Top 5 Exquisite Birding Spots in Uganda

The Pearl of Africa provides shelter to over 1060 species of birds and it is ranked among the richest destinations in the world in terms of bird diversity. Uganda’s bird check list is more than half the total species recorded in Africa and has more birds per square kilometer than any other country on the African continent. The birds of Uganda can be found in a range of habitats such as the forests, swamps, agricultural lands, lakes, savannah and alpine regions.

Mabamba Wetlands

Mabamba bay wetland is one of the most remarkable and spectacular sites for bird watching in Uganda and it is among the wetlands of international importance. Other than Murchison falls national park, Mabamba bay is the only place to spot the elusive shoebill at a close range any time of the day. It is one of the undisputed havens for the migrant Blue swallow with over 100 individuals recorded every year and this place boasts up to 260 species.

Mabamba bay also provides shelter to other four globally threatened species and other birds of regional significance such as the pallid harrier, papyrus Gonolek, White winged warbler and the blue swallow. The surveys have confirmed the presence of flocks of other species especially migrants such as gull-billed terns, whiskered terns, white winged black terns and residents such as grey headed gulls.

Other captivating species found in the marsh include good numbers of Goliath herons, spur winged, pygmy geese, malachite kingfisher, and papyrus canary, northern brown Throated weaver, Carruther’s Cisticola and a number of other birds.

Murchison Falls National Park

Murchison falls national park is the largest and one of oldest national parks in Uganda and it is home to the strongest water falls in the world where the mighty river Nile explodes through a narrow gorge and flows down to become a calm river whose banks are occupied with hippos, crocodiles, waterbucks and buffaloes. Its flora is characterized by the savannah, riverine forest and woodland.

The popular Murchison Falls National Park has a number of unique bird species and every bird lover should visit this park because the birding experience in Murchison falls is deeply enhanced by the abundant wildlife and scenic landscape. The legendary shoebill is one of the most iconic birds in the park and this is the only park where one is certain of seeing the bird, which is regularly recorded along the Albert Nile, especially at the delta and amidst islands in the river.

Murchison falls national park is important for the Sudan-guinea biomes species with 14 out of 22 species recorded in the park and in this park travelers can view the 4 to 12 lake Victoria species, 11 of 44 guinea Congo forest species, 6 of 86 afro-tropical highland species and 3 of 32 Somalia Masai biome species and sometimes when the flow of the Nile is low, African skimmers gather on sand banks a few meters below the falls.

Lake Mburo National Park

Birding in Lake Mburo national park. Uganda’s smallest national park is covered by tall grass savanna dotted with Acacia and euphorbia trees. Lake Mburo national park has an extensive area of wetlands, harbors several species of mammals and a great bird population.

Travelers enjoy birding while driving through the park and some of the bird species to encounter in Lake Mburo national park include crested francolin, red necked spurfowl, Nubian woodpecker, arrow marked babler, emerald spotted wood dove, brown parrot and bare-faced go-away-bird. Northern black flycatcher, blue naped and speckled mousebird, lilac breasted and broad billed roller and many others. The best birding spots in Lake Mburo are near the swamps at Warukiri and Rwonyo. Travelers can also spot the rare African finfoot, occasional sightings of a shoebill, African fish eagle and malachite and many others on a boat cruise along Lake Mburo.

Bwindi Impenetrable National Park

The Bwindi National Park in Western Uganda is one of Africa’s best birding destinations in the world, it was voted by the African bird club as number one in the continent, due to the number of rare bird species found in the park. Bwindi impenetrable national park has well maintained birding trails, easily accessible and navigable by the travelers.

It accommodates more than 350 bird species including 23 Albertine rift endemics of which 14 are not recorded anywhere else in the country. Some of the bird species found in this park include the African Green broadbill, 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 and many others.

Queen Elizabeth National Park

Bird watcher’s haven, Queen Elizabeth national park provides shelter to over 600 bird species and in this park birds are easily spotted and travelers are expected to take great photos as they explore the park and its spectacular scenery dotted with abundant wildlife.

Some of the resident bird species to explore in Queen Elizabeth National park include the African mourning dove, swamp flycatcher, grey-headed kingfisher, African skimmer, malachite and pied kingfisher, white-winged terns, grey capped warbler, collared pratinvole, pin tailed whydah, martial eagle, Gabon and slender tailed nightjars, black headed Gonolek, Verreaux’s eagle owl and many others. Flamingos can be spotted at the salt lakes of Katwe and Bunyampaka.

