Uganda is an exciting destination for birders who want to spot wildlife and experience local culture. Many birding safaris have been organised for those who come for safaris to Uganda. Birders usually take many days while searching for birds in the wild and these have promoted birding safaris at the same time contributing to the revenue of the country since they spend a lot of money in Uganda.
Birding safaris in Uganda are done in many places and these include; Lake Bunyonyi, National Parks of Uganda which have many species of birds which are enjoyed by the birders, Bigodi community which harbours many species of birds.
Two species of birds found in Budongo forest are not found elsewhere in East Africa. The forest is the second most important birding area in Uganda (after Semliki National Park) for species of the Guinea-Congo forest Biome. Yellow-footed Flycatcher, only known from Budongo in Uganda, used to be common in mature forest, but is now extremely hard to find. Illadopsis puveli, a recent addition, is not known elsewhere in East Africa. Other species that make Budongo amongst the best bird watching spots in East Africa are include Ceratogymna fistulator, Smithornis rufolateralis, Ixonotus guttatus, Neafrapus Cassini, Sylvietta denti, Batis ituriensis and Zoothers camaronensis. Birding in Budongo forest has greatly attracted many birders who come for birding Uganda safaris .
Mabamba bay has grown into one of the most interesting and spectacular site for birding safaris in Uganda. It is the only place and site (so far rated as the best in Africa and/or the whole world) where the elusive Shoebill can be spotted at any one time of the day. Recently, Mabamba has become one of the strong holds for the migrant Blue Swallow with over 100 individuals recorded every year. It has over 260 species with one day’s record of 157 species.i.e. the Pallid Harrier, Papyrus Gonolek, White-winged Warbler and the Blue Swallow. The Shoebill feeds primarily on lungfish (Protopterus aethipicus), which is also cherished by the local community. Shoebills are regularly recorded in pairs or in threes in the marsh at Nakowogo, about 2 km north east of Mabamba Bay.
Recent visits also confirmed presence of flocks of other species especially migrants such as Gull-billed Terns, White-winged Black Terns and Whiskered Terns, and residents such as Grey-headed Gulls. Other interesting species found in the marsh include good numbers of Goliath, Herons, Spur-winged and Pygmy Geese, and a number of migratory waders. Five Lake Biome species have also been recorded here.
The overwhelming birding experience in Mabamba in not only at the Swamp, but along the way, there are other birding spots with a variety of habitats. After birding in the labyrinth of channels in the marsh, one can choose to follow a woodland and savanna trail up to the sand mining quarry to maximize on chances of other species apart from the wetland birds.
Other destinations which have encouraged birding safaris in Uganda include; Lake Bunyonyi, Rwenzori which has 217 species of birds, Murchison which has 460 species, Bwindi impenetrable national park which harbours 357 species of birds, Kibale national park which has 340 bird species, Kidepo national park has 480 bird species, Mabira forest which has a total of 300 bird species, Mburo national park has 160 species and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park which has 115 bird species. All these birding spots have greatly attracted many birding tour visits to Uganda.