Uganda Birding in Bwindi Skies – Bird Watching Impenetrable Forest

Uganda Birding in Bwindi Skies

What To Do In Bwindi Forest National Park

Birding in Uganda – Uganda is a fantastic destination for birdwatching, known for its incredible diversity of bird species with over 1,000 species recorded, including numerous endemics and rare species, Uganda offers birding enthusiasts a wealth of opportunities to explore the different birding destinations and spot variety of different bird species.
Uganda may take the lead among the many nations best known for bird watching by birders around the world, and in Africa specifically, not because of the peace that overtakes you when you catch a glimpse of the nature it holds, but rather because it has an unusual number of bird species that are documented within its boundaries as well as easy access to the numerous bird-rich territories that are difficult to get to in other countries. There are a staggering 1,061 bird species identified in Uganda, yet only two of them are endemic and frequently seen, while the other four are either rare or difficult to see. while in Uganda alone, you can get to see these and many more birds from places like the Queen Elizabeth National Park, the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, Lake Mburo National Park, Lutembe Bay, Murchison Falls, Semuliki National Park and Mabamba Island common for the Shoebill among others.

Top Birding Destinations: Uganda is home to several key birding hotspots. Some of the top destinations for birdwatching include:

Bwindi Impenetrable National Park: Famous for its population of mountain gorillas, Bwindi is also home to many Albertine Rift endemics, making it an excellent birding destination. Some of the albertine endemic bird species include; Ruwenzori Nightjar, Red-throated Alethe,African Green Broadbill, Red-faced Woodland Warbler, Handsome Francolin, Short-tailed Warbler, Collared Apalis, Mountain Masked Apalis,Archer’s Robin-Chat,Dawrf Honey guide,Grauer’s Warbler, Dusky Crimsonwing,RwenzoriBatis,Purple-breasted Sunbird, Regal Sunbird, Shelley’s Crimsoning, Strip-breasted Tit,Blue-headed Sunbird,Grauer’s Rush Warbler,RwenzoriTuraco,Strip-breasted Tit,Kivu Ground Thrush, Yellow-eyed Black Flycatcher, and the Strange Weaver. Gorilla trekking is one of the key activities in the park which has brought in a number of visitors, visiting the park every year. There are also many other primate species found here including the chimpanzees, monkeys among other animal’s elephants etc.
With great birding in the breathtaking surroundings, Ruhiija in Bwindi sector is likely to be among the highlights of any vacation taken in Uganda. Birds are highly common and very simple to spot, with different species congregating in feeding groups that are active throughout the day. The best chance of finding the impressively handsome Francolin, white-tailed crested Flycatcher, cinnamon-chested bee-eater, Rwenzori batis, western Green Tinkerbird, red-faced woodland Warbler, Mountain and yellow-streaked Greenbuls, Mountain marked and chestnut-throated Apalises, among many others, is to get going early in the day.

Queen Elizabeth National Park: Located in western Uganda, this park boasts a diverse array of habitats, including savannah, wetlands, and forests, attracting a wide variety of bird species. Birding in Queen Elizabeth National Park is done in many different sections of the park and each park has got different bird species. The sections include; Kasenyi area with over 60 bird species, the Mweya peninsula which has over 70 species of birds, Katunguru bridge area, Lake Kikorongo, the Ishasha sector, Katwe area and the Maramagambo Forest. The park in total has got over 600 bird species and some of these include; Hooded Vulture, Grey Kestrel, African Wattled Plover, Black-bellied Bustard, Black-lored Babbler, White-tailed Lark, Black-crowned Tchagra, Slender-tailed Nightjar, Blue-nape Mousebird, Pygmy Kingfisher, Scarlet-chested Sunbird, Black-headed Gonolek, Slender-billed Weaver, Martins, African Emerald Cuckoo, Red-throated Wryneck, Blue-shouldered Robin-Chat, Barbets, Brown Illadopsis, Chestnut Wattle-eye, Yellowbill, Common Greenshank, Red-capped Lark, Little Stint, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Avocet, Broad-tailed Warbler, Montagu’s Harrier, Croaking Cisticola and many more. Besides birding, the park offers variety of other activities for the tourist in the park including; game drives where you will see number of wild game living in this park, boat cruises at the Kazinga Channel offers a huge opportunity to spot variety of water loving animals and also acts has best spotting area for wild game during the dry season with the highest concentration of animals. chimpanzee trekking, salt mining and among other activities.

