10 Birdwatching Spots in Uganda

Are you a bird enthusiast seeking an extraordinary birding safari experience? With over 1000 bird species in Uganda, get ready for your heart to be captivated and your mind to be blown away by a symphony of melodic calls that resonate deep within your soul. Embarking on a birdwatching journey here promises a remarkable experience like no other. Let’s dive into the 10 birding spots in Uganda.

1. ENTEBBE BOTANICAL GARDENS

Along the Northern shores of Lake Victoria is Entebbe Botanical Gardens with over 470 bird species. This garden isn’t just a sanctuary for plants but also a hidden gem for avid birdwatchers making it your number one birdwatching spot in Uganda.

Bird species: the Great Blue Turaco, Red chested sunbird, Swamp flycatcher, African open-billed stork, Grey headed gull, pied kingfishers, Verreeaux’s Eagle owls, African Paradise Flycatcher, Black-and-white Casqued Hornbill, the majestic Crowned Hornbills and the elusive African Grey Parrot.

Other Activities: Nature Walks, Picnicking, Photography, Boat Rides on Lake Victoria, Educational and cultural Tours.

2. MABAMBA SWAMP

Birding in Uganda

Mabamba swamp is another birding spot in Uganda that one shouldn’t miss out. This swamp is located west of Entebbe on the northern shores of Lake Victoria with over 300 bird species. While birdwatching takes center stage in the Swamp, the experience extends far beyond mere observation.

Bird species: the common Shoebill stork, Great Blue Turaco, African pygmy goose, Purple heron, White-faced whistling duck, Long tailed cormorant, African jacana, Malachite kingfisher, African fish eagle, African Marsh Harrier, Greater Swamp Warbler, Woolly-necked Stork, African Openbill, Goliath Heron, Pied Kingfisher, Yellow-billed Duck, Black-headed Heron and the Hammerkop.

Other Activities: Nature Walks, Photography, Fishing, Boat Tours, Cultural Visits.

3. MUBWINDI SWAMP TRAIL

Nestled deep within the lush forests of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park in Uganda lies a hidden gem for nature enthusiasts and adventurers alike: the Mubwindi Swamp Trail. This trail offers a captivating journey through one of Africa’s most biodiverse and captivating ecosystems, promising an unforgettable experience for those willing to venture into its depths.

As you set foot on the Mubwindi Swamp Trail, you’ll find yourself enveloped by a dazzling array of avian species, making it the best bird watching in Uganda.

Bird Species: African Green Broadbill, Grauer’s Rush Warbler, Chapin’s Flycatcher, Shelley’s Crimsonwing, Handsome Francolin, Yellow-eyed Black Flycatcher, Grauer’s Swamp Warbler, Regal Sunbird, African Hill Babbler, Red-throated Alethe, Archer’s Robin-Chat, Dusky Twinspot

Other Activities: Gorilla Trekking, Nature walks and Hiking, Cultural Encounters, Photography, Batwa Trail Experience and Butterfly watching.

4. MARAMAGAMBO FOREST

Maramagambo Forest is located in Bushenyi, Uganda. It adjoins the Queen Elizabeth National Park to the North. It is jointly managed by Uganda Wild Life Authority and National Forestry Authority. This captivating forest, also known as the Bo Forest, is a haven of biodiversity, boasting an abundance of flora and fauna.

Bird species: the Great Blue Turaco, Black-and-white-casqued Hornbill, Palm-nut Vulture, Yellow-throated Tinkerbird, Forest Woodhoopoe, African Green Pigeon, Black Bee-eater, African Paradise Flycatcher, Grey Crowned Crane, Malachite Kingfisher, Giant Kingfisher, Pied Kingfisher and African Skimmer.

But Maramagambo Forest isn’t just one of birding spots in Uganda – it’s also home to a wealth of other wildlife, including monkeys, butterflies, and even the occasional leopard or forest elephant. Embark on a guided nature walk through the forest with knowledgeable local guides who will lead you off the beaten path and into the heart of this pristine wilderness, sharing their expertise and insights into the forest’s unique ecosystem along the way.

Other Activities: Chimpanzee Tracking, Nature Walks and Hiking Trails, Photography, Bat Cave Exploration, Cultural Encounters, Boat Safaris and Butterfly Watching.

5. BUDONGO FOREST RESERVE

Amidst a tapestry of greenery and wildlife, lies the breathtaking birding spots in Uganda: Budongo Forest. This ancient and majestic forest, part of the greater Murchison Falls National Park, is a sanctuary of tranquility and biodiversity, inviting adventurers and nature lovers to immerse themselves in its wonders.

Budongo Forest is a paradise for birding in Uganda, boasting over 360 species of birds, including colorful turacos, majestic hornbills, and elusive forest robins. Grab your binoculars and embark on a birdwatching adventure, following winding forest trails that lead to hidden gems and prime birdwatching spots.

Bird species to encounter: Yellow-footed Flycatcher, Yellow-billed Barbet, Nahan’s Francolin, African Emerald Cuckoo, African Dwarf Kingfisher, White-thighed Hornbill, African fish eagle, Malachite kingfisher, Red throated bee-eater, Grey crowned crane and Yellow billed oxpecker.

Other Activities: Chimpanzee Trekking, Nature Walks and Hiking, Forest Canopy Walks, Cultural Experiences, Photography and Butterfly Watching.

6. BIGODI WETLAND SANCTUARY

Bigodi Wetland Sanctuary, located at the edge of the captivating Kibale Forest in western Uganda, is a hidden jewel for birding enthusiasts seeking an immersive experience in nature. This community-managed haven is a testament to the harmonious coexistence between people and wildlife, offering a unique blend of cultural richness and avian diversity.

