Bird fanatics love booking Africa safaris because it is the best continent to go to for a birding watching safari. Africa is home to over 2341 bird species, 67% of which are endemic to the continent. These birds are well distributed in different African countries. Birders that have been to the African continent for birding safaris in Uganda, Rwanda, Kenya, Tanzania, South Africa, Zimbabwe and many more have been enchanted by Africa’s amazing birdlife.
Uganda, the pearl of Africa is home to about 1061 bird species. This makes Uganda one of the best bird watching places in Africa with almost half of the continents bird species. 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.
Interested in Forest bird species, visit….
Semuliki National Park
Semuliki National park has a record of 441 bird species. The park is located in Western Uganda in the Albertine Rift Valley. It has riverine, forest and grasslands bird species which can be viewed at any time of the year. It is also home to the Guinea-Congo biome species in its lowland forest. In order to explore well the different bird species in Semuliki National Park Uganda, you require about 3-4 days
Timing: Rain falls year-round and birding is good any time although the peak breeding season is just after the Jan-Feb “dry” Season.
The time required is 3 -4 days depending on your Uganda tour itinerary.
Bird species here include the African piculet, Maxwell’s black weaver, blue-billed malimbe, yellow-throated nicator, black dwarf hornbill, Nkulengu rail, piping hornbill, blue-billed malimbe, yellow-throated cuckoo, dwarf honeyguide, great blue and Ross’s turaco, purple-breasted sunbird, orange weaver, white-crested hornbill, red-billed dwarf hornbill, African piculet and swamp palm bulbul.
Kibale National Park
Kibale National park forest is one of the 10 best bird watching places in Uganda with over 375 bird species. These include 6 that are endemic to the Albertine Rift area. 3 days will get you an enjoy the best in this excellent birding spot with varied habitat and dense vegetation. The Green-breasted pitta in Kibale National Park Forest is one of the 10 highly thought after birds in Uganda and the number one highly sought in Kibale forest. Other birds include the red-chested owlet, purple-breasted sunbird, blue-breasted kingfisher, crowned eagle, little greenbul, black bee-eater, white-naped pigeon, Scaly-breasted illadopsis, yellow-throated nicator, white-headed wood hoopoe, red-headed malimbe, yellow-spotted barbet, dusky-blue flycatcher, grey-throated flycatcher, Grey-winged robin, crested flycatcher, blue-shouldered robin chat, yellow-spotted barbet, black-billed turaco, white-naped pigeon, red-chested flufftail and tiny sunbird.
Bird watching in Budongo forest is manly done at Kaniyo Pabidi found in Murchison Falls National Park, and the Royal Mile and Busingiro areas found south of the park. It lies at the edge of the Albertine Rift valley, protecting the largest natural forest area in East Africa. The forest is perfect for bird watching because it is home to more than 350 bird species, with the most sought-after birds in this area being the Cassin’s spine tail, chestnut-capped flycatcher, Ituri batis, Nahan’s francolin, Black-collared lovebird, brown twinspot, chocolate-backed, blue-breasted and African dwarf kingfishers. The best time you can spend here is about 2-3 days depending on your itinerary.
Lake Mburo National Park
Lake Mburo National park is the smallest Savannah national park in Uganda, easily accessible from Kampala and Entebbe. There are numerous Uganda safari activities in this beautiful park but the core are only two, Uganda wildlife safaris and birding safaris in Uganda, which is one of the major activities. The best bird-watching spots in Lake Mburo are near the swamps at Warukiri and Rwonyo and at the lake. The park is home to 315 bird species and these include the crested francolin, emerald-spotted wood dove, brown parrot, barefaced go-away bird, red-necked spurfowl, common quails, black-billed barbet, greenwood hoopoe, blue-napped mousebird, lilac-breasted roller, African-grey hornbill, Nubian woodpecker, trilling cisticola, bee-eaters and the cheeky bronze-tailed starling and the majestic crowned crane. You also have chances of sighting the rare African finfoot, shoebill, African fish eagle, and malachite and pied kingfishers
Interested in swamp species, visit….
