Bird Watching in Mpanga Forest

Forests are one of the important birding sites that Uganda has and Mpanga Forest is arguably an impressive and secluded destination any birder should not miss exploring. This site is situated within Mpigi District, at approximately 36 kilometers south-west of Kampala along the Kampala – Masaka Highway, making it a perfect birding stop before proceeding to your final destination much as it can also be visited as an independent destination.

This small patch of Tropical rain forest was established as a scientific Research Center extends for only 453 hectares but is a wonderful getaway destination for nature enthusiasts. Most of the bird species can be spotted within the forest edge in during flight, whereby after the tourists’ center, you will enter the forest through the clear walking trail.

Unbelievably, such a small site offers shelter to over 300 species of birds and its close proximity to Kampala makes it every birder’s must-visit area to spot several bird species.

Top on the list of bird species are

  • the fire-crested Alethe
  • black-headed heron
  • Tawny-flanked Prinia,
  • Red-headed Malimbe
  • Grey-headed Negrofinches
  • Speckled mousebird,
  • Pin-tailed Whydah,
  • Shining-blue kingfisher,
  • Superb sunbird,
  • African Shrike-flycatcher
  • Bronze Mannikin
  • Black-and-white-casqued hornbill
  • Grey-headed Sparrow
  • African Pied Wagtail,
  • Scarlet-chested sunbird
  • African green-pigeon
  • Winding Cisticola,
  • White-breasted Negrofinches
  • Ruppell’s Long-tailed Starling
  • Black and White Casqued hornbills,
  • White-breasted Negrofinches
  • Red-chested cuckoo
  • Hadada ibis,
  • Black-and-white shrike-flycatcher
  • Narina Trogon
  • Ruppell’s Long-tailed Starling,
  • Throated-brown Sunbirds,
  • Yellow-throated Tinkerbird,
  • Yellow-throated longclaw,
  • Woodland kingfisher,
  • Bronze sunbird,
  • Blue-breasted Kingfisher,
  • Green-headed Sunbird,
  • Yellow-fronted Canary
  • White-spotted Flufftail
  • Cattle egrets,
  • Compact weaver,
  • African pied hornbill
  • Fire-crested Alethe,
  • Brown-capped weaver
  • Yellow-fronted Tinkerbird
  • African Palm Swift,
  • Black cuckoo
  • African green Pigeon
  • Purple starling
  • Lesser striped Swallow
  • Western Nicator
  • White-rumped Swift
  • Weyns’s weaver
  • Great blue Turaco
  • Purple heron,
  • Crested Guinea Fowl
  • Pied Kingfisher
  • Palmnut Vulture,
  • Yellow-crested Woodpecker
  • Lizard Buzzard
  • Superb Sunbirds,
  • Common Bulbul,
  • Collared sunbirds
  • White-headed sawing
  • Egyptian Goose,
  • Little Greenbul,
  • Grey parrot,
  • Long-tailed Cormorant
  • Copper sunbird,
  • Red-eyed dove
  • Variable sunbird,
  • Black-headed weaver
  • Splendid starling
  • Red-tailed Bristilebill
  • African harrier-hawk
  • Black kite,
  • Crowned hornbill
  • Sacred Ibis

The well-maintained birding trails pass through the entire length of the forest and ends at a water stream that is a haven to the rare shoebill storks and offers shelter to numerous aquatic bird species. Surprisingly, it lasts only three hours to participate in the activity through the whole trail and will reward birders with more than 100 species of birds.  Due to the dense vegetation, you will need a local guide who is not only conversant with the area but also know the resident species in the forest as well as their calls.

On top of bird species, this Forest is a home to several mammals such as pangolins, banded mongoose, squirrels, primates including the bush babies, Pottos, black and white colobus monkeys, vervet monkeys and the red-tailed monkeys, 97 species of butterflies, 500 tree species and shrubs as well as over 112 species of moths. This eco-tourism site has clean cottages as well as well maintained Campsites for tourists’ own camping.

How to reach Mpanga Forest

Mpanga Forest can easily be accessed through public means by using mini-buses heading to Mpigi. You can stop at the signpost of Mpanga Eco-tourism site and proceed for only 1 kilometer from this signage on a dirt road to the forest.