Reasons why to choose Uganda as your birding destination in Africa : Uganda is one of the best birding destinations in Africa boasting a massive bird list of more of than 1,083 recorded different bird species making up 70% of East Africa’s birds, 50% of Africa’s bird species and 11% of the world species. This huge bird list is contained within a small territory hence having one of the highest concentrations of birds in Africa.
The incredible diversity of habitats like no other in Africa is the reason Uganda harbours such a huge diversity of birds and collects so many migrant birds during the year. Uganda lies in a unique position where she shares Africa’s major ecological zones and each has associated bird species, including many that are range restricted. Uganda has up to 34 Important Bird Areas (IBA) many of which have been developed for birdwatching and birding tours. Also, the birding community in Uganda continues to identify other new bird-rich spots across the country and establishing birding trails.
Uganda harbours unique tropical forests, swamps, savannah areas, woodland, lakes and rivers with Africa’s highest mountains and an incredible amount of wildlife. It is a land of endless potential for the wildlife enthusiast. From great herds of elephants of the open savannah to an incredible abundance of birdlife, from the depths of a tropical rainforest to the depths of Lake Victoria and river Nile teeming with fish, Uganda is a treasure trove of natural wonders, Reasons why to choose Uganda as your birding destination in Africa.
Though Uganda is not a large country, it surprisingly lays claim to one of the largest bird lists of any country in the world. The country’s dramatically diverse geography has resulted in an enormous range of natural habitats, making Uganda one of the natural wonders of the world. Famous worldwide for its great friendly people and cultural centres, Uganda is also a stunningly diverse destination for birding and natural history. Uganda could keep a birder busy for a lifetime, much less a few years and that’s why many travellers have opted to take a birding safari in Uganda that as well feature natural history and game viewing.
Despite the fact that Uganda has over 34 birding destination where by about 26 birds can be seen in the Albertine Rift valley alone, 35 bird species in the Semiliki area and other destinations have over 100 different bird species. Some of the top birding spots in Uganda including; Mabamba swamp, Semuliki national park, Entebbe botanical gardens, Mabira forest, Lake Bunyonyi. Bwindi Impenetrable national park, Mgahinga national park, Lake Mburo national park, Lake Mutanda, Queen Elizabeth national park, Ziwa rhino sanctuary, Pian Upe game reserve, Eastern region of Uganda and all the other forests and national parks and reserves including the Bugoma and Katongo reserves. Uganda’s birding is one of the best in the world. What a haven for birders and magnificent birds!
Uganda is home of the most sought bird in the world – the Shoe bill stock bird. The shoe bill is a unique bird because it is a pre-historic bird, a dinosaur bird and its appearance that attracts most travellers to look out for it. Seeing the shoebill bird as it hunts in the swamps for mudfish and other fishes is an incredible sight, is a lifetime experience. The shoebill can be spotted in many places of Uganda, most common of which are Mabamba swamp, Murchison Falls National Park, Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary and Lake Mburo National Park on lucky days.
Uganda is safe and comfortable for travellers with excellent food and accommodation. There are both migrant and breeding birds a person could reasonably expect to see in a sensible, fun designed itinerary to produce many special and exotic species of birds. Migrant birds are present from November to April. Many other sought-after birds are easily seen on several tours, and there are excellent chances to observe a number of classic and scarce tropical birds.
Uganda has only one endemic bird species called the fox’s weaver. Its natural habitants are moist savannah, subtropical or tropical seasonally wet or flooded lowland grassland and swamps. It is threatened by habitant loss. This bird can only be found in the far eastern part of Uganda in areas of Katakwi, Owusuk, Magoro and other areas of Teso sub-region.
Uganda is home to the world’s largest Turaco that is the Great Blue Turaco. The turaco group is a group of Old World tree-dwelling birds consisting of several species. The Great blue turaco is the largest species among all the other turaco birds and one of the most unique and brilliantly coloured birds of the turaco family. They are the largest species among all the other turaco birds. Found abundantly throughout its range. Their population is not threatened by any issue as of yet and therefore, it is considered as one of the least concerned species of Africa. These birds can be found in the forests of Uganda every year. The bright blue body feathers among the dull and mundane forest trees look extremely pleasant. They have a red colour at the tip of their yellow bill and a colourful crest crown at the top of their head which makes them unique and special, Reasons why to choose Uganda as your birding destination in Africa.
Uganda has the world’s biggest bird – the Ostrich which can only be found in Kidepo valley national park in the far north-eastern part of Uganda.
Uganda has 26 of the Albertine Endemics and about 35 Semiliki area bird species that are difficult or even impossible to find somewhere else in the world. Some of these birds include the rare and near-endemic Red-throated alethe, Black-headed lapwing, African jacana, Yellow-throated long claw, African green broadbill, Dwarf Honey guide, Archer’s robin-chat, Blue-headed sunbird, Chapin’s flycatcher, Hartlaub’s turaco, Ruwenzori Batis, Ruwenzori Nightjar, Ruwenzori Turaco and Yellow-eyed black flycatcher. Uganda’s birding is good all-year round so you can visit any time of the year!
The Uganda’s national bird – the beautiful Grey Crowned Crane, Balearica regulorum, is a permanent resident and likely to be seen during a safari or when birding in Uganda. The Grey Crowned Crane is from the same family as the Common crane but splitting orders. In most of its range the ethno-ornithology, its symbolic call which can’t be missed because of its loudness and harmonic since time immemorial has been used to relate time and predict seasons for farmers and long distance travellers. Grey crowned cranes are found in Africa south of Sahara and the subspecies that is in Uganda is called crested crane. This type of crane does not migrate so they breed in Uganda and if you are lucky you might see their courtship dance. The bird gets its name from the special crown of stiff gold coloured feathers.