Birding/Bird Watching in Uganda
Uganda, is known as Africa’s premier birding destination with the list of birds found in the country topping 1 000! Many of these birds live only in these tropical forests with rare sightings being described as “mythical” while it is believed that some of the birds living in the remote forests of Uganda may not even be classified as of yet!
Birding in Mabamba Swamp
Early transfer to Mabamba Swamp, 50 km West of Kampala. Look out for many different birds on our way to the Swamp, like the Papyrus Gonolek, White winged Warbler, Northern Brown throated Weaver and Weyns Weaver. Mabamba Swamp is one of the best places to spot the rare Shoebill Stork. But also many other species can be found here, like the Allen’s Gallinule, Purple Gallinule (swamp hen), Grey herons, African Water Rail, Squacco, Goliath, Purple and a variety of egrets and ducks. The best way to enjoy the rich birdlife is by canoe and you might even have the luck to encounter the elusive Sitatunga Antelope, adapted to swampy habitats.
Birding in Semuliki
Birders who make it to Semuliki will be rewarded with some of Africa’s best Forest birding. Sempaya and Ntandi provide excellent viewing of the birds including the White-crested Hornbill, Red-billed Dwarf Hornbill, Piping Hornbill, Yellow-throated Nicator, Great blue and Ross’s Turacos. The area around Kirumia River is another top birding spot. The Shoebill Stork is regularly seen at close quarters on Lake Albert and forest walks are good for tracking water birds.
Birding in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National
The varied habitats of Uganda’s oldest Forest (Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National) mean it is the ideal habitat for a variety of birds, with 350 species recorded, including 23 endemics (90% of all Albertine Rift endemics) such as the Short-tailed Warbler and Blue-headed Sunbird as well as seven IUCN red data listed Species.Easy to see are the African Emerald Cuckoo, Common Bulbul, African Blue and White-tailed Blue Flycatchers and Red-headed Bluebill.
Birding takes place along the main trail, the Buhoma Waterfall Trail and along the bamboo zone and Mubwindi Swamp trail in Ruhija
Birding in Kibale National Park
Bird watching tours in Kibale National Park start at 7am at Kanyanchu; you are advised to book in advance. Rare species include the Papyrus Gonolek, White-winged Warbler, White-collared Oliveback and Papyrus Canary.
Bigodi Wetland Sanctuary, located just outside the Park, is home to 138 bird species which may be seen during guided walks along the boardwalk trail and viewing platforms. These could include the White-spotted Flufftail, Yellow-spotted Barbet, Hairy-breasted Barbet, Yellow-billed Barbet, Western Nicator, Grey-winged Robin-chat, White-tailed Ant-thrush, Brown-backed Scrub-robin, Black-and-white Shrike-flycatcher, Brown-throated Wattle-eye, Superb Sunbird, Brown-crowned Tchagra, Bocage’s Bush-shrike, Black Bishop, White-breasted Negrofinch and Black-crowned Waxbill among others.
Birding in Kidepo Valley National Park
Apoka Rest Camp is a great spot to begin your Kidepo birding experience. Birding can also be done on the fringes of the Narus and Namamukweny Valleys. Among the birds seen are the Abyssinian Roller, Purple Heron, Abyssinian Ground Hornbill and Clapperton’s Francolin, which is found only in Kidepo. The activity can be arranged both in the morning and evening.
Birding in Lake Mburo National Park
The best birding spots in Lake Mburo National Park include the swampy valleys of Warukiri and Miriti, and the roadsides between Rwonyo camp and the jetty. There are also ideally-situated viewing platforms at the salt lick, in Miriti Valley, and in Rubanga Forest. Species observed at these locations include the Rufous-bellied Heron, Bateleur, Coqui Francolin, Grey Crowned Crane, Black-bellied Bustard, Brown-chested Lapwing, Emerald-spotted Wood-Dove, Brown Parrot, Red-headed Lovebird, Ross’s Turaco, Bare-faced Go-away-bird, Green Wood-hoopoe, Common Scimitarbill, White-headed Barbet, Red-faced Barbet, Nubian Woodpecker, Red-shouldered Cuckoo-shrike, Long-tailed Cisticola, Yellow-breasted Apalis, White-winged Tit and Finfoot among others.