Murchison Falls National Park: Situated in the northwestern part of Uganda, Murchison Falls is renowned for its scenic beauty and is a haven for birdwatchers with species such as the rare shoebill stork among other different bird species including; Dark Chanting-Goshawk, Martial Eagle, White-faced Whistling Duck, Hugli’s Francolin, Rock Pratincole, Pennant-winged Nightjar, Black-billed Wood-Dove, Osprey, Secretary Bird, Yellow-billed Stork, Malachite Kingfisher, Swallow-tailed Bee-eater, White-browed Sparrow Weaver, Red-winged Grey Warbler, Double-toothed Barbet, Speckle-fronted Weaver, Vaseline Masked Weaver, Saddle-billed Stork, Grey-crowned Crane, Northern Crombec, Black-headed Gondola, Bar-breasted Fire finch, Red-throated Bee-eater, Blue-naped Moosebird, Piapiac, Giant Kingfisher, Blue-naped Moosebird, Long Tailed Nightjar, Sulphur-breasted Bush Shrike, White-rumped Seedeater, African Darter, Standard-winged Nightjar, Spur-winger Geese, Black-headed Plover, Abyssinian Ground Hornbill, Northern Carmine Bee-eater, and Beautiful Sunbird. Etc.

Kibale Forest National Park and the Bigodi wetland Sanctuary; Known for its populations of primates, Kibale is also home to numerous forest-dwelling bird species, including the sought-after green-breasted pitta. These birds can be spotted while carrying out guided nature walks with an experienced birding guide within Bigodi and Kibale national park. This national park has got the highest density of primate species and birders can as well enjoy chimpanzee trekking and golden monkey tracking.

Semuliki National Park: Located in the western part of Uganda, Semuliki is a remarkable birding destination, known for its lowland forest species and Congo Basin endemics. With over 400 bird species, including nine species of Hornbill, this 220 km2 park is one of the best places in Uganda to go birding. It is a recently established national park in Uganda. The park is situated in a boarder with the Democratic Republic of Congo. The main bird species that can be found here are the Western Bronze-naped Pigeon, Red-billed Dwarf Hornbill, Xavier’s Greenbul, Black Dwarf Hornbill, Black-Casqued wattled Hornbill, White-crested Hornbill, Fire-crested Alethe, Northern Bearded Scrub Robin, Leaf-love, Crested Malimbe, Maxwell’s Black Weaver, Green-tailed Bristle bill.

Mgahinga National Park; This birding spot is located in the far south west of the country and is at border with Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo. This park also has one group of gorilla trekking and many other mammal species. The safari park is the smallest of all the national parks of Uganda and it harbours over 115 bird species. The birders who visit the park can engage in many guided walks as well as hikes to be able to enjoy different birding sessions with in the park. The Gorge trail within the park harbours many bird species and some of these include; Barred Long-tailed Cuckoo, Archer’s Robin-Chat, Dusky Turtle Dove, Mountain Masked Apalis, Equatorial Akalat, Rwenzori Batis, Kivu Ground Thrush, Strip-breasted Tit, Grauer’s Warbler, White-starred Robin, Dusky Long-tailed Cuckoo, Handsome Francolin, Red-throated Alethe, Montane Oriole, Doherty’s Bush-shrike, Blue-headed Sunbird, Regal Sunbird, Dusky Crimsoning and Yellow-eyed Black Flycatcher. Etc.

Nile River Birding in Jinja; Along with being a fantastic place for bird watching, this region is also home to the world’s longest river, the majestic River Nile. On a boat tour down the Nile, you can observe several bird species while moving around. Over 60 different bird species can be seen at Jinja near the Nile River. The visitors who come to Jinja can as well engage in many other activities including bungee jumping, horse-riding, white-water rafting, kayaking, quod biking and many more. The main bird species here include; Giant Kingfisher, Green-backed Herons, African Open-billed Storks, Rock Pratencols, and the Great Blue Turacos. Etc.

The Royal Mile
The royal mile is over 793km2 and is situated in Budongo Forest near the mighty Murchison falls national park. This is a super birding destination with over 250 bird species which are both central and West African species. The key main bird species include; Blue-breasted Kingfisher, Chocolate-backed Kingfisher, Spotted Greenbul, Blue-throated Roller, Fire-crested Alethe, Rufous-crowned Elemomela, White-thighed Hornbill, Blue-shouldered Robin-Chat, Piping Hornbill, Sabine’s Spinetail, Hairy-breasted Barbet, Red-capped Robin-Chat, Black-capped Apalis, Lemon-bellied Crombec, Rufous-crowned Elemomela, Yellow-crested Woodpecker, Dwarf Kingfisher, African Crowned Eagle, Grey-headed Sunbird, and Yellow-billed Barbet. Etc.

