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Best Uganda Birding Safaris

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Birding Safaris

Are you looking for Birding safaris in Uganda, Bird watching Holidays and Tours? Bird Uganda with a tailor-made African birding package to your wishes; explore Uganda’s birding paradise together with a guide specialized in bird-watching. Uganda is one of the best top countries not only in Africa but the whole world for bird watching. With over 1065 known bird species. In Uganda, birds can be sighted everywhere. It has 24 that are endemic. Uganda also has species that are found only in the Albertine Rift. Some of the bird species which attract most of the tourists in the country are the unique endangered shoebill stork, Chaplin flycatcher, Ruhlman’s double-collared sunbird, regal sunbird, fox weaver, turacos, strange weaver, dwarf honeyguide, handsome spurfowl, and others.

Although Uganda is among the top-ranking destinations in the world for bird watching. But this is not marketed like primate tracking or game viewing, these two activities are the most attractive to attract tourists in Uganda than bird watching. Uganda is still lucking experienced management, a professional guides as well as the information Centre. The few individuals who are interested in promoting birding are frustrated by the lack of general interest by influential decision-makers and the destruction of bird areas. However, birding safaris in Uganda are faced with a lot of challenges, the birds are still increasing in number which makes Uganda remain on top as the best destination in East Africa for birding. Therefore, Uganda can be number one for birding among other countries, if the birding destinations are protected well and get good management.

Bird species in Uganda

Uganda is home to a variety of unique bird species for birding safaris. The most commonly spotted bird species include the rare shoebill stork, crested crane, saddle-billed, African green broadbills, blue turaco, bee-eater, Shelley’s Crimsonwing, Jameson’s ant pecker, brown chested, Nahan’s Francolin, saddle-billed stork, Marabou stork. The shoe Bill Stork is the most visited bird in Uganda. This rare shoebill is found in the wetlands and marshes in Uganda. The shoebill is not common in Uganda so there is no specific area to see them. Birders feel like nothing if they miss out to see shoebills while on a birding trip to Uganda. To enjoy this experience, you must spend more time in the birding areas. Birds are agile and aerial creatures which makes them difficult to observe. To observe them, you need to pay more attention and patience for the best experience. Some of the bird species in Uganda are migratory, they are used to move from one area country to another searching for food but this also depends on the season. Since is unpredictable, birds should not have high expectations of spotting them. Unless the guides can go deep to search for the unique species but there is no guarantee of spotting.

The best place for bird watching in Uganda.

Birds can be spotted everywhere in Uganda, but there are best areas for bird watching. They have the highest concentration of birds which is good for bird lovers with a great opportunity for successful sightings. Most areas for birding safaris in Uganda are swamps/wetlands, forests, and national parks. As explained below;

Bwindi impenetrable national park.

The Bwindi impenetrable forest is known as a home to half of the remaining mountain gorillas, it is also the best place for bird watching. With over 350 bird species whereby 23 among them are endemic to the Albertine. In 2010 is when Bwindi forest national park was chosen to be among the top ten birding areas in Africa by the Africa Birding Magazine. These are some of the most common birds in the Bwindi forest includes; African broadbill, Narina’s trogon, collared pails, equatorial akalat, yellow-eyed black flycatcher, forest robin, Montane Oriole, red-throated athlete, rufous napped lark, pink-backed pelican, papyrus Gonolek, greater flamingos, pale-breasted illadopsis, lesser flamingos, crowned plover, brown snake eagle and among others. Bwindi forest is too big, so it is divided into four sectors that are Ruhija, Rushanga, Nkuringo, and Buhoma sector. Gorilla trekking can be combined with bird watching in any Bwindi sector.

Queen Elizabeth national park

Queen Elizabeth national park is among the most popular destinations for bird watching in Uganda. With 0ver 600 bird species, this is why it is known as a home to birds. Queen Elizabeth national park is surrounded by savannah grassland, wetlands, woodlands, and tropical rainforest and this is the reason why birds thrive in the park. It is located near other national parks in western Uganda plus that one of Rwanda and DR. Congo which attracts some species from central Africa. To have the best experience in Queen Elizabeth national park, you need at least 6 days and observe all specific species. The best birding areas in Queen Elizabeth national park are Kasenyi, Katwe areas, around Lake Edward, Mweya, and George. Kazinga channel offers a beautiful view of different bird species around the shoreline. Some of the bird species to see while at Queen Elizabeth national park includes the rare shoebill, African jacana, yellow bishop, swamp flycatcher, black-billed barbets, knob-billed ducks,  falcon, eagles, malachite, water-thick knee, grey-headed kingfisher, papyrus canary, squacco heron, white-winged warbler, long-tailed cormorants and thing-tailed nightjars.

Kibale forest national park.

In the western region of Uganda is where Kibale forest national park found and commonly known as the “primate’s capital of the world”, it is also a good ideal for bird watching with over 370 bird species which includes; shite- napped pigeon, red-chested fluff tail, red-winged francolin, Narina’s trogon, olive long-tailed cuckoo, Abyssinian-ground thrush, grey throated flycatcher, African pita, black bee-eater, pigeons, scaly francolin as well as the Uganda woodland warbler.

Budongo forest.

Budongo forest is situated in the Murchison falls national park. It has over 360 bird species and is one of the best areas for bird-watching safari in Uganda. One of the most common birds to spot in Budongo forest are puvel’s illadopsis and the yellow-footed flycatcher. Other birds in the forest are the forest flycatcher, the Yellow-browed camaroptera, Lemon-bellied crombec, dusky long-tailed, crowned eagle, crested alethe, and among others.

Mabamba Swamp

Mabamba wetlands are located on the shores of Lake Victoria and can be reached from Mpingi or Entebbe. Mabamba swamp is one of the most visited destinations in Uganda because it hosts the unique endangered shoebill, the shoebill at Mabamba wetlands is tracked using canoes with the help of a birding guide or local fishermen. Tracking the shoebill at Mabamba is too interesting and also offers a wonderful experience. Other birds to spot around here are; Black-billed turaco, white-spotted fluff tail, Wayne’s weaver, blue-shouldered, sooty boubou, robin-chat, and among others.

Bigodi wetland sanctuary.

This small wetland is found in the western parts of Uganda near the Kibale forest. It was formed to protect small primates and birds. This wetland is too small than Mabamba but it has over 200 bird species. The most common bird species to sight while in this wetland are papyrus Gonolek, the black-faced Rufus warbler, blue turaco, ibris, blue-head coucal, and others.

When to do birding in Uganda?

The best time to visit Uganda for birding safaris is during the dry season which starts from June-August and December-February when the water levels are low and it gives much better feeding places and the grass is short which helps you to search for the rare shoebill with no disturbance. However, some birds like migratory are common in Uganda during the wet season that is from March, April, May, October, and November because, during the wet season, there is plenty of food that attracts them.

Birding can be done throughout the year in Uganda, but the best time is during the dry season. please note, some of the birding destinations in Uganda are found in the tropical rainforests like Kibale forest national park, Bwindi impenetrable forest national and others, so any time in the above areas it may rain, you have to prepare yourself well by carrying hiking boots, a raincoat, long clothes, hand gloves, and others.