Birding Areas in Uganda

INTRODUCTION:
Uganda is a tiny landlocked country supporting more than 1000 species; Uganda deserves its reputation as “birders’ Eden”. A short trip here will yield much including Shoebills at Murchison Falls, or Albertine Rift endemics at Bwindi National Park, is incredibly rewarding, while the chance to come face to face with Africa’s most noble beast, the Mountain Gorillas, is probably the most touching experience any wildlife enthusiast could hope for. Uganda is a superb destination for rainforest fanatics and those in search of the rare and elusive. In terms of size, Uganda is the richest country in Africa for birds. It has an excellent infrastructure and a great diversity of habitats, from the papyrus-fringed swamps of the Lake Victoria Basin, through both lowland and highland forests of the Albertine Rift and north to the Savanna grassland.re than double the number in Europe.

UGANDA BIRDING SAFARIS

Uganda rivals Kenya as the most visited country in Africa. Eco-tourism has been positively encouraged for the last decade and now most of the best birding destinations are endowed with very middle range accommodation and catering facilities.
There are different birding areas in Uganda and these include, Mabamba swamp, Entebbe, Lake Mburo National Park, Binds Impenetrable National Park, Queen Elizabeth National Park, Semliki National Park, Kibale Forest National Park, Murchison Falls National Park and Bundongo Forest
Entebbe:
It Situated at shores of Lake Victoria, with lake vegetation, botanical gardens, shrubs and swamps supports variety of species. These include: Lesser jacana, blue-breasted bee-eater and localized Red chested sun bird being common ones. Others include African Pygmy-goose, Hemerkop, Head Ibis, Crowned-crane, Long-toed Lapwing, Grey parrot Red headed lovebird, Black headed weaver, Ross’s Turaco, with many other species.
Mabamba Swamp:
Mabamba Swamp is located on the fringes of Lake Victoria, looking for many of the Victoria specials, including White-winged Warbler, Carruther’s Cisticola and Papyrus Gonolek. Other wetland birds are the Blue-breasted Bee-eater, herons, egrets, ducks, plovers, gulls, Malachite and Pied Kingfishers and perhaps the greatest prize of all, the incredible Shoebill, which is seen here from time to time.
Lake Mburo National Park.
The papyrus beds, woodland and savanna within this park support Brown-chested Lapwing, papyrus yellow, warbler and Papyrus Gonolek are the common species seen. Others include: Saddle-billed Stork, Wahlberg’s Eagle, Grey Crowned-Crane, Three-banded Plover, Senegal Lapwing , Parrot, Bare-faced Go-away-bird, Lilac-breasted Roller, Yellow Fronted Tinker bird Marsh Tchagra,Swamp Flycatcher, Swallow, Grey-capped Warbler, Fawn-breasted Waxbill ,shoe bill, great snipe, brown chested wattled and white winged warbler etc.
Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park
“Bwindi’’ meaning darkness: it is a thick impenetrable forest with thick undergrowth in a small forest of (327 sq km) lying 1160m and 2650 m above sea level is famous for last worlds population of mountain gorillas. However it has been recorded that over 350 species of birds including Albertine Rift valley endemics and montane forest species.

