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10 Newly Discovered Bird Species in Uganda You Must Know

Referred to as the Pearl of Africa, Uganda has vast captivating landscapes that wow a tourist driving by the countryside during their Uganda tour, water bodies including the second largest freshwater lake; Victoria and the world’s longest river; Nile, and forests like the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, Mabira Forest and many more. All these once visited on your tour Uganda, you will indeed witness why it is called the Pearl of Africa. Uganda has an equatorial climate and has the Albertine Rift Valley in the Western part of the country which is host to several bird species.

Besides being the Pearl of Africa, Uganda prides in over 1,070 species of birds according to the Uganda Wildlife Authority. Uganda has about 50% of Africa’s bird species and 11% of the world’s a characteristic that has made Uganda birding safaris top the bucket list of many avid birders. The varied number of bird species means many birds in every kilometre compared to other countries in Africa. Uganda has for long been considered as one of the best Africa birding safari destinations that any bird fanatic must not miss on his bucket list. Safari Uganda for your Uganda bird watching safari and get to witness several bird species that call Uganda home, the rich culture and wildlife diversity that has seen a rise in Uganda birding safaris tours, Cultural Safaris in Uganda and Uganda Wildlife Safaris respectively in the past years.

All of the bird species in the country are definitely beautiful with a lot of endemics but there are must-see birds for avid birders on Uganda birding tours. Uganda has one endemic bird known as the Fox’s Weaver and 24 Albertine rift endemics. When birders come for a bird watching tour in Uganda, they actually search for several bird species but here is a list of 10 Must-see birds on a Uganda birding safari tour.

Newly discovered Bird Species

Achilles Byaruhanga, the Executive Director of Nature Uganda, reported that they have over 11 new bird species sighted or discovered with in the last 4 years. Speaking to him, Byaruhanga said the ardent birdwatchers also known as birders, keep encountering birds they have not seen before, almost every year during their Uganda bird watching tours in the different Uganda bird watching destinations visited. All these newly discovered birds have been updated on the birding lists they use in Uganda he added.

Byaruhanga said, the scientists’ reports on the new species were reviewed by their peers and the committee of eminent ornithologists based in East Africa. Pro. Derrick Pomeroy of Makerere University, who has trained most orthinologists, is one of the eminent persons sitting on the East African committee that confirmed the new bird species. Speaking ahead of the big birding day to be held at the Uganda Museum today, he listed new sightings as follows

Lake Mburo National Park

  • Crested Barbet (Trachyphonus Vaillanti) 2012 and the Black-collared Barbet (Lybius torquatus) 2018

Murchison Falls National Park

  • Red-fronted parrot (Poicephalus guliemi) and the Tiny cistocola in 2016

Queen Elizabeth National Park

  • Steppe Gull (Larus Barabensi) a migrant bird from Russia

In Karamoja

  • Purple Grenadier(Uragaethus ianthinogaster) and the Blue capped cordon bleu (Uragaethus cynocepharus)

Kabwoya wildlife reserve in Hoima

  • Blue Cuckoo shrike (Coracina azurea), Blue headed bee eater (Meros Muelleri) and Eurasian Sparrow Hawk (Accipiter nusus)

Because Uganda shares vegetation types with some of its neighbouring countries, bits of the species found in neighbouring countries are also found in Uganda. This is a big advantage when it comes to tourism in Uganda because you can cause can see many of the species from the neighbouring countries without going there. For instance, the Miombo woodland of northern Tanzania extends into Uganda and covers parts of Lake Mburo in western Uganda. The western arm of the rift valley is a species-rich belt that is shared by Uganda, Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda and Burundi. Then the Sudan-Guinea vegetation zone covering parts of West Nile, northern Uganda and South Sudan.The western Kenya highlands also extend into Uganda, covering the eastern parts and Mt. Elgon, Byaruhanga said.

Uganda is also gifted with unique wetlands that make it a big sanctuary for indigenous and migrant birds. Over one million birds, especially the white-winged black terns, escape the chilly conditions in Europe in October and return in March in April.