Semuliki National Park

Semuliki national park has over 441 bird species in its riverine, forest and grassland habitats. Semuliki has Guinea-Congo biome species and they are found in the park’s lowland forest. Other bird species to look out for include Black dwarf hornbill, Nkulengu rail, piping hornbill, African Miculet, Maxwell’s black weaver, 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 and many others.

Uganda generally is gifted with nature so it has very many birding spots, some are protected and others are not protected. Other important birding areas in Uganda include Kibale national park, Mgahinga national park, Budongo forest, Rwenzori mountains national park and many others.

Kasenge Forest Resort: Where Bird Watching is WOW!!

If you are an adventurer in quest for bliss amongst the expanse of nature, plentiful of birds and some real good people, this sanctuary is hypnotizing.

Situated approximately 30km from Kampala along the Kampala – Jinja Road, Kasenge is a vast tropical forest with a fully-fledged forest safari lodge offering sensational experiences that revitalize mind, body and spirit. It is a harmonious sanctuary where you can spend a few hours and emerge feeling as fresh as the daisy flowers that thrive in her shades.

It is not a zoo like destination where birds are kept in enclosures. The sanctuary in the philosophy of wildlife parks, allows the birds to enjoy utter freedom. Entrance fee to Kasenge is UGX 10,000 (roughly $3) for adults and free for children.

For Details

Facebook: Kasenge Forest Resort Beach

Contact: +256 772 321383

Top 5 Best Birding Destinations in Rwanda

There’s something to be said for travelling in summer or winter to any destination around the world but for bird watching in Africa have a lot to say like the different bird species spotted in different places, cheap accommodation, comfortable food, less crowded destinations and several trip special moments. Some travelers enjoy getting away from it all while others choose to immerse themselves in the local culture and traditions of the area they visit. If you’re the latter, then you’ll be pleased to know the main birding watching destination of Rwanda which make you spot most of the bird species listed before the trip.

Being a fascinating destination for bird watching activities, Rwanda alone boasts 670 bird species in a country small as Belgium. On a safari in Rwanda, some of the highlights of your trip will include the fabulous shoebill, Great blur turaco, Purple-bleasted Sunbird, Red-faced Barbet, Little Bee Eater, Collared Apalis, and Fraser’s Eagle Owl. Rwanda’s national parks are the main birding destinations with 100s of birds ready to be spotted by park visitors.

Akagera National park

North east of Rwanda along the border of Tanzania is where you can find the Akagera national park a park named after Akagera River a breath taking place and the most desired feature of the park.The park reflects a wide variety including 44 species of raptors the grey hornbill, crested barbet, Falco naumanni, black headed gonalek, heuglin’s robin-chat, gorgeous lilac-breasted roller, Palearctic migrants and others which had been recorded. Besides bird watching is on the prominent activities of the park a famed point for many water birds in the East African region. Boat rides and Game drives are things which go hand in hand with birding and plenty of animal species including buffalo, elephants, hippos, zebra, crocodiles, bush baby and many other mammal species are viewed. Guests also take advantage of the gentle hills blending with beautiful lowland swamps and water bodies giving way to nice photo captions of the parks beauty.

Nyungwe forest national park

Nyungwe forest is not only the Chimpanzee play ground but also a birding paradise of Rwanda.Visitors to the beautiful forest get a chance to spot over 300 bird species including Albertine Rift endemics (notable targets include Red-collared Babbler, Kungwe Apalis, Shelley’s Crimsonwing and Albertine Owlet).Birding guests also view different primate species for free since they are also sighted during the bird watching session in the the forest. If time permits don’t forget to be part of the Forest Conopy walk an activity which make you appreciate nature and its surrounding. Nyungwe shouldn’t miss out on your visit & if circumstances don’t permit find time again in the near future and return back to view over 13 species of primate, 300 bird species, 1068 plant species, 85 mammal species, 32 amphibian and 38 reptile species among others.

Still to come include Volcanoes national park, Rugezi Swamp, Akanyaru, Nyabarongo and Cyamudongo.Lake kivu etc.Trust me you will see many bird species in different unique remarkable birding destinations in Rwanda .This is because Rwanda is located in the Albertine Rift and is also blessed with the green dense forests. Even in the Kigali city one can spot the African Reed Warbler and Great Sedge Warbler, the Winding Cisticola as well as the Common Waxbill, Grey-backed Fiscal, Tropical Boubou, Red-rumped and Mosque Swallows, African Spoonbill, Yellow-billed Stork, Great White Pelican, Common Moorhens, Grosbeak Weaver, Grey Heron, Yellow-backed (Black-headed) Weavers, and the Pied Kingfisher at Lake Nyarutarama near the golf course. Therefore always start your Rwanda birding trip right from Kigali to the parks which is rewarding to birders.