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Birding in Uganda, Best Destinations, Packing list

Birding in Uganda, Best Destinations, Packing list

Birding is defined as the act of seeing, or watching, or observing birds and learning more about them with the help of cameras as well as binoculars. In this article, we bring the best bird watching destination in Uganda as well as what you should pack on your Birding Tour.  The majority of people who go for birding do it within the natural habitat of the birds. There are various types of birds that can be seen in Uganda, however we point out that the best time to do bird watching is in the rainy season especially in the mornings and evenings since the lighting at that time is perfect to use the camera or binoculars.

The biggest contributor to the rich diversity of birdlife in the country are the varied wildlife habitats. These include: the montane rainforests, the dry semi-dessert, the afro-alpine zone, vast savannahs, swamps, volcanoes as well as the lowlands.

Best Birding Destinations in Uganda

Uganda prides in a rich diversity of bird species which can be seen at the numerous birding sites and destinations scattered across the country. Below are some of the best watching destinations in Uganda

  1. Bwindi Impenetrable National park

The Bwindi Gorilla National park is found in the western part of the country. It has over 340 different bird species of which 25 species are internationally endangered; all recorded staying within its forests. Furthermore, out of the 25 albertine endemic bird species, the Bwindi is home to 24 of these species.  The African Bird club (which is a group of bird-watchers interested in birding and ornithology on the African continent) voted this sanctuary as the leading birding spot within the country, and it has properly marked paths for bird watching. Some of the bird species that can be sighted in Bwindi include: the Handsome Francolin,  black billed Turaco, Fine-banded Woodpecker,  Handsome Francolin, Grauer’s Rush Warbler, African Wood Owl, Mountain Yellow Warbler, Rwenzori Nightjar, Shelly’s Greenbul, Kivu Ground-Thrush, Bar-tailed Trogon, White-bellied Robin-Chat, Black Bee-eater, Archer’s Robin-Chat, Western Green Tinkerbird, Red-throated Alethe, Dwarf Honeyguide, Mountain Yellow Warbler, Yellow-streaked Greenbul, Mountain Yellow Warbler, Red-throated Alethe, African Green Broadbill as well as the Grey Cuckoo-shrike among others.

  1. Semiliki National Park

Semiliki National park found in the remote area within the south-western corners is another amazing bird watching destination. It has over 435 bird species, and represents close to forty percent (40%) of Uganda’s total bird population. furthermore it has sixty six percent (66%) of Uganda’s forest bird-species, has 46 endemic Congo-Guinea biome species that are only seen here across east africa, in addition to five bird species endemic to the Albertine Rift.

Capuchin Babbler, the Red-bellied Malimbe, Blue-headed, Crested Malimbe, Crested flycatcher, Maxwell’s Black Weaver, Red-billed Helmet -Shrike, Black Dwarf Hornbill, Red-eyed Puff-back, Papyrus Gonolek and Caruthers’s Cisticola, Swamp Palm Bulbul, Leaf-love, White-crested Hornbill, White-throated Blue Swallow, Yellow-throated Nicator, Yellow-throated Nicator, African Piculet, Red-billed Dwarf Hornbill, Red-rumped Tinker bird, Piping Hornbill, Black-winged Starling, Ross’s Turacos, Black-casqued Wattled Hornbill, Great blue Turacos,  Ituri Batis, Maxwell’s Black Weaver as well as the Red-bellied Malimbes.

  1. The Rwenzori National Park

This beautiful park which was named after the snow capped Mount Rwenzori is found in the southwestern part of Uganda, and it is home to a recorded total of 217 bird species. Of these are eight (8) albertine endemic species, and sixty (60) of the eighty six (86) afro-tropical highland biome bird species.  some of the birds you will see on your birding tour here include:  Lagden’s bush shrike, Rwenzori Turaco, golden winged sunbird, Archer’s robin chat, Stuhlmann’s double collared olive back, long eared owl,  Bamboo Warbler, cinnamon Chested bee-eater, Scarlet tufted malachite Sun bird, bearded vultures, Golden Winged sun bird, slender billed starling, blue headed sunbird as well as the swifts.

  1. Lake Mburo National Park

Lake Mburo national park is situated in Western Uganda and it is among Uganda’s best birding destinations. It has 315 bird species recorded present here and these can best be seen in either in the Warukiri swamp or the the Rwonyo swamps, and from the viewing platforms close to the salt licks. The rolling hills, verdant woodlands, swamps and the lake all over a great diversity of habitats for these birds.  Some of the bird species you will see in Lake Mburo national Park include: the Bare-faced Go-away-bird, Finfoot, Rufous-bellied Heron, White-winged Tit, Bateleur, Yellow-breasted Apalis, Coqui Francolin, Long-tailed Cisticola, Grey Crowned Crane, Red-shouldered Cuckoo-shrike, Black-bellied Bustard, Nubian Woodpecker, Brown-chested Lapwing, Red-faced Barbet, Emerald-spotted Wood-Dove, White-headed Barbet, Brown Parrot, Common Scimitarbill, Red-headed Lovebird, Green Wood-hoopoe as well as Ross’s Turaco.

  1. Mgahinga National Park

Mgahinga National Park is found in the Southern part of Uganda. Although it is popularly known for its resident mountain gorillas, and gorilla trekking activity, this park is also a good place to watch the rich bird life of Uganda. It is home to a very large number of different bird species with a total of seventy nine (79) species recorded here. soe of the notable species found within the park include:

Montane Double-collared Sunbird, Rwenzori Turaco, Scarlet-tufted Malachite Sunbird,Crowned Hornbill, Lagden’s Bush Shrike, Alpine Chat,  Black Kite, White-tailed Blue Flycatcher, Crowned Crane, Kivu Ground Thrush, Handsome Francolin as well as the Dusky Turtle Dove

What to Park for your Birding Safari in Uganda

There are a number of equipment as well as requirements every birder should have so as to enjoy their bird watching expedition in Uganda. We have highlighted most of them to as to guide you on how to adequately prepare for this exciting activity.

  • Birding Gear
  • Binoculars
  • Camera with extra batteries
  • Spotting scope; perfect for birds that stay in one place for a long time
  • A field guide
  • Birding List, and a note book with a pencil / pen
  • Snacks and bottled water
  • A hat with a wide brim
  • Sun block or sun screen lotion
  • Allergy medicine; as a precaution measure, remember you are going to be walking in the forests and other wild places

Which clothes are recommended for Birding?

Because bird watching adventures include walking through forested trails, or across the open savanna, near the water sources and so many other wild bird habitats, it is very important you dress in the appropriate clothing to avoid body scratches and would be avoided allegies like from falling flower pollen. Another important thing worth remembering is that this activity is conducted in the wet season, so it is very key that you remain warm throughout the activity

Below is the recommended clothing list

  • Long and short sleeved shirts
  • Sunglasses
  • Rain jacket, especially since bird watching is best done in the rainy season
  • Trousers
  • Gloves and a scarf
  • Jacket or sweater as a warm layer of clothing
  • Comfortable hiking shoes
  • Rain jacket, especially since bird watching is best done in the rainy season

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