Birding in Uganda

Uganda has a variety of birds that one can see when birding. With the many different species of almost 1050 birds and more, Uganda is known as one of the best places to visit for bird sighting in Africa.

Birds in Uganda have different habitats where they reside in the different National parks ranging from swamps, lakes, Forrester and savannahs.

If you are an ardent fan of birds, then Uganda is the best to visit especially during the rainy season as you will view the different species of gorgeous birds found in the Pearl of Africa. And to note the best time to see beautiful creatures is either early in the morning or evening and you will also be able to view other wildlife species as you enjoy the ride.

There are several birding destinations in Uganda and these are located in the different parts of the country and if you want to get to know which types of birds you will be seeing, you need to first find out where you are heading to.

birding in uganda

Bird species found in Uganda

There are several bird species in Uganda and below is a list of some of the birds

  • Hamerkop, this is a medium water bird and it can be seen mostly on the peninsula in Queen Elizabeth Park.
  • The shoebill lives mostly in swampy areas and it is grey n color. The shoebill is the main reason for oncological visits to Uganda and can be seen in Mabamba, Murchison and Semiliki.
  • Saddle billed stock is considered to be the most handsome among the stork family, largest and can be seen at Murchison falls.
  • the African jacana which is mostly found in the swamps of Uganda
  • Flamingos, these beautiful pink birds can be found in Queen Elizabeth Park and Lake Katwe.
  • Marabou stork, this is one of the largest stork birds and it can mostly e seen at dumpsites around Kampala.
  • Pelicans, these are water birds and they can be viewed at Kazinga channel which is located in Queen Elizabeth national park.
  • Ostrich, this can be viewed in Kidepo National park.
  • The African Darter, It has a Rufus neck and eats mostly snakes.
  • great blue turacos, this can be viewed in Entebbe Botanical gardens

Birding destinations and the bird species found in those destinations.

Below is a list of birding destinations in Uganda and the different bird species that you will find in those locations

Birding in Queen Elizabeth National park

Located in Southwestern Uganda in Rukungiri district, it is in the eastern escarpment of the Western Rift valley and is bordered by Lake Edward and it has over 550 bird species and it is a one stop center for all birders across the world and in Uganda.

The different bird habitats in Queen Elizabeth are rivers, permanent and seasonal lakes, grasslands and woodlands. You are allowed to take photos as you drive through the park. This is considered as a birder’s haven for all those who love birding and you can also take a view of other wildlife species that roam the Elizabeth Park.

These birds are very easy to spot and some of the bird species that can be seen in Queen Elizabeth Park include the following:

  • The aquatic birds and these include the African Jacana, Fish Eagle, Pink and white beaked Pelicans, open billed stork, knob billed ducks, water thick knee, Squacco Heron, Long tailed cormorants, black crake, pied king fisher’s and all these and more can be found along the Kazinga channel that is found in the Queen Elizabeth Park.
  • Other bird species include the verreaux’s eagle owl, African skimmer, slender tailed nightjars, papyrus canary and Gonolek, collard Pranticles, the malachite, the white winged terns, grey capped warbler and the shoebill.

The best time to view birds in Queen Elizabeth is between December and February. You should also note that these are not the only birds found in the area but there are a variety of other species to view once you go visit the Park.

Bwindi Impenetrable National Park

Bwindi has a lot of rare bird species found in the numerous habitats around the Park and that is why it is known as the best birding spot voted by the Africa Bird Club.

Bwindi has over 350 bird species and it is noted that it has 14 rare birds that are not recorded anywhere else in the country. It has marked birding routes in order to enable tourists get a clear view of the birds.

The species that can be viewed at Bwindi include the Fraser’s Eagle, Blue headed regal sunbirds, African green broadbill, white bellied robin chat, Western bronze naped pigeon, collared and mountain masked Apalis, Chapin’s flycatcher, Handsome Francolin, Shelley’s crimsoning and black billed Turaco

Kibale National Park

Kibale has over 375 species of birds and it is known to be a good spot for birding due to its dense population. Some of the birds that you can view while in Kibale are the purple breasted sunbird, crowned eagle, tiny sunbird, scaly breasted kingfisher, red Chested owlet, yellow throated Nicator, black-bee eater, yellow spotted barbet, white naped pigeon and the blue shouldered robin chat.

