With 1065 bird species recorded within its borders, Uganda is a bird watcher’s paradise. There are over 1,065 bird species recorded already and more new birds are getting onto the checklist after confirmation from the birding community. Uganda has almost half the species known on the African continent and over 10% of those on record throughout the entire world. This is partly due to its location as a transitory point between the East African savannah, the West African rain forest and the semi-desert of the north. There are several migratory bird species that come to Uganda and many endemics are also found in the country.
Uganda’s equatorial location, combined with the altitude and great variety of terrain types provide an overwhelming array of opportunities for keen birders.
Where to Go Birding
The Queen Elizabeth National Park alone has over 600 avian species. This means that birding in this park alone is quite interesting given that you will have to tick many birds off your checklist. Uganda’s special attraction for bird watchers is that it offers easy access to bird-rich habitats, which is difficult elsewhere.
- 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.
Savannah 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:
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 including;
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
– Green-breasted Pitta
– Nahan’s Francolin
– Brown-chested Plover
– Karamoja Apalis
– Black Bee-eater
– Ruwenzori Turaco
– Red-fronted Antpecker
– Purvell’s Illadopsis
– The African Jacana
- 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.