If you are enthusiastic birder and you plan to embark on safari to Africa, Uganda is that one exceptional destination you shouldn’t miss to pay a visit. This magical landlocked country is remarkably a true birder’s paradise. It boasts of its over 1080 bird species that are all confined within its distinct habitats. Interestingly, about half of all avifaunal species in Africa are all confined within this spectacular country. Most of its birds can be spotted in different bird habitats that range from its stunning shores of Uganda’s numerous scenic lakes, lush forests of the Albertine rift as well as the banks of the great River Nile. Most importantly, Uganda’s small size makes it that ideal one birding site.
Birds to sight while on Uganda safari
The notable bird species for you to identify while on Uganda birding tour include the African green broadbill which ranges with the Bwindi National Park, the great blue turaco, Shelley’s crimson wing, standard winged nightjar, short tailed warbler, Doherty’s bush shrike, bar tailed trogon, black breasted barbet, black headed sunbird, black lored babbler, archer’s robin chat, Chapin’s flycatcher, dusky crimson wing, dwarf honey guide, fox’s weavers, golden winged sunbirds, Grauer’s broadbill, Grauer’s bluebill, Jackson’s francolin, nahan’s francolin, hartlaub’s Turacos, Karamoja apalis, handsome francolin, Neumann’s warbler, purple breasted sunbird, regal sunbird, red faced barbet, red faced woodland warbler, Rwenzori apalis, red throated alethe, Rwenzori Batis, Rwenzori turaco, strange weaver, stripe weaver, Shelley’s crimson wing, stripe breasted tit, yellow eyed black flycatcher, Uganda woodland warbler, Turner’s eremomela, black bee-eater, masked apalis, olive long tailed cuckoo, papyrus gonoleks, red chested owlets, red tailed ant thrush, rufous flycatcher thrush, white bellied robin chat, white napped pigeon a mention but a few.
Where to go for birding in Uganda
Uganda’s diverse habitats make it one of the best bird watching destinations in Africa. Most of its birds are confined in areas like;
Depending on what your interests are, Uganda gets all birders interests covered when it comes to birding safari experiences. If you are interested in forest birds, Uganda comprises of the great Guinea or Congo Basin rainforest which is set in western border area. At this area, you will spot out variety of west and central African bird species which you may not find in any other part of East Africa. Over 700 forest reserves are found in Uganda and one specific area that are worth exploring while on Uganda birding safari is the Albertine rift endemic area that features about 38 distinct avifaunal species. These are confined to Uganda, Burundi, Congo and Rwanda in particular and out of the Albertine rift endemic areas, Uganda is composed of 25 and mostly within the dense jungles of Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park. For incredible forest bird sights, pay a visit to Mabira forest reserve, Zika forest, Kalinzu forest reserve, Budongo forest, Maramagambo forest, Mpanga forest and many others.
Over 30000 square kilometers of wetlands are confined in Uganda and they inhabit over 210 bird species. These include the elusive shoebill storks-the endemic bird species to Africa and if you are interested in unique birds then shoebills should be a must for you spot out while on Uganda birding tour this holiday. Others include the papyrus canary; white winged warbler, papyrus gonolek, papyrus yellow warblers a mention but a few. Most importantly, for astonishing bird sights especially for water birds, Mabamba wetland is that one place to visit plus other sites like Lake Mburo National Park, Murchison Falls National Park, Queen Elizabeth National Park, Lake Victoria, Lake Bunyonyi and many others.
Uganda also comprises of distinct savanna grassland which ranges from remote, semi desert to dry thorn scrub region of Karamoja in the extreme northeast as well as the savannas of western rift valley. The notable areas with distinct savanna birdlife in Uganda include Queen Elizabeth National Park which comprises of over 620 bird species, Murchison Falls National Park-a host to over 451 bird species, Kidepo Valley National Park which comes with about 475 bird species, Lake Mburo National Park with about 315 bird species and many other sites.
Other exceptional birding sites in Uganda include Kibale Forest National Park which is known for its African green breasted pitta; Mount Elgon National Park, Mount Rwenzori National Park, Semuliki Valley National Park as well as several wildlife reserves including Semliki wildlife reserve, Katonga wildlife reserve, Pian Upe wildlife reserve a mention but a few.
When to go for birding
Bird watching in Uganda can be done at anytime of the year. But most importantly, this exciting experience can be best explored from late May through September which comes with less and adequate food. Nesting season especially in Bwindi and Mgahinga National Park occurs between May and June. February and early March is ideal for birders on Uganda safari to Toro Semliki Wildlife Reserve. As well, December and January are ideal for bird watching.