Besides birds, Uganda is also home to several Uganda wildlife safari attractions that amaze travellers during their safari in Uganda. These include the most sought mountain gorillas that you can only enjoy if you book a Uganda gorilla tour, chimpanzees that can be seen during a Uganda chimpanzee trekking safari, during a chimpanzee close up in the Uganda Wildlife Education Centre or you can enjoy seeing them if you booked a 1 Day Ngamba Chimpanzee Island day trip. It is also home to the big five games; Elephants, Buffaloes, Rhinos, Lion and the Leopard.

While preparing for your birding Safari in Uganda, it is wise you blend it with a Uganda wildlife tour to make it more interesting as well as kill two birds with one stone or. Besides combining it with wildlife safari tour in Uganda, we can also tailor your Uganda safari tour itinerary to feature primate tracking tours like Uganda Gorilla Safaris, a chimpanzee trekking tour in Uganda, or a golden monkey trekking safari. If not interested in any wildlife, you can engage in any day tours in Uganda like a Jinja city tour or 1 Day Jinja excursion, a Kampala day trip or a 1 Day Kampala city tour,  a 1 Day Ngamba Island tour, a 1 Day Sipi Falls Trip among the many.

Travellers not interested in combining their bird-watching safaris Uganda with any of the above mentioned Uganda tours can decide to make the whole Uganda trip a Uganda birding safari tour, visiting some of the top parks and spots where you can encounter various species. Some of these include Queen Elizabeth National Park Uganda, and Bwindi Forest National Park Uganda, Murchison Falls National Park Uganda, Kidepo Valley National Park Uganda among others.

Besides Uganda, you ought to know that Rwanda also goes beyond wildlife safaris Rwanda & Rwanda gorilla trekking safaris to also feature interesting birding possibilities. Despite its size, Rwanda is home to over 700 bird species, a number that quenches the thirst of anyone bird enthusiast looking for a good birding safaris in Africa. These bird species are located in different Rwanda tour destinations including swamps, forests, national parks among others. During your safari Rwanda, you can pay a visit to Rwanda’s 7 favourite bird-watching areas including, – Volcanoes National Park, Akagera National Park, Nyungwe Forest National Park, Rugezi swamp, Akagera swamps, Nyabarongo and Cyamudongo forest. As part of your Rwanda bird watching safari adventure, the birds that are commonly spotted on this safari in Rwanda include; Grey crowned crane, papyrus Gonolek, stripe breasted tit, yellow-eyed black flycatcher, Cinnynis, white-tailed blue flycatcher, shoebill stork, tropical Boubou, regular sunrise bird, bronzy sunbird, among others which combine to make birding tours in Rwanda beyond the ordinary!

  • Lake Ihema & Akagera National Park Rwanda stand the best spectacular sites for birders as they harbour several endemic and migratory bird species plus other unique wildlife species. Akagera National Park is home to over 520 species of birds that dominate this place, including forest, savannah, wetlands, and montane species. Most interestingly, it’s home to the rare shoebill stork. Other species common in Akagera national park include; the gorgeous Black-headed Gonolek, the grey hornbill, lilac-breasted roller, the crested barbet, Heuglin’s robin-chat and Ross’s Turaco, among others.
  • Rwanda’s other most fabulous bird watching site in Nyungwe forest national park and it shelters approximately 310 bird species that have been recorded. It’s famous for its forested vegetation cover that has most bird species as compared to other national parks providing excellent birding safaris in Rwanda.
  • Nyungwe harbours a variety of Albertine Rift endemics, including seven of the 12 species of Soricidae, one species of bat – Rousettus lanosus, 5 of 12 species of Muridae and the chameleon Chameleon Johnston, two species of squirrels,- Funisciurus carruthersi and Heliosciurus Ruwenzori. An amphibian; the caecilian Boulengerula fischeri restricted to a small area of the Albertine Rift occurs commonly in Nyungwe.
  • Nyabarongo River is another unique area for Rwanda birding tours, providing a safe haven for some of the globally threatened bird species namely; the Madagascar Squacco heron, papyrus Gonolek, Carruthers, Cisticola, white-winged scrub-warbler. Other Birding holidays can also be done in Cyamudongo forest, Rugezi swamp, among others.

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