UGANDA’S BIRDING SPOTS

Uganda has many unique bird spots because of a number of species recorded. Excitidely, it offers easy access to several bird habitats. It is a popular bird destination all over the world that have made Uganda one of the finest birding paradise.
The country has two endemics which only occur in the country. Migrant birds are also present from November to April, December and January are also good months for bird watching. The best time for birding is late may through September where there is less rain and abandant food.

Bwindi and Mgahinga are the key destinations for the Albertine rift endemics. About 90% Specialities include; the elusive Handsom Francolin, Kivu graund thrush and Ladgens Bush Shrike. The rare Shelleys Crimson wing, arguably one of the world’s most beautiful but elusive seed eaters occurs in the area. Other species include; Black-throated and Rwenzori Apalis, Stripe-breasted and Dusky Tit, Black-billed Turaco, Grey-throated Barbet, Red-faced Woodland, Mountain-yellow, Grauer’s Rush and Grauer’sWrabler, Northern Double-collard, Rwenzori Double-collard, Varieble, Blue-headed and Regal Sunbirds, Grey Cuckoo-shrike, Grauer’s Broadbill, Bared Long-tailed Cuckoo, Archer’s Robin-chat, Oriole-finch, White-bellied Crested, Yellow-eyed Black, White-eyed Slate and Dusky Flycatchers, Ludher’s, Grey-headed and Dohert’s Bush-shrike, Scaly-breasted and Mountain Illadopsis, Yellow-streaked and Mountain Greenbul, Banded Prinia and Dusky Crimsonwing among others

Other parks best for birding include murchison falls national park with different bird species and common birds including the sought after shoebill. Others include; Foxy Cisticola, Red-necked Falcon, Black-billed Barbet, Swallow-tailed, Northern Camine and Red-throated Bee-eater, Pel’s Fishing Owl, Woodchat Shrike, Bueatiful Sunbird, Red-winged Grey Warbler, African Quail-finch, Black-bellied and Denham’s Bustard, Harlequin Quail, Common Button-quail, abyssinian Ground-hornbill, White-tailed Lark and the rare Shoebill stork among others.

Semliki national park is the only park in East Africa where you can see many Guinea- Congo regional species. Other specialities include ; Orange-cheecked Waxbills, Magpie Mannikins, Grant’s Bluebill, Black-bellied Seed-eater, African Dusky, Grey-throated, and Blue-headed Crested-flycatcher, Dusky Tit, Capuchin Babbler, Yellow-bellied and Jameson’s Wattle-eye, IturiBatis, White-browed Crombec, Abyssinian and Oberlaender’s Ground-Thrush, Swamp-palm Bulbul, and Leaf-love among others.

Other parks with common birds include: Kibale forest national park, key species here include: White-spotted Flufftail, White-napped and Afep Pigeon, Green-breasted and African Pitta, Abyssinian Ground-thrus, Grey-throated Flycatcher, White-bellied Crested Flycatcher, Scaly and Nahan’s Francolin, Green-backed Twinspot, Black and White Mabnikin, Narina Trogon, Olive Long-tailed Cuckoo, Black Bee-eater, Blue-breasted and Shining-blue Kingfisher among others.

Queen Elizabeth also protects 650 bird species that include; the Grey-headed Kingfisher, Swamp Flycatcher, Black-headed and Papyrus Gonolek, White-winged, Grey-capped, Greater Swamp, Lesser Swamp, African Reed and Siege Warbler, Slender-billed Weaver and Brimstone Canary, near the Katungulu Bridge etc

The Royal mile in Budongo forest can’t be forgotten. Specialities here include; Long-crested Eagle, African Green Pigeon, Blue-spotted Wood-dove, Red-eyed and Laughing Dove, Brown Parrot, Eastern Plantain-eater, African Palm Swift, Speckled Mousebird, White-headed Barbet, Lesser-stripped Swallow, Yellow-throated Longclaw, Grey-backed Camaroptera, Brown Twinspot, Dark-capped Yellow Warbler, White-thighed Hornbill, African Crowned Eagle, Yellow and Grey Longbills, Yellow-browed Camaroptera, Jameson’s Wattle-eye, Ituri Batis, Chestnut-capped, Grey-throated, Forest, Sooty and African-shrike Flycatcher, Lemon-bellied and Green Crombec, Rufous-crowned Eremomela, African Pygmy, African Dwarf, Blue-breasted and Chocolate-backed Kingfisher, Nahan’s Francolin and Spotted Greenbul among others.

Lake Mburo National park has got a variety of habitats,like dry hillside, open and wooded savanna, forests, galleries and swamps, and this has contributed to the avifauna diversity and 313 bird species have been recorded in the park including; Crested and Red faced barbet, Long tailed (Tabora) Cisticola, Papyrus yellow warbler, African fin foot, Brubru, Rofous-bellied and white backed night heron, White winged tit, Black-headed and Papyrus Gonolek, Red-headed and Northern brown throated weaver, White-winged warbler, Coqui Francolin, Brown-chested Lapwing, Lilac-breasted Roller and the rare Shoebilled Stork among others.
Another unique birding spot is mabamba swamp where birding here is done while canoeing looking out for the rare Shoebill Stork, Blue-breasted Bee-eater, African Water rail, Allen’s and Purple Gallinule (swamp hen),Squacco, Goliath, Purple and Grey Herons, Lesser Jacana, Intermediate, Cattle, Little, Great and Black Egret, White-faced Whistling Duck, Yellow-billed Duck, Spur-winged, Egyptian and African Pygmy Geese among others. There are also chances of encountering the elusive Sitatunga Antelope adapted to swampy habitats.
Entebbe’s botanical gardens too has species like, Lizard Buzzard, Woodland, African Pygmy and Pied Kingfisher, Black-headed, Vieilot’s Black, Yellow-backed, Golden-breasted, Spectacled and Orange Weavers, African Paradise, Red-bellied Paradise, Northern-black and African Dusky Flycatchers, Olive-bellied, Green-headed, Scarlet-chested, Marico, Red-chested and Superb Sunbirds among others.
Mabira forest on the other hand has some of the bird species which include the White-crested Turaco, Bronze-tailed, Lesser Blue-eared and Greater Blue-eared Starling White-headed Barbet, Cadinal, Grey and Nubian Woodpecker, Lesser and Greater Hourneyguide, Saddle-billed Stork in the swamps after Luwero, the Western-banded Snake-eagle, Rufous-bellied Heron, Eastern Chanting Goshawk and many more.
The source of the Nile is also another birding spot in Uganda. Specialities here include; White-faced Whistling Duck, Egyptian Goose, Ruddy Shelduck, Common Pochard, Ferruginous Duck, yellow- billed duck, Red-billed duck, northern pintail, common teal, spur-winged goose, garganey, comb duck, African pygmy goose.
Rwenzori Mountain is a birder’s spot with specialities like; Bee-eaters, Robins, Sunbirds and Barbets are some of the 217 species found there. Other species to watch out for include the Rwenzori Turaco and Long-eared Owl; while higher up on the slopes, Bearded Vultures, Swifts and Black Eagles may be seen circling for prey.
Excellent birding opportunities exist in Mountain Elgon national park. It is a home to over 300 birds including restricted range species. Specialities here include; Jackson’s Francolin and Black-collared Apalis, Black-shouldered Kite and Tacazze Sunbird. It is this park where the endangered lammergeyer can be seen soaring above the caldera.
Kidepo valley national park has rare bird species that can be spotted easily. Notable birds here include; Dark chanting goshawk, Kori bustard, little bee-eater, Ostrich, Red-and-yellow barbet to mention but a few.

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