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A Quick Peek About Uganda’s best birding safari destination; Queen Elizabeth National Park

Birding in Queen Elizabeth National Park is an incredible treat to do on your Africa safari holiday in Uganda. A Uganda birding safari gives you the chance to explore bird species in Uganda’s most popular and most scenic National Park that contains a variety of habitats that range from savanna to wetlands to lowland forests. The park’s diversity is reflected in the list of over 600 bird species, making it the biggest of any protected area in Uganda. A majority of the bird species found in this area are regarded as famous birds of East Africa and are a must-see for birdwatchers in Africa! Take a Uganda safari to Queen Elizabeth National Park Uganda for an amazing Africa birding safari.

What are the key species of Birds species in Queen Elizabeth?

Birds in Queen Elizabeth

The Kazinga channel is a magnet for water birds a launch cruise reveals species such as; Great-white and Pink-backed Pelicans, Great and Long-tailed Cormorants, Common Squaco Heron, African open-billed Strok, 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, Swamp flycatchers and Yellow backed Weavers are all common and conspicuous.

Numbers of migrants peak in February and March and are nothing short of spectacular with hundreds of thousands of White-winged Terns hovering over the water, millions of common sand Martins and Yellow -wagtails roosting in reed-beds and lesser numbers of Palearctic waders such as the Ringed Plover, Little Stint, Curlew Sandpipers, Common Snipe, Black-tailed Godwit, Marsh, common and Wood sandpipers, Spotted Redshank and common Greenshank feeding along the marshy fringes. A number of national rarities have been recorded from the hippo wallows along the channel including Eurasian Wigeon, Common Teal, Northern Pochard, Mongolian Plover and Jack Snipe.

Birds in Queen Elizabeth

Hundreds of African Skimmers may be seen roosting on sandbars near the entrance to Lake Edward but are migrants from southern tropics and usually present only from December to May. The Kazinga channel may also be viewed from the Katunguru Bridge on the main Mbarara-Kasese road where Pelicans, Terns, Greater Swamp and winged Warblers, Winding and Carruther’s Cisticolas and Papyrus Gonolek may be seen.

Queen Elizabeth has several birding spots where you can find the different bird species including;

Marabigambo Forest

Marabigambo Forest covers a big part of Queen Elizabeth National Park and it is strategically located along the Kicwamba escarpment on the right side of the western rift valley arm in Uganda. As part of your Uganda birding safari adventure, expect to see species like;

  • Little Grebe
  • African Finfoot
  • Red-chested Cuckoo
  • Black Cuckoo
  • African Emerald Cuckoo
  • Yellowbill
  • Black Coucal
  • Blue-breasted Kingfisher
  • Black Bee-eater
  • Blue-throated Roller
  • Barbets
  • Red-throated Wryneck
  • Brown-eared Woodpecker
  • Red-shouldered Cuckoo-shrike
  • Honeyguide Greenbul
  • Blue-shouldered Robin-Chat
  • Dark-capped Warbler
  • Green Crombec
  • Broad-tailed Warbler
  • African Moustached Warbler
  • Croaking Cisticola
  • Black-headed Batis
  • Black-and-white Shrike Flycatcher
  • Chestnut Wattle-eye
  • African Paradise Flycatcher
  • Brown Illadopsis
  • Brubru
  • Marsh Tchagra
  • Sulphur-breasted Bush-shrike
  • Western Black-headed Oriole
  • Black Bishop
  • White-breasted Negrofinch

Kasenyi Area

This Uganda wildlife safari hotspot is a must stop birder’s destination for bird enthusiasts. This area is home to many Africa bird species making it a must-see birding safari destination in Uganda.  As part of your adventure in this open grassy area dominated by savanna, expect to see species like:

  • Palm-nut Vulture
  • Hooded Vulture
  • African White-backed Vulture
  • Ruppell’s Griffon Vulture
  • Lappet-faced Vulture
  • Brown Snake Eagle
  • Wahlberg’s Eagle
  • Bateleur
  • Long-created Eagle
  • Martial Eagle
  • Grey Kestrel
  • African Crake
  • Black-bellied Bustard
  • Temminck’s Courser
  • African Wattled Plover
  • Crowned Plover
  • Senegal Plover
  • Kittlitz’s Plover
  • Rufous napped Lark
  • Flappet Lark
  • White-tailed Lark
  • Brown-backed Srub-Robin
  • Zitting Cisticola
  • Croaking Cisticola
  • Grey-capped Warbler
  • Black-lored Babbler
  • Grey backed Fiscal
  • Black-headed Gonolek
  • Black-crowned Tchagra
  • Fork-tailed Drongo
  • Pin-tailed Whydah