Species of birds that are found in this area include:Rwenzori Turaco & Nightjar Rufous-chested sparrow hawk, Black Goshwak, Mountain Buzzard, Acre’s Hawk-Eagle, Scaly Francolin, African green Pigeon, Lemon Dove Brown-necked
Parrot, Black-billed and Great Blue Tobaccos, Black Dusky Long-tailed, Barred Long-tailed and African Emerrald Cuckoos, Fraser’s Eagle Owl, Horus Swft,Narina and Bar-tailed Trogons, Blue breasted Kingfisher, Black and cinnamon-chested Bee-eaters, Blue throated Roller, White-headed Wood hoopoe, Black and White-casqued and white-thighed Hornbills, Grey-throated Honey-guide, Tullberg’s, Elliot’s and Olive Woodpeckers, Crested flycatchers, etc.
Bwindi’s most important bird area is around Ruhija and the lowland forest around Buhoma. Most of the Albertine Rift endemics occur around Ruhija Rutenga and Mubwindi swamp. There are clear trails around Buhoma to follow other than gorilla tracking. African green Broad bill and Graver’s Rush Warbler. An experienced bird watcher can easily identify up to 100 species in a day.
Murchison Falls National Park.
This is the largest National park in the country with 3900 square kilometers. It is found in the north western part of the country with a drop of White Nile River below Murchison falls comes the delta with marshy swamps providing a natural habitat for the famous Saddle billed stork and Shoebill.
There are a variety of birds mostly water logged species and these include: Shoebill, Heuglin’s Francolin, Emin’s Shrike, Black-headed Bats, Sliver bird, Carruthers’ Clsticola, African Darter, Goliath Heron, Saddle-billed stork, Bat Hawk, Atelier, Harlequin and Blue Quails, Black Crake, African Fin foot, Stanley Bustard, Senegal and Spotted Thick-knees, Rock
Praticole, Bronze winged and Temmincks Coursers, Long-toed Lapwing, African Skimmer, Vinaceous Dove, Bruce’s Green-pigeon, Ross’s Towaco, Marsh Owl, Plain, Standard-winged and Pennant-winged Nightjars, Giant Kingfisher, Abyssinian
Ground-Hornbill etc.
Budongo Forest
This is a tropical rainy forest located in southern part of Murchison Falls National Park near Masindi town. Specialities in this area include: Uganda Wood-Warbler, Grey-headed Sunbird, Ituri Batis, Jameson’s Wattle-eye, White-spotted Fluff tail, Afep Pigeon Dusk tailed Cuckoo, Black Shouldered Nightjar, White trigged Horn Bill, Yellow throated Tinker bird, Hillocks’ Honey guide, Golden-crowned Woodpecker, African Shrike-flycatcher Dwarf Kingfisher and Yellow crested woodpecker etc.
Bundongo Forest is believed to have the highest concentration of Kingfishers in the region. These include Dwarf Kingfisher which some birders believe to be the smallest Kingfisher in Africa. Others include: Pygmy Kingfisher, Shinning blue Kingfisher, Blue breasted Kingfisher, stripped Kingfisher, woodland Kingfisher
and Chocolate backed Kingfisher.
Semliki National Park
Birdlife is especially spectacular in Semuliki with 441 recorded species, representing 40% of Uganda’s total bird species and 66% (216) of the country’s forest bird species. The list is expanded by the riverine habitat and a fringe of grassland in the east of the park. There are numerous rarities; 46 Guinea-Congo biome species are found nowhere else in East Africa while another 35 can be seen in only two or three other places in Uganda. Five species are endemic to the Albertine Rift ecosystem. Species to look out for here include the Nkulengu Rail, Yellow-throated Cuckoo, Piping Hornbill, Red-billed Dwarf Hornbill, Black Dwarf Hornbill, White-crested Hornbill, Black-casqued Wattled Hornbill, Red-rumped Tinker bird, African Piculet, White-throated Blue Swallow, Yellow-throated Nectar, Leaf-love, Swamp Palm Bulbul, Lemon-bellied Crombec, Maxwell’s Black Weaver, Crested Malmoe, Red-bellied Malimbe, Blue-billed malimbe, Chestnut-breasted Negrofinch, Orange-cheeked Waxbill.

Kibale Forest National Park

Kibale Forest National Park is a birdwatchers paradise. It consists of More than 370 species have been recorded and many are forest specials. The best bird watching spot is the Bigodi Wetland sanctuary- a community project where experienced guides take you on a 4 hour trail. Migratory birds are also present in the month of November and April. Common bird species are the Pin-tailed whydah, Slender-billed weaver, Fiscal, Tropical boubou, Yellow-throated, long claw, African pied wagtail. Other special birds include; Afep pigeon African grey parrot ,African pitta Black bee-eater, Black-eared ground thrush ,Blue-breasted kingfisher, Blue-headed bee-eater ,Brown illadopsis ,Brown-chested alethe ,Cassin’s spine tail ,Collared apalis ,Crowned eagle ,Green-breasted pitta ,Little greenbul ,Masked apalis ,Red-chested owlet ,Scaly-breasted illadopsis ,Western nectar , White-napped pigeon ,Yellow-rumped tinker bird

Best time for bird watching
The birdlife in kibale is good year-round, but at its best from March to May and from September to November. June to September is the main fruiting season, so food is abundant and many birds are in breeding plumage.
Queen Elizabeth National Park

Queen Elizabeth National Park’s birding is an incredible treat as this is Uganda’s most popular and most scenic National Park that contains a variety of habitats that range from savanna to wetlands to lowland forests. This diversity is reflected over 612 bird species, the biggest of any protected area in Uganda. A majority of the birds found in this area are regarded as famous birds of East Africa and are a must see for birdwatchers in Africa! Areas of bird watching in Queen Elizabeth National Park include; kasenyi area, Mweya peninsula, maramangambo forest, skate area, ishasha sector, lake kikolongo and katunguru bridge area

Kasenyi Area

It has many Africa bird species, making it a must-see wildlife destination.  In this open, grassy area dominated by savanna, birders can see species which include: Palm-nut Vulture, Hooded Vulture, African White-backed Vulture, Ruppell’s Griffon Vulture, Lappet-faced Vulture, Brown Snake Eagle, Wahlberg’s Eagle, Bateleur, Long-created Eagle, Martial Eagle, Grey Kestrel, African Crake, Black-bellied Bustard, Temminck’s Courser, African Wattled Plover, Crowned Plover, Senegal Plover, Kittlitz’s Plover Rufous napped Lark, Flappet Lark, White-tailed Lark, Brown-backed Scrub-Robin, Sitting Cisticola, Croaking Cisticola, Grey-capped Warbler, Black-lored Babbler, Grey backed Fiscal, Black-headed Gonolek, Black-crowned Tchagra, Fork-tailed Drongo and Pin-tailed Whydah