Mabamba Bay Wetland Swamp
Situated on Lake Victoria, the second-largest water body in the world, Mabamba bay swamp is the best Uganda birding safari destination to spot a shoebill. The swamp has been made popular by birders that cannot miss seeing the shoebill stork, bizarre-looking birds. Travellers interested in short bird watching safaris in Uganda normally don’t miss out this Uganda birding destination in their itinerary. In fact, the shoebill is one of the most sought birds in Uganda. This bird is related to the dinosaur. The swamp is easily accessible from Entebbe by road and water and from Kampala by road. There is a lodge close by for people interested in a night over.
Exploring the best of mabamba requires only one day. The period to be here is between September and March because, at this time, there is a lot to see within the wetland as migratory birds arrive from Europe. So many water birds can be found here including the swamp flycatcher, papyrus gonolek, malachite kingfisher, pied kingfisher, black-headed heron, black kite, African open-billed stork, African jacana, lesser jacana, winding cisticola, Veillot’s black weaver, grosbeak weaver, black-headed weaver, yellow-billed duck, white-faced whistling duck, and African marsh harrier.
Interested in savannah bird species, visit….
Queen Elizabeth National Park
Queen Elizabeth National park in South Western Uganda is also one of the 10 best bird watching places in Uganda. Queen Elizabeth National park Uganda is a paradise for a bird watcher with over 600 bird species. These birds are easily seen with your guide during game drives, the boat safari on Kazinga channel, and during the forest, nature walks. The birds include African mourning dove, swamp flycatcher, grey-headed kingfisher, African skimmer, malachite and pied kingfishers, white-winged terns, Grey-capped warbler, collared pratincole, Pin-tailed whydah, martial eagle, Gabon and slender-tailed nightjars, black-headed gonolek, Verreaux’s eagle-owl, sedge warbler, papyrus canary, great white and pink-backed pelicans, African mourning dove and yellow-billed stork, etc. There are also seasonal flamingos at the salt lakes of Katwe and Bunyampaka. It is recommended to take a 2-3 days bird watching safari and on such that you can be able to spot as many as more than half of the 550 species recorded within this park.
Murchison Falls National Park
Murchison Falls National Park is by far one of the best birding destinations in Uganda and Africa at large. You don’t need so many days here, you only require about 4 Days Murchison falls. Murchison Falls National park is the oldest and largest national park in Uganda. The park is named after the strong Murchison falls that you can sight during your Uganda safaris in this park. The Murchison falls are the world’s most powerful waterfalls that form as River Nile forces through a 7-meter gorge.
Murchison Falls Park has over 450 bird species some of which can be seen during game drives, boat safaris and or on guided nature walks. Bird watchers can see a variety bird species; forest species, swamp species, riverine woodland species and savannah species. You should look out for the elusive shoebill, swamp flycatcher, goliath heron, Abyssinian ground hornbill, northern red bishop, red-throated bee-eater, African quail finch, pied, malachite and giant kingfishers.
It is also possible to modify your Birding safari in Uganda or Birding tour in Uganda to feature other Africa safari destinations like Congo, Rwanda, Tanzania, Kenya among the many. Congo safaris or a Congo safari offers you chance enjoy a Congo gorilla safari in Kahuzi Biega National Park to trek lowland gorillas or a Congo gorilla trekking tour in Virunga National Park to trek the famous Mountain gorillas.
Interested in Albertine Endemic Species, visit….
Bwindi Impenetrable National Park
Second, on the list of the 10 best birding safari, Uganda destinations are Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park. Bwindi Impenetrable has been voted as Africa’s best birding spot by the African Bird Club. Out of the 24 Albertine rift bird species, 23 of them are found in Bwindi Forest National Park Uganda. The forest is home to many rare bird species, some only found here, for instance, the African Green Broadbill. 350 bird species stay here and these include the 23 Albertine Rift endemics, 14 of which are not recorded anywhere else in Uganda.
