Birding in Uganda is one of the most exciting adventures that one can take while on holiday in Uganda? From birding in towns to trips that take you deep into the rural jungles with diverse ecosystems, Uganda offers a different experience to birders. From seasoned birders to twitchers, Uganda is an attractive destination to those interested in birding given its amazing numbers of over 1065 species that have been recorded yet the list is still growing with new sightings!
Why Bird in Uganda?
- While other East African Countries are famous for wildlife safaris, many naturalists would argue that Uganda and Rwanda offer an experience that is more diverse, exceptional and breath taking. There are a billion reasons as to why one should bird in Uganda;
- The numbers speak for themselves. More than 1065 bird species in are found in Uganda.
- There are many varied habitats can be reached in a day and many different birds spotted.
- It’s not uncommon for a week long itinerary to produce a trip list for less than 500 bird species.
- Rare birds such as the Shoebill Stork can be easily spotted in Uganda.
Where to go birding?
Bird Watching is one of today’s most popular and fastest growing outdoor activities. Some of the best places to enjoy birding in Africa are in Uganda, the Pearl of Africa. Uganda’s birding places include National Parks, IBAs and recreation areas. Birders while in Uganda will find a variety of habitats to explore, including savanna grasslands, woodlands, tropical rain forests, swamps and wetlands, lakes and rivers.
While all the parks and recreation areas offer the bird watcher opportunities to see a good number of birds, there are several parks that consistently produce those rare and uncommon sightings sought by the avid birder. These include Queen Elizabeth National Park home to over 606 bird species, Murchison Falls National Park, Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, and Semuliki Forest National Park. Each of these parks also has its endemic bird species!
What to Expect
- To any birder, there is a lot to expect on a birding trip to Uganda
- Uganda lies astride the Equator, attracting many birds including migrants
- Several areas have uncommon birds such as the rare shoebill stork that can easily be seen in places such as Mabamba wetlands, Queen Elizabeth National Park.
When to Visit
In many destinations, as the seasons change, so will bird watching opportunities. However, Uganda is relatively an all year round bird watching destination. You can go birding any time of the year except for some specific birds! The greatest number of species will occur in some parks such as Queen Elizabeth National Park, Murchison falls National Park, etc. Queen Elizabeth National Park is known as the best areas to observe a good number of birds in a shorter time duration. This park alone has a record of hosting 606 bird species.
- Be prepared for warm to hot, dry and sunny weather on most days. Overcast conditions will occur, Uganda being surrounded by tropical rain forests and fresh water bodies it can rain any time of the day and year. It will be warm to cool at higher elevations. It is recommended to take a light rain-jacket, although we will try to avoid birding in any rain worse than a light drizzle, and good, sturdy, waterproof footwear.
- Walking conditions will be relatively easy but trails anywhere may be muddy depending on how recently it has rained.
Though birding is exciting, sometimes it’s a challenge to find hotspots for birding while traveling. That’s why you may wish to hire a bird watching guide. A birding guide familiar with an area will concurrently increase your enjoyment of birding while helping you increase your life list.
Kalema Lawrence is a freelance tour guide & researcher for the popular “UgandaBirdWatching.com” blog. For more tips, ideas and guidance about birding visit http://www.ugandabirdwatching.com