Uganda’s Guided Birdwatching Tours

Uganda’s Guided Birdwatching Tours

March 27, 2024
News Journeys Uganda

Uganda’s Guided Birdwatching Tours immerse visitors in the depths of nature through a multisensory experience, Journeys Uganda being aware that the success of any trip entirely depends on the tour guide and their attitude, we ensure that all our birding tours are supervised by trained, Passionate, energetic, enthusiastic and knowledgeable local guides, many of whom have passed down decades of birdwatching expertise in the area. Both beginning and experienced birders will have a rewarding experience because to their sharp senses and strong eyes, which enable them to identify even the rarest species.

These escorted tours frequently begin in the early morning, when the birdsong is starting to crescendo and the air is crisp. It is hard to recreate the visual symphony created by the rustling leaves, melodic sounds, and vivid plumage elsewhere. The marshes and forest come alive as the sun rises, offering plenty of chances to see different bird species going about their daily eating or mating routines.

Top Birding Destinations in Uganda

Due to its diverse geography, Uganda offers a wealth of places for birdwatchers to visit. Some of the best locations that birdwatchers should not miss in Uganda are listed:

Mabamba Important Birding Area

Mabamba is an extensive marsh stretching through a long narrow bay located South of Entebbe town, fringed with papyrus Cyperus papyrus towards the main water body of the largest fresh water Lake in Africa – Victoria. the bay is a great habitat for the Miscanthus and Cyperus species of grass all punctuated with a narrow open water channel and a small patch of purple. yellow and white water-lilies Nymphaea. There are also areas of sedge Cladium, and sometimes drifting papyrus swamp islands. The Bay forms part of Waiya Bay, south-west of Nakiwogo Bay; these are all to the west of Entebbe International Airport. Mabamba bay is one of the best and most  marshy areas along the northern shores of Lake Victoria and the major area around the world that is highly visited to look out for the Shoebill Stork, Other bird species in Mabamba Bay of interest to bird watchers include the African Pygmy and  Spur-winged Geese, Purple, Rufous-bellied, Common Squacco and Goliath Heron, Lesser and African Jacana, African Marsh, Western Marsh and Pallid Harrier, White-winged Warbler, Papyrus Gonolek, Lesser and Greater Swamp Warbler, Northern-brown Throated Weaver, Blue-breasted Bee-eater, African Swamphen, Allen’s Gallinule, African Water Rail, Black Crake, Blue-headed Coucal, Fan-tailed Widowbird, Saddle-billed Stork, Yellow-billed and White-faced Whistling Duck and many more bird species, Mabamba bay also supports migratory species, including the intra-African Blue Swallow, Gull-billed Tern, White-throated Bee-eater, Whiskered Tern, White-winged (Black) Tern, and Grey-headed Gull among others

Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and Environs

Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is Africa’s number one birding spot, especially for its population of Albertine Rift endemics and rare forest birds. Keep an eye out for the Grauer’s Broadbill, Purple-breasted, Blue-headed and Regal Sunbird, Rwenzori Batis, Purple-breasted Sunbird, Black-faced Apalis, Dwarf Honeyguide, the attractive and melodious Red-faced Woodland Warbler, Handsome Spurfowl, Strange Weaver, Grauer’s Swamp Warbler, the very shy Grey-chested Babbler, Yellow-billed and Yellow-spotted Barbets, Black Bee-eater, Oriole-Finch, Yellow-eyed Black Flycatcher, Archer’s Robin-chat, White-bellied Crested Flycatcher, Bar-tailed Trogon, Ansorge’s Greenbul, Elliot’s Woodpecker, Honey Guide Greenbul, Doherty’s Bush-shrike, Neumann’s Warbler, Grey-winged, Blue-shouldered and White-bellied Robin-chat, Black billed Turaco, Stripe-breasted Tit, and Many-coloured Bush-shrike, among others. Also take note that Bwindi is divided into 2 great birding spots in Uganda and that is the Buhoma lower section and the Ruhija area which has many Albertine Rift Endemics and high altitude rarities.