You may not do proper birding in one day, it is however recommended you take 2-3 days on a Uganda birding tour and this will allow you spot as many birds as you want which is every birder’s dream. During this Uganda bird watching tour, look out for the Chapin’s Flycatcher, Shelley’s Crimsonwing, Handsome Francolin, Mountain-masked and Collared Apalis, White-bellied Robin-Chat, Black Billed Turaco, Fraser’s Eagle, Western Bronze-naped Pigeon, Purple-breasted, Blue-Headed and Regal Sunbirds among others. This is also the best destination for a Uganda gorilla trekking safari and both activities can be tailored in a single trip.
Mgahinga Gorilla National Park
Mgahinga Gorilla National Park is the smallest Uganda safaris park popular for Uganda gorilla tours but also a spot not to undermine for birding. It is not only home to mountain gorillas and golden monkeys, but it is also home to about 180 bird species some of which are the Albertine Rift endemics. Bird species here include the Kivu Ground Thrush, Cinnamon Bracken Warbler, White-starred Robin, Rwenzori Batis, Archer’s Robin-Chat, Olive Pigeon, Black-headed Waxbill, Western Green tinker bird, Cape Robin, White-starred Robin, Brown Woodland Warbler, Stripe-breasted tit, Brown-crowned Tchagra and Scarlet-tufted, Greater double-collared Sunbirds. The best time you can spend here is about 2-3 days depending on your itinerary.
Rwenzori Mountains National Park
Rwenzori Mountains National Park is one of the prime bird-watching destinations in Uganda with over 177 bird species which include 19 Albertine Rift endemics. The best time you can spend here is about 2-3 days depending on your itinerary. Bird watching is mostly done while on hikes in the forest zones since this is the highest point and popular Uganda birding tour destination. Birds to look out for here include the Rwenzori Turaco, Long-eared owl, Archers’ robin-chat, Lagden’s bush shrike, Blue-headed and Golden-winged Sunbird, White-starred robin, Slender-billed starling, Cinnamon-chested bee-eater, Bearded vultures, and swifts.
Popular Uganda birding safari packages
1 Day Mabamba swamp excursion
7 Days Birding safari in Uganda
8 Days Uganda Birding safari
14 Days Uganda Primate birding safari
15 Days Uganda birding safari
19 Days Uganda birding safari
21 Days Birding safari in Uganda Africa
Uganda birding safari Tips
Book your Uganda birding Safari with a Uganda tour operator
Planning, of course, involves prior booking especially when you are going to a new country or travelling for the first time. Uganda has different Uganda tour operators online but Prime Uganda Safaris & Tours is the leading Uganda birding safari tour operator in Uganda. Once you start your Uganda tour preparations with them, they ensure all preparations like hotels or your Uganda safari accommodation bookings, transport or 4×4 safari vehicle for hire in Uganda are booked early.
Besides hotels in Uganda and transport, Prime Safaris & Tours Ltd will give you a professional Uganda birding safari tour guide. A Uganda birding safari never gets interesting if you don’t have a knowledgeable safari guide. No matter the self-drive trend nowadays, for a birding safari in Uganda you need a guide to help you get to these Uganda birding safari destinations that reward you with several bird species.
Purchase or carry along with you a Binoculars and Camera
Spotting birds on any safari needs a pair of binoculars to spot them in the air and trees. If you don’t have one, you need to purchase a pair of binoculars of your own which you will be most comfortable with. You will definitely want to capture that moment whether for a Bee-eater or a Weaver so don’t forget to carry your camera. You might think your not skilled but that’s no a reason to leave behind your camera, you need it for identification of the birds. For your camera, pack extra batteries, memory cards and any other camera accessories. To keep your camera safe, carry with you a camera strap, cleaning tools, Digiscoping adapters and any other tools that you need for your kind of camera.
Carry along a Field Guide Book
Either before or when you arrive in Uganda for a Uganda birding tour remember to purchase or rent a field guide book the most recommendable being the Birds of Africa Field Guide. The books have a detailed analysis of over 95% of the recorded bird species in Uganda and increase your scope of what to expect while birding in Uganda.