Bigodi Wetland Sanctuary is also renowned for its vibrant birdlife, making it a birdwatching spot in Uganda. With over 200 species of birds recorded within the sanctuary, including rare and endemic species, there’s no shortage of avian wonders to discover.

Bird species in Bigodi include; the African Grey Parrot, the elusive Papyrus Gonolek, the Pied and Malachite Kingfishers, the majestic African Fish Eagle, Great Blue Turaco, the Green Breasted Pitta, the Yellow-rumped Tinkerbird, and the White-naped Pigeon. The vibrant mix of primates and birds creates an enchanting experience for nature lovers.

Other Activities: Primate Watching, Cultural Tours, Photography, Boat Rides and Butterfly watching.

7. SEMULIKI FOREST

Tucked away in the remote reaches of western Uganda, Semuliki National Park is a birding gem. The park’s lowland rainforest is home to several species not easily found elsewhere, including the captivating Nkulengu Rail and the White-thighed Hornbill.

Other species to sight in this park; Congo serpent eagle, long tailed Hawk, Shoebill stork, Red eyed puff back, Black winged starling and the Red billed Helmet shrike.

Other Activities: Chimpanzee Tracking, Hot springs Visit, Cultural Encounters, Nature Walks, Photography, Boat trips on Lake Albert and Night Game drives.

8. RUBANGA FOREST

Nestled within the picturesque landscape of Lake Mburo National Park in Uganda lies the enchanting Rubanga Forest, a hidden oasis of biodiversity and natural beauty waiting to be discovered by adventurous souls and nature enthusiasts alike. This pristine forest, although small in size compared to its neighboring ecosystems, is a treasure trove of unique flora and fauna, offering visitors a glimpse into the rich tapestry of life that thrives within its verdant confines.

As you step into Rubanga Forest, you’ll be immediately enveloped by the sights and sounds of the wilderness. Towering trees reach skyward, their dense canopy providing shelter to a myriad of creatures that call this forest home. Sunlight filters through the leaves, casting a soft, dappled glow on the forest floor below. The air is alive with the melodious songs of birds, the chatter of monkeys, and the occasional rustle of leaves as small mammals scurry about their daily activities.

With over 300 species of birds recorded within its boundaries, one can’t fail to recommend Rubanga Forest as one of the best birding spots in Uganda.

Bird species: African Fish Eagle, Martial Eagle, Grey Crowned Crane, Pied Kingfisher, Malachite Kingfisher, African Skimmer, Black-headed Gonolek, Pink-backed Pelican, African Spoonbill, Shoebill, Yellow-billed Stork, White-backed Vulture, African Openbill, Goliath Heron, African Grey Hornbill.

Other Activities: Nature Walks, Primate Viewing, Picnicking, Photography and Cultural Experiences.

9. NARUS VALLEY WETLANDS

Narus Valley, a breathtaking expanse within Uganda’s pristine Kidepo Valley National Park, is a symphony of wilderness waiting to be explored. This hidden gem, nestled amidst rugged mountains and rolling plains, offers an immersive journey into the heart of Africa’s untamed beauty.

Narus Valley is also renowned for its prolific birdlife, making it a spot for bird watching in Uganda. With over 470 species of birds recorded within the park, including rare and endemic species, there’s no shortage of avian wonders to behold. From the vibrant lilac-breasted roller to the majestic martial eagle, every corner of the valley offers the chance for thrilling birdwatching encounters.

Birds Species: the elegant Abyssinian Roller, the iconic ostrich being the world’s largest, the endemic Karamoja Apalis, Martial Eagle, the Bateleur Eagle, the Secretary Bird and the White-bellied Go-away Bird calls from the treetops, creating a vibrant tapestry of birdlife.

But it’s not just the scenery that makes Narus Valley so captivating – it’s the incredible diversity of wildlife like: Elephants, Giraffes, Buffalos, Lions, leopards, cheetahs, zebras, antelopes, and warthogs.

Other Activities: Game Drives, Cultural Encounters, Nature Walks and Hiking,

10. RWENZORI MOUNTAINS NATIONAL PARK

Rwenzori National Park is a realm of towering mountains, and as you ascend through its lush forests and alpine meadows, you’ll discover an extraordinary array of birdlife. The mist-cloaked peaks create another worldly backdrop for birdwatching, where every glimpse unveils a symphony of fluttering wings and melodious calls.

Bird species found in the Rwenzori Mountains include; the Rwenzori Turaco, the Rwenzori Batis, the Handsome Francolin, Mountain Yellow Warbler, the elusive Scarlet-tufted Malachite Sunbird, the Rwenzori Nightjar, the ever-elusive Long-tailed Cuckoo, the Grey-winged Robin and the Olive Pigeon.

Other Activities: Hiking, Mountain Climbing, Photography, Cultural Encounters and Wildlife Viewing.

FAQS

When is the best time to do birding in Uganda?

May to September: this period is considered to have less rains, and the food is abundant for bird life.

November to April: this is the best time for migratory birds. If one is to enjoy birding, early in the morning is the best time to spot many bird species.

What to carry with you on a bird watching trip?

For the best birding experience in Uganda, consider:

  • Bringing a pair of binoculars.
  • Field guide book
  • Optics,
  • Hiking shoes,
  • Insect repellents
  • Camera to capture the moments.

bird Watching in Uganda: Conclusion

Bird watching spots in Uganda are not just destinations; they are gateways to a world of avian wonders waiting to be explored. So, pack your binoculars, venture into the heart of Uganda, and let the symphony of birdcalls guide you on an unforgettable journey.

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