Queen Elizabeth National Park: 

More than 600 different bird species can be found in this well-known park in Uganda, as it has rich habitats including Savannahs which are both wooded and grasslands, Lake and Rivers offering a wonderful haven for the wading bird species and the tropical rain forest, some of the bird species highly sought for here in Uganda include the, Caspian Plover, Black Bee-eater, Great White Pelican, Papyrus Gonolek, Red-chested Sun Bird, Goliath Heron, African Jacana, Grey Crowned Crane, Mash Harrier, Little Stint, Montagu’s, Western Marsh and Pallid Harrier, Yellow-billed Stock, Egyptian Goose, African Skimmer, Western Banded, Black-chested, Brown Snake and Martial Eagle, White-tailed, Red-caped, Flappet and Rufous-naped Lark, Black Coucal, Temminck’s Courser, Green-winged Pytilia and many others. Explore the Kasenyi Plains and Ishasha sector on game drives, perhaps take a nature walk in the Maramagambo Forest or a boat ride along the Kazinga Channel to spot a variety of the park’s bird species. The nearby Kyambura Gorge offers a unique opportunity to see birds and fauna due to its primate population, which is well-known and mainly the Chimpanzees.

Kibale National Park:

This park is well known for its chimpanzee tracking,  but it is also a veritable birdwatcher’s paradise that offers some of the Albertine rift endemics and a variety of forest-dwelling species such as the rare Green Breasted Pitta, which can only be easily seen here in the whole of Uganda, Masked Apalis, Red-cehsetd Owlet, Yellow-mantled Weaver, Honeyguide, Little, Plain and Toro-olive Greenbul, Yellow-spotted and Hairy-breasted Barbet, White-naped Pigeon, Narina Trogon, Afep Pigeon, Dusky Long-tailed Cuckoo, Joyful Greenbul, Blue-throated Roller, Yellow-billed Barbet, Blue-breasted Kingfisher, Yellow-throated and Yellow-rumped Tinkerbird, Western Nicator, Red-headed Malimbe, Little-green, Superb, Blue-throated Brown and the Green Sunbird, Red-caped and Blue-shouldered Robin-Chat, Golden-crowned and Brown-eared Woodpecker, Narrow-tailed, Purple-headed, Waller’s and Stuhlmann’s Starling, Mottled, Cassin’s and Sabine’s Spinetail, White Headed-wood Hoopoe, African Olive Pigeon and the colourful Great Blue Turaco.

Semuliki National Park:

The park’s lowland tropical rainforest is home to several bird species, including Guinea-Congo biome endemics and other forest birds. Furthermore, the park has over 400 bird species and is popularly known as a “birding haven, including the Red-chested and Chestnut-flanked Sparrowhawk, Long-tailed Hawk, the uncommon Congo Serpent Eagle, Lyre-tailed Honeyguide, Congo Pied, Eastern Little (Black Dwarf) Hornbill, the canopy-dwelling Red-billed Dwarf and the unique-calling Black-casqued Hornbills. Other good birds like Yellow-lored Bristlebill, Yellow-throated Green Cuckoo, Yellow-throated Nicator, Black-headed and African Paradise Flycatchers, Chocolate-backed Kingfisher, Forest Robin, African Piculet, African Dwarf and White-bellied Kingfisher and striking large Hartlaub’s Duck, Yellow-footed Flycatcher, Nkulengu Rail,  Icterine and Xavier’s Greenbul, Red-tailed Ant-thrush, Blue-billed, Red-bellied and Crested Malimbe, Blue-headed and Dusky-crested Flycatcher, the roadsides are good for the Black-bellied Seedcracker, Chestnut-breasted Nigrita and Orange-cheeked Waxbill and Red-headed Bluebills, Spot-breasted Ibis always seen late around the Bumaga Camp, Red-thighed Sparrowhawk, and long-tailed Hawk, White-naped and Western Bronze-naped Pigeon and other bird species make Semliki a very special birding destination in Uganda.

