10 best bird watching places in Uganda / 10 best places for bird watching safaris in Uganda / Uganda birding safaris / Birding in Uganda
Uganda, the pearl of Africa is located in East Africa and is home to 1080 bird species. This makes Uganda one of the best bird watching places in Africa. The 10 best bird watching places in Uganda will be discussed one by one. The birds are found in different habitats that include swamps, lakes, mountains, forests and farms. The country has an equatorial climate and has the Albertine Rift Valley in the Western part. Every bird watcher should not miss this bird’s paradise.
Below are the 10 best bird watching places in Uganda
- Mabamba Bay Wetland
Mabamba bay swamp is located in Lake Victoria, the second largest water body in world in Entebbe. The swamp is popular because it is one place where birders and any other interested people cannot miss the seeing the shoebill stork, a bizarre looking birds. Every travellers on our bird watching safaris who is interested in seeing this bird which is related to the dinnasaur should include a day at Mabamba wetland swamp. The swamp is easy accessible from Enebbe by road and water and from Kampala by road. There is a lodge close by for people interested in a night over.
The swamp is only home to the Shoebill stork, so many water birds can be found here. These include 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.
- Bwindi Impenetrable National Park
Second on the list of the 10 best bird watching places in Uganda is Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park. Bwindi Impenetrable is a bird watching haven. It has been voted as Africa’s best birding spot by African Bird Club. The forest is home to many rare bird species, some only found here like 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.
When on guided bird watching tours in Bwindi forest, look out for 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.
- Murchison Falls National Park
And 3rd of the best 10 best bird watching places in Uganda is Murchison Falls National Park. Murchison Falls National park is the oldest and largest national park in Uganda. The park is named after the strong Murchison falls which can be seen on Uganda safaris. The Murchison falls are the world’s most powerful waterfalls that form as River Nile forces through a 7 meter gorge.
Murchison Falls National 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.
- 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 is 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 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.
- Mgahinga Gorilla National Park
Mgahinga Gorilla National Park could not miss on the list of the 10 best bird watching places in Uganda. This smallest park in Uganda should not be under estimated. It is not only home to mountain gorillas and golden monkeys, but it is also home to about 180 bird species some which are the Albertine Rift endemics.
The park borders Rwanda and Congo and offers great bird watching opportunities along the gorge trail, bamboo trail and farm/community trail. Bird species here include 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.
- 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 views anytime of the year. It is also home to the Guinea-Congo biome species in its lowland forest. Bird species here inclue 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– One of the 10 best bird watching places in Uganda
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. It is an excellent birding spot with varied habitat and dense vegetation.
The green-breasted pitta in Kibale National 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.
- Rwenzori Mountains National Park
Rwenzori Mountains National park is located in Western Uganda and is one of the prime bird watching destinations in Uganfa, with over 177 bird species which include 19 Albertine Rift endemics. The Rwenzori Mountains have snow-capped peaks whose highest point is 5,110 meters above sea level.
Bird watching is mostly done while on hikes in the forest zones. Birds to look out for are 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.
- Lake Mburo National Park
Lake Mburo National park is the smallest Savannah national park in Uganda, easily accessible from Kampala and Entebbe. There are many activities in this beautiful park and among them is bird watching, 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
- Budongo Forest
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.
Best time for bird watching in Uganda.
Bird watching in Uganda can be done throughout the year. We do have great and knowledgeable birding guides who are always eager to show the different bird species the country has got.
If you are interested in any of the bird our bird watching safaris, get in touch. We can also customize a bird watching safari according to your interests
Suggested bird watching itineraries
1 day bird watching at Mabamba wetland swamp