Uganda is an equatorial country with astonishing contrasts. No other area in Africa can match its amazing diversity of habitats and this richness is reflected in its bird list of over 1000 species. From the source of the Nile on Lake Victoria to the snow capped Rwenzori Range, the montane forests of the Virunga volcanoes to the desert plains of karamoja, bird watching is an exciting experience for the traveler.
Uganda has 30,000 square kilometers of wetlands. Not less than 210 species, ranging from the Shoebill and African Skimmer to the endemic Fox’s Weaver, are found in these wetlands. More to the above are four Papyrus endemics; the Papyrus Gonolek, Papyrus Canary, White-winged Warbler and Papyrus Yellow warbler. And a White winged Black Tern roost of 2-3 million birds in the Entebbe area (Lutembe bay).
Savannahs vary from the remote, semi-dessert, dry thorn-scrub region of Karamoja in the Northeast, to the richer fertile savannahs of the western Rift valley. Queen Elizabeth National Park has a bird list of 604 species the highest for any protected area in Africa.
Uganda has an area contiguous with the Great Guinea / Congo Basin rain forest on its western boarder. Subsequently there are a number of west and central African bird species occurring in Uganda that are not found elsewhere in East Africa. There are more than 700 forest reserves in Uganda. One particular region is the Albertine Rift Endemic area where Uganda has 25 species of birds, mostly confined to the forests of Mgahinga and Bwindi National Parks in the southwest.
Where to Go Birding in Uganda – Top Birding Destinations
Uganda is the jewel in the crown of East Africa, generally recognized as having some of the best remaining forest in Africa and with it some truly remarkable birdwatching. Below are the remarkable bird watching destinations.
- Budongo Forest. Here you can explore the famous Royal Mile, a wide pathway through the forest that simply drips with birds.
- Murchison Falls National Park with water birds, the spectacular White Nile Falls, a wonderful palce to to seek out the unique Shoebill in its papyrus home.
- Kibale Forest – forest birds, wetland birds, plus eleven species of primates, including Chimpanzees.
- Queen Elizabeth National Park – encounter a variety of habitats more typical of East Africa together with an equally varied array of birds and mammals.
- Bwindi Impenetrable Forest – a magical place of mists, hanging mosses and luxuriant vegetation and it is also where we’ll see some of the rarest and most exotic birds can be seen.
- Lake Mburo National Park – characterised with the papyrus-fringed lakeshore