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Top Uganda Birding Tours - Birdwatching Safaris & Uganda Birding Spots

Gorillas and Wildlfe Safaris Hall of Fame Trip Advisor RecommendedStart your birdwatching Uganda tour here! Best Uganda birding spots, lodges, and personalized birding tours. Enjoy 1070  bird species in Uganda!

Uganda is home to a rich diversity of birds with over 1070 bird species (and 150 bird species can only be found in Uganda) and these birdwatching tours take you to several of the best places in Uganda to see most of them. Uganda has long enjoyed a reputation for being the African birdwatcher’s paradise.
Our special birdwatching tours have been developed out of skill and experience from our past clients over the years.  These Uganda birding safaris work well for both young and aged, solo travellers, and small groups. Every departure is guaranteed with a skilled well-trained bird guide who has lots of knowledge about the rare bird species in Uganda and their locations.  Start planning your Uganda birding safari with any of the birdwatching tours below. Our office team will do their best to customize any to your own preferences and needs.

 

Shoebill, Uganda birdwarching safaris

Uganda Total Birding Safari – 19 Days

Great blue turaco, Uganda

Best Uganda Forest Birding Safari – 18 Days

Yellow-backed weaver, Uganda

Uganda Birding Safari – 15 Days

Black-headed gonolek, Uganda

Albertine Rift Endemics Birding Safari – 12 Days

Birding in Murchison Bird nests in river bank, Uganda

Murchison Falls Park Birding Safari – 7 Days

Yellow-billed storks, Uganda

Uganda Birding Safari – 9 Days

The Best Personalized Birding Tours in Uganda

Birding in Uganda is an extraordinary experience, with 1070 species recorded with a voucher to date. On your Uganda birding tour, you have a chance to spot some of the 150 bird species that can only be found in Uganda and nowhere else in the world!  Uganda offers to birders great birdwatching opportunities within relatively short distances, involving very diverse habitats in the six ornithological regions of the country, from very low sea level to high mountains above 3000 metres above sea level.  Exciting guided tours and itineraries take you to wonderful locations where you are able to enjoy the best of birding and nature. Our staff will be happy to assist you with your technical questions about birds, locations, and other details, to make of your trip the best birdwatching experience you could possibly have in this neotropical country.

Best Time for Uganda Birding

Really, you can enjoy a birding trip in Uganda throughout the year (if you are not so keen on spotting the seasonal migrant bird species).  Since Uganda is relatively a wetter country when it is an intensely rainy month like April, May, and November, access roads to many nice birding spots is slowed down and this could affect your birding tour. But if you have a good 4x4 safari land-cruiser, this is not really a big issue.

The most popular months for birdwatching in Uganda are May, June, July, August, September when there is relatively less rain. The months of January and December also have many birding tours because there is less rain and the temperatures are mostly moderate. If you are planning on birding in the afro-montane forests of Bwindi, Echuya, and Mgahinga (which are habitats to most of the Albertine Rift endemic bird species), schedule your birding tour between late April and June.

Top Uganda Birding Spots and Parks

Queen Elizabeth National Park

Classified as an Important Birding Area (IBA) by Birding International, Queen’s great variety of habitats mean it is home to over 600 species. This is the greatest of any East African national park and a phenomenal number for such a small area. The park’s confluence of savanna and forest, linking to the expansive forests of the DR Congo allow visitors to spot East as well as Central African species.

Classified as an Important Birding Area (IBA) by Birding International, Queen’s great variety of habitats mean it is home to over 600 species. This is the greatest of any East African national park and a phenomenal number for such a small area. The park’s confluence of savanna and forest, linking to the expansive forests of the DR Congo allow visitors to spot East as well as Central African species.

Present in the park is numerous water birds, woodland and forest dwellers in the Maramagambo Forest, 54 raptors and various migratory species. Key species include the Martial Eagle, Black-rumped Buttonquail, African Skimmer, Chapin’s Flycatcher, Pink-backed Pelican, African Broadbill, Verreaux’s Eagle Owl, Black Bee-eater, White-tailed Lark, White-winged Warbler, Papyrus Gonolek, Papyrus Canary, Corncrake, Lesser and Greater Flamingo, Shoebill, Bar-tailed Godwit.

