An Introduction To Birding In Uganda

All The Essentials To Know About Birding in Uganda

Have you been planning on birding in Uganda? 

Uganda is home to over 1000 recorded bird species, making it one of the best bird-watching sites in Africa. The country’s number of recorded bird species make up 50% of the bird species in Africa and 11% of the bird species in the world. 

These birds include the world’s endangered species like the African White-backed vulture, blue swallow, Karamoja Apalis, and Madagascar pond heron

Contributing to that impressive list of bird species are the country’s diverse wildlife habitats and climate which feature many migrant birds settling in the country all year round. 

Birding in Uganda is not only satisfying but also impressively convenient. The Pearl of Africa also boasts a remarkable concentration of birds per square kilometer, with the country’s gigantic bird list being contained in a small territory covering just 90,041 square miles.  

Uganda is a must-visit birding destination – and for a good reason. The country shares the majority of Africa’s major ecological zones (except the sea), putting it in a great position to harbor many bird species. To help you get a better sense for what birding is like, this post is here to introduce you to the amazing birdlife in Uganda. 

Why You Should Go Birding in Uganda

Unique Location

Uganda’s location makes it an ideal destination for birding. It lies across the equator and is home to multiple ideal wildlife habitats. The country is found in a semi-arid region with relatively condensed areas including Afromontane region and tropical rainforests, woodlands, highlands, wetlands, mountains, and savannah. 

This range of amazing natural landscapes helps to position Uganda as one of the countries in the world to see a range of diverse birds. 

Remarkable Bird List

Although it is not a large country, Uganda still has more than 1073 bird species. Among those, Uganda offers the potential to spot both migrant and breeding birds during your birding tour. 

The country receives migrant birds from all over Africa from November to April. As a result, birding in Uganda is simply fulfilling, a practically unmatched exposure to some of the world’s most beautiful creatures.

Best Birding Destination in Uganda

Bird watching in Uganda can be done in some of the best birding destinations you will see anywhere. Bird watching can be done in many of the country’s National Parks, forests, wetlands, and by the banks of most of the nation’s bodies of water (this is best done during a boat ride). 

Some of our favorite locations for birding include:

  1. Mabamba Bay Wetland – Located on the coast of Lake Victoria, this is the ideal spot to see the rare Shoebill
  2. Murchison Falls National Park – As Uganda’s largest national park, there’s no shortage of wildlife diversity – plus, it offers the chance for an impressive boat ride where you can see Giant Kingfishers, Goliath Heron, Abyssinian Ground Hornbill, Black-Headed Lapwing, Grey-Crowned Crane, Senegal Thick-knee, Shoebills, and more
  3. Bwindi Impenetrable Park – Known for more than its Mountain Gorillas, you’ll also find bird species like the Fraser’s Eagle and Black-Billed Turaco. 

When you are birding in Uganda, you also have the opportunity to enjoy the country’s most extraordinary wilderness and wildlife. The country has various national parks, forests, and national reserves where you can either go birding or enjoy the great outdoors. 

Taking a safari through Queen Elizabeth National Park, for instance, may lead to seeing some of Africa’s big five animals like lions, elephants, and leopards. A birding excursion through Bwindi may also lead to seeing Uganda’s endemic gorilla species. 

There is abundant flora and fauna to enjoy in Uganda as you go birding, which is all the more reason to stop by some of the best national parks for birding in Uganda.

(And if it’s your first time going birding, we’ve got a birding equipment checklist for you here!)

Safety and Comfort

Birding in Uganda is safe for tourists from all corners of the world. The tourism and hospitality industry has grown over the years, and the country has so much to offer by way of guided tours, excellent food, and accommodation. 

You can book many comprehensive tours and enjoy birding in your preferred locations. As a bird enthusiast, you can have fun seeing and taking pictures of beautiful, rare, and classic birds while birding in Uganda.

Birds Unique to Uganda

Uganda boasts two endemic birds – Fox’s weaver and Stuhlmann’s double collared sunbird – as well as many Albertine Endemic species that are very difficult to see anywhere else in Africa. 

