Birdwatching in Uganda
With 1,063 of the 2,250 bird species recorded on the African continent, Uganda is the richest birding destination in Africa and considering the number of bird species per square kilometre, the tenth worldwide. Uganda’s birds have no shortage of habitats to inhabit; the dense tropical rainforests of the Albertine Rift Valley, the montane forests, the scenic shores of the Great Lakes, crater lakes and River Nile, the vast swamps and wetlands, and even the semi-arid desert plains of the northeast in Kidepo Valley National Park.
Uganda has only 2 endemic birds, the Fox Weaver and the Stuhlmann’s Double-collared sunbird. However, 23 Albertine endemics can be seen in Uganda.
Uganda has over 30 developed IBA’s and the local birding community continues to identify new ones across the country. The most memorable may be Bwindi, which was voted ‘Africa’s top birding site’ in 2014. But just as impressive are the ‘Royal Mile’ in Murchison, and Queen Elizabeth National Park that is home to over 600 species – the largest concentration of any park in Uganda.
Lake Mburo has different habitats that harbour different species of birds, making it a great place for bird watching. The Woodland, savanna grassland, papyrus swamps and lakes all have a variety of birds living in them and some of key bird species found in this are:
Long tailed - cisisticola (Tabora)
White- headed vulture,
Shinning blue kingfisher,
Blue- naped mousebird,
White-faced whistling -Duck,
African White-backed vulture,
Bwindi is the home of all the 24 Albertine Rift endemics and ticking as many as possible off your list is a once in a lifetime challenge.
Some of the prized sightings are
African Green Broadbill,
Purple breasted sunbird,
Shelley's Crimson wing,
Stripe breasted Tit,
Grauet's Rush warbler,
Rwenzori double collared sunbird,
Red faced woodland warbler,
Mountain Masked Apalis,
Queen Elizabeth National Park
Birdwatching in this part of Uganda is predominately in different types of forest ( evergreen & deciduous ) as well as swamps and grassland
There have been over 340 birds species recorded here the highlights of which are losed below:
Nahan’s Francolin, an endangered species found in three other forest reserves,
the Forest Ground-thrush recorded in only two other IBAs.
Birdwatching in this park allows you so view birds that live in forests, woodlands, savannah grass lands, rivers and the papyrus swamps. Birdwatching can be done in the park, on trails adjacent to the park and cruising on a boat on the River Nile towards Murchison Falls itself or around the Nile Delta. Look out for the:
Dark Chanting Goshawk,
African Palm Swift,
The Royal Mile which is also a great place for birdwatching is located in Budongo Forest and is a great place to visit either before or after going to the park so see such birds as:
Forest Robin, Grey
Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary
Mabamba Swamp is around an hour away from Entebee on the shores of Lake Victoria. This expanse of marsh land is recognised as an Important Birding Area ( IBA ) due to is diversity of birds species with over 260 species alone found here, presence migratory birds and the Shoebill Stork. Other birds that can be found in the area are:
African Pygmy Goose,
African and Lesser Jacanas,
Mount Elgon National Park
The montane forest of this region make for truly spectacular birdwatching. As this region is part of the wider Albertine Rift Valley, many birdwatcher come here to try a view on the fo the 24 Alberitne endemic species 18 of which can be found here. Some of the birds of note are:
Scarlet-tufted Malachite Sunbird
Stuhlmann’s Double-collared Olive-back.
The proximity to the Democratic Republic of Congo also means that birds that originate from forests in that country can also be seen here.
Semliki National Park is located in western Uganda on the border with Democratic Republic of Congo, therefore due to the landscape and topography of this are there area there are some bird species that you only find in this park as well as bird species of Congo origin. These include:
Red-billed Dwarf Hornbill,
Black Dwarf Hornbill,
Western Green Tinkerbird,
Greens tailed Bristelbill,
Green Hylia, Green Crombec,
Rufous- Crowned Eremomela,
Other Birding Areas