Birding Tours in Uganda: Birding Tours in Uganda are very popular and the country has gained international recognition as one of the best birding destinations in the world. Explore Rwanda Tours is one of the top tour companies that offers some of the best birding safaris in Uganda.
More than 2,000 bird species have been observed migrating and nesting in Uganda. Uganda features a wide variety of bird habitats, including lakes, papyrus swamps, woods, and savannah.
Aside from mountain gorillas, Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is home to over 300 bird species, including 24 of the 26 Albertine rift endemics such as the short-tailed warbler, Rwenzori Turaco, kivu ground thrush, rustic faced woodland warbler, bar tailed trogon, and dusky crimson wing, among many others.
Lake Mburo and Lake Bunyonyi (which means “lake of many birds” in local tongue) are important bird habitats in Uganda. The fringed papyrus wetland on the shores of Uganda’s lakes is home to around 500 species. The crowned crested crane (national bird), the uncommon shoe bill stork from Murchison Falls Park, marabou stork, king fisher, fish eagles, pelicans, bee-eater, sun bird, and Nubian woodpecker are just a few of the popular papyrus indigenous species.
A day’s bird viewing safari in any marsh or park in Uganda is worth 200 different bird species—you won’t find a better vacation in Africa. Lake Victoria, the world’s biggest fresh water lake, characterizes Uganda’s beautiful weather and terrain on the southern border of Tanzania and Kenya. The lake is located in south central Uganda and serves as the source of the Nile, the world’s longest river. The lake’s borders are densely forested with papyrus and riparian woodland, providing home for some of Uganda’s greatest species.
East Africa is one of the top birding areas in Africa. Uganda is one destination you should not miss. This little East African country is located in Africa’s equatorial zone, which is recognized for the diversity of its bird habitats, which range from dense rainforests to marshy lowlands, lakes, rivers, and high rising mountains.
According to Nature Uganda, an organization that collaborates with the Uganda Wildlife Authority, there are over 1,016 bird species in Uganda alone, with more than 40% of them being particularly indigenous to the region.
In Uganda’s national parks, wetlands, and various birding zones around the country, an average of 600 birds have been reported. Many of the birds documented in southern and western Uganda are migrants from the tropical rain forests of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, while dry season endemics fly in from Kenya and other areas of eastern Africa to escape the severe semi-desert conditions of Kenya and adjacent Somalia.
Where Are Birding Tours in Uganda Conducted?
There are several bird watching sites around the country, with the most intriguing ones being in Uganda’s most isolated districts. This makes it critical to remember a few things before embarking on your Uganda bird viewing experience. Some birding spots have roadside signage, while others do not. No matter where you travel, safety and prudence are essential.
Birding Tours in Mabira Forest
Mabira Forest is one of the country’s largest forest reserves, serving as an important ecological site not just for bird viewing but also for the richness of flora and animals. The whole reserve covers more than 30600ha on the shores of Lake Victoria and is approximately 54 kilometers from Kampala on the Kampala-Jinja Highway (a 25-minute trip) and 20 kilometers from Jinja.
More than 10 kinds of monkey species, 200 butterflies, and, most importantly, 2809 different birds nest in the luxuriant woods inhabit this unique eco-region. Mabira’s birding habitat includes wooded woodlands, tall savannah grasses, papyrus marshes at the lake’s edge, and various waterlogged places.
Among the many species that can be found in the forest canopy are spotted breasted barbets, kingfishers, paradise flycatchers, tambourine dove, grey headed Negrofinch, forest robin, speckled tinkerbird, fire crested Alethe, chest nut wattle eye, violet backed starling, European honey buzzard, red headed Malimbe, white spotted Flufftail, yellow crested wood pecker, tit h
Toro Olive greenbul, Weyn’s Weaver, grey and Yellow long bill, caupin babbler, purple throated cuckoo-shrike, green tailed bill, forest wood hoopoe, and African pied hornbill are only a few of the indigenous bird species found in Mabira forest reserve.
Where to Stay during your Birding Tour in Mabira Forest?
