Birding in Uganda
Birding in Uganda, Uganda Birds
Uganda’s bird checklist boasts a whopping 1057 species, and more continue to be added through new sightings. With more than 2250 species of birds recorded on the African continent, Uganda’s bird list accounts for close to half of all the continent’s recorded birds. This makes Uganda one of the richest countries in Africa in terms of bird species per unit area.
Uganda’s rich bird list is attributed to her amazing diversity of habitats and favorable year-round climate. Ranging from tropical rainforests, thickets, swamps, lake shores, to savanna and open grasslands, no other area on the African continent matches this remarkable diversity - a result of Uganda’s unique location at the heart of Africa, sharing all of Africa’s major ecological zones.
Uganda’s bird list includes some of the much sought-after birds by bird watchers, such as the elusive Shoebill & lots of Albertine Rift Endemics such as the rare African Green Broadbill.
With such a huge bird list and given the small size of the country (about the size of Great Britain), Uganda by all natural factors is the preferred destination for bird watching in Africa.
In addition, the country enjoys a stable and peaceful political atmosphere. The bird watching infrastructure has been greatly improved – including construction of birding-friendly lodges with strong eco credentials, improved the conditions of access roads to birding spots, and established proper trails & tracks in most of Uganda’s bird watching spots.
More than 70 expert birding guides have been trained. You can have a bird guide for your Uganda bird watching tour that is capable of identifying on average 800 species by sighting and up to 400 species by their calls.
SUGGESTED UGANDA BIRDING ITINERARIES
24 Days Uganda Birding Tour - Key sites to bird: Mabira Forest Reserve, Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary, Budongo Forest Reserve, Murchison Falls N.P, Kibale N.P & Bigodi Swamp, Semuliki N.P & Wildlife Reserve, Queen Elizabeth National Park, Bwindi N.P, Mgahinga Gorilla N.P and Lake Mburo N.P.
15 Days Forest Birding & Primates Uganda Tour - Key birding sites: Mabira Forest Reserve, Kasenge Forest, Murchison Falls N.P (Budongo Forest), Kibale N.P, Semuliki National Park, Bwindi Impenetrable N.P (Buhoma & Ruhija)
11 Days Bird & Wildlife Tour - Key birding sites: Mabira Forest Reserve, Mabamba Swampland, Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary, Murchison Falls National Park, Semuliki National Park, & Kibale Forest National Park
7 Days Bird & Wildlife Safari - Key birding sites: 7 Days Bird & Wildlife Safari - Key birding sites: Mabira Forest Reserve, Kasenge Forest/Sezibwa Falls, Mabamba Swampland, Murchison Falls National Park & the Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary.
10 Day Bird Uganda Tour - Key birding sites: Mabamba Swampland, Lake Mburo National Park, Queen Elizabeth National Park, Bwindi Impenetrable National Par, Mgahinga Gorilla National Park
UGANDA BIRDING HOTSPOTS & KEY SPECIES
MAKANAGA SWAMP SHOEBILL SITE
KASENGE FOREST RESORT BEACH
MABIRA FOREST BIRDING
QUEEN ELIZABETH NATIONAL PARK :
|Habitat:||Medium altitude moist semi-deciduous forest, moist thicket, riparian forest, riverine bushland, seasonal and permanent swamps, lakes and rivers.|
|Birds Species:||> 600 Species|
