Birdwatching in Uganda has increasingly become a major activity. Uganda has an overlap zone boasts of more bird species than any other country in Africa with a rational 1st ranging from 1000-1500 bird species which figure constitutes more than 10% of the west African guinea and Congo basin rainforests. It spans the coverage of the seven Africa’s regions described in floristic structure having more endemic bird species than any other country on the African continent. Therefore, over half of African bird species are found in Uganda.
Once again, Uganda has a variety of habitants ranging from afro-alpine zone, montane forest, savannah woodland, lowland forests, wetlands, dry and semi-arid areas which support their own unique bird species and are all represented in all Uganda’s protected areas.
Situated in the great east African rift valley and largely the Lake Victoria and Albert basins, Uganda lies in the path of the major fly way zone of millions of palearctic migrants, northern bleeding birds, the Albertine area which Uganda shares with Congo and Rwanda holding 26 endemic bird species, 35 Semliki specialists and living Uganda with the Foye’s weaver as Uganda’s only endemic species.
Not withstanding Uganda’s northern national parks like Kidepo and Murchison falls act as the northern hint of the northern countries’ birds like Rose ringed paraket, Emmll’s shrike and white billed buffalo waver Pia Upe wildlife reserve is a suitable area for the secretary bird. Most Uganda’s forests are situated in the rift valley areas- the Albertine endemic area. For instance, Budongo forest near Masindi in Murchison falls is one of the suitable areas for birds like Uganda woodland warbler, dwarf king fisher, African wood owl are sighted and along the Royal Miles birders can spot, chocolate backed king fisher, Nahass partridge, the Chestnut capped flycatcher, Black eared ground thrush and the Rofous crowned Eremonela.
Semuliki which is sometimes referred to as a bird watcher’s paradise, you will encounter the Semuliki specials such as the white crested hornbill, red billed dwarf hornbill, black casqued wattled hornbill, Zenker’s honeyguide, African piculet, Long-tailed hawk, Grant’s blue bill and the Pale-fronted Nigrita in Kibale forest national park. If lucky, you always have a chance to see the most sought-after birds like the green breasted pitta, Turner’s eremonela, forest fly catcher, black bee-eater, the red-faced woodland warbler and the narrow-tailed starling. In the Rwenzori’s, you will encounter birds like Scarlet tufted malachite sunbird, the Rwenzori double collared sun bird, Willcock’s honey guide, Rwenzori’s Batis, Rwenzori night jar.
Maramagambo forest in the southwest of queen Elizabeth national park is yet another suitable area for birding and along this rain forest you encounter birds such as Dark capped yellow warbler, Bat hawk, Ross’s turaco, Fawn breasted waxbill, Sulphur breasted bush shrike and Yellow billed wattle eye.
Bwindi’s four trails offer excellent birding opportunities in the prospect of finding forest and Albertine rift valley varieties and the localised green broadbill, Bar tailed dragon, Sapphire flycatcher, Grey winged robin chat, Equatorial alakat, Yellow eyed black fly catcher and many more forest specialities.
Mgahinga’s bird checklist is about 115 species which include the localised and the rift valley endemics and the Sabinyi gorge is a prime area in the Ntebeko volcanic back drop is yet another place where you encounter rift valley endemics such as Shelly’s Crimsonswing, chestnut mantled flycatcher, Archer’s robin, Rameron pigeon, African crowned eagle, Kant’s waxbill, handsome francolin, Strange weaver and other forest birds.