For the best birding in Queen Elizabeth National Park, don’t miss these birding hot spots:
Kazinga Channel, Kasenyi Area, Mweya Peninsula, Maramagambo Forest, Ishasha Sector, Lake Kikorongo, Katunguru Bridge area and Katwe Area Tours can be booked through Katwe Tourism Information Center.

Birding in Murchison Falls National Park

Birding in Murchison Bird nests in river bank, Uganda

Both the game drives and the launch trips offer an opportunity for one to come across distinct birdlife, including savannah forest birds, water birds and Albertine Rift endemics. The park’s main birding attraction is the Shoebill, best sighted in the dry season from January-March.

Both the game drives and the launch trips offer an opportunity for one to come across distinct birdlife, including savannah forest birds, water birds and Albertine Rift endemics. The park’s main birding attraction is the Shoebill, best sighted in the dry season from January-March.

The commonest species found in the plains include the Marabou Stork, Abyssinian Ground Hornbill, Secretary Birds, Black-bellied Bustards, Open-billed Storks and Widow Bird.

Closer to the river where there are more thickets and woodlands, the commonest bird varieties include the Swallow-tailed and Red-throated Bee-eaters – particularly in the Nyamusika Cliffs; Woodland, Pied, Giant and Malachite Kingfishers; Francolin; Hornbills, Grey heron; Hamerkop; Shrikes; Flycatchers; Cuckoos; Woodpeckers; Crombecs and Warblers. The riverbanks are also home to ducks, geese, stilts and plovers.

The park’s main birding attraction is the Shoebill, best sighted in the dry season from January-March.

Bird watching in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park

Scarlet chested sunbird, Birdwatching safari

Bwindi a varied habitat which is Uganda's oldest forest mean it is the ideal home for a variety of birds, with 350 species recorded, including 23 endemics (90% of all Albertine Rift endemics) such as the Short-tailed Warbler and Blue-headed Sunbird as well as seven IUCN red data listed species. Easy to see are the African Emerald Cuckoo, Common Bulbul, African Blue and White-tailed Blue Flycatchers and Red-headed Bluebill.

Birding takes place along the main trail, the Buhoma Waterfall Trail and along the bamboo zone and Mubwindi Swamp trail in Ruhija

Birding in Kibale National Park

Bird watching tours start at 7am at Kanyanchu. Bigodi Wetland Sanctuary, located just outside the park, is home to 138 bird species which may be seen during guided walks along the boardwalk trail and viewing platforms.

Bird watching tours start at 7am at Kanyanchu; you are advised to book in advance. Rare species include the Papyrus Gonolek, White-winged Warbler, White-collared Oliveback and Papyrus Canary.

Bigodi Wetland Sanctuary, located just outside the park, is home to 138 bird species which may be seen during guided walks along the boardwalk trail and viewing platforms. These could include the White-spotted Flufftail, Yellow-spotted Barbet, Hairy-breasted Barbet, Yellow-billed Barbet, Western Nicator, Grey-winged Robin-chat, White-tailed Ant-thrush, Brown-backed Scrub-robin, Black-and-white Shrike-flycatcher, Brown-throated Wattle-eye, Superb Sunbird, Brown-crowned Tchagra, Bocage’s Bush-shrike, Black Bishop, White-breasted Negrofinch and Black-crowned Waxbill among others.

Birding in Semliki

Birders who make it to Semuliki will be rewarded with some of Africa’s best forest birding.

Birders who make it to Semuliki will be rewarded with some of Africa’s best forest birding. Sempaya and Ntandi provide excellent viewing of the birds including the White-crested Hornbill, Red-billed Dwarf Hornbill, Piping Hornbill, Yellow-throated Nicator, Great blue and Ross’s Turacos. The area around Kirumia River is another top birding spot. The shoebill stork is regularly seen at close quarters on Lake Albert and forest walks are good for tracking water birds.

Birding in Mabamba Bay Wetland.

Shoebill, Uganda birdwarching safaris

Uganda shoebill

Mabamba is located on the other side of Lake Victoria and is one of those very few places you can find the legendary shoebill stork in Uganda.

At Mabamba swamps most of the birding here is done canoeing as we look out for the rare Shoebill Stork, African Water rail, Allen’s and Purple Gallinule (swamphen) Squacco, Goliath, Purple, Grey Herons, a variety of Egrets, ducks. There are also chances of encountering the elusive sitatungas antelope adapted to swampy habitats.