|Key Species:||African Morning Dove, Grey-headed Kingfisher, Swamp Flycatcher, Grey-capped Warbler, Papyrus Gonolek, Black-headed Gonolek, Red-chested Sunbird, Slender-billed, Yellow-backed and Lesser Masked Weavers, Pin-tailed Whydah, Brimstone Canary, Gabon and Slender-tailed Nightjar, Temminck’s Courser, Collared Pratincole, Red-capped Lark, Short-toed Snake Eagle, Great White and Pinked Pelicans, Great and Long-tailed Cormorants, Common Squacco Heron, Black Bee-eater, African Open-billed Stork, White-faced Whistling and Knob-billed Ducks, African Fish Eagle, Black Crake, African Jacana, Water Thick-knee, Spur-winged and African Wattled Plovers, Malachite and Pied Kingfishers, Papyrus Canary, Swamp Flycatcher, Yellow-backed Weaver, White-winged Terns, Common Sand Martin, Yellow Wagtail, Shoebill, Ringed Plover, Little Stint, Martial Eagle, Curlew Sandpiper, Common Snipe, Black-tailed Godwit, Marsh, Common and Wood Sandpipers, Spotted Redshank, Common Greenshank, Papyrus Gonolek, Verreaux’s Eagle-Owl, Carruthers’ Cisticola, Greater and Lesser Flamingo, Common Buttonquail, Black-ramped Buttonquail|
KIDEPO VALLEY NATIONAL PARK :
|Habitat:||Semi-desert scrub, open thorn-scrub, open thorn-bush, long and short-grass open tree savannas, riparian woodland including Borassus and Kigelia woodland, thick “miombo-like” woodland, montane forest and granite outcrops.|
|Birds Species:||475 Species|
|Key Species:||Sunbird, Yellow-billed Shrike, Vinaceous Dove, Hoopoe, Nubian Woodpecker, Mosque Swallow, Ruppell’s and Superb Starlings, Scarlet-chested Sunbird, Little Weaver and Red-cheeked Cordon-bleu, Yellow-rumped Seedeater, Clapperton’s Francolin, Black Coucal, African Moustached, Broad-tailed Warblers, Marsh Tchagra, Crimsons-rumped Waxbill, African-tailed Nightjar, Bruce’s Green Pigeon, Brown Parrot, Foxy and Red-pate Cisticolas, Red-faced Crombec, Buff-bellied Warbler, Black-headed Plover, Singing Bushlark, Harlequin Quail, Common Buttonquail, Black-bellied Bustard, Rufous-naped and Flappet Larks, Croaking Cisticola, Clapperton’s Francolin, Red-winged Lark, Cardinal Quelea, Black-winged and Northern Red Bishops, White-winged Widowbird, Fawn-breasted Waxbill, Dwarf Bitten, Greater Painted Snipe, Piapiac, Red and Yellow-billed Oxpeckers, Temminck’s Courser, Black-headed and Senegal Plover, Plain-backed Pipit, Heuglin’s Wheatear, Ostrich, Kori Bustard, African Swallow-tailed Kite, Abyssinian Hornbill, Secretary Bird, Abyssinian Roller, Golden Pipit, Fox Kestrel, Rock Martin, White-shouldered Cliff Chat, Red-winged Starling, White-crested Turaco, African Black, Nyanza, Mottled, White-rumped, Horus, and Little Swifts, Ethiopian, Red-rumped, Rufous-chested Swallows, Martial Eagle, White-backed and White-headed Vultures, Bateleurs, Ayre’s Hawk-Eagle, Four-banded Sandgrouse, Pygmy Falcon, Black-bellied Firefinch, Karamoja Apalis, Rose-ringed Parakeet, Slated-colored Boubou, Stone Partridge, Steel-blue and Straw-tailed Whydahs.|
SEMULIKI NATIONAL PARK :
|Habitat:||Moist semi-deciduous forest, mostly Ironwood-dominant with patches of swamp forest, and aquatic habitat represented by forest streams and oxbow lakes with adjacent swamps|
|Birds Species:||441 Species|
