Birding or bird watching is one of the trending Africa safari activities in search of the savannah grasslands, forest and waterbird species throughout the continent. Many passionate birders wonder why they should opt to go birding in Uganda out of all the continent countries and here is why; With about 1,073 bird species Uganda is a prime birding destination. A country where you can’t miss to see a bird in every Kilometer of your safari. The beautiful birds are savanna, forest, water, intra-Afro migrant and Euro-Asian migrant(Palearctic) species forming almost 50% of Africa’s bird species and 11% of the bird species in the world. With these numbers with coverable square kilometres in a single safari why not take a Uganda birding safari.
The varied number of bird species means many birds in every kilometre compared to other countries in Africa. 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. On a birding safari in Uganda expect to see several bird species inclusive of which are Ostriches, Pelicans, Cormorants, Darters, Turacos, Cuckoos, Kingfishers, Bee-eaters, Hoopoes, Hornbills, Herons, Storks, Shoebill and many more.
The variety in bird species isn’t just coincidental but then the transitional position of the country offers a variety in habitats. Uganda is transitionally positioned between the East African savanna, the West African rainforest and the semi-desert of the north. The altitudinal variation of the forest ranging between 1,190-2,600m on both mountain and lowland areas gives a variety of habitat for different bird species. This offers habitat ranging from water bodies like Lakes, Rivers, deep valleys, African dense forests, marshes and swamps to open savannah.
Within the Albertine rift, are 24 endemics and part of the sought-after species by Uganda bird watching safari tourists. Some of these include the Rwenzori Turaco, Handsome Francolin, Willard’s sooty Boubou, Dwarf Honeyguide, Black-faced Apalis, Regal Sunbird, Strange Weaver and many more unique bird species.
How to best plan for a Uganda bird watching safari this year
Birding Uganda safari tours have been so popular of recent because of the easily seen birds. Planning for a birding safari in Uganda requires prior preparations but even before packing your bags remember to choose the best birding spots. Every single national park and most of the areas in Uganda have birds but choosing the heavily bird-filled areas is necessary.
Before going for a birding safari always familiarize yourself with the bird species in this area by buying a bird guide book and reading through to know which birds you will actually find. Learn how to differentiate them by sound or colour.
After booking your bird watching tour in Uganda, 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.
What to pack when Planning for a birding safari in Uganda this year
What to wear or carry depends on where birding is going to be done;
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 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.
In any birding spot, remember to carry the best pair of binoculars, birding guide book and book your safari with the best birding Uganda tour operators.
Best time for birding in Uganda
Bird watching can be done all year round however, the best season for a Uganda birding trip 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.
Why do Tourists Flock Uganda for bird-watching safaris
Uganda was ranked to have the best birding spot and this was Bwindi Impenetrable National Park Uganda. The park offers the best 350 montane-forest (mountain forest) bird species seen on Uganda birding tours and still home to the globally threatened bird species such as the African Green Broadbill and the Shelley’s Crimson-wing. The park also hosts 23 out of the 24 Albertine rift endemics (90% of all Albertine rift endemics) and these are;
The Handsome Francolin, Dwarf Honeyguide, Archer’s Robin-chat, Dusky Crimson-wing, Rwenzori Batis, Regal Sunbird, Yellow-eyed Black Flycatcher, Strange Weaver, Blue-headed Sunbird, Purple-breasted sunbird, Red-faced Woodland Warbler, Grauer’s Warbler, Grauer’s Rush Warbler, Collared Apalis, Rwenzori Turaco, Montane Masked Apalis, Red-throated Alethe, Stripe-breasted Tit, Shelley’s Crimson-wing, African Green Broadbill, Chapin’s flycatcher, Rwenzori Nightjar and Short-tailed Warbler.
The sought-after bird species by tourists on birding trips in Uganda include the elusive shoebill stork that is best sighted at Mabamba bay wetland at the edge of Lake Victoria-the world’s largest continental lake. The other bird species include the country’s endemic (it’s found only in Uganda) known as Fox’s weaver that can be sighted in Eastern Uganda wetland marshes in the vicinity of Lake Opeta and Lake Bisina.
Uganda welcomes the Euro-Asian migrant(Palearctic) birds like the white-winged terns and Teals.
Bird species to look out for while birding in Uganda;
The Black-billed Turaco, Giant kingfisher, Cinnamon–chested bee-eater, African green pigeon, African harrier hawk, Evergreen Warbler, Chestnut-throated Apalis, Coppery Sunbird, Crowned Hornbill, Dark-backed Weaver, Dusky Crested Flycatcher, Dusky Long-tailed Cuckoo, Dusky Tit, Buff-throated Apalis, African Pitta, Cabanis’s Greenbul, Cardinal Woodpecker, Cassin’s Hawk-Eagle, Cassin’s Honeybird, Chestnut Wattle-eye, Collared Sunbird, Common Bulbul, Compact Weaver, White-breasted Negrofinch, Grey-headed Sparrow, Grey-throated Barbet, Hairy-breasted Barbet, Honeyguide Greenbul, Black bee-catcher, Kivu ground Thrush, crowned hawk-eagle, mountain buzzard, rufous-chested sparrow hawk, spotted eagle owl, long-crested eagle, augur buzzard and very many more forest bird species.
Other bird species seen while birding in Uganda’s Bwindi Impenetrable forest include the migratory birds like the black kites that are present from November-April.
The country has for long been the enthusiast birders leading destination because it offers easy access to several bird-rich habitats for tourists who choose to go birding in Uganda within its boundaries.
Never the less can you only go birding in the country since there a possibility of tailoring birding and a Uganda gorilla trekking safari to Bwindi Impenetrable National Park or Mgahinga Gorilla National Park adjacent to the gorilla safari Rwanda destination of Volcanoes National Park. Many also opt to tailor their safaris with a wildlife safari in Uganda to any of the national parks close to the birding areas.
It is also wise you supplement your birding safari Uganda on your Africa tour with a Uganda wildlife tour, a Uganda gorilla tour or short Uganda gorilla safari, a Uganda chimpanzee trekking safari, Uganda wildlife safaris, Uganda gorilla safaris, Uganda chimpanzee trekking safaris, Uganda hiking safaris, Uganda Rwanda cycling safaris, a Jinja city tour or 1 Day Jinja city tour, a Kampala city tour or a 1-day Kampala city excursion, a Uganda cycling safari depending on your choice of safari in Uganda.
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.
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