12 Best Birding Spots in Uganda – Uganda has over 1061 bird species making it one of the best birding destinations in Africa. Uganda is a home to over 24 Albertine endemics and the most sought after African endemic the shoebill. Birding in Uganda is done in protected areas and private owned land. The top best birding spots are either montane forests, wetlands, around Lakes and Rivers, Savanna plains, Agricultural lands and Swamps. Some of these best birding spots in Uganda include;
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Bwindi forest Commonly known as a home of endangered mountain gorillas, is also the best habitat of about 350 bird species which include the 23 Albertine endemics, of which 14 of these are not found anywhere in Uganda. Bwindi Impenetrable forest was named as the best Africa’s birding spot by Africa bird club. This Bwindi forest also gets migratory birds between the months of November to April. Some of bird species found in Bwindi include Blue headed sunbird, Grauers rush warbler, African green broadbill, Black faced rufous warbler, Regal sunbird, Yellow streaked greenbul, Mountain masked apalis, Yellow rumped tinkerbird, Diedrick Cuckoo, doharty’s Bush shrike, bocages bush shrike, Short tailed warbler, Purple breasted sunbird, African Blue flycatcher, Black bee eater, Red throated Alethe, Montane hill babbler and many others .
Bird watching in Bwindi forest can be done along the Buhoma waterfall trail, Mubwindi swamp trail in Ruhija, along the bamboo zone and along the Ivy trail. Birding here can be done all year round.
Murchison Falls national park is the largest and oldest park in Uganda boosting the magnificent Murchison falls. The park has about 450 bird species which can be seen around the parks Swamps, forests, Savanna plains and trees along the Nile river. Birding in Murchison falls national park can be done while on a Boat Cruise on the Nile river or during a game drive safari in the park and while on nature walks in Budongo forest trails at Kaniyo Pabidi and along the Royal Mile.
The bird species found in Murchison falls national park include Shoebill stork, Yellow fronted Tinker bird, Grey headed kingfisher, Abdims stork, Saddle billed stork, Puvil’s illadopsis in Budongo forest, Yellow billed stork, Black billed Berbet, Long toed plover, Swamp flycatcher, Goliath heron, Silver bird, Red throated bee eater, Saddle billed stork and so many more. Bird watching gives you opportunity to spot and know some of the Albertine rift endemic birds, water birds and savanna birds. Travelers interested in Birding need to carry some birding equipment so as to enjoy their birding sessions, equipment required for birders include; a pair of binoculars, birders field guide book to the birds of East Africa, Sunglasses, Lesser pointer, Telescope, Notebook, Hat, drinking water, rain gear and strong shoes.
Queen Elizabeth national park is located in south western Uganda and accommodates over 612 bird species including migratory birds. The bird species that can be seen while birding in Queen Elizabeth national park include; Black rumped buttonquail, Pink backed pelican, Black bee eater, White tailed lark, white winged warbler, Greater flamingo, Bar tailed godwit, Grey headed kingfisher, Swamp flycatcher, African skimmer, Sedge warbler, Black headed Gonolek, Red necked falcon, Yellow bishop, Martial eagle, Long crested eagle, Temincks coarser, Pied Avocet, Rufous naped lark, Saddle billed stork, Yellow throated long claw and many more. Queen Elizabeth national park is classified as an important Birding Area (IBA) by Birding International. The park has variety of habitat ranging from swamps, forests, plain savanna, bushland and lakes.
Queen Elizabeth national park has numerous birding spots and these are Mweya peninsular, Kazinga channel, Kasenyi area, Ishasha sector, around Lake Katwe and Lake Munyanyange, Maramagambo forest and Lake Kikorongo.
Semuliki is located in the Albertine Rift Valley and is a home to about 440 bird species. These include Red Billed Dwarf hornbill, Yellow throated nicator, Great blue turaco, shoebill stork, Piping Hornbill, Purple breasted sunbird, Western nector, Black and white caskered hornbill and many more. Some of the best birding trails in Semuliki national park are Sempaya, Ntandi and Kirumia River trail.
Kibale forest is well known for chimpanzee tracking but is also one of the top birding spots in Uganda. It is a home to over 370 bird species and these include; Red Winged Francolin, Black bellied seed cracker, Grey winged pigeon, Green breasted pitta, white napped pigeon, black faced Rufus warbler, Blue breasted kingfisher, Black billed Turaco, Yellow spotted Barbet, Hairy breasted barbet, Black Bishop, White breasted Negrofinch, Western nector, African wood owl and more
Birding in Kibale forest national park needs advance booking and it starts as early as 7am at Kanyanchu visitor Centre. There are other birding spots outside the park for example Bigodi Wetland Sanctuary that has 138 bird species and these can be seen during the guided nature walks along the circular boardwalk trail and viewing points.
