Uganda is the birders'ultimate destination
Uganda has more bird species per square kilometre than any other country in Africa. Uganda, roughly the same size as the UK, can boast a national list of 1008 species! This figure represents more than half the bird species that can be found in the whole of Africa.
The key to Uganda's diversity is its variety of habitats: arid semi-dessert, rich savannahs, lowland and montane rainforests, vast wetlands, volcanoes and an Afro-alpine zone. Uganda covers an altitude from 650 to 5000m.
Palm Nut Vulture - Murchison Falls
Situated on the equator Uganda has an area contiguous with the great Guinea / Congo Basin Rainforest on its Western border. Subsequently there are a number of west and central African bird species occurring in Uganda that are not found elsewhere in East Africa. There are more than 700 forest reserves in Uganda. One particular region is the Albertine Rift Endemic area (ARE), which has 38 species of birds confined to Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi and the Congo. Of these ARE's Uganda has 25, mostly confined to the forests of Magahinga and Bwindi National Parks in the Southwest.
Uganda has 30,000 square kilometers of wetland.
210 species from the Shoebill and African Skimmer to the endemic Fox's Weaver.
4 Papyrus endemics; Papyrus Gonolek, Papyrus Canary, White-winged Warbler and Papyrus Yellow Warbler.
A White-winged Black Tern roost of 2-3 million birds in the Entebbe area.
Savannahs vary from the remote, semi-dessert, dry thorn-scrub region of Karamoja in the Northeast, to the richer fertile savannahs of the western Rift valley. Queen Elizabeth National Park has a bird list of 604 species the highest for any protected area in Africa.
Some of the dry thorn-scrub birds:
Shoebill Stork - UWEC
Lichtenstein's and Four-banded Sandgrouse
Kori, White-bellied and Hartlaub's Bustards
White-bellied Go-away bird
Abyssinian Ground Hornbill
Kampala and Entebbe:
Over 550 species for the region.
A suburban garden list of 206 species.
212 species listed in 12hrs by 3 people.
One of the largest urban breeding colony of Marabou Storks.
Great Blue and Ross's Turacos are common city birds.
Within The Kampala region are two major forest reserves less than an hours drive from the city which hold a variety of very special birds that includes:
Cassin's Hawk Eagle
Blue-breasted and White-bellied Kingfishers
Grey-rumped and Blue Swallows
Emerald, Red-chested and Black Cuckoos
Some common urban birds:
Black and White Casqued, Crowned and Pied Hornbills
White-faced Scops Owl
African Grey and Brown Parrots
Uganda's 10 most commonly sought after Birds:
African Green Broadbill
Top Birding spots in Uganda:
Mabamba Swamp: Shoebill Stork - Access from Mpigi 30 km west of Kampala.
To get to Mabamba by public transport from Kampala take a taxi from the New Taxi Park to Kasanji. From Kasanji town take a boda-boda to Mabamba Bay for Ushs2,000-. Journey from Kasanji 13.5 km. If you are coming with your own vehicle when departing Kampala at the Natete roundabout drive 29.1 km and turn left onto a good marrum road to Kasanji which is a further 17.5km. At the roundabout in Kasanji town proceed straight for a further 3.9 km and turn right for 9.6 km where you will arrive at Mabamba Bay.
Visitors to Mbamba Swamp are required to pay a US$5- entrance fee as of March 1st 2008. An office has been set up at the landing site where payment is to be made. The local council intend to use monies collected to conserve the area and improve/maintain the existing facilities.
Visitors are able to access the swamp in local fishing boats with a local guide. A fee of Ushs40,000- is charged for the use of the boat for up to 1and 1/2 hours.
Bwindi Impenetrable Forest: Buhoma - Ruhija - Black Bee-eater, African Green Broadbill
Budongo Forest: Kaniyo Pabidi - Purvels Illadopsis, Shinning Blue Kingfisher, White Crested Turaco
Budongo Forest: The Royal Mile - Chocolate Backed, Dwarf, Blue Breasted Kingfishers
Mga Hinga National Park: Ruwenzori Turaco, Red tufted Malachite Sunbird
Murchison Falls: Red Fronted Bee Eaters, Denhams Bustard, Shoebill
Mabira Forest: Nahan's Francolin and various forest species
Bigodi Wetland Sanctuary: Black Billed Turaco, White Spotted Crake
Lake Mburo: Papyrus Gonelek, Finfoot
Rwenzori Mountains: Various Sunbird species
Semliki National Park: White Crested Hornbill, Red Dwarf Hornbill, Red Rumped Tinker Bird
Kibale Forest: Green Breasted Pitta
Shoebill Stork - Mabamba Swamp
Uganda is situated in a major flyway between the Albertine and Great rift Valleys.
Of Uganda's 1008 species, 137 are Palearctic migrants.
At times of peak Spring passage, Waders congregate at all the muddy lagoons around the Entebbe peninsular with mixed flocks of thousands of birds.
Thousands of Steppe Buzzards and migrant Black Kites head south with smaller numbers of Honey Buzzard, Steppe and Booted Eagles each October.
Flocks of European Hobbies moving through join their African counterparts to feed at dusk in flocks of upto 30 or more around the hills of Kampala.
Barn Swallow and Sandmartins congregate in the millions feeding on the even larger swarms of Lake Flies.
The Yellow Wagtail overwinters with an estimated 1 million birds roosting in the reedbeds along the Kazinga Channel in QENP.
For a 10-14 day trip in Uganda a birder could probably see in the region of 400-500 species and have had the experience of birded in some of the most exciting and beautiful scenery in Africa.
Where to watch birds in Uganda - Jonathan Rossouw & Marco Sacchi. Cover picture right.
Download this comprehensive free Ugandan bird checklist 650KB compiled by Great Lakes Safaris
Ugandan Bird Guides:
Uganda's top bird guides are all members of The Uganda Bird Guides Association. Within the ranks of the association are several excellent national bird guides and those that specialise regionally.
Concept: Uganda Travel Planner (U) Ltd. http://www.traveluganda.co.ug
Copyright Uganda Travel Planner 2001-2007