Budongo Forest

Budongo Forest lies at the edge of the Albertine Rift valley in Murchison Falls National Park and is home to more than 360 bird species, including two species that are endemic to the Budongo Forest (hence can’t not be sighted in other places of East Africa), 10 of the 22 species of the Sudan-Guinea Savanna Biome and 93 of the 144 species of the Guinea-Congo Forest biomes. Another surprising thing about this birding Area is that it is one of the few places (after Semliki National Park) to offer shelter to the Guinea-Congo forest biome species of birds but also the extraordinary yellow-footed flycatcher is only found in Budongo Forest although is difficult to spot during a Uganda birding safari.

Part of Budongo forest is located in Murchison falls national park at Kaniyo Pabidi and the other part is located outside of the national park as a forest reserve known as Budongo forest. This forest is also home to various primates including Chimpanzees and several tree species. On birding tours in Budongo, our interest is the many bird species though.

Birding in Budongo is done along the royal mile – a stretch of 1 mile that the King of Bunyoro enjoyed to spend time at hence the name – Royal mile.

A lot of time is spent birding along the forest road and ending at the forest bridge depending on the activity of the bird species. The place is ripe with lots of bird activity especially in early morning in late afternoons.  We normaly engage a local site birding guide  as we  look out for some of these exotic bird species; Ituri Batis, Nahan’s francolin, Chocolate backed Kingfisher, Brown twin spot, White-spotted fluff tail, Jameson’s wattle eye, white-breasted negro finch, Grey-headed sunbird, Red-headed bluebill, Green sunbird, Little green sunbird and the list goes on.

Bird species in Budongo Forest

Besides the few bird species we have shared before, other interesting bird species within Budongo Forest Reserve include the Crowned Eagle, Olive Green Camaroptera, Crested Malimbe, Jameson’s Wattle-eye, Brown Twin-spot, Yellow-browed Carmaroptera, Nahan’s Francolin, Chocolate-backed Kingfishers, Slender-billed Greenbul, Cassin’s Hawk-eagle, Blue-breasted Kingfishers, Lemon-bellied Crombec, Western Black-headed Oriole, Speckled Tinker-bird, Little Green Sunbird, White-spotted Fluff tail, Cassin’s Honey guide, Yellow-browned Camaroptera, Dwarf Kingfishers, Chestnut-capped Flycatcher, Sabine’s spine tail, Black and White Casqued Hornbills, yellow-billed oxpecker, Yellow-manted Weaver, greater blue-eared starlings, Forest Robin, African Citril, Chin-spot batis, Black-headed Paradise Flycatcher, Chestnut Crowned Eremomera, northern brown-throated weavers, Bronze Mannikin, Cameroon Somber Greenbul, Blue-throated Roller, the rare Cassin’s Spine-tail, western violet-backed sunbirds, black-crowned waxbill, Yellow-spotted Barbet, White-spotted Flufftail, Dusky long-tailed Cuckoo, Hammerkop, yellow-throated greenbul, Pygmy Crakes, African shrike Flycatcher, Lesser grey shrike, Yellow and Grey Longbill, Holub’s golden weavers, Lemon-throated Greenbul, African Emerald Cuckoo, Little Crake, Black-winged red Bishop, Ituri Batis, Little Green Sunbird, Puvell’s Illadopsis, African pied, Yellow-crested Woodpecker, Grey-headed Sunbird and red-backed shrike among others.

Besides bird species, this Forest Reserve is also known for over 25 species of mammals including 9 primate species, 290 species of butterflies, 465 species of trees and shrubs as well as 130 moth species and on top of bird watching, other activities like chimpanzee tracking and nature walks.

Why Choose Us for your Birding Safari in Uganda?

We are a tour operator which has been arranging programs for birdwatchers from around the world since 2008. We help you to set the ideal itinerary considering your main requirements as well as the birds you want to watch during your journey. We provide packages including all services from your arrival until your departure from Uganda, as well as one-day birding tours. Our services are ranged from medium to high category in lodging and meals depending on your needs; we also provide transportation and a knowledgeable birding guide who will take you to the specific spots for you to watch or take a picture of the target birds. Let us know the interests of your journey, and we will be glad to advise and assist you planning the itinerary that fits better to fulfill your expectations.

Recommended Birding Books for Uganda