Uganda is well known as one of the best Bird watching destinations in Africa. It has a diversity of bird species, a number of which are not easily spotted in any other part of Africa continent. Having several birding destinations within the country it has made Uganda one of the finest birding paradises in Africa.
The major birding sites in Uganda include, Bwindi impenetrable forest, Lake Mburo national park, Queen Elizabeth national park, Kalinzu forest reserve, Murchison falls national park and Budongo forest, Mabira forest, Kidepo national park, Kibale forest national park and Bigodi wetland Sanctuary. Birding can also be done at the banks of various water bodies in the country like Mubamba bay wetland and Lutembe bay on Lake Victoria.
Murchison falls national park has about 450 bird species that can be seen during the game drives through the park or when on a boat ride at the bottom of the falls. The bird species here include Goliath heron, swamp fly catcher, Red throated bee-eater, African quail finch and so many more.
Bigodi wetland birding Uganda and Kibale forest national park being one of the best destinations for bird watching has over 375 bird species which include Red chested owl, Purple breasted sunbird, Crowned eagle, Little green bull, Black bee-eater, Dusky-blue fly catcher, Grey throated fly catcher and so many more. These birds can be spotted while carrying out guided nature walks within Bigodi and Kibale forest national park. Bigodi wetland sanctuary is a community development project located in Magombe swamp, the main bird species found here are Great Blue turaco, Crowned eagle, Yellow spotted nicator, Black capped Apalis, brown chested Alethe and Abyssinian ground thrush. Here birding tours begin at 7am in Kanyanchu.
Mubamba bay wetland located at the edge of lake Victoria just an hour drive from the city center gives a perfect conditions for birds that live near the lake, it harbors the rare Shoe bill stork that keeps hidden in the water weeds waiting for fish, malachite king fisher, swamp fly catcher, black headed heron, African open billed stork, black kite, papyrus ganolek and so many more.
Bwindi impenetrable forest is a home to over 320 bird species having 23 of the species as endemic. Some of the birds are Regal sunbird, Collared apalis, Short tailed warbler, Mountain masked apalis, western green tinker bird, Red throated alethe, African wood pecker, African green broad bill and Grauers rush warbler and so many more. Birding takes place along the major trail- the Buhoma waterfall trail and Mubwindi swamp trail in Ruhija.
Echuya forest reserve situated in the western part of the country just near the Rwanda boarder is a spot to over 150 bird species and 18 of these are endemic to the reserve. It’s a very important reserve due to its flora and fauna as well as sustainable tourism initiatives in the area. The reserves main species are Montane oriole, Rwenzori batis, Grauers rush warbler, White eyed slaty fly catcher, Bush shrike and mountain masked Apalis.
Lutembe bay is also positioned on the shores of Lake Victoria and is famous for birding in Uganda where birds come for a break in their journey. This bay is a home to a million kinds of palearctic migrant and indigenous birds. These include the African green pigeon, the sooty chat, the tropical boubou, the road billed roller and the lead colored flycatcher.
Semuliki national park has exceptional watching points at River Kirumia area, Sempaya and Ntandi, it harbors the great blue, the piping Hornbill, the red billed dwarf hornbill, yellow throated nicator and the shoebill stork seen on lake Albert.
Queen Elizabeth national park is a home to over 600 bird species, these can be seen in places like Maramagambo forest, Kazinga channel, the Mweya peninsular, Kasenyi area , Katunguru bridge area, Lake Kikorongo and Ishasha sector, the birds here include African Fish Eagle, the pink-backed pelican, the papyrus canary, white-tailed lark, the Marital eagle and white-winged warbler.
Lake mburo national park is also a birding destination and there are many birding spots in this park that give birders perfect views of the birds. These are idyllically positioned in valley at the salt lick and in the forest of Rubanga. they include Rwonyo camp and marshy areas of Miriti and Warukiri. The birds here are Grey crowned crane, the bare-faced go-away bird, the white-headed barbet, the Bateleur, The red-headed love bird, the white winged tit and African Finfoot. It’s also important to note that the red-faced Barbet is and can only be seen in this park.
Birders in Uganda take most interest in the following birds while on a birding tour in Uganda, The shoebill which is mostly found in marshy areas of Mabamba with fresh water well and is one of the most searched birds in Africa, The African Green Broadbill at times known as Grauers Broadbill and is among the big five bird kinds in Africa that are on demand by birders, it can be found in the rift valley in the Albertine region specifically in Ruhija Bwindi forest, the Great blue turaco found in any Savanna and sultry areas of montane forests, The Sheileys crimson wing found in the narrow part of the Albertine rift valley region, Standard winged night jar, Short tailed warbler found in forest vegetation, Doherty’s bushshrike, the Purple breasted sunbird, and Black-breasted king fisher
A person interested in birding tour, needs to carry a field guide book preferably Birds of E. Africa, camera, voice playbacks, binoculars, field bag. Birding is an activity one should not miss out once he/she goes for an adventure.