Uganda Birding Photography Tips

Birding photography Safaris in Uganda

March 15, 2024
News Journeys Uganda

Birding photography Safaris in Uganda: Uganda is a paradise for ornithologists and photographers from around the world, with over 1,000 different bird species. This makes it an ideal destination for bird photography enthusiasts. The Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site well-known for housing about half of the world’s mountain gorilla population, is one of the best-known places to go birdwatching and the Ruhija area is the number one birding site in Africa. But it also contains an abundance of bird life. Among many other birds, birdwatchers are keen to see the African or Grauer’s Broadbill and Grauer’s Swamp Warbler in the Ruhija area which also has the greatest of the Albertine Rift Endemics in Uganda while the African Broadbill and Neumann’s Warbler are looked for on the lower Buhoma side of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park.

National Bird of Uganda: The Crested Crane – Grey Crowned Crane

The Crested Crane – Grey Crowned Crane (Balearica regulorum) holds the honour of being Uganda’s national bird. It graces the country’s flag and coat of arms, often found near lakes and rivers with fertile marshes. Uganda is a paradise for birdwatchers and photographers, offering a rich diversity of avian species against the backdrop of stunning landscapes. Here are some fascinating aspects of birding and photography in Uganda:

Why Birding in Uganda?

Uganda boasts over 1,065 bird species inhabiting various habitats, from montane forests to wetlands, agricultural lands, lakes, and savannahs. The Albertine Rift Valley, which strides over Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo contributes an impressive biodiversity. Birding here provides an opportunity to enhance your species life list significantly.

Photography Safaris in Uganda:

16 Days of Uganda Birding & Photography: Explore the unique habitats of western East Africa, including the Albertine Rift, Budongo, Lake Mburo, Bwindi Impenetrable, Queen Elizabeth, and Murchison Falls National Parks.

12 Days of Birding and Photography Safari: From Mabamba wetland to various bird areas, expect astonishing sightings of forest birds, migratory species, and resident avifauna.

The Best Birding Spots in Uganda:

Queen Elizabeth National Park, rich in woodland and open-country birds, is a must-see location in Uganda for bird photography. The park’s varied ecosystems, which include marshes, lakes, and savannas, draw a wide range of bird species, such as the recognisable African Fish Eagle, the secretive Shoebill Stork, and the African skimmer, among others.

Mabamba Swamp, situated on the shoreline of Lake Victoria, is a haven for water birds, raptors, and forest edge species and a birdwatcher’s paradise since it offers a rare chance to see the amazing shoebill stork in its native environment. For every bird photographer, photographing the shoebill is a dream come true because of its unique bill and prehistoric appearance.

Other famous birding spots include:

Kibale National Park is home to forest birds, migratory species, and resident avifauna. Lake Mburo offers mid-elevation birdwatching opportunities. Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is known for its montane forests and unique species. Murchison Falls National Park is an opportunity to explore the diverse wildlife and avian treasures of Uganda’s heritage, among others.

Best Tips for Bird photography in Uganda

Because of Uganda’s vast biodiversity and variety of bird species, taking photographs of birds there may be very rewarding. Uganda is one of the best places in Africa to go birdwatching and take photographs because it is home to over 1,000 different species of birds. The following advice and recommendations can help you photograph birds in Uganda: Advice for Photographing Birds in Uganda

Choose the Appropriate Time to Go: March through May and October through November are Uganda’s two main wet seasons. Plan your vacation during the dry season, which usually falls between December and February or from June to September, to avoid intense rains and difficult photographic circumstances.

Choose the Right Places: National parks and birding hotspots like Queen Elizabeth National Park, Murchison Falls National Park, Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, Kibale Forest National Park, The Mabamba Mashes and the Rwenzori Mountains are some of the best places in Uganda for bird photography. Every site offers a variety of distinct bird species, which makes for some breathtaking photo opportunities.

Use the Right Equipment: If you want to take excellent bird photos, think about taking a DSLR or mirrorless camera with a telephoto lens. To obtain close-up photographs of the birds, a lens with a minimum focal length of 300mm is advised, since many species may be far away or in the trees.

Be Calm and Patient: Calm and patience are necessary for bird photography. Since birds can be shy, approach your subjects carefully and steer clear of abrupt movements or loud noises that might frighten them off.

Examine Bird Behaviour: You may greatly increase your chances of getting interesting pictures by getting a thorough understanding of bird behaviour. Examine the behaviours and habits of the various species, including their eating and nesting schedules.

Employ Camouflage and Hides: You can approach birds without frightening them by donning camouflage apparel or utilising a bird hide. To improve your chances of taking pictures of a particular species, hides might be placed close to feeding places or well-known perches.

Be Aware of Ethics: Honour the environment and wildlife as a conscientious photographer and birdwatcher. To prevent stress or injury to the birds, do not interfere with their nesting grounds and maintain a safe distance from them.

Record Keeping: Carry extra memory cards and batteries because bird photography can be hard on your camera’s battery life. To ensure you do not miss out on great photographs, make sure you have backups of both.

Take Photographs of More Than Just Birds: Although birdwatching is mostly focused on birds, do not forget to take photographs of the surrounding scenery and any other wildlife you may come across.

Seek Advice from Local Experts: To improve your chances of seeing and taking pictures of uncommon and elusive bird species, think about hiring a local bird guide or signing up for a birdwatching tour. Because they know the area well, local guides can help you spot rare birds that you may otherwise miss.

Challenges faced during bird Photography

There are benefits and challenges to photographing birds in Uganda. The thick foliage in many birdwatching locations, like Bwindi Impenetrable, Kibale Forest, Rwanzori and the Southern section of Murchison Falls National Park, is one of the main obstacles. To capture the ideal view, photographers must possess patience, agility, and skill in manoeuvring through dense vegetation.

Uganda’s tropical climate, which features high humidity and frequent downpours, can also be rather taxing. Keeping photography equipment dry is essential since, even in the dry season, unexpected downpours might happen.

Remember to enjoy the process and respect the birds and their habitats while capturing beautiful moments. The benefits of bird photography in Uganda are enormous, notwithstanding these difficulties. Every outing is guaranteed to be a unique experience due to the enormous range of bird species. The joy of photographing uncommon and colourful birds—such as Uganda’s national bird, the royal crested crane, or the lovely African paradise flycatcher—makes the effort worthwhile.

Enjoy the process and show respect for the birds and their environments while you capture breathtaking moments with your camera. I hope you enjoy taking bird photos in Uganda! Whether you’re an avid birder or a passionate photographer, Uganda’s natural wonders await your lens and curiosity. Capture the vibrant plumage, intricate behaviours, and breathtaking landscapes that make this country a true birding and photography gem.