Zziwa Rhino Sanctuary
This sanctuary was started in 1997 to protect the Rhinos in Uganda. There also other bird species sighted here including; the shoe bill stork. The other bird species include; African Black Crake, African Fish Eagle, African Grey Hornbill, African Golden Oriole, African Darter, African Broad Bill, African Golden-breasted Bunting, African Jacana, Admi’s Stork, African Marsh Harrier, Barn Swallow, Bat Hawk, African Morning Dove, African pied wagtail, African pygmy kingfisher, black and white Manikini, Black-crowned Waxbill, Black-headed Gonolek, and many more that can be spotted.
Any of the listed birding locations are great places to go birding in Uganda. Birders in Uganda are always recommended to make reservations through a tour operator to assist in planning their once-in-a-lifetime birding adventure. It’s also a good idea to bring along the gear you’ll need for your birding safari, such as binoculars, a map of the area, long-sleeved shirts and pants, plenty of water, and more.

Special Bird Species: Uganda offers opportunities to spot several rare and sought-after bird species. Some notable ones include the shoebill stork, African green broadbill, great blue turaco, African green-pigeon, and several species of hornbills, weavers, and sunbirds among others.
Birding Guides and Tours: Engaging the services of a local birding guide or joining a specialized birding tour can greatly enhance your birding experience in Uganda. Experienced guides are familiar with the local bird species and can help you locate and identify them effectively.

Conservation and Ethics: While birding, it’s essential to prioritize the welfare of the birds and their habitats. Follow ethical birding practices such as maintaining a respectful distance, avoiding disturbing nesting sites, and adhering to park regulations.
Remember to bring your binoculars, field guidebooks, and appropriate clothing for birding in Uganda’s varying climates. It’s also advisable to consult with local birding organizations or experts to get the latest information on birding sites, recent sightings, and any specific guidelines or restrictions.
Enjoy your birding adventure in Uganda, and may you have memorable encounters with the stunning avian diversity the country has to offer!

Top 10 Bird Species

Uganda is a birdwatcher’s paradise, known for its rich avian diversity and numerous endemic species. listed are some ten notable bird species found in Uganda:
Shoebill (Balaeniceps rex): This large and unusual-looking bird is often considered a highlight for birdwatchers in Uganda. Its distinctive bill, resembling a shoe, and impressive size make it a remarkable sight.
African Grey Crowned Crane (Balearica regulorum): Uganda’s national bird, the Grey Crowned Crane, is a striking species with its distinctive golden crown and long, elegant neck.
Great Blue Turaco (Corythaeola cristata): Known for its vibrant blue plumage, red crest, and unique call, the Great Blue Turaco is a stunning bird found in the forests of Uganda.
African Fish Eagle (Haliaeetus vocifer): With its iconic call and impressive hunting abilities, the African Fish Eagle is a magnificent bird of prey found near lakes and rivers in Uganda.
African Green Broadbill (Pseudocalyptomena graueri): Endemic to the Albertine Rift in Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo, the African Green Broadbill is a small, colorful bird known for its distinctive appearance.
Ross’s Turaco (Musophaga rossae): Found in the forests of western Uganda, Ross’s Turaco is a visually striking species with its bright red plumage, green wings, and unique call.
Ruwenzori Turaco (Ruwenzorornis johnstoni): Endemic to the Rwenzori Mountains, the Ruwenzori Turaco is a beautiful bird known for its emerald-green plumage and distinctive white streaks on its face.
African Pitta (Pitta angolensis): This small, brightly colored bird is a sought-after species for birdwatchers in Uganda. It is known for its vibrant plumage and secretive nature.
African Grey Parrot (Psittacus erithacus): While not endemic to Uganda, the African Grey Parrot is a highly intelligent and captivating species found in the country’s forests.
Blue-breasted Bee-eater (Merops variegatus): This colorful bird is known for its bright blue breast, green wings, and long, curved beak. It is often spotted in Uganda’s woodlands and savannahs.
Please note that the selection is subjective, and Uganda is home to many more incredible bird species.

Where to go birding In Uganda.

When in Uganda, one can never run out of and or exhaust all the places available for birders out there to go on a birding trip. However, some birds can only be found in some areas. Here is a guide that shows you which birds you can see and from where;

The Murchison Falls National Park.

