BIRDWATCHING IN UGANDA – BIRDING TOURS IN AFRICA
Birdwatching in Uganda. Uganda is well known as one of the best Birding 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 sites within the country it has made Uganda one of the finest birding spots in Africa.
Birdwatching in Uganda will take you to the top birding destinations such as Bwindi impenetrable forest, Mabamba swamp, Lake Mburo, Kibale forest, Queen Elizabeth national park, Kalinzu forest reserve, Murchison falls national park and Budongo forest, Mabira forest, Kidepo national park and the Wetland Sanctuary in Bigodi. 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 and Kibale forest national park are one of the best destinations for most birdwatching tours. Kibale forest has over 375 bird species which include Red chested owl, Green breasted pitta, 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 on guided nature walks by experienced bird watchers within Bigodi and from the park at Kanyanchu visitor center in Kibale forest national park. Bigodi wetland sanctuary is a community development project located in Magombe swamp, the main bird species found here are 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 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 the hot spot for every traveller interested to do birdwatching in Uganda as it is a home to over 320 bird species and of which 23 are the Albertine rift endemic species. Some of the birds found in Bwindi include; Regal sunbird, Short tailed apalis, rwenzori apalis, Collared apalis, western green tinker bird, African wood pecker, Bar tailed trogon, African green broad bill and Grauers rush warbler and so many more. Birding in Bwindi forest can be done along the major trails which include; Buhoma waterfall trail, Munyaga river 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 along Kirumia trail, 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.
Most Birders in Uganda take most interest in the following birds while on a birding tour in Uganda, The shoebill stork which is mostly found in marshy areas of Mabamba with fresh water is one of the must see birds in Africa. The African Green Broadbill at times known as Grauers Broadbill is also among the big five bird species in Africa that are on demand by most birders. African green broadbill can be seen along the Albertine rift valley region specifically in Ruhija the eastern part of Bwindi forest.
The Great blue turaco found in any farmland and solitary areas of montane forests, The Sheileys crimson wing found in the narrow part of the Albertine rift valley region, the standard winged night jar, the short tailed warbler found in Bwindi forest vegetation, the Doherty’s bushshrike, the Bar-tailed trogon and Mountain-masked Apalis seen in montane forest of Bwindi.
What to carry on a birding tour in Uganda;
- Field guide book preferably Birds of East Africa by Terry stevenson & John Fanshawe
- Voice playbacks
- A pair of Binocular
- Note book
- Bird checklist for birds of Uganda
- Field back pack /bag
- Rain jacket/ poncho
- Lessor pointer
Birdingwatching in Uganda is an exciting activity that travellers should not miss out once they visit Uganda for gorillas and other Safaris adventures. Experienced bird guides are available at each site you visit but its a good idea to book a full time bird specialist guide through the trusted tour operator in Uganda.