Murchison Falls National Park:

Murchison Falls National Park is the largest national park in Uganda and a birdwatcher’s paradise. Discover the delights of nature like the Abyssinian Ground Hornbill, Shoebill Stork, and Goliath Heron. On the boat safari downstream from the newly finished bridge along the Victoria Nile towards the Delta of Albert is among the bird watchers highlights as it offers perhaps the best opportunity to see the highly sought after birds in Uganda – the Shoebills than anywhere in Africa, particularly during the rainy season, all these boats combined, expect birds like Spur-winged & Egyptian Geese, Common Squacco, Goliath & Purple Herons, Little, Yellow-billed (Intermediate), Great, & Black Egrets, African Darter, Long-tailed Cormorant, Saddle-billed and Yellow-billed Stork, Glossy, Sacred & Hadada Ibis,   White-faced & Fulvous Whistling Ducks, African Fish Eagle, Marsh Harriers, African Jacana, , Senegal Thick-knee, pairs and at times small parties of Rock Pratincole, Spur-winged & Long-toed Lapwings, the seasonal Osprey, Grey-headed Gull, Gull-billed Tern, African Skimmer, and Pied Kingfisher, the spectacular and massive Giant Kingfisher, colonies of breeding Red-throated Bee-eaters and on very lucky days with a kin guide we have found the Pel’s Fishing Owl among other bird species on these launch cruises, the game drives in the northern section of the park offer Silver Bird, Blue-naped Mousebird, Grey Crowned Crane, Buff-bellied, Red-winged Grey, and Red-winged Warbler, Black-headed Batis, Black-headed Gonolek, Red-winged and Green-winged Pytilia, Chestnut-crowned Sparrow-Weaver, Heuglin’s Masked, Slender-billed and Vitelline-masked Weaver, Abdim’s Stork, Spotted Morning-Thrush, Abyssinian Roller, Northern Carmine and Swallow-tail ed Bee-eater, Black-billed and Spot-flanked Barbet, Black Scimitarbill, Green-wood Hoopoe, Denham’s and Black-bellied Bustard, Jacobin, Diederik and Klaas’s Cuckoo,  with our great birding guides, late evening game drives will expose you to Spotted and Verreaux’s Eagle Owls, Long-tailed, Pennant-winged Nightjar, Standard-winged Nightjar and Plain, many nocturnal mammals cross our game drives like the White-tailed Mangoose, Hyaena, Leopard and Lions.

Best time for Guided Birdwatching Excursions In Uganda

The ideal time of year for guided birdwatching trips in Uganda is contingent upon the particular species of birds you like to see, the local climate, and the ease of access to various locations. There are typically two wet seasons and two dry seasons in Uganda. The two main seasons for which birdwatchers should plan their trips are as follows:

Dry Season (December to February and June to August):

December through February is regarded as one of Uganda’s best birding seasons. Numerous migratory bird species from northern Africa and Europe arrive in Uganda around this period, contributing to the already remarkable resident bird population. Since the weather is usually dry, travelling to other areas is easier without having to deal with a lot of rain.

Another dry season, June to August, is ideal for birdwatching, particularly in higher-elevation regions like the Albertine Rift and Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. The skies are clear, and the temperature is often mild, making for ideal birdwatching conditions.

Wet Season (March to May and September to November):

Due to excessive rainfall and muddy terrain, birding conditions can be difficult during Uganda’s extended rainy season, which runs from March to May. The wet season does, however, offer certain benefits, like verdant scenery and fewer tourists. At this time, bird activity may also be at its highest.

The short rainy season, which runs from September to November, has less strong rainfall than the lengthy rainy season. During this time, birding can still be very rewarding, particularly in September and October when the rains start to lessen.

Special Considerations during Guided Birdwatching Excursions In Uganda

Migratory Birds: The dry season, particularly from December to February, is ideal for seeing migrating bird species because of the high concentration of these birds.

Breeding Season: For many bird species, the wetter months of March through May correspond with the breeding season. Even though the weather could be difficult, now is a special time to see courtship displays and nesting activity.

Gorilla Trekking and Other Wildlife: It is important to consider the ideal time for other activities, such as gorilla trekking or general wildlife viewing, if your birding trips include these. This can have an impact on your entire trip schedule.

Keep in mind that birding possibilities might differ greatly from region to region due to Uganda’s different landscapes and ecosystems. Working with knowledgeable local birding guides is always an excellent choice because they are well-versed in the local bird species, their habits, and the optimum times to spot them.