Uganda, the pearl of Africa is home to about 1061 bird species. This makes Uganda one of the best bird watching places in Africa with almost half of the continents bird species. Uganda has for long been considered as one of the best Africa birding safari destinations that any bird fanatic must not miss on his bucket list. Safari Uganda for your Uganda bird watching safari and get to witness several bird species that call Uganda home, the rich culture and wildlife diversity that has seen a rise in Uganda birding safaris tours, Cultural Safaris in Uganda and Uganda Wildlife Safaris respectively in the past years.
Referred to as the Pearl of Africa, Uganda has vast captivating landscapes that wow a tourist driving by the countryside during their Uganda tour, water bodies including the second largest freshwater lake; Victoria and the world’s longest river; Nile, and forests like the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, Mabira Forest and many more. All these once visited on your tour Uganda, you will indeed witness why it is called the Pearl of Africa. Uganda has an equatorial climate and has the Albertine Rift Valley in the Western part of the country which is host to several bird species.
Best Uganda birding destinations to see swamp species
Mabamba Bay Wetland Swamp
Mabamba bay swamp is located in Lake Victoria, the second-largest water body in the world in Entebbe. The swamp is popular because it is one place where birders and any other interested people cannot miss seeing the shoebill stork, bizarre-looking birds. Every traveller on our bird watching safaris who is interested in seeing this bird which is related to the dinosaur should include a day at Mabamba wetland swamp. The swamp is easily accessible from Entebbe by road and water and from Kampala by road. There is a lodge close by for people interested in a night over.
The swamp is only home to the Shoebill stork, so many water birds can be found here. These include the swamp flycatcher, papyrus gonolek, malachite kingfisher, pied kingfisher, black-headed heron, black kite, African open-billed stork, African jacana, lesser jacana, winding cisticola, Veillot’s black weaver, grosbeak weaver, black-headed weaver, yellow-billed duck, white-faced whistling duck, and African marsh harrier.
Best Uganda birding destinations to see Forest bird species
Semuliki National Park
Semuliki National park has a record of 441 bird species. The park is located in Western Uganda in the Albertine Rift Valley. It has riverine, forest and grasslands bird species which can be viewed any time of the year. It is also home to the Guinea-Congo biome species in its lowland forest. s Bird species here include the African piculet, Maxwell’s black weaver, blue-billed malimbe, yellow-throated nicator, black dwarf hornbill, Nkulengu rail, piping hornbill, blue-billed malimbe, yellow-throated cuckoo, dwarf honeyguide, great blue and Ross’s turaco, purple-breasted sunbird, orange weaver, white-crested hornbill, red-billed dwarf hornbill, African piculet and swamp palm bulbul.
Kibale National Park
Kibale National park forest is one of the 10 best bird watching places in Uganda with over 375 bird species. These include 6 that are endemic to the Albertine Rift area. It is an excellent birding spot with varied habitat and dense vegetation. The Green-breasted pitta in Kibale National Forest is one of the 10 highly thought after birds in Uganda and the number one highly sought in Kibale forest. Other birds include the red-chested owlet, purple-breasted sunbird, blue-breasted kingfisher, crowned eagle, little greenbul, black bee-eater, white-naped pigeon, Scaly-breasted illadopsis, yellow-throated nicator, white-headed wood hoopoe, red-headed malimbe, yellow-spotted barbet, dusky-blue flycatcher, grey-throated flycatcher, Grey-winged robin, crested flycatcher, blue-shouldered robin chat, yellow-spotted barbet, black-billed turaco, white-naped pigeon, red-chested flufftail and tiny sunbird.
Bird watching in Budongo forest is manly done at Kaniyo Pabidi found in Murchison Falls National Park, and the Royal Mile and Busingiro areas found south of the park. It lies at the edge of the Albertine Rift valley, protecting the largest natural forest area in East Africa. The forest is perfect for bird watching because it is home to more than 350 bird species, with the most sought-after birds in this area being the Cassin’s spine tail, chestnut-capped flycatcher, Ituri batis, Nahan’s francolin, Black-collared lovebird, brown twinspot, chocolate-backed, blue-breasted and African dwarf kingfishers.
Lake Mburo National Park
Lake Mburo National park is the smallest Savannah national park in Uganda, easily accessible from Kampala and Entebbe. There are many activities in this beautiful park and among them is bird watching, which is one of the major activities. The best bird-watching spots in Lake Mburo are near the swamps at Warukiri and Rwonyo and at the lake.
