Birding in Uganda
Uganda is one of the top birding destinations in Africa because of its year-round pleasant temperature, many water sources, and diverse forest cover. Throughout the year, several bird species fly in from all over the world. Over 1,080 bird species have been documented in Uganda. Bird viewing is possible in Uganda's many national parks, and woodlands, as well as on boat cruises along the banks of different bodies of water around the country. Our Uganda birding safaris are carefully arranged to provide birding lovers with an unforgettable bird-viewing experience in Uganda.
What is the best time to go bird-watching in Uganda?
Birding is done all year in Uganda since most birds in Uganda are non-migratory. While arranging a birding excursion, the weather is an important thing to consider. Uganda has two seasons: the dry and wet seasons. During the wet season, the roads linking different birding hotspots and hiking forest paths become slick and muddy, affecting visitor movements and thus interfering with birding time and overall enjoyment of the safari.
The optimum time to go birding in Uganda is from late May to September. Uganda experiences less rain during this time period and food is in plenty. May and June are prime months for nesting in Bwindi Impenetrable and Mgahinga Gorilla National Parks, both of which are important habitats for Albertine Rift endemics. From April to May, Uganda experiences the heaviest rain, and many safari activities are impacted.
Top birding destinations in Uganda
Mabamba Wetland is located on the fringes of Lake Victoria and is one of the few areas where the endangered Shoebill Stork is seen. This bird is one of the most sought-after species in Uganda. Mabamba's close proximity to Lake Victoria creates ideal circumstances for birds, particularly species that prefer to reside near water. A canoe ride through Mabamba Wetland is an excellent opportunity to see the plentiful bird species including the Papyrus Gonolex, Malachite Kingfisher, African Open-billed Stork, Pied Kingfisher, Swamp Flycatcher, Black-headed Heron, Black Kite, and African Marsh Harrier.
Murchison Falls National Park
Murchison Falls National Park is Uganda's biggest National Park and is named after the massive Murchison Falls, where the River Nile is squeezed down a tiny 8-meter-wide valley before tumbling 45 meters downstream, producing one of the world's most stunning waterfalls. Murchison Falls National Park is home to over 450 bird species. These birds are best observed on a wildlife game drive in the park or on a boat excursion to the bottom of Murchison Falls. Among the various bird species found at Murchison Falls include; Goliath Heron, Northern Red Bishop, Swamp Flycatcher, Red-throated Bee Eater, Abyssinian Ground Horn Bill, African Quail Finch, and Giant Kingfishers.
Bwindi Impenetrable National Park
Although Bwindi forest is famous for gorilla trekking, bird viewing comes in second. This is due to the abundance and variety of rare and endemic birds. This Bwindi is home to around 350 bird species, including the Black-billed Turaco, White-bellied Robin Chat, Chapin's Flycatcher, Handsome Francolin, African Green Broadbill, Fraser's Eagle, Collared Apalis, among others. Birding in Bwindi is best done in the dry months of June to September and December to January. The forest receives less rainfall and the hikes are dry.
Mgahinga Gorilla National Park
Mgahinga Gorilla National Park, located in southern Uganda, is home to over 180 bird species. In addition to birding, gorilla trekking and hiking are the other activities done here. The bird species in Mgahinga Gorilla National Park are; the Brown Woodland Warbler, White-starred Robin, White-starred Robin, Cape Robin, Greater Double-collared Sunbirds, Cinnamon Bracken Warbler, Rwenzori Batis, Archer's Robin-Chat, and many more.
Kibale Forest National Park
Kibale Forest National Park, with over 375 bird species, is one of Uganda's greatest bird-viewing places. Although Chimpanzee trekking is the primary activity done in the forest, the tropical forest is home to different and rare bird species. Kibale Forest National Park’s bird species include; the Red-chested Owlet, Grey-throated Flycatcher, Blue-breasted Kingfisher, Dusky-blue Flycatcher, Purple-breasted Sunbird, Black Bee-eater, Little Greenbul, Crowned Eagle, and White-naped Pigeon. Kibale is also known as the primate capital of the world because of the 13 primate species in the forest.
Queen Elizabeth National Park
Queen Elizabeth National Park is one of Uganda's most visited National Parks. It is home to a diverse range of animal and bird species. The park has over 600 bird species and is one of the best destinations for birdwatching. The majority of these bird species are seen on games drive in the park or on a boat cruise on the Kazinga Channel. Black-headed Gonolek, Swamp Flycatcher, Martial Eagle, Grey-capped Warbler, Malachite Kingfisher, Pied Kingfisher, African Skimmer, Verreaux's Eagle-owl, White-winged Terns, Grey-headed Kingfisher, Collared Pratincole, Sedge Warbler, Slender-tailed Nightjars are some of the bird species found in Queen Elizabeth National Park
Lake Mburo National Park
Lake Mburo National Park is Uganda’s smallest savanna park. In addition to the big herds of Zebra and impala, Lake Mburo National Park is home to over 351 bird species, making it one of Uganda's top ten birding destinations. The park is the only place in Uganda where you can go bird-watching while on a horseback safari. Nubian Woodpecker, Bee-eaters, Crested Francolin, Emerald-spotted Wood Dove, Brown Parrot, Cheeky Bronze-tailed Starling, African Fish Eagle, Trilling Cisticola, Red-necked Spurfowl, and more bird species can be spotted in the park.
Semuliki National Park
Semuliki National Park is located in Western Uganda's Albertine Rift Valley and is one of Uganda's top birding destinations. The riverine woodland of Semuliki is home to 441 bird species, including Blue-billed Malimbe, Piping Hornbill, Maxwell's Black Weaver, Yellow-throated Nicator, Nkulengu Rail, Yellow-throated Cuckoo, Black Dwarf Hornbill, Great Blue Turaco, Dwarf Honeyguide, and Purple-breasted Sunbird.
The Budongo Forest
Budongo Forest is located in Murchison Falls National Park at the edge of the Albertine rift. Although Chimpanzee trekking is the main activity done here, bird watching is another popular safari activity. The forest is home to over 350 bird species. Among the bird species found in Budongo Forest are the Blue-breasted Kingfisher, Cassin's Spine Tail, African Dwarf Kingfisher, Ituri Batis, Chestnut-capped Flycatcher and Nahan's Francolin.
Rwenzori Mountain National Park
Rwenzori Mountains National Park is located in Western Uganda and is home to over 177 bird species. The majority of these birds can be seen as you embark on hikes on the mountain. Rwenzori Turaco, Lagden's Bush Shrike, Golden-winged Sunbird, Blue-headed Sunbird, Long-eared Owl, White-starred Robin, Archers' Robin-chat, Slender-billed Starling, and other bird species are be found in Rwenzori Mountains National Park.