BIRD WATCHING IN UGANDA


 Uganda is a true African birding destination located at the centre of the continent. No other area in Africa can match Uganda’s Amazing diversity of habitats and this richness is reflected in the ever-burgeoning bird list of over 1000species. Amongst these are many special birds such as Shoebill and the numerous spectacular endemics of the Albertine rift Valley that are difficult or impossible to find elsewhere. The huge bird list is so remarkable given the small size of the country of over 235,000km2; it is approximately the size of Great Britain. Making it arguably, the richest Africa birding destination.

Our key birding sites

QUEEN ELIZABETH NATIONAL PARK

 It is Uganda’s most popular National park and certainly one of its most scenic and with its bird list of over 605 species. Around the main camp at Mweya, key species include Martial Eagle, Black-rumped Buttonquail, African Skimmer, Verreaux’s Eagle-Owl, Black Bee-eater, White-tailed Lark, White-winged Warbler, Papyrus Gonolek, and Papyrus Canary.

In the vicinity of the airstrip and the camping site along the Kazinga Channel, watch for resident Africa Mourning Dove, Grey-headed Kingfisher, Swamp Flycatcher, Grey-capped Warbler, the beautiful Black-headed Gonolek, Red-chested Sunbird, Yellow-backed and Lesser Masked Canary. Gabon and Slender-tailed Nighjars are fairly common along the airstrip and may be flushed from their roosts under thickets.

The Kazinga Channel is a natural magnet for water birds and in the vicinity of Mweya, acts as a migrant trap for birds moving along the Albertine rift. A launch Cruise depart twice daily providing an excellent way to see a wide variety of water-related species on the channel: Great white and Pink-backed pelicans, Great and long-tailed Cormorants, common Squacco Heron, African Open-billed Stork, White-faced whistling and Knob-billed Ducks, African Fish Eagle, Black Crake, African Jacana, Water Thick-nee, Spur-winged and African Wattled Plovers, Malachite and Pied Kingfishers. Swamp Flycatcher and Yellow-backed Weaver are all common and conspicuous.

The scenic Crater area lies north of the Katwe road and is a good place to search for widespread grass land species such as common Bttunquail, Croaking Cisticola, Broad-tailed Warbler and marsh Tchagra. Spectacular number of migrant harriers including pallid, Montagu’s and European Marsh, Quarter the damp grasslands from November to March may be seen in the evening at their roost in the shallow depression west of the road to baboon Cliffs, 7.5km from the Kabatoro gate.

MURCHISON FALLS NATIONAL PARK

The park headquarters is situated at Paraa on the southern bank of the Victoria Nile. A stroll through the dry thorn scrub between the Red Chilli Rest Camp and the ferry crossing should produce Blue-naped Mousebird, Spotted Morning Thrush, Silverbird, Buff-bellied Warbler, Black-headed Batis, Black-headed Gonolek, Chestnut Crowned Sparrow-weaver, Vitelline Masked Weaver and Green-winged Pytilia. This is probably the most reliable site in Uganda for the localized White-rumped Seedeater.
Nocturnal birds are often plentiful in the area and may include spotted and Verreaux’s Eagle-Owls and a plethora of spectacular nightjar such as plain, Long-tailed and pennant-winged (March-September). The mind blowing Standard–winged nightjar is abundant from November to February and a sighting of this superb creature is like to be a highlight of any trip to Uganda.

SEMULIKI NATIONAL PARK

The entrance road into Semuliki passes through beautiful Borassus palm savanna and extensive grassland with scattered thorn thickets. Crested Francolin and Helmet Guinea fowl frequent feed on the track and Broad-bille Roller, Green Wood-hoopoe, African Moustached Warbler, Marsh Tchagra and Violet-backed Starling are all common. Key species include Shoebill, Afrin pygmy Goose, Red-necked Falcon, Abyssinian Ground Hornbill, Blue-breasted Bee-eater, Black-billed Barbet, Piapiac, Leaf love, Black-chinned Quail-Finch. Spot lighting for nocturnal birds in the woodland is often rewarding and you stand a good chance of finding African scops Owl, Pearl-spotted Owlet, Verreax’s Eagle- Owl, and African white-tailed, Standard-winged (October-Match) and pennant-winged (Match-September) nightjars
Most of our National Parks have a diversity of bird species; however Queen Elizabeth National Park and Bwindi Impenetrable are the most famous for birding. If you are a bird lover, then Uganda is the destination that will make your dream come true. Our excellent guides will add flavour to your own experience on birds. Be our dear guest!

Compiled by Jackie
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