Uganda Birding in Bwindi, Birdwatching Tours in Uganda
Birding in Uganda
Uganda is famously known as a birding paradise 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.
Some of the albertine endemic bird species include; Ruwenzori Nightjar,Red-throated Alethe,African Green Broadbill,Red-faced Woodland Warbler,Handsome Francolin,Short-tailed Warbler,Collared Apalis,Mountain Masked Apalis,Archer’s Robin-Chat,Dawrf Honey guide,Grauer’s Warbler,Dusky Crimsonwing,RwenzoriBatis,Purple-breasted Sunbird,Regal Sunbird,Shelley’s Crimsonwing, Strip-breasted Tit,Blue-headed Sunbird,Grauer’s Rush Warbler,RwenzoriTuraco,Strip-breasted Tit,Kivu Ground Thrush,Yellow-eyed Black Flycatcher, and the Strange Weaver,
Apart from the many birding species found in Uganda, the country offers many other adventurous activities including; mountain gorilla trekking, chimpanzee trekking, mountain climbing, cultural exploration, cycling, white water rafting, bungee jumping and many more. Uganda is also blessed with the rare shoebill stork which can be sighted in the mighty Murchison falls national park. Uganda is blessed with many birding spots where bird lovers can spend time and look out for these beautiful species. The most common birding spots in Uganda include;
Birding Safari in Bwindi Forest National Park
Though Bwindi forest is famously known for harboring half of the remaining mountain gorillas, this park is also an excellent destination for birding. The park covers an area of 321km2 and is located in south west of Uganda along the border with the Democratic republic of Congo. This birding spot is home to over 320 bird species, making 23 of these species endemic to the area. Some of the bird species include; Western Green Tinker bird,African Wood Owl,Archer’s Robin-Chat,Red-throated Alethe,Fine-banded Woodpecker,Grauer’s Rush Warbler,Handsome Francolin,Chestnut-throated Apalis,Regal Sunbird,Collared Apalis,Montane Oriole,and Shorttailed Warbler,Kivu Ground-Thrush,Chapin’s Flycatcher andAfrican Green Broadbill. Etc. Gorilla trekking is also an important activity here and many tourists who visit this park for birding take gorilla trekking as another interesting activity. There are also many other primate species found here including the chimpanzees, monkeys, elephants etc.
- Echuya Forest Reserve
This forest reserve is situated in the western part of the country just near Rwanda border. This spot is home to over 150 bird species and 18 of these species are endemic to the reserve. This forest is also known as one of the important habitant due to its rare flora and fauna as well as sustainable tourism initiatives that have been carried out around the reserve. The guides at the reserve will be of help to any interested birder to engage in a birding expedition. The reserve’s main bird species include; Archer’s Robin-Chat,Grauer’s Warbler, Mountain Masked Apalis,Doherty’s Bush-Shrike, Dwarf Honey guide, Collared Apalis, Strip-breasted Tit, Regal Sunbird, Montane Oriole, RwenzoriBatis, Grauer’s Rush Warbler and White-eyed Slaty Flycatcher. Etc.
Bigodi wetland Birding Uganda & Kibale National Park
These two destinations are prime birding spots which are locatedin the western part of the country. Kibale national park was created in 1933 and has over 350 species of birds which are also endemic to the two spots. These birds can be spotted while carrying out guided nature walks with an experienced birding guide within Bigodi and Kibale national park. This national park has got the highest density of primate species and birders can as well enjoy chimpanzee trekking and golden monkey tracking.
The bigodi wetland sanctuary is also good for birding and is a community development project located in magombe swamp, it has over 138 bird species that can be enjoyed by the broad walk trails by the birders. The main bird species found in these birding spots include;Crowned eagle,Yellow spotted nicator,Black-capped apalis, Dusky crimsonwing, Black bee-eater, Black-eared groundthrush, Abyssinian groundthrush, African pitta,Yellow-rumped tinker bird, Collared apalis, Green-breasted pitta, Brown-chested alethe, and the Purple-breasted sunbird etc.
