Uganda has 10 national parks that protect a wide range of both fauna and flora. Uganda’s national parks are instrumental to bird watching given that they host a variety of birds. These parks are protected and thus offer safe havens for birds in Uganda.
Murchison Falls National Park
Located in Northwestern Uganda, Murchison Falls National Park features as the largest and the oldest protected area in the country. It derived its name from the mighty Murchison Falls. It offers refuge to more than 450 species of birds and bird watching is carried out both game drives and boat cruise as well as nature walks. It comes with variety of habitats ranging from forests, swamps, riverine woodland, savanna and plains of acacia trees. A safari to Murchison Falls National Park rewards visitors with amazing encounters of swamp flycatcher, shoebill stork, goliath heron, Abyssinian ground hornbill, northern red bishop, red throated bee eater, African quail finch, giant kingfishers, pied and malachite.
Queen Elizabeth National Park
Queen Elizabeth National Park features as Uganda’s second largest national park. It comes with more than 620 species of bird. For birding safaris in the park, visitors can catch a glimpse of papyrus canary, great white and pink backed pelicans, verreaux’s eagle owl, sedge warbler, Gabon and slender tailed nightjars, black headed gonolek, pin tailed whydah, martial eagle, white winged terns, grey capped warbler, collared pratincole, malachite and pied kingfishers, grey headed kingfisher, African skimmer, swamp flycatcher, African mourning dove, yellow billed stork, flamingos and many more.
Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park
Located in southwestern Uganda, Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park features as one of the best birding spots in Africa. Though the park is most known for gorilla tracking, it is one of the best forests to bird in Uganda. Recently, the park was ranked Africa’s best birding area by African Bird Club. It features about 360 bird species which comes with 23 Albertine Rift endemics, 14 of them are not found anywhere else in Uganda. Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park features African green broadbill, Shelley’s crimson wing, handsome francolin, mountain masked, Chapin’s flycatcher, Fraser’s eagle, western bronze napped pigeon, black billed Turaco, collared apalis, white bellied robin chat, purple breasted, blue headed and regal sunbirds.
Mgahinga Gorilla National Park
If you are planning your gorilla safari, do not miss to include bird watching in your itinerary. Mgahinga offers refuge to over 180 species of birds some of which are Albertine rift endemics. The park is situated in southwestern Uganda and offers the stunning views of birdlife along the gorge trail, bamboo trail and community trail. Some of the notable birds to sight while on safari include the white starred robin, Rwenzori batis, Archer’s robin chat, Kivu ground thrush, cinnamon bracken warbler, olive pigeon, black headed waxbill, western green tinker bird, cape robin, brown woodland warbler, stripe breasted tit, greater double collared sunbirds, brown crowned tchagra and scarlet tufted and many more.
Rwenzori Mountains National Park
The park is not only known for breathtaking adventure to the mountain summits. It offers refuge to more than 177 species of birds 19 of which are Albertine rift endemics. It comes with birds like long eared owl, archer’s robin chat, Lagden’s bush shrike, blue headed and golden winged sunbird, white starred robin, slender billed starling, cinnamon chested bee eater, bearded vultures, swifts and Rwenzori Turaco.
Lake Mburo National Park
If you are looking for the nearest national parks to enjoy an ultimate safari in Uganda, look not further than Lake Mburo National Park. It is situated in western Uganda and accessible within four hours’ drive from Kampala city centre. It features among the perfect birding spots in the country offering refuge to more than 315 birds that are confined within the Warukiri and Rwonyo. The notable birdlife for sighting in the park include brown parrot, emerald spotted wood dove, red necked spur fowl, black billed barbet, greenwood hoopoe, blue napped mouse bird, lilac breasted roller, bee eaters, cheeky bronze tailed starling, majestic crowned crane, trilling Cisticola, Nubian woodpecker and African grey hornbill and many more.
Semuliki Valley National Park
Situated in western Uganda along the Albertine rift valley, Semuliki national park offers refuge to more than 441 species within its Riverine, forest and grasslands. It refuges the Guinea Congo biome species around the lowland forest. Other birds to sight include African piculet, Maxwell’s black weaver, blue billed malimbe, yellow throated cuckoo, dwarf hornbill, Great blue and Ross’s Turaco, purple breasted sunbird, orange weaver, swamp palm bulbul and many others.
Kibale Forest National Park
Besides the famous chimpanzees and other primates, Kibale National Park is also credited for its amazing birding experiences. It offers refuge to more than 375 birdlife including the 6 that are endemic to the Albertine rift area. The park consists of variety of habitat offering distinct bird species like the rare Green breasted pitta as well as the red chested owlet, purple breasted sunbird, little greenbul, blue breasted kingfisher, crowned eagle, black bee eater, white napped pigeon, scaly breasted illadopsis, yellow throated nicator, white headed wood hoopoe, red headed malimbe, yellow spotted barbet, dusky blue flycatcher, grey throated flycatcher, grey winged robin, crested flycatcher, blue shouldered robin chat, black billed Turaco, white napped pigeon, red chested fluftail and tiny sunbird and many others.