Mabamba Swamp is attached to Lake Victoria, the largest lake in Africa. The Swamp is one of the best places to see a rare Shoebill stork Uganda. This Mabamba swamp is a home to about 300 bird species and some of these include Shoebill stork, Swamp flycatcher, Blue swallow, Pigmy goose, Lesser jacana, White winged warbler, Black headed weaver, Black egret, Goliath Heron, Papyrus Gonolek, Little egret, White winged tern, Yellow billed duck, Long tailed cormorant, Pied wagtail, pink backed pelican, Orange weaver, Purple Swamphen, Black crake and more.
Although Mabamba Swamp is well known for the rare shoebill storks, it is also a habitat for the four threatened bird species which are the papyrus Gonolek, Blue swallow, White winged warbler and Pallid Harrier. The swamp was therefore chosen as a Ramsar site and wetland for International importance. Mabamba is also one of the Important Birding Areas in Uganda.
Lake Mburo is located in western Uganda in lake Mburo national park which comprises of swamps, valleys, forests and lakes. These are the best birding spots found in this park. Best bird waching spots in Lake Mburo national park include; Warukiri swamps, Rubanga forest, Miriti valley and near Rwonyo camp, for water birding, a boat ride on lake mburo is a good platform to spot a rare African finfoot and night herons. There are over 315 bird species in Lake Mburo national park include; Grey crowned crane, Black bellied Bustard, Blue napped mouse bird, Bee eaters, Brown parrot, Lilac breasted roller, Yellow breasted Barbet, Nubian woodpecker, Rufous bellied Heron, white headed barbet, African Finfoot, red faced barbet, Bare faced go away bird and so many more.
Mgahinga National park is well known for Mountain gorillas and golden monkeys hence being a place where Gold meets Silver ( golden monkey meets the Silverback). It is also a home to about 180 bird species which include Double collared sunbird, Speckled mouse bird, Ibis, white naped Raven, Dusky turtle dove, blue headed sunbird, Rwenzori batis, Streaky seedeater, Rwenzori turacco, Red faced woodland Warbler, Black headed waxbill and Doherty bush shrike.
Birding in mgahinga national park takes place in the gorge between Mt Gahinga and Sabinyo, in the bamboo and montane forests. Birding can also be done at the edge of the park where you get to see Chubb’s cristicola, Cinnamon chested bee eater, white eyed Slaty flycatcher, and Mackinnon’s fiscal shrike.
Kidepo Valley is rated the second park with largest species of birds in Uganda after Queen Elizabeth national park. It’s a home to over 450 bird species and the birds can be seen in the scattered trees in the Savanna plains. Birding spots in Kidepo national park are the ridges of Namumukweny valley and narus Valley and Apoka rest Camp grounds. The bird species here include; Ostriche, Black breasted barbet, Rose ringed parakeet, Red billed oxepeckers, African grey flycatchers, Egyptian vulture, Pygmy vulture, Broad tailed warbler, Silver bird, Nubian wood pecker, Standard winged nightjars, African grey flycatcher, Karamoja apalis, African Moustached Francolin, Eastern Pale chanting goshawk among others.
Kidepo Valley national park receives migratory birds. Kidepo lacks diversity of habitat but has the second highest number of bird species in Uganda with over 50 birds of prey. Birding in Kidepo can be done twice a day and all through the year on game drive safaris that can be done morning hours and evening.
Mount Elgon is commonly known to have the largest caldera in the world and is located in the Eastern part of Uganda. It is a home to 300 bird species which include 40 restricted range species. The birds in Mount Elgon national park include; Bearded vulture, African Goshawk, African Blue flycatcher, Cinnamon bee eater, Jackson’s Francolin, Black shouldered kite, Black collared Apalis, Tacazze Sunbird, Lammergeyer, Black kite, Olive napped pigeon, Black collared apalis, Bar tailed trogon and more.
The best spots for birding in Mount Elgon national park is at Kapkwai forest exploration center where the African Goshawk, African Blue flycatcher and more bird species can be seen.
The Botanical Gardens Entebbe was established in 1901 and located at the shores of Lake Victoria in Entebbe town. Entebbe botanical gardens is a home to both water and woodland bird species. The gardens also accommodates primates like black and white colobus monkeys and Black faced vervet monkeys which you will surely catch a glimpse of as you bird watch.
The birds at Entebbe botanical gardens include; African grey parrot, red chested sunbird, Black headed weaver, little egret, black headed heron, eagles, owls, pied kingfishers, Swamp fly catcher, orange weaver, great blue turaco, African grey parrot and more.
Mabira is a home to more than 310 bird species which include; Speckled tinker bird, Hooded vulture, Great blue turaco, Palm swift, Pied hornbill, African paradise flycatcher, Yellow rumped tinker bird, grey headed sparrow, African grey parrot, Long crested eagle, Red chested sunbird, Black headed weaver, chin spot Batis, Palm Nut vulture, Superb sunbird, Black and white casqued Hornbill, African Harrier Hawk and more.