Uganda Birding ~ Best Birding Spots
Uganda birding is one of the things Uganda is famously known for since it harbors over half of the bird species found in Africa which makes it the best birding destination in Africa and the world as a whole. Around Kampala which is the capital city of Uganda, one can find over 300 species of birds in just one day. These mostly migrate from the shores of Lake Victoria, source of the Nile and from the albetine Rift. The pearl of Africa has got only one endemic bird species called the Fox’s Weaver and many other albertine endemic species that are found in different parts of the country.
In Uganda you can get to see these and many more birds from places like the Queen Elizabeth National Park, the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, Lake Mburo National Park, Lutembe Bay, Murchison Falls, Semuliki National Park and Mabamba Island common for the Shoebill among others.
Uganda’s Top Best Birding Spots
Uganda is home to over 1,050 bird species, which can be found across a range of habitats from forests, swamps and agricultural lands, to lakes and savannahs. Uganda is crossed by the equator, and the Albertine Rift valley can be found in the west of the country. We encourage birding enthusiasts to consider visiting this beautiful country!
1. Birding in Mabira Forest
This is a rainforest area occupying about 300 square Kms in Uganda. It is found between Lugazi and Jinja in Buikwe District. Mabira Forest Reserve is the biggest block of semi deciduous forest left in Uganda. This is a habitat for many endangered species such as Yellow mantled weaver, Nahan’s Francolin, Capuchin Babbler among others. The forest is so far the most sought visited places for bird lovers.
2. Birding in Kidepo Valley
This is one of Uganda’s most beautiful parks. It has scenery you can’t find in any other park in East Africa. It is found at the Uganda’s border with and Kenya n Sudan, this park provides a magnificent savannah and landscapes on the mountain that end in a rough horizon. It is in the second position next to Bwindi in bird species. Bird species found in kidepo include; Lesser Kestrel, Rufous Chatterer, Pallid Harrier among others.
3. Birding in Mabamba Bay
The bay has developed into one of the most spectacular site for birding in Uganda. It is the only site or place so far to be rated as the best on the continent where the elusive Shoebill can be viewed at any time of the day. Mabamba bay in the recent years has been surveyed and now has over 260 species and among these there is Papyrus Gonolek, Malachite kingfisher, Blue Swallow, Caruthers’s Cisticola and many more.
4. Birding in Murchison Falls
Murchison Falls, Uganda’s oldest and largest national park is home to over 450 bird species and birding can be done on a game drive, via a boat trip (on the Nile) or a nature walk. 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.
5. Birding in Lake Mburo
Birding is one of the major activities in Lake Mburo National Park, and the best spots for birding are near the swamps at Warukiri and Rwonyo. The park is home to 315 bird species, which include the common quails, and the majestic crowned crane among others. You also have chances of sighting the rare African finfoot, shoebill, African fish eagle, while on a boat safari on Lake Mburo.
6. Birding in Semuliki
Semuliki National Park, located in western Uganda in the Albertine Rift valley, has a record 441 species in its riverine, forest and grasslands avian habitats. The species to look out for include the African piculet, Maxwell’s black weaver, blue-billed malimbe, yellow-throated nicator, black dwarf hornbill, orange weaver, white-crested hornbill, red-billed dwarf hornbill, African piculet and swamp palm bulbul.
7. Birding in Budongo Forest
Budongo Forest has two main sections – 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. It is home to more than 350 bird species, with the most sought-after birds in this area being the Cassin’s spine tail, and African dwarf kingfishers among others.
8. Birding in Rwenzori
The Rwenzori Mountains in Uganda are home to over 177 bird species, including 19 Albertine Rift endemics. Most of the birding is done while hiking in the forest zone and species to see include 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.
9. Birding in Kibale Forest
Kibale Forest is a prime birding spot with over 375 bird species, including six endemic to the Albertine Rift area. It is an excellent birding spot with varied habitat and dense vegetation. The number one sought after bird in the Kibale Forest is the green-breasted pitta. Other bird species to look out for include the red-chested owlet, purple-breasted sunbird, little greenbul, black bee-eater, white-naped pigeon, among others
10. Birding in Bwindi Forest
Bwindi‘s impenetrable forest is voted Africa’s best birding spot by Africa Bird Club, owing to the rare bird species found here and the park’s conservation efforts. It is easily accessible for birding with maintained birding trails in the forest. Bwindi is home to about 350 species of birds, including 23 Albertine Rift endemics of which 14 are not recorded anywhere else in Uganda.
11. Birding in Queen Elizabeth
Queen Elizabeth National Park is a birdwatcher’s haven with over 600 bird species. The birds are relatively easy to spot, and you can expect to take great photos as you explore the park and its various environments. The bird species to look out for include the African mourning dove, swamp flycatcher, grey-headed kingfisher among the many. Also look out for the flamingos at the salt lakes of Katwe and Bunyampaka.
12. Birding in Bigodi Wetlands
Bigodo wetlands sanctuary has 8 primate species and other numerous interesting mammals and over 200 bird species, many reptiles plus varieties of trees. Here the favorite starting time for the tour is 7:30 up to 9am or at 3pm. Visitors tour these wetlands under the instructions of a trained sanctuary guide. Birds are all over in this sanctuary though the visitor’s favorite is a permanent resident, the great blue turaco.
Bird Watching Safaris in Uganda