There’s no better place for bird watching than Uganda that has a recorded number of about 1080 bird species in different places. The good weather conditions throughout the year, abundant water bodies and diverse vegetation cover making it the best home for birds and easy to spot. Some of the top places where birds are watched include;
Mabamba swamp at Lake Victoria
Mabamba swamp is the best place to watch numerous water birds like the papyrus gonolek, Swamp flycatcher, black headed heron, African open billed stork, black-headed weaver, pied kingfisher, Veillot’s black weaver, malachite kingfisher, African marsh harrier and the most sought after Shoebill Stork. Mabamba is known to be the best place to watch the shy shoebill stork seen in the swamp as it lies in wait for a catch.
Murchison Falls National Park
Murchison falls is Uganda’s largest and oldest national park best known for the mighty waterfalls after which the Park is named. The park shelters over 450 bird species including Shoebill stork, Swamp flycatcher, northern red bishop, malachite and giant kingfisher, red-throated bee-eater, Abyssinian ground hornbill and many more birds are found here. Bird watching in Murchison can be done on a game drive or the by boat ride. Watch out for the Shoebill stork which is the most sought after in Uganda.
Kibale Forest National Park
Kibale National Park host approximately 381 bird species which is home to a variety of birds including 6 endemics to the Albertine rift area, the dense vegetation in this forest is an excellent birding spot and habitat to several birds. Several bird species are here including the purple breasted sunbird, white napped pigeon, white-headed wood hoopoe, yellow spotted barbet, red-chested flufftail, black bee-eater, crowned eagle, grey throated flycatcher, created flycatcher, dusky blue flycatcher, grey winged ribbon, red chested owlet, yellow-throated cinator, and scaly-breasted illadopsis.
Lake Mburo National Park
Lake Mburo National Park has the best birding spots areas which include swampy valleys of Miriti and the roadsides in Rwonyo camp and Rubanga forest. Common bird species are seen here include; the crested francolin, Emerald spotted Wood, Bare faced Go away bird, Grey Crowned Crane, Red-faced Barhet, Red headed Lovebird, African grey Hornbill, shoebill, African fish Eagle, green wood hoopoe, Black Bullied Bustard, Ross’s Turacoand the majestic crowned crane among other birds.
Budongo forest (Murchison falls)
This forest protects one of the largest forest areas in East Africa lying at the edge of the Albertine Rift Valley. With over 360 bird species have been recorded here and they have found shelter in this forest. Look out for the most sought after species like the Ituribatis, Black Collared lovebird, Cassin’s spinetail, brown twin spot African dwarf Kingfishers and the Chestnut capped flycatcher among others.
Mgahinga Gorilla National Park
The park is home to about 180 bird species with amazing endemic birds that you would love to see. Mgahinga National Park is located in the southwestern part of Uganda in Kisoro district. It is well known for mountain Gorillas and Golden monkeys but also blessed as a spectacular birding area. Enjoy excellent bird-watching spots on the Bamboo trail, gorge trail and community trail. Birds species like the Rwenzori batis, Olive pigeon, western Green tinkerbird, White starred ribon and the brown crowned are some of the species you must look out for in Mgahinga National Park.
Queen Elizabeth National Park
This park is the best bird watching area for one to have the most spectacular views of the birds they could have missed elsewhere. Queen Elizabeth National Park has about 613 bird species and these include; the Swamp fly catcher, African Mourning dove, Grey headed Kingfisher, martial eagle, papyrus canary, Verreaux’s eagle owl, pin tailed whydah, and many more birds. Bird watchers must never miss an opportunity to be part of this amazing activity at Queen Elizabeth National Park.
Bwindi Impenetrable National Park
Bwindi National Park is best known for the Gorilla tracking in Uganda in the southwestern region. The park is however also a special bird watching spot with very rare bird species that are about 350 including 23 endemic species to the Albertine Rift. Look out for the African green broadbill, handsome francolin, Fraser’s eagle, Chapin’s flycatcher, and mountain masked pigeon, western bronze naped pigeon, regal sun birds and black billed Turaco. You can combine your birding with Gorilla tracking to make your safari experience more adventurous.
Semuliki National Park
The park is found in western Uganda in the Albertine Rift valley. Semuliki is one of the best birding spots with over 441 bird species which include; Yellow-throated Cuckoo, Maxwell’s Black Weaver, Yellow-throated Nicator, Black Dwarf Hornbill, Blue-billed Malimbe, Nkulengu Rail, Dwarf Honeyguide, Great Blue Turaco, Piping Hornbill, Purple-breasted Sunbird, and so many other birds. The famous Sempaya Hot springs are also found in Semuliki National Park.
Rwenzori Mountains National Park
Also found in Western Uganda, the Rwenzori Mountains National Park shelters over 177 bird species, most of which can be spotted as you do activities like hiking the Rwenzori Mountain. Bird species like Rwenzori Turaco, Golden-winged Sunbird, Long-eared Owl, Archers’ Robin-chat,White-starred Robin, Lagden’s Bush Shrike, Blue-headed Sunbird, Slender-billed Starling, and many more birds.
In conclusion, Birding safaris in Uganda are so rewarding especially with most of the sought after bird species like the Shoebill Stork that may be spotted in several places in Uganda. The forested areas of Uganda’s National Parks also give you more than just bird watching but also a give you game viewing opportunity in the wild.