Mgahinga National Park
This birding spot is located in the far south west of the country and is at border with Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo. This park also has one group of gorilla trekking and many other mammal species. The safari park is the smallest of all the national parks of Uganda and it harbors over 115 bird species. The birders who visit the park can engage in many guided walks as well as hikes to be able to enjoy different birding sessions with in the park. The Gorge trail within the park harbors many bird species and some of these include;Barred Long-tailed Cuckoo,Archer’s Robin-Chat,Dusky Turtle Dove,Mountain Masked Apalis,Equatorial Akalat,RwenzoriBatis, Kivu Ground Thrush, Strip-breasted Tit, Grauer’s Warbler,White-starred Robin, Dusky Long-tailed Cuckoo, Handsome Francolin, Red-throated Alethe, Montane Oriole, Doherty’s Bush-shrike, Blue-headed Sunbird, Regal Sunbird,Dusky Crimsonwing and Yellow-eyed Black Flycatcher. Etc.
Murchison falls National Park Birding Tours
This is considered the largest national park in Uganda and it covers 4,000 km2 of land and is home to over 76 mammal species and 451 bird species. The park is located in the north western Uganda and harbors many bird species including; Shoebill,Dark Chanting-Goshawk, Martial Eagle, White-faced Whistling Duck, Hugli’s Francolin, Rock Pratincole, Pennant-winged Nightjar, Black-billed Wood-Dove, Osprey, Secretary Bird, Yellow-billed Stork,Malachite Kingfisher, Swallow-tailed Bee-eater, White-browed Sparrow Weaver, Red-winged Grey Warbler, Double-toothed Barbet, Speckle-fronted Weaver, Vaseline Masked Weaver, Saddle-billed Stork, Grey-crowned Crane, NorthernCrombec, Black-headed Gondola, Bar-breasted Fire finch, Red-throated Bee-eater, Blue-naped Moosebird, Piapiac, Giant Kingfisher, Blue-naped Moosebird, Long Tailed Nightjar, Sulphur-breasted Bush Shrike, White-rumped Seedeater,African Darter,Standard-winged Nightjar, Spur-winger Geese,Black-headed Plover,Abyssinian Ground Hornbill, Northern Carmine Bee-eater, and Beautiful Sunbird. Etc.
Nile River Birding in Jinja
This area is also a great birding destination and is along the mighty River Nile which is the longest river in the world. Birding along the Nile is done with a boat cruise which moves around as you enjoy different species of birds. The area around the Nile River in Jinja has over 60 bird species which can be sighted. The visitors who come to Jinja can as well engage in many other activities including bungee jumping, horse riding, white water rafting, kayaking, quod biking and many more. The main bird species here include; Giant Kingfisher, Green-backed Herons, African Open-billed Storks, Rock Pratencols, and the Great Blue Turacos. Etc.
- Queen Elizabeth National Park
Birding in Queen Elizabeth National Park is done in many different sections of the park and each park has got different bird species. The sections include; Kasenyi area with over 60 bird species, the Mweya peninsula which has over 70 species of birds, Katunguru bridge area, Lake Kikorongo, the Ishasha sector, Katwe area and the Maramagambo Forest. The park in total has got over 600 bird species and some of these include; Hooded Vulture,Grey Kestrel, African Wattled Plover, Black-bellied Bustard, Black-lored Babbler, White-tailed Lark, Black-crowned Tchagra, Slender-tailed Nightjar, Blue-napedMousebird, Pygmy Kingfisher, Scarlet-chested Sunbird, Black-headed Gonolek, Slender-billed Weaver, Martins,African Emerald Cuckoo, Red-throated Wryneck, Blue-shouldered Robin-Chat, Barbets, Brown Illadopsis, Chestnut Wattle-eye, Yellowbill, Common Greenshank, Red-capped Lark,Little Stint,Lesser Black-backed Gull, Avocet,Broad-tailed Warbler, Montagu’s Harrier,Croaking Cisticola and many more. Apart from birding, the park offers many other tourist activities including; game drives, boat cruises, chimpanzee trekking, salt mining and many more.
