Uganda birding tours take place across various destinations around the country which are home to the numerous bird species. Different types of birders visit Uganda to search for the bird species found around the country and these include hard-core birders, casual birders and also twitchers. Uganda also has diverse habitats for birds including forest areas, savannah and woodland areas as well as wetlands.
Birding tours in Uganda are usually lengthy but can also be as short as 1 day excursions. Birders can also visit only one birding destination in the country or combine different birding locations and spit various bird species during safaris.
Most sought after bird species during birding tours in Uganda include the Shoebill stork, Green breasted Pitta among others. Uganda is also home to some migratory bird species which can be seen during the year.
Birding spots in Uganda
Important Bird Areas (IBA) in Uganda are habitats for the bird species and they play an important role in preserving the birds in the country and they include national parks such as Mgahinga national park, Bwindi impenetrable national park, Lake Mburo national park, Kibale forest national park, Kidepo valley national park, Semuliki national park, Queen Elizabeth national park, Mount Elgon national park, Murchison falls national park and Rwenzori mountains national park.
- Kibale forest national park
Kibale forest national park is located in western Uganda and is home to about 340 bird species and is one of the rainforests in the country which is considered to be among the best places for bird watching.
Bird species in Kibale national park include the Yellow Billed Barbet, African Blue Flycatcher, Brown Throated Wattle eye, African Pied Wagtail, Blue Throated Roller, Black necked weaver, African Dusky Flycatcher, Barn Swallow, Green Breasted Pitta, Black capped Waxbill, African Emerald Cuckoo, Alpine swift among others.
There are also over 13 primate species found in Kibale national park including chimpanzees which attracts many visitors during safaris in Uganda. Birding spots around the national park include the Bigodi swamp and tourists can enjoy guided nature walks during the search for the birds in the park.
- Semuliki national park
Semuliki national park is another good birding destination in Uganda with over 440 bird species including central African species among others.
Bird species found around Semuliki national park include Long tailed Hawk, Congo Serpent Eagle, Black Wattled Hornbill, Blue Swallow, Double Toothed Barbet, Yellow Billed Barbet, Swamp Nightjar, Hairy Breasted Barbet, Little Grey Bulbul, Western Nicator, White Bellied Kingfisher, Abyssinian Grund Thrush, Fire Chested Alethe, Spotted Greenbul, Red eyed Puff back among others.
The national park is known for the Sempaya hot springs which are male and female hot springs found in Semuliki national park.
- Bwindi national park
Bwindi national park is home to the mountain gorillas in Uganda and also has over 360 bird species recorded.
There are Albertine rift endemics among the birds to see in Bwindi national park and some of the birds spotted include African Green Broadbill, Red faced Woodland Warbler, Handsome Francolin, Rwenzori Turaco, Rwenzori Night Jar, Red Throated Alethe, Regal Sunbird, Grauer’s Warbler, Collared Apalis, Kivu Ground Thrush, Rwenzori Batis, Shelleys Crimsonwing among others.
Birding in Bwindi national park can also be combined with gorilla trekking tours, gorilla habituation, hiking and Batwa community tours in the different sectors of the park including Rushaga, Buhoma, Ruhija and Nkuringo.
- Kidepo valley national park
Kidepo national park is a hidden and remote birding destination located in the north eastern part of Uganda with over 480 bird species recorded.
Bird species which can be seen during birding tours in Kidepo national park include the Karamoja Apalis, Black breasted Barbet, Yellow Billed Shrike, Little Weaver, Crimson Rumped Waxbill, Nubian Woodpecker, Common Ostrich, African Swallow tailed Kite, Red Winged Lark, African Grey Flycatcher, White crested Turaco, Pygmy Falcon among others.
The national park also has numerous wildlife species including elephants, buffalos, waterbucks, jackals, zebras, lions, leopards among others and Kidepo national park is also home to the Karamojong and Ik tribe.
- Lake Mburo national park
Lake Mburo national park is located in western Uganda and is home to over 313 bird species which can be spotted around the various habitats in the park including the wetlands and woodlands.
Bird species which can be seen during birding tours in Lake Mburo national park include African Finfoot, Red faced Barbet, White winged Warbler, Red winged Francolin, Black Billed Barbet, Yellow Throated Longclaw, Great Swamp Warblers, Cisticolas, African Grey Hornbill, Lilac Breasted Roller, Grey woodpeckers, Pelicans, Black Crake, African Fish Eagle, Shoebill stork among others.
- Queen Elizabeth national park
Queen Elizabeth national park is located in south western Uganda and is home to over 606 bird species as well as various wildlife species.
Bird species spotted during birding tours in Queen Elizabeth national park include Malachite Kingfisher, Pied Kingfisher, Martial Eagle, Swamp Flycatcher, African Open Billed Stork, Egyptian Goose, Papyrus Canary, African Jacana, Grey Capped Warbler, Grey headed Kingfisher, African Skimmer and many others.
- Murchison falls national park
Murchison falls national park is one of the popular destinations to visit in Uganda and is home to over 460 bird species.
During birding tours in Murchison falls national park, bird species which can be spotted include the Shoebill stork, African Fish eagle, White backed Night Heron, Grey Crowned Crane, Bluff Bellied Warbler, Verreaux owls, Vitelline Masked Weaver, Saddle Billed Stork, Blue napped Mousebirds, Long Toed Plovers among others.
Other important Bird Areas in Uganda to add to your list for a birding tour in Uganda include the following;
- Mabamba swamp
The Mabamba swamp is a popular birding spot in Uganda where the Shoebill Stork can be seen during tours.
This wetland birding site is located on the northern Lake Victoria shores and is home to many other bird species including the Blue Swallow, Papyrus Yellow Warbler, Cisticolas, Papyrus Gonolek, Swamp Flycatcher, Pallid Harrier, Black headed Weaver, Palm Nut Vulture among others.
- Lutembe bay
The Lutembe bay is also a Ramsar site with over 108 bird species including migrant bird species and some of the bird seen around this area include Yellow fronted Canaries, House Sparrow, Purple Starling, Black crowned Waxbill, Black Kite, Barn Swallow, Brown Twinspot, African Green Pigeon, Yellow Throated Longclaw, Tropical Boubou, Broad billed Roller among others.
- Entebbe Botanical garden
When in Entebbe, the Entebbe Botanical Gardens are another place to visit to see different bird species including Black Headed Weaver, Black Headed Gonolek, Long tailed Sterling, Grey Headed Sparrow, Pink Backed Pelican, Yellow Billed Stork, African Jacana, Yellow Billed Duck, Wood Sandpiper, Red Billed Firefinch, Crowned Hornbill, Little Stint among others.
- Budongo forest reserve
The Budongo Forest reserve is home to bird species such as Little Crake, Black headed Gonolek, African Paradise Flycatcher, Lemon Billed Crombec, Black winged Red Bishop, Yellow throated Greenbul, Tropical Boubou, Splendid Starling, Lesser Grey Shrike among others.
Which season is the best for birding tours in Uganda
Birding can take place anytime of the year although the best time to see the migrant bird species during birding tours in Uganda is during March and April.