Carrying a field guide or bird book is essential for any birding safari. This can depend on the number of days your safari is lasting. If you choose to purchase books before you set off always choose the right guides that you are comfortable using, but at times this can become bulky. The other option of purchasing a bird guide book is by getting it in a local store. You can contact your Uganda birding safaris tour operator to check out for you if the guide is available in the local store. More appropriate also is getting help from your birding guide on where to purchase a bird guide book after you have arrived, they are knowledgeable and can be helpful.
The world is going digital and you can also go that way so to avoid carrying bulky stuff, your phone can do it all. You can download the necessary guide book then use your phone as long as your battery will always be charged such that you don’t skip to tick any of the specials you sight.
You will need a suitcase to carry all of your birding safari essentials but then you will also need to carry a field bag. Your field bag is essential to carry your gear no matter where you may go birding.
After booking your Uganda bird watching tour, knowing what to carry on your safari is necessary. What to carry depends on where you are doing the bird watching from either in a tropical rainforest or in the wilderness. If it’s in the tropical forest either in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, Mgahinga Gorilla National Park, Rwenzori Mountains National Park or Semuliki National Park, wearing long-sleeved shirt and trousers is necessary. Wear trekking shoes since you will have to trek the mountain as you do the birding. Carry a sweater and raincoat since the temperatures in the forests are low. Birding in other national parks like Murchison Falls National Park or Queen Elizabeth National Park that are in lower altitude areas require wearing light clothes. Light shoes and a hat for protection from the scorching sun are important. Carry sunglasses and bottled drinking water too. In Kidepo Valley National Park–Africa’s best wilderness, carry light clothes, light shoes and a hat for protection from the scorching sun rays in the wilderness. Pack enough drinking water to take during the birding process.
Above all you should always be comfortable, the clothing that you carry along should fit your trip. Uganda isn’t a very conservative dressing style country and locals may tend to mind their own business. For women, you would love to ensure that everything you buy is culturally sensitive and appropriate. Generally, it’s not culturally appropriate for women to show their thighs, therefore skirts/dresses below the knee or long pants can be your best bet. Even since most of the Uganda birding safari spots are in the forests and jungles then wearing something long also protects your body from bites and sunburns. Clothes should generally be light and with neutral safari colours whether for the ladies or gents since temperatures get high and the cool times of the day are generally mild. Don’t forget the birding hut and the boots.
Birding accessories must fit in your luggage for safety.
Other Things to include on your Birding Safari Uganda list
A birding tour in Uganda takes you to different habitats from tropical jungles to wildernesses so you wouldn’t want to go wrong. During your birding excursion don’t forget to wear appropriate insect repellent and sunscreen depending on the location and climate conditions where you are birding.
Carry along a water bottle to keep you hydrated and also a few snacks. Your birding tour in Uganda tour operator will always make sure there is water in the vehicle but just in case it’s not enough you should carry some water along.
A light jacket can also be fitted in your field bag just in case the rains find you in the field.
Don’t forget the birding hut and the boots.
What to pack for Uganda birding safari trip just got listed for you so get ready and pack right for your trip. Many birding tourists tailor their safaris with Uganda gorilla trekking safaris to Bwindi Impenetrable National Park which is home to 23 out of the 24 Albertine rift endemics. You can also tailor to the other parks like Queen Elizabeth National Park or even continue for a Rwanda safari.
These tips apply for all of the other birding safaris in East Africa especially Tanzania birding safari and Rwanda birding tours or birding safari Rwanda.
Best Time to go for a Uganda Birding Safari
Bird watching can be done all year round however, the best Uganda tour season for a birding safari Uganda is during the dry season in the months of January to March when the tropical forests are accessible and the not slippery for hiking. The breeding season, however, is during the month of June and this is when the birds are very colourful.
Other Popular Uganda Safari Packages
when you look at a sample of our trip advisor reviews, a good number of tourists have a lot of adventure stories to tell about their experiences during their Uganda gorilla safaris. We are also experts in tailoring combined Africa safaris, therefore, you can supplement your Africa tour with other another country tour. Have a look at the following;