed Warbler, Blue-Headed Sunbird, Flycatchers, African Blue, White Tailed Blue, Common Bulbul, African Emerald Cuckoo, Kiev Gerund Thrush, Giant Kingfisher, Crowned Hornbill, Cinnamon-Chested Bee-Eater, and many more as you will encounter if you take a Uganda Bird watching Safari tour.
- Mpanga Forest Reserve
This forest reserve is found in Kampala on one of Lake Victoria’s basins. It was gazetted as a forest reserve in 1953 to protect nature and this is the best place to do bird spotting while in Kampala. The best time to bird at Mpanga Forest Reserve is in the dry season from February to March. This place has more than 200 bird species that include the Lizard Buzzard Kaupifalco Monogrammicus, Shikra Accipter Badius, Great Sparrow Hawk Accipter Melanoleucus, African Harrier Hawk Polyboroides Trypus, Crowned Hornbill Tokus Albotermintatus, Great Blue Turaco Corythaeola Cristata, Green Hylia Prasima, and many more though not listed.
- Kidepo Valley National Park
This park is located in the northeastern corn of Uganda with moderate savannah. It is over 522 km from Kampala and it will take 8 hours by road and only 1:40 hours by air to reach Kidepo. Birding at this park is done any time of the year because it is more of a desert park that receives less rain throughout the year.
The park is home to over 400 bird species that include the Ostrich, Black-Breasted Barbet, the Karamoja Apalis, and Kori Bustard which are not found anywhere else but at Kidepo. The park has other bird species like the Verreaux’s Eagle, Egyptian Vulture, Pygmy Falcon, and many more though not mentioned.
Rwenzori Mountain National Park
The park is located in the western part of Uganda bordering Congo and is commonly known as the “mountain of the moon”. The mountain is covered with snow, its equatorial peak is over 5,111m high, and rich in Montane Forest. A birding tour at Rwenzori Mountain national park is quite a wonderful experience if at all you plan for it very well. The park has over 220 bird species recorded, 18 of the birds are restricted to Albertine endemics and this place is recorded to be the second-best bird spotting park in Uganda.
The park has plenty of rare birds like the Rwenzori Turaco, Bamboo Warbler, Golden-Winged Sunbird, Scarlet-Tufted Malachite Sunbird, Stuhlmann’s Double-Collared Olive-Back and many more.
- Kibale Forest National Park
The park is found in the western part of the country in fort portal city and was gazetted in 1993 to protect the forest. It is over 320 km from Kampala which will take 5 to 6 hours by road and almost an hour by air. Kibale is famously known for chimpanzee trekking, birding is the second activity mostly done by tourists throughout the year. The park has a variety of birds because of the thick forest which are over 370 bird species and 5 of them are endemic. Birds can be spotted while doing other activities like nature walks and many other activities.
Bird species you should expect to see while in Kibale national park and not found anywhere else include the Blue-Headed Bee-Eater, the Masked Apalis, Nahan’s Francolin, and the Cassin’s Spinetai.
The park has other bird species like Ash Flycatcher, Barn Swallow, Black and White Shrike Flycatcher, Black-Billed Turaco, Brown Chested Alethe, Little Greenbul, Yellow Spotted Nicator, Black Bee-Eater, Collared Apalis, Dusky Crimsoning, Crowned Eagle, Abyssinian Proud Thrush, African Pitta, African Jacana, Black-Headed Oriole, African Green Pigeon, African Emerald Cuckoo, African Black-Headed Oriole, Africa Shrike Flycatcher, Black-Capped Waxbill, Chubb’s Cisticola, Blue Breasted Kingfisher, Yellow-Rumped Tinker Bird, Black-Billed Weaver, Blue-Throated Roller, African Dusky Flycatcher, Zebra Waxbill and many more though not mentioned, Bird Watching in Uganda.
- Murchison Falls National Park
Murchison falls is found in the northwestern part of the country which is over 300 km from Kampala city. The park covers over 4,000 km2 and is found in the districts of Masindi, Buliisa, Nwoya, and Kiryadongo. This is the largest savannah wildlife park in Uganda with plenty of birds that include Albertine rift endemic birds, savannah birds, and water birds. Birding at Murchison falls national park is quite interesting and you can also spot birds while on a nature walk up the falls, while on a boat cruise in the fresh waters, and many more.
The park has all sorts of birds but a shoebill is the most outstanding bird that attracts many tourists to come to Uganda. There are over 420 bird species that include the gray crowned crane (the national bird for Uganda), Giant Kingfisher, Abyssinian Ground Hornbills, Nightjars, Marabou Stork, Giant Heron, Black-Headed Lapwing, Long-Toed Plover, Osprey, Rock Practincole, Yellow-Fronted Tinkerbird and many more though not mentioned