Uganda Birding Safaris
Uganda ranks among the top most attractive destination in the world for bird watchers. This can be attributed to the many habitats where the birdshave found safe heavens to reproduce. These include; forests, wetlands, lakes and rivers, wood lands, plantations, Savannah, trees and buildings scattered around city centers. Birdwatching in Uganda offers you a glamorous varieties of birds to see, only limited by your ability to find them.
There are over 1010 recorded species excluding the migratory birds from Europe, North Africa and the Americas. The key attribute to the wide varieties of birds found in Uganda is attributed to the abundant food and water supply. This is uncommon of other regions that often have harsh weather conditions which leads to the migrations of the birds. Uganda’s tropical climate is also another major factor favoring the large species of birds. The birds can easily nest anywhere because of the good weather conditions all year round.
Where to go Birdwatching in Uganda
The rain forests of Western Uganda are an important ecological “heaven” for these birds. These forests include; Semliki, Maramagambo, Budongo Forest, Kibale Forest and Bwindi Forest. However, Kibale Forest National Park is the number one spot for the bird lovers. The nearby Bigodi swamp is also a pick with so many varieties.
So for the bird lovers, visit Queen Elizabeth National Park- with over 600 recorded species, Entebbe (water and forest birds), Lake Mburo (water and acacia associated birds). Visit Murchison falls National Park which has the rare shoe-bill stock, and the many species.
Common Bird Species and Locations
Many of these birds are almost in all eco systems around the country include;Ostrich, which is the World’s largest bird. This is only found in Kidepo Valley National Park. The Goliath heron, Saddle billed stork commonly seen Murchison Falls NP. You will see the Hamerkop, the bird with the largest nest commonly sited in both Queen Elizabeth and Murchison Falls National Parks.
Pelicans commonly found in Kazinga Channel in Queen Elizabeth National Park. The Marabou stork, common in rural and urban Environments, Flamingos, pink-white algae eaters commonly seen large numbers around crater lakes. African Fish Eagle, grey snake-eating bird, Africa Jacana are also common in most wetlands in Uganda. You will also see the Helmeted guinea fowl, African emerald cuckoo, Ross’s turacco, Great blue turaco, Pied Kingfisher, Giant Kingfisher, Malachite Kingfisher, Black and White Casqued hornbill, Jackson’s francolin, African skimmer, Papyrus gonolek, African pied hornbill, Chocolate-backed kingfisher, Chocolate-backed kingfisher, Red-throated bee-eater; commonly seen in Lake Albert and the Nile below Murchison falls, white headed wood hoope, African pied hornbill just to mention a few.
Birding in Uganda is quite unique as one can easily have a package containing birding, wildlife and panoramic viewing all at one cost. However, birding requires specialist guides which can attract a higher a fee. But, it will be worth the experience you get.
Kibale Forest National Park.
In Uganda the top birding spots include Kibale forest national park and the surrounding Bigodi swamps, which is a favorite for many. It has got over 350 bird species including; great blue turaco, African fish eagle, swallow- tailed bee eater, hamerkop black-headed heron, goliath heron. You will spot all these birds in the forest and swamps around Kibale National Park.
Queen Elizabeth National Park
Queen Elizabeth National Park has over 600 bird species and you expect to see. Here, you will see the African Fish Eagle, grey snake-eating bird, Africa Jacana. These are also common in most wetlands in Uganda. More birds include; Helmeted guinea fowl, African emerald cuckoo, Ross’s turacco, Great blue turaco, Pied Kingfisher, Giant Kingfisher, Malachite Kingfisher, Black and white casqued hornbill, Jackson’s francolin, African skimmer, Papyrus gonolek, African pied hornbill, Chocolate-backed kingfisher, Chocolate-backed kingfisher, Red-throated bee-eater. You will see all these birds during game drives and on the boat cruise on Kazinga channel.
Murchison Falls National Park
Murchison falls National Park has similar birds as QENP however, one bird stands out of them all, the rare “shoebill storkk”. Its appearance relates to the dinosaurs which roamed the earth in got extinct millions of years ago. The Shoebill Stork prefers remote extensive permanent swampy areas. Don’t miss seeing the Goliath heron while on your birdwatching Uganda safari. You will spot this one while on the boat cruise over the Nile.
All in all, you should not miss out a birdwatching experience in Uganda as you visit most of the protected areas and open spaces. Some of these include gardens, woodlands, bushes, along water bodies, forest reserves etc. Birding needs patience and perseverance and it can take days for one to achieve his or her set targets.