There are over 10, 000 bird species in the world according to Birdlife International and the of those 1,000 species can be found in Uganda not counting the other species that have not been yet discovered. Birds are wondrous creatures that can be found anywhere in the world, but each location has species that are meant for the environment they are.
Uganda being in the tropics has a variety of bird species that can be viewed from anywhere, it does not matter if you are in Kampala where buildings are competing with the skyline, you will still hear birds chirping away in the distance singing songs so beautiful you need to pause to listen.
Apart from seeing the birds all over Kampala, there are so many other places that have rare birds all over Uganda that you can go see, here are our major bird reserve recommendations. Even better, Jovago has hotels in all the major bird watching areas in Uganda so all your hospitality needs within the parks and outside the reserves are well taken care of.
Entebbe Botanical Gardens;
Right off the Entebbe- Kampala highway in the heart of Entebbe you will find a beautifully landscaped area covered with trees till the lake and as you walk through the trees you will find a number of vervet monkeys in the trees or just walking on the grounds. Carry binoculars to identify a number of the birds that are relative to the Ugandan environment but mostly you will find; Great Blue and Ross’s turacos , Klaas’s and Diederik Cuckoos , Woodland Kingfisher , Broad-billed Roller ,Black and white casqued hornbill and starling, African Fish eagle and Eastern Grey Plantain-eater, Hadada Ibis and Hooded Vultures, Shikra , Lizard buzzard , Long-crested eagle , Grey kestrel, Black Crake, Blue-cheeked Bee eater, Angola swallow , winding and red faced cisticolas , Grey capped warbler, common wattle-eye , and Green- throated and scarlet-chested Sunbirds.
The thick forest cover along Kampala- Jinja highway is home to over 315 including unrecorded rare bird species throughout and offers a variable bird list to any bird enthusiast. Mabira forest is also the best place to start your bird tour in Uganda and while there you will be able to see species such as; Yellow White-eye, White-shouldered Titi, African Dusky Flycatcher, Hairy-breasted Barbet, Barn Swallow, Speckled Tinkerbird, Collared Sunbird, Little Green Sunbird, Yellow-throated Tinkerbird, Yellow-billed Kite (sighted in flight over the forest), Bocage Bush Shrike (Grey-green Bush-shrike), Hooded Vulture, Red-capped Robin Chat, Ashy Flycatcher, African Shrike Flycatcher, Grey-backed Camaroptera, Red-billed Paradise Flycatcher, African Harrier Hawk, Great Blue Turaco, Yellow-mantled Weaver, Black-and-white Mannkin, Slender-billed Greenbul, Weyn's Weaver, White-throated Greenbul, Grey-headed Nigrofinch, Viellots Black Weaver, Red-chested Cuckoo, Buff-throated Apalis, Brown-throated Wattle-eye, Chestnut Wattle-eye, Jameson's Wattle-eye, Red-bellied Paradise Flycatcher, African Blue Flycatcher among many others.
Bodongo Forest Reserve;
This expansive mixture of tropical tree species is a true bird paradise is one of Uganda’s biggest forest reserves with over 360 bird species with 22 species that can only be found in that very area such as; Puvel’s Illadopsis, Nahan’s Francolin, and the Chocolate–Backed Kingfisher, White-headed Saw-wing, White Wagtail, Black-eared Ground-Thrush, Little Crake, Yellow-billed Barbet, Chestnut-capped Flycatcher, African Paradise Flycatcher, Chin-spot Batis, Grey-backed Camaroptera, Lemon-bellied Crombec, African Moustached Warbler, Green-backed Eremomela, Yellow-throated Greenbul, African Citril, African Golden-breasted Bunting, Black-crowned Waxbill. Be sure to even more endangered species all over the reserve.
Mount ElgonMount Elgon is located in the eastern part of Ugandahas thick forests with a up to 300 species. The park harbours 43 of the 144 species of the Guinea–Congo Forests biome and 56 of the 88 species of Afrotropical highland biome that occur in Uganda with some isolated records of the near-threatened species, the Taita Falcon. Mount Elgon represents a range limit of some species or races that occur in the highlands of Kenya and northern Tanzania, such as Hunter’s Cisticola and Jackson's Francolin. You can find the; Cape Robin, Blue-shouldered Robin-Chat, Little Rock-Thrush, Northern Anteater C, Nightingale, Spotted Morning-Thrush, Mountain Yellow Warbler, African Reed Warbler, Little Rush Warbler, Upchers Warbler, Blackcap, Common Whitethroat, Common Chiffchaff, the Uganda and Brown Woodland Warblers, Green Hylia, White-browed Crombec, Yellow-bellied Hyliota, the Stout, Thrilling, and Rattling Cisticolas. Chances of seeing the Banded Prinia, Chestnut-throated Apalis, Northern Double-collared Sunbird, Grey-headed Sunbird among several others.
Semuliki National Park;
This park has a large number of mostly Central African bird species that are not easily sighted in the rest of East Africa such as; Savanna biome, Piapiac, Red-throated Bee-eater,and Purple Glossy-starling, Blue Swallow, White-throated Blue Swallow, Swamp Palm Bulbul, Spotted Greenbul, White-starred Robin, Lowland Akalat, Red-throated Alethe, Fire-crested Alethe, Snowy-headed Robin-Chat, Blue-shouldered Robin-Chat, Red-eyed Puffback, White-tailed Robin-Chat, Northern Bearded Scrub-Robin, Capped Wheatear, Common Stonechat, Abyssinian Ground-Thrush, Oberlaender Ground-Thrush, Grey Ground-Thrush, Little Grey Greenbul, Toro Olive Greenbul, Mountain Greenbul, Yellow-throated Nicator, Western Nicator, Purple-throated Cuckoo-shrike, Petit’s Cuckoo-shrike, Black Saw-wing, Eurasian Oystercatcher, Long-tailed Hawk.
By Evelyn Masaba
Public Relations Manager