Murchison Falls is renowned for its scenic beauty and is a haven for birdwatchers with species such as the rare shoebill stork among other different bird species. However, for the travellers interested in bird watching experience, the dry seasons of January all through to March is considered the best time to do birding. Also, another interesting fact about Murchison falls is that whether one chooses to go bird watching on a launch trip or even a game drive, all will have the chance to see the diverse bird kinds some of which include the Albertine Rift Endemics, the Water birds and the Savannah Forest Birds along the shores of the river. there are more forests and undergrowth and, in this area, you can get the opportunity to see the common bird species including the Woodpeckers, the Warblers, the Red-throated and Swallow-tailed Bee eaters in the cliffs of Nyamusika, the Malachite Kingfishers, the Cuckoos, the Crombecs, the Grey Heron, the Shrikes, the Hamerkop, the Hornbills, the Francolin and the usual Ducks, Stilts, Geese and Plovers. Lastly, there are other shared species that are found in the grasslands and these include the Black-bellied Bustards, the Marabou Storks, the Widow Birds and the Abyssinian Ground Hornbill among others.

The Queen Elizabeth National Park.

Located in western Uganda, this park boasts a diverse array of habitats, including savannah, wetlands, and forests, attracting a wide variety of bird species. The bird species range from the forest and woodland dwellers to the 54 raptor species, the water birds and also the Migratory birds. For one that wants to enjoy birding in the Queen Elizabeth National Park, there are places that you shouldn’t miss out on and these include; the Maramagambo Forest, the Kazinga Channel, the Mweya Peninsula, the Kasenyi area, the Katunguru Bridge area, Lake Kikorongo and the Ishasha Sector. While here, be sure to see main species like the African Broadbill, the Pink-backed Pelican, the African Skimmer, the Shoebill, the Chapin’s Flycatcher, the Papyrus Canary, the White-tailed Lark, the Bar-tailed Godwit, the Black-rumped Buttonquail, the Marital Eagle, the White-winged Warbler and the lesser and greater Flamingo among many others.

Bwindi Impenetrable Forest.

Bwindi is one of the few parks that offer the best Birding safaris in Uganda and Africa at large. It has recorded over 350 species of birds there of which 14 of them have no record elsewhere in the country. The main viewing points in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest national park include; Bamboo Zone, the Bwindi Swamp trail and also along the Waterfall trail in Buhoma. with the variety of bird species in the park some of which are migrants and out of all these 23 are endemic to the Albertine Rift Valley Region which include the Handsome Francolin, the Rwenzori Nightjar, the Black Bee eater Cuckoo-shrike, the Fine-banded Woodpecker, the Western Green Tinkerbird, the African Green Broadbill, the White-bellied Robin chat, the Yellow-streaked Greenbul, the Archer’s Robin chat, the Shelly’s Greenbul and the African Wood Owl, the Bar-tailed Trogon, the Dwarf Honey guide, the Grey Red-throated Alethe among many others.

Semuliki National Park.

In Uganda and all of Africa, this park offers one of the best opportunities for woodland birding. At Ntandi, Sempaya, and another location along the river Kirumia, it provides excellent viewing places. For birdwatchers who would like to have a good look at the water birds, forest treks are advised. Yellow-throated Nicator, White-crested Hornbill, Ross’s and Great Blue Turacos, Piping Hornbill, Red-billed Dwarf Hornbill, and the Shoebill Stork, which is often seen at nearby roosts on Lake Albert.

Lake Mburo National Park.

There are a couple of birding spots that are found in this park that can give birders perfect views of the birds here. These include the marshy areas of Miriti and Warukiri, the waysides amongst the landing stage and the Camp Rwonyo. There are also idyllically positioned viewing stages in the Miriti Valley at the salt lick and also in the forest of Rubanga. Species that can be found in these areas include the Grey crowned Crane, the Bare-faced Go-away bird, the Rufous-bellied Heron, the White-headed barbet, the Common Scimitarbill, the Bateleur, the Coqui Francolin, the Brown Parrot, the Green Wood-hoopoe, the Black-bellied Bustard, the Nubian Woodpecker, the Brown-chested Lapwing, the Red-faced Barbet, the Emerald-spotted Wood-Dove, the Long-tailed Cisticola, the Red-headed Lovebird, the White-winged Tit and Finfoot, the Ross’s Turaco, the Yellow-breasted Apalis and among many others the Red-shouldered Cuckoo-shrike. Also, to note, the rare Red-faced Barbet is and can only be seen in the Lake Mburo National Park and one can opt to visit places like the Rubanga Forest on foot or through an automobile.

