Birding is one of the most exciting adventures travelers to Uganda indulge in in the naturalistic habitats scattered all over the country. Uganda is such a sensational bird-watching destination on the African continent and has up to 34 Important Birding Areas. The bird-watching adventure in Uganda takes travelers through thick tropical rainforests, wetlands and bushes to ensure that they spot the exciting endemics.
The most outstanding bird species are the Albertine rift endemics which are scattered and can be observed in the various natural areas all over the country, especially in the forests and wetlands. Some of the many bird species that can be sighted include violet-eared waxbills, lanner Falcons, palm swifts, red-billed teals, sunbirds, barn outs, martial eagles, vultures, rufous checked nightjars, Abyssinian ground hornbill, black bee-eaters, cinnamons, egrets, hammerkops, African fish eagles, turacos, grey crowned cranes, marabou stocks and secretary birds.
Birding Destinations in Uganda
Uganda has a variety of birding sites across all the regions, the most outstanding birding destinations in the country include;
Mabamba is a prime wetland in Uganda known for the beautiful bird species it hosts. It is renowned for the sightings of the famous shoe bill that excites many birders from all corners of the world. This wetland is located in the surroundings of Lake Victoria in the northwest of Entebbe peninsula. It is a celebrated Ramsar site and hosts about 300 bird species. This wetland is an Important Birding Area made up of papyrus, water lilies and plenty of wetland grasses that are a favorite feeding ground for birds. The birds in the swamps feed on lungfish and worms that they enjoy hunting in the mud. Several birding spots have been developed in the area with state-of-the-art binoculars to help guests watch birds that are both near and far and not miss any exciting species.
Lake Mburo national park.
Lake Mburo National Park is yet another Important Bird watching area in Uganda that cannot be mentioned. It is located in Kiruhura district just about 240 kilometers from Kampala. The nearest town to the park is Mbarara, roughly a 30-minute drive. The National Park is a favorable habitat for the lives of countless bird species. These live in the surroundings of the lake within the National Park which is also a perfect hunting ground for the birds. Numerous birds fly over the lake as they look for fish and other edibles in the nearby bushes and forests. The woodlands in the surroundings of the lake further supplement the hunting grounds and it's here that visitors can get the opportunity to spot some of the birds by just a mere drive through the National Park. These birds inhabit the trees and shrubs in the park. Lake Mburo National Park is famous for the shoebills, secretary birds, scavengers, hadada ibis, African fish eagles, turacos and grey-crowned cranes.
Budongo Forest Reserve is perched in the northwest of Kampala city, it is just adjacent to Murchison Falls National Park and lies in the escarpment in the northeast of Lake Albert. The forest covers an area of about 825 square kilometres that is made up of hardwood trees, shrubs and thick vegetation which provides a favorable habitat for a variety of bird species. By just a mere walk through the trails in the forests, tourists can set their eyes on about 100 species of birds. The canopies of the forest are a good habitat for bird life hosting about 400 Albertine endemic species.
Mabira Forest is another birding site to check out when in Uganda. It is located on the Kampala – Jinja highway in Mukono district. It is home to over 315 bird species that can be seen flying through the beautiful canopies of the trees. Several bird viewing spots have been gazetted in the forest to enhance the birders' experiences and sightings. They are fitted with binoculars to help travelers spot birds that are not only near but also far. It is a favorite spot to view hadada ibis, African darters, hammerkops, African paradise flycatchers, sunbirds, secretary birds, marabou storks and great blue turacos.
Bwindi Impenetrable National Park (Ruhija sector).
Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is not only good for gorilla tracking but also for bird-watching activities. Sensational bird-watching experiences in Bwindi can be obtained in the Ruhija sector. Ruhija sector is one of the four gorilla sectors in Bwindi located in the eastern part of the park. It is home to over 23 endemics which travelers can get the chance to observe when in the thick rainforests of the park. It is an Important Birding Area where travelers can watch over 150 birds in a day. The sector is about a 10-hour and 15-minute drive from Kampala city.
Mgahinga National park.
Mgahinga National Park is located in the southwestern part of Uganda. It is made-up of thick tropical rainforests and lush flora which form a very comfortable habitat for a variety of bird species. It is an Important Birding Area housing about 300 bird species including the lanner Falcons, hammerkops, African fish eagles, turacos, Abyssinian ground hornbill, black bee eaters, cinnamons, egrets, secretary birds, African paradise flycatchers, shoebills and owls. The National Park is popular for its mountainous relief in which birdlife flourishes in both the higher and lower spots of the park.