The Mweya Peninsula

This site is between the Kazinga Channel and Lake Edward where most tourists are based in Queen Elizabeth National Park.  It is also where one is able to see bird species like: Raptors,   African Mourning Dove, Diederik Cuckoo, Squire-tailed Nightjar, Slender-tailed ,ightjar, Swamp Nightjar, Blue-naped Mouse bird, Grey-Headed Kingfisher, Pygmy Kingfisher, Little Bee-eater, Nubian Woodpecker, Red-capped Lark, Martins, Swallows, Swifts, Grey-capped Warbler, Swamp Flycatcher, Scarlet-tested Sunbird, Red-tested Sunbird, Black-headed Gonole, Lesser Masked Weaver, Slender-billed, Weaver, Yellow-backed Weaver and Pin-tailed Whydah

Maramagambo Forest

Maramagambo forest covers a big part of Queen Elizabeth National Park along the Kicwamba escarpment on the right side of the western rift valley arm. From the Mbarara-Kasese road to the forest itself. Several species of birds can be found like: Little Grebe, African Fin foot, Red-chased Cuckoo, Black Cuckoo, African Emerald Cuckoo, Yellow bill, Black Cauca, Blue-breasted Kingfisher, Black Bee-eater, Blue-throated Roller Barbets, Red-throated Wryneck, Brown-eared Woodpecker, Red-shouldered Cuckoo-shrike, Honey guide Greybull, Blue-shouldered Robin-Chat, Dark-capped Warbler, Green Crombec, Broad-tailed Warbler, African Moustached Warbler, Croaking Cisticola, Black-headed Bats, Black-and-white Shrike Flycatcher, Chestnut ,wattle-eye, African Paradise Flycatcher, Brown Illadopsis, Brubru, Marsh Tchagra, Sulphur-breasted Bush-shrike, Western Black-headed Oriole, Black Bishop and White-breasted Negrofinch.

Katwe Area

In this area, there are several crater lakes and swamps. In this area Lake Munyanyange is favoured by various water birds, especially a concentration of Lesser Flamingos and a few Greater Flamingos.  Other species that can be seen in this area include: Lesser Flamingos, Greater Flamingos, Eurasian Mash Harrier, Montagu’s Harrier, Pallid Harrier, Avocet, Common Greenshank, Little Stint, Curlew Sandpiper, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Gull-billed Tern, Red-capped Lark, Broad-tailed Warbler, African Moustached Warbler, Croaking Cisticola and Southern Red Bishop.

Ishasha Sector

This sector is another big area that offers a lot to birds in Africa, despite being best-known for its tree-climbing lions.  Species of birds that can be seen here include: Shoebill, Palm-nut Vulture, Hooded Vulture, African White-backed Vulture, Ruppell’s Griffon Vulture, Lappet-faced Vulture, Brown Snake Eagle, Wahlberg’s Eagle, Bateleur, Long-created Eagle, Martial Eagle, African Crowned Eagle, Grey Kestrel, Helmeted Guinea fowl, African Crake, Black-bellied Bustard, African Wattled Plover, Senegal Plover, African Green Pigeon, Ross’s Turaco, Striped Kingfisher, Broad-billed Roller, Double-toothed Barbet, White-headed Barbet, Greater Honey guide, Grey Woodpecker, White-browed Robin-Chat, Brown-backed Scrub-Robin, Green Crombec, Cisticolas, Grey-backed Fiscal and Yellow-billed Oxpecker

Lake Kikorongo

This extension of Lake George is a habitat to several water birds or waterfowl. The species likely to be seen include: Common Squacco Heron, Saddle-billed Stork, Shoebill, Sacred Ibis, Knob-billed Duck, Black Crake, African Jacana, Yellow Wagtail, Lesser Swamp Warbler, Greater Swamp Warbler, White-winged Warbler, Carruther’s Cisticola and Papyrus Gonolek

Katunguru Bridge Area

Venture to the Katunguru Bridge area, where the Kazinga Channel is crossed from the Kasese district to the Rubiriziss district, be sure to peek beneath the bridge as there is a papyrus swamp hosting species that include: Pink-backed Pelican, Gull-billed Tern White-winged Tern, Pied Kingfisher, Malachite Kingfisher, Lesser Swamp Warbler, Greater Swamp Warbler, White-winged Warbler, Carruther’s Cisticola and Papyrus Gonolek.

Uganda has been identified as most growing bird tourism destination in the world. This is because of the number of variety of bird species that are endemic to Uganda. There are over 1000 bird species in Uganda which is mo

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