10 Top birding destinations in Uganda
10 Top birding destinations in Uganda: Uganda is one of the best birding destination in Africa with over 1000 bird species thus taking on a birding adventure is one of the most thrilling experience that every birder should consider at least once in a life time. While on a bird watching safari in Uganda, be sure to spot the water birds, endemic species to Albertine, savanna forest birds and migratory bird species thus most of the bird species are spotted with in the forests, swamps, mountains, valleys and many more. This article talks about the 10 top birding destinations in Uganda the pearl of Africa and they include;
- Mabamba swamp
Mabamba swamp is not only one of the top birding destination in Uganda but as well a home to the rare shoebill stork which every birder wishes to encounter while on a Uganda birding safari. Mabamba swamp is easily accessed direct from Entebbe international airport and from Kampala either by road or water depending on one’s wish. Every border is advised to spend at least a day at Mabamba swamp for an opportunity to spot this elusive shoebill stork which is easily seen during dry months from January to March as the swamp water level is minimal at that time and the shoebill is able to get enough food. When the water levels in the swamp rise, the shoebill stork migrates to other places since it is difficult for it to find food in over logged swamp. Other bird species to look out for in Mabamba swamp include Papyrus Gonolek, African jacana, African marsh harrier, malachite kingfisher, Veillot’s black weaver, black kite, pied kingfisher, weaver birds, ducks and many more.
- Semliki National Park
Semliki National park is listed amongst the 10 top birding destinations in Uganda the earl of Africa and it is a home to over 440 recoded bird species making it a true birder’s haven in the pearl. Semliki national park is a home to the rare Guinea-Congo biome bird species which are usually spotted with in the forested lowland areas of the park. Other bird species to look out for in Semliki national park include; blue-billed malimbe, dwarf honeyguide, red-billed dwarf hornbill, yellow-throated Nicator, Ross’s turaco, white-crested hornbill, Great blue turaco, swamp palm bulbul and many more. Semliki national park is as well famous for existence of the sempaya hot spring which boil water up to 100 degrees capable of boiling an egg.
- Budongo Forest
Budongo forest is a stretch from Murchison falls national park at the edge the Rift valley escarpments and one of the natural forest listed amongst the 10 top birding destinations in Uganda the pearl of Africa. Budongo forest harbors over 350 species of birds, primates, mammals, butterflies and many other stunning attractions that are seen during birding safari in Uganda. The best birding spot in Budongo forest is mainly at the Busingiro, Kaniyo pabidi and along the Royal Mile. Look out for the following bird species in Budongo forest including African dwarf, lovebird, Nahan’s francolin, Ituri batis, chestnut-capped flycatcher, Ituri batis, blue-breasted kingfishers, Blue-headed sun bird and many more.
- Bwindi Impenetrable National Park
Bwindi impenetrable national park is not only a home to the endangered mountain gorillas but also a best place to go for bird watching in the impenetrable forest with over 350 bird species including over 23 species endemic to Albertine rift, 14 endemic species only spotted in Bwindi impenetrable national park, and many other forest birds, water birds, migratory birds among others. Some of the rare bird seen in Bwindi impenetrable national park include African Green Broadbill, Neumann’s warbler and the Great turaco bird among others. The most commonly used spots for birding n Bwindi impenetrable national park include Mubwindi swamp, along the bamboo trail and elsewhere in the forest since birds are seen scattered and flying over the tree branches. Other bird species seen in Bwindi impenetrable national park include; Shelley’s crimsoning, western bronze-napped pigeon, blue-headed sun bird, black billed turaco, mountain-masked Apalis, Handsome francolin, Tit Hylia, Bar-tailed trogon, Rwenzori Batis, Black bee-eater, Grey cuckoos-shrike, Kivu ground-thrush, Red-throated Alethe, Dwarf honeyguide, Montane Oriole and many more.
- Murchison Falls National Park
Murchison falls national park is one of the most stunning savanna park to visit while on a Uganda safari not only for wildlife viewing adventures but also one of the 10 best destinations to visit for birding safaris in the pearl of Africa. The park harbors more than 450 bird species spotted from different parts of the park during game drive, boat cruise and guided walks. Look out for savanna bird species, water birds, forest birds and many others bird species that thrill within the oldest and largest savanna park in Uganda. Amongst the bird species to look out for in Murchison falls national park include the rare shoebill stork, Saddle Billed Stork, goliath heron, Red – throated bee-eater, malachite kingfishers, swamp flycatcher, Abyssinian ground hornbill, giant king fishers and many more.
