Home to over 1,050 bird species, Uganda is a top bird-watching destination in Africa. Bird habitats range from forests, swamps and agricultural lands, to lakes and savannahs.
Our Top Birding Spots in Uganda
- Mabamba Bay
- Murchison Falls National Park
- Budongo Forest
- Lake Mburo National Park
- Queen Elizabeth National Park
- Rwenzori Mountains National Park
- Kibale Forest National Park
- Semuliki National Park
Mabamba Bay Wetland, Lake Victoria, Entebbe
The elusive shoebill can be seen in the Mabamba bay area. The Lake Victoria area (second largest freshwater body in the world) is home to a number of other bird species 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 and African marsh harrier.
Murchison Falls National Park
Uganda’s oldest National Park is home to over 450 bird species. Murchison Falls is an awesome choice because you can combine a game drive or boat safari (on the Nile) with bird watching on the same African safari.
While on your game drive in Murchison Falls National Park, try to catch a glimpse of 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.
While to track the chimpanzees in this forest, especially in Kaniyo Pabidi, the Royal Mile and Busingiro areas of the forest, you may be able to see some of the rarest species this side of the continent. Budongo Forest lies at the edge of the Albertine Rift valley, protecting the largest natural forest area in East Africa. This montane ecosystem is home to more than 350 bird species, with the most sought-after birds in this area being the Cassin’s spinetail, chestnut-capped flycatcher, Ituri batis, Nahan’s francolin, Black-collared lovebird, brown twinspot, chocolate-backed, blue-breasted and African dwarf kingfishers.
Lake Mburo National Park
Near the swamps at Warukiri and Rwonyo are the best birding spots in Lake Mburo National Park. Home to 315 bird species, Lake Mburo NP showcases the Blue-naped mousebird, lilac-breasted roller, African-grey hornbill, Nubian woodpecker, trilling cisticola, bee-eaters, crested francolin, emerald-spotted wood dove, brown parrot, barefaced go-away bird, red-necked spurfowl, common quails, black-billed barbet, greenwood hoopoe, 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 while on a boat safari on Lake Mburo.
Queen Elizabeth National Park
Queen Elizabeth National Park boasts of housing over 600 bird species and the birds are kind of too easy to spot. While on a game drive or boat safari in the park, expect to see the African mourning dove, swamp flycatcher, grey-headed kingfisher, Grey-capped warbler, collared pratincole, Pin-tailed whydah, African skimmer, malachite and pied kingfishers, white-winged terns, 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. If you’re lucky, you may see the flamingos at the salt lakes of Katwe and Bunyampaka.
Rwenzori Mountains National Park
The Rwenzori Mountains houses over 177 bird species, including 19 Albertine Rift endemics. Hike through the Rwenzori forest areas to have the best bird watching opportunities. You may easily spot 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.
Bwindi Impenetrable Forest
Bwindi‘s impenetrable forest is Africa’s number one birding spot. This massive tropical rain forest is home to about 350 species of birds, including 23 Albertine Rift endemics with 14 of them not recorded seen anywhere else in the country.
In Bwindi, you can easily spot Fraser’s eagle, western bronze-naped pigeon, African green broadbill, Chapin’s flycatcher, Shelley’s Crimsonwing, handsome francolin, mountain-masked and collared Apalis, white-bellied robin chat, black-billed turaco, purple-breasted, blue-headed and regal sunbirds. Bwindi Forest has easy to access and well-maintained bird watching trails that will keep you hiking.
Kibale National Park
The number one sought after bird in the Kibale Forest is the green-breasted pitta. Other bird species to look out for include the little greenbul, black bee-eater, white-naped pigeon, Scaly-breasted illadopsis, yellow-throated nicator, red-chested owlet, purple-breasted sunbird, blue-breasted kingfisher, crowned eagle, 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.
Semuliki National Park
Located in western Uganda in the Albertine Rift valley, Semuliki National Park is home to 441 species. Bird species to easily watch out for include the Nkulengu rail, piping hornbill, blue-billed malimbe, yellow-throated cuckoo, African piculet, Maxwell’s black weaver, blue-billed malimbe, yellow-throated nicator, black dwarf hornbill, 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.
Mgahinga National Park
Located in the southern part of Uganda, bordering Rwanda and DRC, Mgahinga National Park is home to about 180 bird species with some of the spectacular Albertine Rift endemics.
The best bird watching in Mgahinga is done along the gorge trail, bamboo trail and farm/community trail. The easily seen bird species in Mgahinga include the Cape robin, white-starred robin, brown woodland warbler, stripe-breasted tit, Kivu ground thrush, cinnamon bracken warbler, white-starred robin, Rwenzori batis, Archer’s robin chat, olive pigeon, black-headed waxbill, western green tinkerbird, brown-crowned tchagra and scarlet-tufted, greater Double-collared sunbirds.
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