Accommodations include eco-friendly hotels inside the forest, an educational center, a camping area, and a picnic area. Mabira Eco-Lodge is one of the nicest locations to stay. This lodge has luxurious accommodations as well as well-maintained walking routes that may take you to various sections of the forest.
Birding Tours in Mabamba Swamp
Mabamba Bay is a large wetland and papyrus swamp on the banks of Lake Victoria, comprising around 16500ha. The elusive shoebill stork and other papyrus endemics such as the papyrus Gonolek, blue swallow, pallied harrier, and white winged warbler, to name a few, may be found in this small but lengthy bay. It has a land size of 16500 acres in the central Ugandan district of Mpigi.
A boat ride on a traditionally made canoe down the canal is the greatest way to see the 230 bird species that nest here. Among the notable sightings are the African purple swamp hen, common moorhen, goliath heron, Malachite kingfishers, black headed cuckoo, lesser jacana, African pygmy goose, Hammerkop, pied kingfishers, fan tailed widowbird, osprey, African pied wagtail, cisticola, Rufus bellied heron, squacco, and the blue breasted bee eater among others.
Birding Tours in Kibale National Park- Uganda.
Kibale Forest National Park is famed for its chimps and other primates, but it also has a variety of bird species. This chimp tracking site has forests, extensive marshes, and waterlogged forest that extends all the way to the Budongo Eco-tourism site.
Among the remarkable species seen on the chimp tracking route are the Bar-tailed Trogon and Fine-banded Woodpecker, as well as the White-bellied Crested Flycatcher and Red-faced Crimson-wing. Tourists frequently like to finish their safari or primates walk in Kibale national park with the Budongo Birding Area’s particular bird trail.
Birding Tours in Uganda’s Budongo Forest
Budongo forest is located near Murchison Falls National Park, and the forest is mostly made up of forest woodland and savannah grassland. It covers an estimated 750 square kilometers. This forest reserve is drained by three rivers: Sonso, Waisoke, and Wake, while other water streams run through it.
The forest reserve is a significant bird watching area, with a concentration on unusual bird nests in the Kaniyo-Pabidi and Busingiro Eco-tourism locations. Aside from the birding regions, chimp tracking is another experience in Budongo central forest reserve, which is now managed by the Jane Goodall Institute. The 2km Royal Mile, which has more than 115km of well-maintained birding pathways, is another outstanding birding spot here.
Yellow footed fly catcher, chocolate backed kingfisher, Sabine’s spine tail, paradise flycatcher, spotted fluff tail, Ituri Batis, pygmy crakes, Cassin spine tail, Cameroon somber, yellow fronted barbet, brown twin spot, forest robin, yellow crested woodpecker, hawk eagle, and little green sunbird are some of the birds found in Budogo forest.
Birding Tours in Zika Forest
Zika Forest, which is also located on the beaches of Lake Victoria along the Entebbe route, is yet another excellent birding destination in Uganda. The forest is densely forested with lush trees and thick savannah vegetation, giving it an ideal home for the more than 105 bird species identified here.
The Uganda Virus Institute of Research manages the forest reserve with assistance and funding from the Netherlands Committee for the International Union for Conservation of Nature. It primarily acts as a teaching facility as well as a research facility for scientists.
Birding Tours at Entebbe Botanical Gardens
The botanical gardens are located on the shores of Lake Victoria and contain 40 hectares of tropical tree types, shrubs, and plants. The gardens contain around 390 distinct tree species, 110 of which are exotic and 122 of which are therapeutic plants.
Among the many bird species seen in the gardens are the bat hawk, African grey parrot, Palm Nut vulture, hornbill, sand pipers, yellow backed weavers, great cormorants, Madagascar bee eater, sunbird, Entebbe weaver, long tailed cormorants, great Turaco, green Crombec, white spotted Flufftail, and common green shank thus Birding Tours in Uganda.
Birding safaris in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park
Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is well-known for its various tourist attractions, including the famous mountain gorillas and gorilla trekking activities, as well as more than 347 bird species.
