Birding destinations in Uganda.
Birding refers to the act of watching birds and learning more about their characters with the help of cameras and binoculars and most People who go for birding observe these birds in their natural habitats. There are several bird species that can be seen in these countries but it is best to note that the best time for one to do birding is during the rainy season and in the morning and evening hours because by then the lighting is good for the binoculars and cameras.
When birding, there are several equipment and requirements that you will need if you are to enjoy your birding experience in any of the above countries and I have taken the liberty to not them down so that you are ready before you venture into the wilderness for birding.
Birding in Uganda
Uganda has a variety of bird species that can be viewed at the different birding spots and destinations and they are found in the area and some of these include the following:
Mabamba Bay is a wetland on the edge of Lake Victoria, northwest of the Entebbe peninsula.
Mabamba swamp is one of Uganda’s 33 Important Bird Areas and since 2006 a Ramsar-listed wetland of international importance. The area has over 260 bird species and is labelled an Important Bird Area. The period from September to March experiences the highest bird activity at the wetland due to the arrival of many migrant birds. Large congregations of Blue Swallow, White-winged and Gull-billed Terns fill the wetlands and the shores of Lake Victoria. Key protected bird species in Mabamba are the shoebill, the blue swallow and the papyrus gonolek.
Bird watching is the primary activity within the area. Spotting and observing the rare Shoebill stork is definitely one of the highlights for every bird watcher coming to Uganda. The Mabamba Swamp offers the best chances of seeing this majestic bird. The large bird with its prehistoric look fascinates many bird lovers. The shoe bill usually hides within the papyrus and is known for feeding on lung fish. The wetland is also home to plenty of other bird species. These include: African Pigmy Goose, Black Crake, Black Heron, Black-crowned Night Heron, Black-crowned Waxbill, Black-headed Heron, Black-winged Stilt, Pied Wagtail, African Firefinch, African Fish Eagle, African Green Pigeon, Pink-backed Pelican among others.You will also have a chance to witness a few activities like fishing, which is done by the local people, some of which stay in the nearby village of Kasanje. Statungas, which is an antelope is also common at Mabamba as well as some rare plant species like the sand boxes. A Mabamba swamp excursion is available to any visitor to the area. The excursion usually lasts for three hours although the option of a full day is also possible. The birding guides usually use local motorized boats. At the landing stage, there are many fisherman preparing for their daily fishing activities. The swamp is a beautiful environment of papyrus plants and water lilies.
Kibaale National Park
Kibale National Park stands in the west of Uganda in the shadows of Rwenzori Mountains dubbed the legendary mountains of the moon. It features a varied tract and lovely tropical forest that date back to the prehistoric era supporting a range of flora, fauna and birds that have made it an ideal destination for travelers on safaris in Uganda. This famous Uganda safaris destination features 70 species of mammals, 13 primate Species including our main attraction, the chimpanzees, the 375 bird species with one endemic species the ground thrush. The forest also supports 351 tree species some of which are about 55m in height and about 200 years old.
A trip to Kibale National park also gives an opportunity for a community walk in the Bigodi wetland. The wetland is renowned for its rich variety of rare plants and diversity of birdlife including the rare shoebill stock.
Queen Elizabeth National park
The park is home to over 95 mammal species and over 600 bird species.
The Katwe explosion craters mark the park’s highest point at 1,350m above sea level, while the lowest point is at 910m, at Lake Edward.
Queen Elizabeth National Park is understandably Uganda’s most popular tourist destination. The park’s diverse ecosystems, which include sprawling savanna, shady, humid forests, sparkling lakes and fertile wetlands, make it the ideal habitat for classic big game, ten primate species including chimpanzees and over 600 species of birds making it one of the top birding destinations in Uganda.
Bwindi Impenetrable National park
Bwindi Impenetrable forest National park is located in the western art of the country and has a recorded number of bird species that amounts to over 350 bird species. It has been voted by the Africa Bird club as the best birding spot in Uganda and it has clearly marked birding routes. And some of the bird species that can be seen in Bwindi include the collared and mountain masked Apalis, Chapin’s flycatcher, Handsome Francolin, Shelley’s crimsoning and black billed Turaco and many more bird species.
Semuliki National Park
Semuliki National park has over 441 bird species and these include the Maxwell’s black weaver, piping hornbill, Nkulengu rail, black dwarf hornbill, yellow throated cuckoo, dwarf honey guide yellow throated Nicator, the swamp palm bulbul, red billed dwarf, African piculet, orange weaker, blue billed malimbe and many more other species.
The Rwenzori Mountains National Park
This is located in the Rwenzori region in the south western part of Uganda and it is believed to be a home to over 177 bird species. There are several birding spots where you go but you might as well do birding while hiking up the ranges. Some of the bird species that are found in the Rwenzori Mountains National Park include the cinnamon Chested bee-eater, the swifts, Archer’s robin chat, long eared owl, Lagden’s bush shrike, blue headed and golden winged sunbird, slender billed starling, bearded vultures, Rwenzori Turaco and other rare bird species.
Lake Mburo National Park
Located in western Uganda, Lake Mburo national park is a top destination for birders in Uganda. It has a recorded number of 315 bird species and these can be viewed from the Warukiri and the Rwonyo swamps. Some of the famous bird species that can be seen at Lake Mburo national Park include the red necked spur fowl, Nubian woodpecker, crested francolin, the pied kingfisher, shoebill, , trilling Cisticola, bee-eaters, blue napped moosebird, lilac breasted roller, common quails, emerald spotted wood dove, bare faced go away birds, the African eagle fish and the Greenwood hoopoe.
Mgahinga National Park
Mgahinga National Park is located in the southern part of the country and it is known to house the largest number of gorillas in the country. But besides the gorillas, the park is a home to various bird species and these include kivu ground thrush, white starred robin, olive pigeon, Rwenzori Batis, greater doubled collared sunbirds, brown crowned tchagra, western green tinker bird black headed wax bill, and the cinnamon warbler.