|Key Species:||Congo Serpent Eagle, Long-tailed Hawk, Nkulengu Rail, White-crested, Red-billed Dwarf, African Pied, Piping, White-thighed and Black-wattled Hornbills, Lyre-tailed Honeyguide, Freckled Nightjar, Black-shouldered Nightjars, Buff-spotted Flufftail, African Wood Owl, African Goshawk, Red-thighed and Great Sparrowhawks, Ayre’s Hawk-Eagle, Cassin’s Spinetail, White-spotted Flufftail, African Open-billed Storks, Palm-nut Vultures, African Olive Pigeons, Western Bronze-napped Pigeon, African Green and Olive Pigeons, White-napped Pigeon, Winding Cisticola, Yellow-throated Longclaw, Blue-headed Coucal, Crowned Eagle, Great Blue and Ross’ Turacos, Chestnut-winged Starlings, Swamp Greenbul, Crested Malimbe, Northern Bearded Scrub Robin, Red-sided Broadbill, Ituri Batis, Lemon-bellied Crombec, African Piculet, Brown, Pale-breasted and Scaly Illadopses, Shining-blue Kingfisher, Black-faced Rufous Warbler, African Cuckoo-Hawk, Long-tailed Hawk, Blue-shouldered Robin-Chat, Zenker’s Honeyguide, Grey Grant’s Bluebill, Spot-breasted Ibis, Gabon Woodpecker, Green-tailed Bristlebill, Blue-billed Malimbe, Capuchin Babbler.|
LAKE MBURO NATIONAL PARK :
|Habitat:||Moist acacia savanna, taller mixed woodland, lakes and papyrus swamps, grassland, rocky ridges.|
|Birds Species:||350 Species|
|Key Species:||African Finfoot, Brown-chested Plover, Southern Ground Hornbill, Spot-flanked Red-faced, and Black-collared Barbets, White-winged Warbler, Carruthers’ Cisticola, Papyrus Gonolek, Yellow-billed Oxpecker, Northern Brown-throated Weaver, the elusive Shoebill, Grey Crown Crane, Brown Parrot, Black-bellied Bustard.|
BWINDI IMPENETRABLE NATIONAL PARK :
|Habitat:||Medium-altitude (moist evergreen) forest, montane forest with patches of bamboo, and montane marshes.|
|Birds Species:||357 (23 Albertine Rift endemics)|
|Key Species:||Albertine Rift Endemics: - Yellow-eyed Flycatcher, Blue-headed Sunbird, Purple-breasted Sunbird, Regal Sunbird, Strange Weaver, Red-throated Alethe, Archer’s Robin-Chat, Kivu Ground Thrush, Montane Masked Apalis, Collared Apalis, Grauer’s Warbler, Short-tailed Warbler, Red-faced Woodland Warbler, Yellow-eyed Flycatcher, Rwenzori Batis, Strange Weaver, African Green Broadbill (Grauer’s Broadbill).|
Others :- Western Bronze-napped Pigeon, Montane (Rwenzori) Nightjar, Bar-tailed Trogon, Black Bee-eater, Willcock’s Honeyguide, Black-faced Rufous Warbler, Lagden’s Bush Shrike, Brown-capped Weaver, Dusky and Olive Long-tailed Cuckoos, Fraser’s Eagle-Owl, Forest Ground Thrush, Fine-banded and Elliot’s Woodpecker , Grey-chested and Mountain Illadopses, Chapin’s Flycatcher, Many-colored Bush-Shrike, Brown-capped Weaver, White-collared Olive-back, Red-fronted Antpecker, Oriole Finch, Great Blue and Black-billed Turaco.
KIBALE NATIONAL PARK :
|Habitat:||The forested section (77%) of the park is covered by medium altitude moist evergreen forest in the north and medium moist semi-deciduous forest at lower altitudes in the south. The remaining 23% consists of grassland, swamps, and some plantation with exotic conifers.|
|Birds Species:||375 Species|
|Key Species:||Ring winged Francolin, Red-chested Flufftail, White-napped Pigeon, Green-breasted Pitta, African Pitta, Joyful Greenbul, Grey-winged Robin, Abyssinian Ground Thrush, Grey-throated Flycatcher, White-bellied Crest Flycatcher, Masked and Black-capped Apalises, Uganda Woodland Warbler, Chestnut-winged Starling, Orange-tufted and Tiny Sunbirds, Grey-headed Olive-back.|
BUDONGO FOREST RESERVE & THE ROYAL MILE :
|Habitat:||Medium altitude moist semi-deciduous forest, grassland, Acacia savanna and agricultural lands|
|Birds Species:||350 Species|
