Birding Safaris

Uganda’s Bwindi forest is Africa’s best birding safari spot

By June 13, 2018 No Comments
Bwindi forest in the mist

                                                                    The forest in the mist- Bwindi forest

Bwindi impenetrable forest was ranked the best birding spot by Africa bird club, the leading organization concerned with the conservation and study of Africa’s birds. Bwindi impenetrable forest area is  conserved and known as Bwindi impenetrable National Park. This park is well known for the thrilling Uganda gorilla safaris since its home to the biggest number of the rare mountain gorillas, the other three national parks are  found in the Virunga massif.

Bwindi impenetrable forest is located in the southwestern part of Uganda near Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo and best described as the forest in the mist.  The forest is placed in the diverse Kigezi area surrounded by rolling hills and beautiful scenery that gets tourists on Uganda safaris wowed. This is the oldest and most biologically diverse rain-forest in East Africa with a diverse number of trees, plants, butterflies, wildlife and birds.

The altitude 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 alone is not reason for the 350-bird species including 23 out of the 24 Albertine rift endemics and 14 not recorded anywhere else in Uganda. Bwindi impenetrable National Park covers 331sqkm(128sqmi) making it the largest forest area in East Africa. Bwindi impenetrable national park with a variety of rare bird species is easily accessible for birding safaris in Uganda with very good tarmac roads 478.8km from Kampala-Uganda’s capital.

Cinnamon-Chested Bee-Eater

                 Cinnamon-chested-Bee-eater

Bwindi impenetrable national park offers the best 350 montane/mountain forest bird species for 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 Albertine rift endemics (90% of all Albertine rift endemics) which include;

 

 

 

 

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, Collard 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.

Olive bellied sunbird

  olive bellied sunbird

The other bird species always sighted by birders during Uganda birding safaris include 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 on birding tours in Uganda’s Bwindi Impenetrable forest include the migratory birds like the black kites that are present from November-April.

Best experiences are achieved when birding is done in the well-maintained trails of Buhoma waterfall trail, the bamboo zones, Mubwindi swamp trail in Ruhija section, the Kashasha river valley and Ivy river trails within the thick Bwindi impenetrable forest.

The best time of the year for birding in Bwindi forest is during the months of June -August and December to February when the trails are not slippery and photography is easier. The best time of the day to go through the trails for bird watching is during the morning hours.

 The big bird numbers within the densely Afro montane tropical forest, where plain and mountain forests meet attests to Uganda’s Bwindi forest as Africa’s best birding spot.

 

 

 

 

 

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