The most sought after bird in Kibale is known as the green breasted Pitta.

Mabamba Bay wetland

This is found at the Lake Victoria and it is commonly known for the shoebill. Other bird species that can be seen at the Mabamba Bay include the veillot’s black weaver, papyrus Gonolek, African jacana, Lesser Jacana, Malachite kingfisher, African open billed stork, African marsh harrier, pied kingfisher, swamp flycatcher, black kite and the Grosbeak weaver.

Lake Mburo National Park

Mburo is a home to 315 birds and most of them can be viewed at Rwonyo and Warukiri swamps. Since birding is one of the most important activities carried out at Lake Mburo, some of the species found in the area include the African eagle fish, Greenwood hoopoe, trilling Cisticola, bee-eaters, blue napped moosebird, lilac breasted roller, common quails, emerald spotted wood dove, red necked spur fowl, Nubian woodpecker, crested francolin, the pied kingfisher, shoebill and bare faced go away birds.

The Murchison Falls National park

The park is a home to 450 bird species and it is one of the oldest National parks in Uganda. There are different habitats for the birds and these are the acacia trees, forests, swamps and the riverine woodland. Murchison Park can be done while on a boat cruise on the river or a drive through the park while others can walk leisurely through the park. The different species of birds that can be seen are the abyssian ground hornbill, swamp flycatcher, African quail finch, giant kingfisher, malachite, goliath heron and the shoebill.

Semiliki National park

Found in the Albertine valley in Western Uganda, Semiliki National park has 441 species habituating in the woodlands, riverines, grasslands and forests. you will be sure to see the Guinea Congo  biome when you visit Semiliki and the other bird species found in the area include the swamp palm bulbul, red billed dwarf, African piculet, orange weaker, blue billed malimbe, Maxwell’s black weaver, piping hornbill, Nkulengu rail, black dwarf hornbill, yellow throated cuckoo, yellow throated Nicator and dwarf honeyguide.

Mgahinga Gorilla National park

Located in Southern Uganda, it is filled with the Albertine Rift endemics and it has 180 bird species habituating in the area. Mgahinga has a trail of bamboo surrounding it and the birds can be seen resting along the gorge trail. See more about budget gorilla trekking in Africa. It also borders Rwanda and Congo and the bird species that are found in Mgahinga include the following, the Archer’s Robin chat, olive pigeon, Rwenzori batis, greater doubled collared sunbirds, brown crowned tchagra, western green tinker bird, kivu ground thrush, white starred robin, black headed wax bill and the cinnamon warbler.

Budongo forest

Budongo forest is located at the Albertine western rift valley edge and it is the largest natural forest in East Africa. It has over 350 bird species and these can be seen in the trees, grassland walking about most especially in the morning and evening hours. The different bird species found in Budongo forest include the black collared lovebird, brown twin spot, blue breasted African dwarf Kingfishers, Cassin’s spine tail, Ituri batis Chestnut capped flycatcher and the Nahan’s francolin.

Rwenzori Mountains National Park

Rwenzori National Park is located in Western Uganda and it has the highest peak of 5110cm. A home to 177 bird species and of these 19 Albertine Rift valley endemics included. Birding is done while hiking through the forest and the different bird species to see include the swifts, Archer’s robin chat, long eared owl, Lagden’s bush shrike, blue headed and golden winged sunbird, slender billed starling, bearded vultures, Rwenzori Turaco, the cinnamon Chested bee eater and the white starred robin.

Entebbe Botanical Gardens

Located in Entebbe, the gardens are a home to the Great blue Turaco, grey checked hornbill, Eurasian Buzzard, white throated bee- eater.