The forest is home to ten of Uganda’s 26 internationally endangered species, five of which are vulnerable. 24 of the 25 Albertine Rift unique species are the most famous of the endangered birds in Bwindi forest.
Francolin, Scarlet-tufted Malachite Sunbird, Cinnamon-chested Bee-eater, Chapin’s Flycatcher western Green Tinkerbird, Rwenzori Turaco, Mountain and yellow-streaked Greenbuls, Mountain marked and chestnut-throated Apalises, Shelley’s Crimson-wing red-faced woodland Warbler, Golden-winged Sunbird, Rwenzori batis, African Green Broadbill white-tailed crested Flycatcher. The greatest time to go birding here is in the early mornings before the sun rises in the middle of the day.
Birding Tours in Murchison Falls National Park.
This large park is ideal for safari game drives and a boat journey to the magnificent Murchison Falls. A birding tour in the park is an excellent opportunity to learn about this unique animal habitat.
More than 40% of Uganda’s avifauna lives on the park’s savannah and marsh river banks. There are 14 Sudan-Guinea species, 12 Lake Victoria species, 11 of 44 Guinea-Congo woodland species, and three of 32 Somali-Masai Biome species in the park. Six internationally threatened species, three of which are Palaearctic migratory, have also been documented here.
The Shoebill stork is a rare bird that may be found considerably more easily in Murchison Falls National Park than in other parts of Uganda. Lesser Flamingos, Great Snipes, and African Skimmers are also common on the river’s sandy banks.
Bird Watching Tours in Semliki National Park
The richness of avifauna in Semliki Forest and the lands around the Semliki River, which marks the boundary with DR Congo, goes without saying. This protected area draws virtually all Guinea-Congo biome species, making it one of the country’s richest woodland bird sites.
More than 131 of the 144 Guinea-Congo forest Biome species have been identified, with 40 of them being found in Semliki National Park. Birds from the surrounding Rwenzori mountain ranges visit the protected area. White-tailed/Piping Hornbill, Orange weaver, Capuchin Babbler, Black-wattled Hornbill Blue-headed, Crested flycatcher, Red-billed Malimbe, Papyrus Gonolek, Long-tailed Hawk, and Caruthers’ Cisticola Congo Serpent Eagle, Nkulengu Rail, and Lyre-tailed Honey guide are among the notable species found here.
Birding Tours in Kidepo Valley National Park
Although it is located in the much drier northern section of Uganda, Kidepo Valley Park contains some intriguing vistas for bird watchers. Because many of the species documented in this park are dry weather endemics, they are not found anywhere else in Uganda.
The Kidepo Valley is home to endangered species such as the Lesser Kestrel and the Pallied Harrier, as well as birds such as the Black-breasted Barbet, Grey Wren Warbler, Karamoja Apalis, Golden Pipit, Taita Fiscal, Rufous Chatterer, and Rock thrush.
Tips for visitors on birding tours in Uganda.
The roads leading to many of Uganda’s bird nests are frequently in poor shape, and others are nearly unreachable. As a result, you’ll need to hire a 4WD vehicle, as is the case for all safaris in Uganda. There are various tour and travel agencies that provide excellent vehicle rental and safari packages. You’re probably looking for some of the greatest Travel Agents and tour companies in Uganda, and you’d want to compare prices before making a decision.
Only a few regions a few kilometers from major cities and towns have camping and overnight lodging. Some locations offer dedicated camping areas, but you’ll need to bring your own mattress and other camping essentials including food, drinking water, cutlery, and, most importantly, a flashlight.
Get the right gear for walking safaris and nature treks. Typically, khaki and cotton textiles are recommended, along with a pair of decent, comfortable walking shoes. Trousers are required for both men and women since you do not want to complete your journey nursing sores and itches caused by rubbing against tall grass.
Other essential tools to bring on bird watching expeditions are binoculars, sunscreen, sunglasses, a sun hat, and a high-resolution camera to capture all of the magnificent moments.