Birdwatching trips in Budongo Forest – Murchison Falls

Birdwatching trips in Budongo Forest – Murchison Falls

March 22, 2024
News Journeys Uganda

Birdwatching trips in Budongo Forest: In Uganda’s Masindi district, in the west, sits Budongo Forest. To reach Uganda’s Murchison Falls National Park from Budongo Forest, it takes about 3 to 4 hours by car. 793 square kilometres make up Budongo Forest. Larger mahogany and iron forest trees can be found in this largest forest reserve. Trees up to 80 metres tall can be found at Budongo, the largest mahogany forest in East Africa. The forest is home to 600–800 chimpanzees as well as numerous other endangered bird species, such as the Chocolate-backed Kingfisher, Lemon-bellied Crombec, White-thighed Hornbill, and Puvel’s illadopsis. The most popular tourist destinations inside Budongo Forest Reserve are Kaniyo Pabidi and Busingiro Ecotourism Sites. Two bird species, Puvel’s illadopsis and Yellow-footed Flycatcher, are unique to Budongo Forest and are not found anywhere else in East Africa. While “The Royal Mile” in Busingiro is the ideal place to go bird watching, Kaniyo Pabidi is also a great place to go woodland birding and is more easily explored.

Bird species to see in Budongo Forest.

It is a superb birding spot with many west and central African species. Some notable bird species you might encounter include:

The Hairy-breasted Barbet, Blue-breasted Kingfisher, Nahan’s Francolin, Cassin’s Spine Tail, Fire-crested Alethe, Dwarf Kingfisher, the Black-capped Apalis, Red-capped Robin-Chat, Blue-throated Roller, Blue-shouldered Robin-Chat, Ituri Batis, Lemon-bellied Crombec, Brown-eared Woodpecker, Rufous-crowned Eremomela, Western-black Headed Oriole, Yellow-crested Woodpecker, Spotted Greenbul, Piping Hornbill, Yellow-browed Camaroptera, White-spotted Fluff tail, Fire-crested Alethe,  Dwarf Kingfisher, Black-capped Apalis, Red-capped Robin-Chat, Blue-throated Roller, Blue-shouldered Robin-Chat, Ituri Batis, Lemon-bellied Crombec, Brown-eared Woodpecker,  Rufous-crowned Eremomela, Western-black Headed Oriole, Yellow-crested Woodpecker,  Spotted Greenbul, Piping Hornbill, Yellow-browed Camaroptera, White-spotted Fluff tail,   African Crowned eagle, Sabine’s Spine tail, Chocolate-backed Kingfisher, Yellow-billed Barbet, Grey-headed Sunbird, and Yellow-spotted Barbet are some of the noteworthy bird species you will see along the Budongo Forest Trail.

Animal species found along the Royal Mile. Primate Species:

Chimpanzees: These intelligent and social primates are found on the Royal Mile. Observing them in their natural habitat can be an incredible experience.

Olive Baboons: These baboons are widespread in the forest and are often seen foraging or grooming.

Black and White Colobus Monkeys: Their striking black-and-white fur makes them stand out. They are agile tree-dwellers.

Red-Tailed Monkeys: These monkeys have distinctive red tails and are skilled climbers.

Antelopes: The Royal Mile is home to antelopes such as Bushbucks and Duikers.

Giant Forest Hogs: These large, robust hogs roam the forest floor.

Elephants: Although less common, elephants occasionally pass through the area.

Best Time for Birdwatching trips in Budongo Forest – Murchison Falls

The best time to explore the Royal Mile and its wildlife is during the dry seasons from December to late February and from June to September. During these periods, animals congregate around water bodies, making them easier to observe. Additionally, consider visiting during the green season from March to May for a lush and vibrant experience.

Although it is good all year round, the best times to see the birds in Budongo Forest are in February, April, and September. The primary fruiting season is from June to September, when food is plentiful and many birds are in breeding plumage. The forest is home to migratory birds from November through April. The wettest months are December through February, with the wettest months being April through May and September through October. Due to inaccessible roads, the heavy rains may cause delays. Your time spent watching birds may be limited by slick hiking paths. You may plan your activities in Murchison Falls National Park and your birdwatching trips in Budongo Forest with the assistance of Great Adventure Safaris.

Other interesting spots in Budongo Forest

Besides the Royal Mile, there are other captivating spots to explore:

Kaniyo Pabidi Ecotourism Site:

Located within Budongo Forest, Kaniyo Pabidi offers an excellent chimpanzee trekking experience. Spend time observing these fascinating primates in their natural habitat. The forest here is alive with the sounds of birds, monkeys, and insects, creating an immersive experience.


Busingiro is home to the Royal Mile, which is renowned as one of the top bird-watching tracks in Uganda. Bird enthusiasts will be delighted by the diverse avian species found here.

Chimpanzee Habituation Experience:

Different from regular chimpanzee tracking, the habituation experience allows visitors to spend close to four hours with these intelligent creatures. Observe their behaviour, social interactions, and daily routines up close.

Forest Nature Walks:

Take leisurely walks through the lush green forest, guided by experts who share insights about the flora, fauna, and ecosystem. Discover hidden gems, unique plant species, and perhaps encounter other wildlife along the way.

Picnics and Photography:

Budongo Forest Reserve provides picturesque settings for picnics amidst nature. Capture stunning photographs of the forest’s towering trees, vibrant birdlife, and serene landscapes.

Historical Significance:

Budongo Forest has a rich history dating back to pre-colonial times. It was named after a powerful chief, Budongo, who ruled the area and was buried within the forest. The forest played a crucial role in ancient kingdoms, trade routes, and colonial conflicts. Collaborative efforts are ongoing to protect and manage this precious ecosystem.

For anyone obsessed with nature, including flora and fauna, or simply seeking treasure, Budongo Forest Reserve awaits with its hidden wonders.