The Mweya Peninsula

This birding species is situated within the Kazinga Channel and Lake Edward. It is also where most tourists prefer spending their night/s while in Queen Elizabeth National Park.  While birding in this peninsula, you will also enjoy fine views of the Rwenzori Mountains in  Rwenzori Mountain National Park where you can view a number of widespread bush species may be seen. Bird species found here include;

  • Raptors
  • African Mourning Dove
  • Diederik Cuckoo
  • Squire-tailed Nightjar
  • Slender-tailed Nightjar
  • Swamp Nightjar
  • Blue-naped Mouse bird
  • Grey-Headed Kingfisher
  • Pygmy Kingfisher
  • Little Bee-eater
  • Nubian Woodpecker
  • Red-capped Lark
  • Martins
  • Swallows
  • Swifts
  • Grey-capped Warbler
  • Swamp Flycatcher
  • Scarlet-chested Sunbird
  • Red-chested Sunbird
  • Black-headed Gonolek
  • Lesser Masked Weaver
  • Slender-billed Weaver
  • Yellow-backed Weaver
  • Pin-tailed Whydah

Katwe Area

In this area, there are several crater lakes and swamps. Here, Lake Munyanyange is favored by various water birds, especially a concentration of Lesser Flamingos and a few Greater Flamingos.  Other species found here include;

  • Eurasian Mash Harrier
  • Montagu’s Harrier
  • Pallid Harrier
  • Avocet
  • Common Greenshank
  • Little Stint
  • Curlew Sandpiper
  • Lesser Black-backed Gull
  • Gull-billed Tern
  • Red-capped Lark
  • Broad-tailed Warbler
  • African Moustached Warbler
  • Croaking Cisticola
  • Southern Red Bishop

Ishasha Sector

Ishasha is one of the biggest birding areas in Queen Elizabeth National Park that offers a lot to birders in Africa, despite being best-known for its tree-climbing lions that attracts several tourists for a short Uganda wildlife safari, Uganda wildlife safaris and many more.  Species to see while here include:

  • Shoebill
  • Palm-nut Vulture
  • Hooded Vulture
  • African White-backed Vulture
  • Ruppell’s Griffon Vulture
  • Lappet-faced Vulture
  • Brown Snake Eagle
  • Wahlberg’s Eagle
  • Bateleur
  • Long-created Eagle
  • Martial Eagle
  • African Crowned Eagle
  • Grey Kestrel
  • Helmeted Guineafowl
  • African Crake
  • Black-bellied Bustard
  • African Wattled Plover
  • Senegal Plover
  • African Green Pigeon
  • Ross’s Turaco
  • Striped Kingfisher
  • Broad-billed Roller
  • Double-toothed Barbet
  • White-headed Barbet
  • Greater Honeyguide
  • Grey Woodpecker
  • White-browed Robin-Chat
  • Brown-backed Scrub-Robin
  • Green Crombec
  • Cisticolas
  • Grey-backed Fiscal
  • Yellow-billed Oxpecker

Lake Kikorongo

Lake Kikorongo is an extension of Lake George and it is a habitat to several water birds or waterfowl. Bird species likely to be spotted here include;

  • Common Squacco Heron
  • Saddle-billed Stork
  • Shoebill
  • Sacred Ibis
  • Knob-billed Duck
  • Black Crake
  • African Jacana
  • Yellow Wagtail
  • Lesser Swamp Warbler
  • Greater Swamp Warbler
  • White-winged Warbler
  • Carruther’s Cisticola
  • Papyrus Gonolek

Katunguru Bridge Area

If you venture to the Katunguru Bridge, where you cross the Kazinga Channel from the Kasese district to the Rubirizi district, be sure to peek beneath the bridge as there is a papyrus swamp hosting species that include:

  • Pink-backed Pelican
  • Gull-billed Tern
  • White-winged Tern
  • Pied Kingfisher
  • Malachite Kingfisher
  • Lesser Swamp Warbler
  • Greater Swamp Warbler
  • White-winged Warbler
  • Carruther’s Cisticola
  • Papyrus Gonolek

 

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