- Semuliki National Park
This park covers an area of 220 km2 and is the recently opened national park in Uganda and harbors over 400 species of birds with nine species of Horn bill making it one of the best birding destinations in Uganda. It’s situated near the border of the democratic Republic of Congo. The key main bird species found here include; Western Bronze-naped Pigeon, Red-billed Dwarf Hornbill, Xavier’s Greenbul, Black Dwarf Hornbill, Black-Casqued wattled Hornbill, White-crested Hornbill, Fire-crested Alethe, Northern Bearded Scrub Robin, Leaf-love, Crested Malimbe, Maxwell’s Black Weaver, Green-tailed Bristlebill, Blue-headed Crested-flycatcher, Red-bellied Malimbe, Red-rumpedTinkerbird, Yellow-throated Nicator, Spot-breasted Ibis and many more
- The Royal Mile
The royal mile is over 793km2 and is situated in Budongo Forest near the mighty Murchison falls national park. This is a super birding destination with over 250 bird species which are both central and West African species. The key main bird species include; Blue-breasted Kingfisher, Chocolate-backed Kingfisher, Spotted Greenbul, Blue-throated Roller, Fire-crested Alethe, Rufous-crowned Elemomela, White-thighed Hornbill,Blue-shouldered Robin-Chat, Piping Hornbill, Sabine’s Spinetail, Hairy-breasted Barbet, Red-capped Robin-Chat, Black-capped Apalis, Lemon-bellied Crombec, Rufous-crowned Elemomela, Yellow-crested Woodpecker,Dwarf Kingfisher,African Crowned Eagle, Grey-headed Sunbird, and Yellow-billed Barbet. Etc.
- Zziwa Rhino Sanctuary
This sanctuary was started in 1997 to protect the Rhinos in Uganda. It’s also home variety of bird species including the shoe bill stork. The other bird species include; African Black Crake, African Fish Eagle, African Grey Hornbill, African Golden Oriole, African Darter, African Broad Bill, African Golden-breasted Bunting, African Jacana, Abdim’s Stork, African Marsh Harrier,Barn Swallow, Bat Hawk,African Morning Dove, African pied wagtail, African pygmy kingfisher, black and white Manikini, Black-crowned Waxbill, Black-headed Gonolek, and many more that can be spotted.
Birding in Uganda is an adventurous activity and can be done in any of the birding spots above. Birders are always advised to book with a tour operator here in Uganda to help organize your life time birding expedition. You are also advisable to carry the necessary requirements that will help you on your birding safari including; Binoculars, map for the location, long sleeved trousers and shirts, enough drinking water, and many more.
Birding within Bwindi, Uganda Birdwatching
The diverse habitats in Uganda’s most ancient forest imply that is the perfect habitat for a diversity of bird species, with about 350 recorded different species, with 23 endemics (which is 90% of the Albertine Rift endemics) like the Blue-headed Sunbird plus the Short-tailed Warbler in addition to 7 IUCN red data listed bird species. Simple to spot are the Red-headed Bluebill, African Emerald Cuckoo, African Blue plus White-tailed Blue Flycatchers and the Common Bulbul.
Birding occurs along the major trail – the Buhoma Waterfall Trail as well as along the bamboo-zone plus the Mubwindi Swamp trail found in Ruhija.
Bwindi is a bird-watchers’ paradise, with 347 bird species, with ten of the twenty six globally threatened species within Uganda, 5 of which are in danger. The Bwindi has 24 of the total 25 Albertine Rift endemic bird species in Uganda and some have partial distributions in other place in their range, like Shelley’s Crimson-wing, African Green Broadbill plus Chapin’s Flycatcher.
Bwindi holds 76 of the 144 Guinea –Congo-forest biome bird species that are found in Uganda, majorly seen in the Northern area. The area also qualifies for the Afro-tropical-highland biome bird species with actually 68 of the total 86, as well as for the Lake Victoria-biome with 4 of the 12 species.
The park is gifted with 90% of the Albertine Rift endemics, hard or not possible to spot in other areas of East Africa plus 7 IUCN red-data listed bird species. A skilled birder-watcher can actually identify more than 100 species in just a single day.
Ruhiija is probable to be among of the highlights of every trip done in Uganda with outstanding birding within the spectacular environs. Birds are very abundant and very easy to spot; several species connecting in assorted feeding flocks which are active all through the day. starting early offers the finest opportunity of finding the remarkable handsome Francolin, white-tailed crested Flycatcher, Cinnamon-chested bee-eater, Rwenzori batis, western Green Tinkerbird, red-faced woodland Warbler, Mountain plus yellow-streaked Greenbuls as well as the Mountain marked plus chestnut-throated Apalises among many others.