|Key Species:||Cassin’s Hawk-Eagle, Nathan’s Francolin, Black-collared Lovebird, Cassin’s and Sabine’s Spinetails, Chocolate-backed, Blue-breasted and African Dwarf Kingfishers, Piping Hornbill, Red-sided Broadbill, Green-breasted Pitta, Puvel’s Illadopsis, Spotted Greenbul, Fire-crested Alethe, Black-eared Ground Thrush, Black-capped Apalis, Brown-crowned Eremomela, Grey and Yellow Longbills, Lemon-bellied Crombec, Yellow-footed Flycatcher, Ituri Batis, Jameson’s Wattle-eye, Chestnut-capped Flycatcher, Brown Twinspot and Grey-headed Olive-back|
MURCHISON FALLS NATIONAL PARK :
|Habitat:||Medium altitude moist semi-deciduous forest, grassland, Acacia savanna and agricultural lands|
|Birds Species:||451 Species|
|Key Species:||Shoebill, Secretary Bird, Bat Hawk, Red-necked Falcon, Heuglin’s Francolin, Denham’s Bustard, Senegal Thick-knee, Egyptian Plover, Rock Pratincole, Black-headed Plover, African Skimmer, Four-banded Sandgrouse, Bruce’s Green Pigeon, Vinaceous Dove, White-crested Turaco, Pel’s Fishing Owl, Long-tailed, Pennant-winged and Standard-winged Nightjars, Red-throated, Swallow-tailed and Carmine Bee-eaters, Abyssinian Roller, Black Scimitarbill, Abyssinian Ground Hornbill, Brown-backed Woodpecker, Spotted Morning Thrush, White-fronted Black Chat, Silverbird, Singing, Foxy and Black-backed Cisticolas, Red-winged Grey Warbler, Grey-backed Eremomela, Yellow-billed and Emins Shrikes, White-breasted Cuckoo-shrike, Lesser Blue-eared and Bronze-tailed Starlings, Beautiful Sunbirds, Chestnut-crowned Sparrow-weaver, Northern Red Bishop, Grey-headed Olive-back, Red-winged Pytilia, Brown Twinspot, Bar-breasted and Black-bellied Firefinches, Black-rumped Waxbill, Paradise Whydah, White-rumped Seedeater, Brown-rumped and Cabani’s Buntings.|
MGAHINGA GORILLA NATIONAL PARK :
|Habitat:||Montane forest with an extensive belt of bamboo and regenerating pastures on the lower slopes, heath and Afro-alpine moorland on the upper slopes|
|Birds Species:||115 Species|
|Key Species:||Rwenzori Turaco, Lagden’s Bush-Shrike, Scarlet-tufted Malachite Sunbird, Dusky Turtle Dove, Cape Robin-Chat, Brown-crowned Tchagra, Bronze Sunbird, Black-headed Waxbill, Streaky Seedeater, Handsome Francolin, Kivu Ground Thrush, Cinnamon Bracken, African Hill Babbler, White-starred Robin, Brown Woodland Warbler, Stripe-breasted Tit, Regal Sunbird, Strange Weaver, Dusky Crimsonwing, Narina Trogon, Archer’s Robin Chat, Red-faced Woodland, Mountain Yellow Warblers, Montane Masked, Chestnut-throated and Collared Apalises, White-tailed Blue Flycatcher, Montane Sooty Boubou.|
MABAMBA SWAMPLAND :
|Key Species:||White-winged Warbler, Carruthers’ Cisticola, Papyrus Gonolek, Saddle-billed Stork, African Pygmy Goose, Lesser Jacana, Shoebill.|
ENTEBBE BOTANICAL GARDENS :
|Key Species:||Verreaux’s Eagle Owl, Orange-tufted and Red-chested Sunbirds, Orange Weaver, Slender-billed, Northern Brown-throated, Yellow-backed Golden-backed, Black-headed and Vieillot’s Black Weavers, Long-tailed Cormorant, Common Squacco, Black-headed Herons, Hamerkop, African Open-billed Stork, Yellow-billed Stork, Yellow-billed Duck, Grey-headed Gull, Pied and Malachite Kingfishers, Swamp Flycatcher, Great Blue and Ross’s Turacos, Klass’s and Diederik Cuckoos, Woodland Kingfisher, Broad-billed Roller, Black-and-White-casqued Hornbill, Splendid Starling, African Fish Eagle, Eastern Grey Plantain-eater, Hadada Ibis, Palmnut and Hooded Vultures, Shikira, Lizard Buzzard, Long-crested Eagle, Grey Kestrel, Black Crake, Blue-cheeked Bee-eater, Angola Swallow, Winding and Red-faced Cisticola, Grey-capped Warbler, Common Wattle-eye and Green-throated and Scarlet-chested Sunbirds.|