Some of these species include; the Shoebill, Red-throated alethe, African jacana, African green broadbill, Blackhead lapwing, Rwenzori Batis, Yellow-throated longclaw, and Yellow-eyed black flycatcher, among others. 

For your reference and trip-planning purposes, we have included a list here of many of the notable bird species flying over the Pearl of Africa. 

  • The Fox’s Weaver
  • Blue Swallow
  • Archer’s Robin-Chat
  • Chapin’s Flycatcher
  • Black-faced Apalis
  • Ground-Thrush
  • Corncrake
  • Blue-headed Sunbird
  • Entebbe Weaver
  • Chapin’s Flycatcher
  • Grauer’s Broadbill
  • Collared Apalis
  • Grauer’s Scrub-Warbler
  • Doherty’s Bushshrike
  • Karamoja Apalis
  • Dusky Crimson-wing
  • Lesser Kestrel
  • Dwarf Honeyguide
  • Nahan’s Francolin
  • Golden-winged Sunbird
  • Shelley’s Crimson-wing
  • Grant’s Bluebill
  • Thin-billed Flycatcher
  • Grauer’s Cuckooshrike
  • Yellow-crested Helmetshrike
  • Grauer’s Scrub-Warbler
  • Grauer’s Warbler
  • Grey-headed Sunbird
  • Handsome Francolin
  • Hartlaub’s Turaco
  • Jackson’s Francolin
  • Karamoja Apalis
  • Kivu Ground-Thrush
  • Lynes’ Cisticola
  • Mongalla Cisticola
  • Moorland Francolin
  • Nahan’s Francolin
  • Neumann’s Warbler
  • Oberlander’s Ground-Thrush
  • Papyrus Canary
  • Papyrus Gonolek
  • Purple-breasted Sunbird
  • Red-faced Barbet
  • Red-faced Woodland-Warbler
  • Red-throated Alethe
  • Regal Sunbird
  • Rwenzori Batis
  • Rwenzori Nightjar
  • Rwenzori Turaco
  • Sharpe’s Pied-Babbler
  • Shelley’s Crimson-wing
  • Strange Weaver
  • Stripe-breasted Tit
  • Uganda Wood-Warbler
  • White-browed Crombec
  • White-winged Scrub-Warbler
  • Yellow-eyed Black-Flycatcher

Top Parks to Go Birding in Uganda

Whether your sole intention was to catch a few bird species, Uganda has a rich wildlife expanse worth checking out (including seeing the famed Big 5!):

  1. Queen Elizabeth National Park
  2. Lake Mburo National Park
  3. Semuliki National Park
  4. Murchison Falls National Park
  5. Bwindi Impenetrable National Park
  6. Kibale Forest National Park
  7. Mgahinga Gorilla National Park
  8. Rwenzori Mountains National Park
  9. Budongo Forest – The Royal Mile trail and Busingiro
  10. Kidepo Valley National Park

How To Begin Planning Your Uganda Birding Adventure

If you have been considering going birding in Uganda, rest assured that it is a birding paradise unmatched by many. Uganda is one of the best birding sites in the world. With beautiful scenery and diverse wildlife that draws in visitors from all over the world. 

If you plan to spend a few extra days in the country appreciating everything else it has to offer, including; a glimpse at the local life, we recommend visiting lake Katwe before or after visiting Queen Elizabeth National Park. We’ve also got some ideas for a quick 7-day birding tour in Uganda if you’ve got a week to travel with us. Just have an extra day in Kampala to go birding? There are plenty of ways to see birds just outside the capital city, too.

Enjoy sights such as watching the locals partake in traditional salt mining activities or camp at one of the local lodges bordering Murchison Falls national park and enjoy local music and dance performances by the Mubako people around campfires.

At Kikooko Africa Safaris, it would be our pleasure to help set you up on an unforgettable Ugandan birding tour. Feel free to get in contact with us today



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