Lutembe Bay.

This one is positioned at the Shores of Lake Victoria and is known and said to be the famous site for Birding in Uganda. It is also known for being one of the major stopovers where birds come to have a break in their journey. It is an extraordinary bird viewing site in the Lake Victoria Basin. The Bay is home not only to thousands but millions of all kinds of Palearctic migrant and

Indigenous birds. It is habitat to more than 200 bird species, of these 26 are migratory. These include the African Pygmy Kingfisher and the Holub’s Golden weaver among those said to be endangered, the African Green Pigeon, the Lead-colored Flycatcher, the Sooty Chat, the Tropical Boubou, the Brown-backed Scrub robins, the Whiskered Tern and the Road-billed Roller to mention but a few. Also, the White-winged Black Tern birds are over 52%in this area, a factor that contributes to the Bay being a Birding Paradise.
Mabamba Island.
This swampy area is only about an hour’s drive away from the City Centre. It is also found at the edge of Lake Victoria and for birders that would love to see the birds in this area, wooden boats and or canoes to find these birds. This Island is commonly known for the Shoebill Stork that is said to keep hidden in the waterweeds while waiting for the fish before they can actually get back into the deeper waters. Shoebills have their homes in Papyrus and will at times live on land however, the land has to oversee the waters. There are also other bird species that are found in this area and they include the Pied Kingfishers, the Blue-breasted Bee eaters, the African and Lesser Jacannas and the African Pygmy Goose. Also, important to note is the wooden boats can only be able to carry 3 persons while on the birding adventure.

Kibale National Park.

Kibale National Park neighbours the Bigodi Wetland Sanctuary a small distance away from the park. This sanctuary is habitat to over 139 species of birds that birders get to see while on directed tours end to end of the observing platforms and boardwalks. Here birding tours begin at exactly 7 am in Kanyanchu. Be sure to see a great deal of bird species like the Yellow-billed Barbet, the Brown-backed Scrub robin, the Black and White Shrike Flycatcher, the White-spotted Flufftail, the Brown-throated Wattle-eye, the Hairy-breasted Barbet, the Superb Sunbird, the Black-crowned Waxbill, the Yellow-spotted Barbet, the Western Nicator, the Grey-winged Robin chat, the Brown-crowned Tchagra, the White-tailed Ant thrush, the Bocage’s Bush shrike, the White-breasted Negrofinch and the Black Bishop to mention but a few. Also be sure to see the rarest of these species that include the Papyrus Canary, the White-winged Warbler, the Papyrus Gonolek and the White-collared Olive back.

Mgahinga Gorilla National Park.

Aside from being renowned for its gorilla tracking, the Mgahinga National Park is also home to over 180 species of birds, including endemics to the Albertine Rift region, giving bird watchers fantastic opportunity. In this park, the Community and/or Farm trail, the Gorge trail, and the Bamboo trail make for excellent viewing locations. Brown woodland Warbler, Kivu Ground thrush, Stripe-breasted Tit, Cinnamon Bracken Warbler, Brown-crowned Tchagra, Banded Prinia, White-starred Robin, Greater double collared and Scarlet-tufted sunbirds, Rwenzori Batis, Black-headed Waxbill, Archer’s Robin chat, Western Green Tinkerbird, Olive Pigeon, Streaky Seed-eater, Blue-headed Sunbird,

Rwenzori Mountains National Park.

Nearly 217 species of birds are known to live in the Rwenzori Mountains. 19 of these are believed to be endemic to the Albertine Rift Valley Region, and a birder must walk into the forest in order to get not just a glance but a perfect view of these winged creatures. The Golden-winged and Blue-headed Sunbird, Rwenzori Turaco, White-starred Robin, Long-eared Owl, Slender-billed Starling, Archer’s Robin Chat, Cinnamon-chested Bee-eater, Laden’s Bush shrike, Swifts, Bearded Vultures, and Black Eagles are just a few of the bird species you’re likely to see here, among countless others.

Best Time to Visit: The best time for birding in Uganda is during the dry seasons, which are from December to February and June to August. These months offer better visibility and accessibility to birding sites.

Popular Safaris

  • 10 Days Kibale Forest Chimp Trek
  • 15 Days Kibale Primates Safari
  • 20 Days Unique Primates Of Kibale
  • 8 Days Chimps & Red Tail Monkey
  • 7 Days Kibale Birding In The Forest
  • 25 Days Colobus Monkey Kibale

All About Kibale

  • History Of The Park
  • Things To Do
  • Places To See
  • Getting There