- Kibale Forest National Park
Kibale forest national park should never miss out on your 10 top birding destinations and your birding bucket list while planning a birding safari in Uganda. With over 375 species of birds including endemic species to Albertine water birds, forest birds and many more, Kibale forest is indeed a place to visit for birding. The birding spots in Kibale forest national park including within Bigodi wetland where the rare shoebill stork is spotted plus other aquatic bird species. Areas along Kanyanchu visitor’s center is also a best birding spot in the park and many more. During birding in Kibale forest national park, you have an opportunity of spotting the Great Blue Turaco, dusky-blue flycatcher, little Greenbul, green-breasted pitta, red-chested owlet, black-billed turaco, white-headed wood hoopoe, Illadopsis, yellow-spotted barbet, purple-breasted sunbird, yellow-throated Nicator, blue-breasted kingfisher, Bee-eaters and many more. Birding in Kibale forest national park can be combined with chimpanzee trekking, nature walk and many more.
- Lake Mburo National Park
This small savanna park is a small gem with in western part of Uganda and yet the nearest park to Kampala the capital city of Uganda. Lake Mburo national park offers a variety of tourist activities including bird watching which is the major emphasis in this article. The best spots for bird watching in Lake Mburo national park include along Rwonyo where several animals converge to lick on the tasty soil, along the Warukiri swamp, along the lakes and within the thrilling savanna of the park. With more than 300 species of birds that thrill with in Lake Mburo national park, be sure to watch as many birds as possible. Here are the birds to look out for including African fin foot, greenwood hoopoe, red-necked spur fowl, Nubian woodpecker, African fish eagle, barefaced go-away bird, crested francolin, African-grey hornbill, pied kingfishers, emerald-spotted wood dove, black-billed barbet, bee-eaters and many more. Other things to do in Lake Mburo include game drive, walking safari, quad biking, and horseback ride among others.
- Queen Elizabeth National Park
A home to the mighty tree climbing lions is yet listed amongst the 10 top birding destinations in Uganda. Queen Elizabeth national park is situated in the western part of Uganda and is a home to over 600 species of birds including water birds that are seen while on a boat cruise along the Kazinga channel, savanna species seen while on a game drive and walking safari among others. Here are the bird species found in Queen Elizabeth national park and they include; African skimmer, pied kingfishers, African mourning dove, Verreaux’s eagle-owl, martial eagle, swamp flycatcher, martial eagle, Malachite kingfisher, papyrus canary, slender-tailed nightjars, pink-backed pelicans and many more.
- Mgahinga Gorilla National Park
Mgahinga Gorilla National Park is famous as a home to only 1 habituated gorilla family “Nyakagezi” and the golden monkeys but guess what? It is yet listed amongst the 10 top birding destinations in Uganda with over 180 species of birds. Birding in Mgahinga gorilla national park is usually conducted in the areas bordering with Congo and Rwanda since the park thrills within the Virunga massif that is shared by Uganda, Rwanda and Congo within 3 parks of Mgahinga gorilla national park in Uganda, Virunga national park in Congo and Volcanoes national park in Rwanda. Some of the bird species found in Mgahinga gorilla national park include greater double-collared sunbirds, Rwenzori batis, Kivu ground thrush, Archer’s robin chat, stripe-breasted tit, western green tinker bird, brown woodland warbler and many other birds that are easily seen in the park during gorilla trekking, Golden monkey tracking, forest walk, community tours and many more.
- Rwenzori Mountains National Park
This snowcapped mountain is one of the 10 top birding destination in Uganda with over 175 species of birds thrilling with in the park including the species endemic to Albertine Rift valley, forest bird species, migratory birds and many more that are spotted with in different forest zones along the slopes of Rwenzori Mountains. Lookout for vultures as they soar down the valley, bee-eaters, Rwenzori turaco, Archers’ robin-chat, slender-billed starling and many more.
When is the best time for birding in Uganda?
One can watch birds in Uganda at any given period of time all year round. However, dry months of January, February and March are usually considered the best time for birding in the pearl. An experience birding guide should be hired since he/she well knows the best birding spots in each of the above mentioned birding destinations in Uganda.
Apart from the above mentioned birding destinations in Uganda, Uganda has gotten a lot more other destinations where one can visit for birding such as Lake Bunyonyi, Mabira forest, Kidepo valley national park and many more. Let us know where you wish to explore for birding safari in Uganda the pearl of Africa.