Diversity in flight: bird watching in Uganda

When you think of a Ugandan safari, you will probably imagine mountain gorillas, gazelles, elephants and leopards, but an increasing number of people are visiting this lush, mountainous county in eastern Africa, to see another family of animals all together. Uganda is said to be the best place for bird watching in the whole of Africa. In fact, Uganda is home to a staggering 1000 bird species, representing two thirds of all of Africa’s bird species in one country, as well as 11% of the world’s total species.

Diversity in flight

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Bwindi Impenetrable National park

This excellently named national park is in the oldest forest in Africa, and it enjoys an enviable position in south-western Uganda close to the Rift Valley. It’s famous as a destination for gorilla trekking but the forest is also home to 350 species of birds, of which 23% are endemic to the forest itself. Highlights include trekking the main trail, the Buhoma Waterfall Trail, which offers the best chances of seeing some of these bird species. Highlights include the African Emerald Cuckoo, the Blue-headed Sunbird and the Short-tailed Warbler, as well as the Common Bulbul, White-tailed Blue Flycatchers, the Red-headed Bluebill and the African Blue.

Kibale Bird Watching

Kibale National Park in Southern Uganda is made up of a thick, moist rainforest, as well as lowland and mountain forests. These habitats are ideal for many exotic birds, with over 300 species calling it home. Top sightings in Kibale may include the African Grey Parrot, the White Tailed Olive Back, the Olive Long Tailed Cuckoo, Yellow Spotted Barbet, Papyrus Canary, White Spotted Flufftail and the aptly named Superb Sunbird.

A bird watching tour in Kibale can be added onto a gorilla trekking holiday with a company such as Steppes gorilla trekking holiday.

Queen Elizabeth National Park

Also located close to the Rift Valley, the Queen Elizabeth National Park has great visitor facilities for birding and has been designated as an Important Birding Area by Birding International. The park is home to an impressive 600 species. Top sightings are likely to include the Martial Eagle, Verreaux’s Eagle Owl, the Papyrus Gonolek and both the Greater and Lesser Flamingo.

Birding in Uganda always promises to be a fascinating experience, for both experienced bird watchers and those who have never done any birding before.