Kibale National Park contains one of the loveliest and most varied tracts of tropical forest in Uganda. There are 325 bird species found in the park including 6 that are endemic to the Albertine Rift region, namely black-capped apalis, blue-headed sunbird, collared apalis, dusky crimsonwing, purple-breasted sunbird and red-faced woodland warbler. Other species include the African pitta, green breasted pitta, black bee-eater, yellow spotted nicator, yellow rumped tinker bird, little Greenbul, black-eared ground thrush, brownchested alethe, blue-breasted kingfisher, Abyssinian ground thrush, and the crowned eagle.
Kibale Forest National Park is one of the rewarding destinations for travelers interested in forest birds. Though the park is most famous for primate safaris, it is also a birders’ paradise given the interesting bird checklist it holds! Birding can be best done in the Bigodi Wetland Sanctuary that is found some 5 km from the Kibale Forest National Park on the road to Kamwenge.
Birding is a major activity around the swamp with paths cut and areas of the swamp board walked to give access to areas of the swamp that would be otherwise inaccessible. Several tree houses have also been constructed to give vantage over the swamp. Species for Bigodi include White Spotted Crake, Great Blue Turaco and Black Billed Turaco.
Bird watching safaris start by 7 am at Kanyanchu and you are advised to book in advance. The rare species here include; the white winged warbler, the papyrus Gonolex, the white collared olive back and the papyrus Canary.
The wetland is located outside the park and is home to 138 bird species that may be seen during the guided walks along the broad walk trail and seeing platforms. These could include; the white spotted flufftail, Yellow-spotted Barbet, Hairy-breasted Barbet, Yellow-billed Barbet, Western Nicator, Grey-winged Robin-chat, White-tailed Ant-thrush, Brown-backed Scrub-robin, Black-and-white Shrike-flycatcher, Brown-throated Wattle-eye, Superb Sunbird, Brown-crowned Tchagra, Bocage’s Bush-shrike, Black Bishop, White-breasted Negrofinch and Black-crowned Waxbill among others.
Covering a total mass of 560 sq. km, the forest of Kibale is filled with a dense verdant forest with in the north that offers way to the medium altitude damp, ever green, the semi deciduous forest in the south and together covering about 77% of the total land mass. The rest of 23% consists of lots of plantations having exotic conifers, grassland and the swamps.
All the reserves serve as a diversity of habitants to many species of birds that live in the park. Kibale National park is a wide national park that shelters a huge chunk of rain forest and the swamps that support the diversity of flora and animal life. With the swamps, tropical rain forest as well as the charming diversity, this is one of the very attractive and striking forests in Uganda. More so to the variety and number of primates that live with in this forest, it prides in a diversity of bird species.
There are 82 species of the Guinea Congo forest biome and 32 species of the Afro tropical highland biome in addition to some of the uncommon species that are found in the highland areas. Among these species includes; Bar-tailed Trogon plus the Fine-banded woodpecker, Red-faced Crimson-wing plus the White-bellied Crested Flycatcher. The park in addition supports 5 of the 32 constrained range species within Uganda, as well as 5 of the twelve Ugandan species belonging to the Lake Victoria-biome.
And among the species that bird watchers should watch for while in Kibale forest National Park, is the Nahan’s francolin that is considered endangered species living in 3 additional forest reserves, on the other hand, this forest ground thrush has been recorded in 2 other IBAs. The other species include; Black bee-eater, Gree-breated Pitta, Yellow-spotted Nictor, White-thighed hornbilland, Yellow- ramped Tinker bird, the African Pitta as well as the Little Greenbul.
Bird watching trips within the park begin at 7am local time at Kanyanchu and visitors are recommended too book these birding tours in advance. Uncommon species to look out for within this park are: the Papyrus Canary, Papyrus Gonolek, White-collared Olive back as well as the White-winged Warbler.
The sanctuary is located just on the exterior of the park and is habitant to 138 species of birds which can best viewed through the many guided walks that are conducted along the board walk trail and on the viewing platforms. And among these species in the swamp includes; the Black-crowned Waxbill, White-spotted Flufftail, White-breasted Negrofinch, Yellow-spotted Barbet, Black Bishop, Hairy-breasted Barbet, Bocage’s Bush-shrike, Yellow-billed Barbet, Brown-crowned Tchagra, Black & white Shrike-flycatcher, Western Nicator, Superb Sunbird, Grey-winged Robin-chat, Brown-throated Wattle-eye, White-tailed Ant-thrush plus the Brown-backed Scrub-robin, in addition to many other species.