Rubanga Forest can be visited using a vehicle or on foot. This is a real draw for keen birders, and prior arrangement should be made with the warden. The rare Red-faced Barbet – only seen in Lake Mburo National Park – is one of the of the forest’s featured species.
Birding in Mgahinga Gorilla National Park
The three to four hour Gorge Trail between Gahinga and Sabinyo can provide a spectacular sightings of the Dusky turtle Dove, Cape Robin-chat, Kivu-ground Thrush, Olive Thrush, Brown-crowned Tchagra, Bronze Sunbird, Regal Sunbird, Blue-headed Sunbird, Rwenzori Batis, Black-headed Waxbill and Streaky Seedeater.
Other good birding areas are at the bamboo belt at about 2,500m above sea level, and the tall Montane forest at 2,660m. The Rwenzori Turaco is mostly sighted at around 2,700m. Along the Uganda-Congo border and on level ground, the Chubb’s Cisticola, Red-faced Woodland Warbler, Banded Prinia and Doherty’s Bush-shrike are vocal yet inconspicuous inhabitants of the tangled vegetation at the forest’s edge.
Birding in Mt. Elgon National Park
Excellent birding opportunities exist around Kapkwai Forest Exploration Centre, in particular in the secondary forest and thick shrub along the loop trails extended to cover Cheptui Falls. It supports the African Goshawk; Chubb’s Cisticola, White-chinned Prinia, African Blue Fly-catcher, Chinspot Batis, Mackinnon’s Fiscal, Dohertys and Luhders Bush-shrikes, Baglafecht Weaver, Cinnamon Bee Eater, Moustached Tinkerbird, Hartloub`s Turaco, Tacazze Sunbird, Olive- and Bronze-naped pigeons, Black Kite and Black-collared Apalis.
Birding in Murchison Falls National Park
Both the game drives and the launch trips in Murchison Falls National Park offer an opportunity for one to come across distinct birdlife, including savannah forest birds, water birds and Albertine Rift endemics. The commonest species found in the plains include the Marabou Stork, Abyssinian Ground Hornbill, Secretary Birds, Black-bellied Bustards, Open-billed Storks and Widow Bird.
Closer to the river where there are more thickets and woodlands, the commonest bird varieties include the Swallow-tailed and Red-throated Bee-eaters – particularly in the Nyamusika Cliffs; Woodland, Pied, Giant and Malachite Kingfishers; Francolin; Hornbills, Grey heron; Hamerkop; Shrikes; Flycatchers; Cuckoos; Woodpeckers; Crombecs and Warblers. The riverbanks are also home to ducks, geese, stilts and plovers.
The park’s main birding attraction is the Shoebill, best sighted in the dry season from January-March.
Birding in Rwenzori Mountains National Park
Rwenzori Mountains Birding opportunities are greatest in the Montane Forest; understandably, few species choose to make their home in the inhospitable world of the high Rwenzori. Bee-eaters, Robins, Sunbirds and Barbets are some of the 217 species found in Rwenzori Mountains National Park. Other species to watch out for include the Rwenzori Turaco and Long-eared Owl; while higher up on the slopes, Bearded Vultures, Swifts and Black Eagles may be seen circling for prey.
Birding in Mabira Forest
After breakfast we transfer towards Jinja, the famous origin of the mighty river Nile. About an hour drive from Kampala we will stop at Mabira Forest for a walk through the Tropical Rainforest. Species such as the Toro Greenbul, Yellow whiskered Greenbul, Leaf love, Forest Robin, Buf spotted Woodpecker, Grey spotted Woodpecker, White spotted Fluff tail, Red headed Blue Bill, Yellow spotted Barbet, Grey throated Barbet, Yellow rumped Tinker bird, Yellow throated Tinker bird, Blue breasted Kingfisher, African Pygmy, Shining Blue, Woodland Kingfishers, Red tailed Ant Thrush, Chin spot Batis, Banded Wattle Eye, Chestnut Wattle Eye, Brown capped, Yellow mantled, Black Billed, Weyn’s Weavers, Red headed Malimbe, Purple headed Starling, Violet backed Starling and many more fascinating species that are living in this Forest.