The park is home to 315 bird species and these include the crested francolin, emerald-spotted wood dove, brown parrot, barefaced go-away bird, red-necked spurfowl, common quails, black-billed barbet, greenwood hoopoe, blue-napped mousebird, lilac-breasted roller, African-grey hornbill, Nubian woodpecker, trilling cisticola, bee-eaters and the cheeky bronze-tailed starling and the majestic crowned crane. You also have chances of sighting the rare African finfoot, shoebill, African fish eagle, and malachite and pied kingfishers.
Best Uganda birding destinations to see Albertine Endemic Species
Bwindi Impenetrable National Park
Second, on the list of the 10 best birding safari, Uganda destinations are Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park. Bwindi Impenetrable has been voted as Africa’s best birding spot by the African Bird Club. Out of the 24 Albertine rift bird species, 23 of them are found in Bwindi Forest National Park Uganda. The forest is home to many rare bird species, some only found here, for instance, the African Green Broadbill. 350 bird species stay here and these include the 23 Albertine Rift endemics, 14 of which are not recorded anywhere else in Uganda.
On a Uganda bird watching tour, look out for the Chapin’s Flycatcher, Shelley’s Crimsonwing, Handsome Francolin, Mountain-masked and Collared Apalis, White-bellied Robin-Chat, Black Billed Turaco, Fraser’s Eagle, Western Bronze-naped Pigeon, Purple-breasted, Blue-Headed and Regal Sunbirds among others. This is also the best destination for a Uganda gorilla trekking safari and both activities can be tailored in a single trip.
Rwenzori Mountains National Park
Rwenzori Mountains National Park is one of the prime bird-watching destinations in Uganda with over 177 bird species which include 19 Albertine Rift endemics. Bird watching is mostly done while on hikes in the forest zones since this is the highest point and popular Uganda birding tour destination. Birds to look out for here include the Rwenzori Turaco, Long-eared owl, Archers’ robin-chat, Lagden’s bush shrike, Blue-headed and Golden-winged Sunbird, White-starred robin, Slender-billed starling, Cinnamon-chested bee-eater, Bearded vultures, and swifts.
Mgahinga Gorilla National Park
Mgahinga Gorilla National Park is the smallest Uganda safaris park popular for Uganda gorilla tours but also a spot not to undermine for birding. It is not only home to mountain gorillas and golden monkeys, but it is also home to about 180 bird species some of which are the Albertine Rift endemics. Bird species here include the Kivu Ground Thrush, Cinnamon Bracken Warbler, White-starred Robin, Rwenzori Batis, Archer’s Robin-Chat, Olive Pigeon, Black-headed Waxbill, Western Green tinker bird, Cape Robin, White-starred Robin, Brown Woodland Warbler, Stripe-breasted tit, Brown-crowned Tchagra and Scarlet-tufted, Greater double-collared Sunbirds.
Best Uganda birding destinations to see savannah bird species
Queen Elizabeth National Park
Queen Elizabeth National park in South Western Uganda is also one of the 10 best bird watching places in Uganda. Queen Elizabeth National park Uganda is a paradise for a bird watcher with over 600 bird species. These birds are easily seen with your guide during game drives, the boat safari on Kazinga channel, and during the forest, nature walks. The birds include African mourning dove, swamp flycatcher, grey-headed kingfisher, African skimmer, malachite and pied kingfishers, white-winged terns, Grey-capped warbler, collared pratincole, Pin-tailed whydah, martial eagle, Gabon and slender-tailed nightjars, black-headed gonolek, Verreaux’s eagle-owl, sedge warbler, papyrus canary, great white and pink-backed pelicans, African mourning dove and yellow-billed stork, etc. There are also seasonal flamingos at the salt lakes of Katwe and Bunyampaka.
Murchison Falls National Park
And 3rd of the best 10 best bird watching places in Uganda is Murchison Falls National Park. Murchison Falls National park is the oldest and largest national park in Uganda. The park is named after the strong Murchison falls which can be seen on Uganda safaris. The Murchison falls are the world’s most powerful waterfalls that form as River Nile forces through a 7-meter gorge.
Murchison Falls Park has over 450 bird species some of which can be seen during game drives, boat safaris and or on guided nature walks. Bird watchers can see a variety bird species; forest species, swamp species, riverine woodland species and savannah species. You should look out for the elusive shoebill, swamp flycatcher, goliath heron, Abyssinian ground hornbill, northern red bishop, red-throated bee-eater, African quail finch, pied, malachite and giant kingfishers.
It is also possible to modify your Birding safari in Uganda or Birding tour in Uganda to feature other Africa safari destinations like Congo, Rwanda, Tanzania, Kenya among the many. Congo safaris or a Congo safari offers you chance enjoy a Congo gorilla safari in Kahuzi Biega National Park to trek lowland gorillas or a Congo gorilla trekking tour in Virunga National Park to trek the famous Mountain gorillas.