Uganda is a prime destination for anyone with an interest in birding. The Uganda’s birdlife is remarkable, and few visitors or residents can fail to be impressed by the large variety of colorful birds they see and by their relative tameness. A bird-watching safari can get you to grip on to the pre-historical Shoebill stork, Great blue turaco, African green broadbill, the Nkulengu rail in Semuliki national park with forest and savannah birds that will fascinate and intrigue beginners to hardcore bird-watchers. Adventure birding in Uganda is an encounter for all seasoned world birders.
Some 1057 species have been recorded in East Africa, which represents approximately 11% of the world’s bird species and 50% of Africa’s bird count. The main reason for the big numbers of birds in Uganda is because of the varied landscape with swamps, forests, lakes, mountains and savannas.
Even though the number of recorded species is slowly increasing, we cannot afford to be complacent: the destruction of habitats, due largely to an ever-increasing human population, has placed a number of species in danger. A number of birds are threatened, including the Crowned Crane, Uganda’s national bird, which is at risk because of the draining of its swamp habitat and the wild exotic bird trade. The latest threat to vultures and scavenging birds of prey is the use of a cheap and readily available poison, Furadan. It is being used widely to kill mammals such as Lion, Leopard and Hyaena, mainly on private land but also in protected areas. When these animals die they are fed upon by vultures, birds of prey and other scavengers, which are then also poisoned.
Article: Birding and birding sites in Uganda
In this article, we give you a summarized table of birding sites, number of expected birds species and the birds species you might possibly not miss.
|Birding site||#species Recorded||Species you must not miss|
|Mabamba Bay Wetland||Shoebill, 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 and African marsh harrier.|
|Bwindi Impenetrable National Park||350||African green broadbill, 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.|
|Murchison Falls National Park||450||Shoebill, swamp flycatcher, goliath heron, abyssinian ground hornbill, northern red bishop, red-throated bee-eater, African quail finch, pied, malachite and giant kingfishers.|
|Queen Elizabeth National Park||600||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 and the flamingos|
|Mgahinga Gorilla National Park||180||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.|
|Semuliki National Park||441||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||375||Green-breasted pitta, 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.|
|Rwenzori Mountains National Park||177||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.|
|Lake Mburo National Park||315||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|
|Budongo Forest||360||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.|
Other birding sites includes Mabira forest (312 species recorded), Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary (250 bird species recorded), Bigodi wetland Sanctuary (138 bird species recorded), Entebbe Botanical Gardens and Lutembe bay.
Although many birds can be seen at close range in the region’s parks and reserves, binoculars are essential for bird-watching. If you wish birding can be mixed with trekking of Gorillas or Chimps as well as classic game-drive safari.
Recommended Birding Safaris: