Uganda has is regarded as a bird watchers’ paradise and has proven by many as an amazing destination for birders from different walks of life.
Uganda alone boasts of an incredible bird list of 1046 recorded and confirmed species of birds, representing over 10% of the world’s bird list and over 50% of all the birds found on the African continent.
Uganda has some of the best places in the world for bird watching. The following some of the places that visitors who take birding safaris in Uganda do not miss during their holiday:
Bwindi Impenetrable Forest:
Bwindi Impenetrable forest hosts over 357 bird species recorded; 23 of which are endemic to the Albertine Rift, and 14 species recorded nowhere else among them the brown-necked parrot, African green broad bill, white-bellied robin chat, African Broadbill, shelleys Crimsonwing, dusky long-tailed cuckoo, yellow-footed flycatcher, purple-breasted sunbird, Lagdens Bushshrike, dusky crimsonwing, dwarf honeyguide, oberlaender’s ground thrush, Kivu ground thrush, papyrus yellow warbler, African green-broadbill, gruaer’s rush warbler, purple-breasted sunbird, short-tailed warbler, white -tailed blue flycatcher and Frazer’s eagle owl. Bwindi Impenetrable Forest forms the home of Mountain Gorillas in Uganda.
Semliki National Park:
Semliki National park is one of the smallest parks in Uganda and well known for hosting a variety of bird species like the eastern Congo Ituri forest species and Ugandan lowland forests. Some of the bird species found in Semliki National Park include; Crested Malimbe, capuchin babbler, zenker’s honeyguide, chestnut-bellied helmetshrike, Bates nightjar, red-eyed puffback, hartlaub’s duck, yellow-throated nicator, Xavier greenbul, swamp palm greenbul, chestnut owlet, eastern-bearded greenbul, fiery- breasted bush-shrike, forbe’s plover, gabon woodpecker, grant’s bluebill, grauer’s cuckoo-shrike, long-tailed hawk, orange-tufted sunbird, pale-fronted negrofinch, red-bellied malimbe, Sassi’s olive greenbul, dusky nightjar, spotted honeyguide, white-crested hornbill, and white-bellied kingfisher.
Murchison Falls Conservation region:
Murchison Falls Conservation region hosts over 460 bird species including the peculiar shoebill stork that is normally seen on a boat ride along the marshy stretch of the Nile River towards the Delta. Birds like Abyssinian ground hornbill, Verreaux’s Eagle owl. Marsh tchagra, pennant-winged nightjar, African crake, red- throated bee-eater, standard winged nightjars, Speckle-breasted woodpecker, standard-winged nightjar, bronze-tailed glossy starling, dusky babbler, yellow-bellied hyliota, Brown-rumped bunting, Heuglin’s masked weaver, black-backed cisiticola, orange- winged pytilia, parasitic weaver, ring-necked francolin, and a wide variety of raptors and water birds are found here.
Budongo Forest is believed to be the no. 1 birding spot in the entire African continent. Its known for hosting African greenbuls, skulking alethes and the elusive illadopses is so fascinating. Xavier’s greenbul, Madagascar lesser cuckoo, Black-shouldered nightjar, Nahan’ Francolin, Puvel’s Illadopsis, crested francolin, chocolate-backed kingfisher, Ituri batis are amongst the many specialities found here. The Kanio Pabidi and the Busingiro sections of this Forest reserve are far much re-assuring!
It is home over 13 primate species including some of the albertine rift regional endemics. The stunning black bee-eater, Nahan’s francolin, Cassin’s spine tail, green-breasted pitta, African Pitta, Abyssinian ground thrush, Red-winged francolin, Black-eared ground thrush, Red-faced crimsonwing, grey-headed oliveback, speckle-breasted woodpecker, white-nape pigeon, black-bellied seed cracker, white-collared oliveback are some of the bird species one should look for in this forest.
Queen Elizabeth National Park:
Queen Elizabeth National park has the highest number of recorded bird species than all the African national parks and most probably the whole world, with a total of over 611 bird species. It is a home to 54 raptors, hosts every water bird found in Uganda, savanna, woodland and forest birds. The rare Beaudouin’s snake-eagle, broad-tailed paradise whydah, collared palm-thrush, semi-collared flycatcher, Wahlberg’s honey-guide, Caspian Plover, speckle-breasted woodpecker, Blue Quail, fan-tailed grass-bird, short-tailed pipit, Lowland akalat, Madagascar lesser cuckoo, striped crake, yellow-bellied wattle-eye, Madagascar pond heron, etc are all found here. The fact that Kazinga Channel crosses through Queen Elizabeth National park, a variety of birds found lingering at the shores of the channel.
Kidepo Valley National Park:
Kidepo Valley National Park is found in North Eastern Uganda – untapped wilderness spectacle of unique habitats with associated fauna and flora. Of 58 species recorded, 14 are believed to be endemics to the region. Among those are Verreaux’s eagle, Egyptian vulture, lesser Kestrel and pygmy falcon. Other interesting species include birds like the karamoja apalis, kori bustard, red-billed hornbill, yellow-billed and Jackson’s hornbill, Abyssinian nightjar, brown-rumped bunting, Quail plover, Black-breasted barbet, black-faced firefinch, brown-backed woodpecker, clapperton’s francolin, emin’s shrike, heuglin’s wheatear, jameson’s firefinch, orange-winged pytilia, red-winged pytilia, ring-necked francolin, swallow-tailed kite, and three-streaked tchagra.
Other bird sanctuary in Uganda include: Mabamba wetland which is known for hosting famous Shoebill, Lake Bunyonyi in South western Uganda, Lake Mburo National Park which hosts some of the Northern Tanzania rarities including the Red-faced Barbet, Crested Barbet, Emerald-spotted wood-dove, Tabora Cisticola, the rare African Finfoot etc; Imaramagambo Forest, Mgahinga Mountain National Park for the stunning Rwenzori Turaco; Mabira Central Forest Reserve which hosts some of the Eastern Congo Biome Species; and the Entebbe Botanical Gardens for an introduction to the afro- tropical species of Uganda.