Birding in Uganda Forests
Birding in Uganda Forests is famously noted as a gorilla trekking destination, game safaris, white water rafting, mountain climbing and many other forms of tourism, it is also a wonderland for birds. Uganda ranks among the best birding destinations in Africa as a whole. There are birds everywhere in Uganda.
Different from the primates and other wildlife which require one to travel to particular places to spot them, for the birds are everywhere and it’s not very hard for birders to spot exotic birds in this hidden Eden. Uganda homes over 1,050 bird species found across a range of habitats ranging from forests, swamps and agricultural lands, to lakes and savannahs.
However, many of the mythical birds live only in these tropical forests with rare sightings and it is believed that some of the birds living in the remote
forests of Uganda may not even be classified as of yet. Birders on their birding safaris in Uganda leave the country very excited, impressed and overwhelmed by it all at the end of their trips. Are you in search of the best birding experience in Uganda’s forests, don’t look past these.
This is the biggest forest in the central region of Uganda and still one of the few remaining natural forest in the country. Located in Buikwe district along Kampala – Jinja highway, Mabira forest covers over 305 square kilometers protecting a spectacular diversity with more than 312 trees including the endangered species, 315 bird species with the rare ones, 218 species of butterflies, 93 moths and 23 small animals like the squirrels and monkeys. It offers a splendid introduction to the rich forest bird list of Uganda.
It is just a one hour drive away from Kampala making it very accessible by
even the tourists with limited time. Even if one only birds Mabira for half a day, approximately 100 bird species can be spotted, so Mabira forest is highly recommended for birders especially those planning for birding adventures across Uganda, it would be the best starting point.
Its major birding area is at Najjembe village which also has the visitor information center. An early morning start is the most recommended one to have a chance to spot the early birds going to feed. Safari walk in the forest as you spot the different bird species, butterflies and incredible tree species as guided by the experienced guide.
The most common birds spotted in Mabira are Nahan’s Francolin, Cassin’s Hawk-eagle, White-spotted Flufftail, Afep Pigeon, White-bellied Kingfisher, Forest Woodhoopoe, African Pied Hornbill, Black-and-white-casqued Hornbill, Speckled Tinkerbird and many others. On additional to birding, you can also do zip lining, mangabey monkey trekking and also mountain biking. Indeed, if any birder must miss any birding spot in Uganda, then it shouldn’t be mabira forest.
This forest was voted Africa’s best birding spot by Africa Bird Club basing on the rare bird species found here and the park’s conservation efforts for the proper maintenance of the birding trails with in the forest making the whole birding experience very easy and enjoyable. Bwindi is a dwelling to about 350 species of birds with 23 Albertine Rift endemics of which 14 are not recorded anywhere else in Uganda.
Species that are mostly sighted include the African green broadbill, Chapin’s flycatcher, Shelley’s crimsonwing, handsome francolin, mountain-masked and collared apalis, white-bellied robin chat, black billed turaco, Fraser’s eagle, western bronze-naped pigeon, purple-breasted, blue-headed and regal sunbirds. Birding takes place along the main Buhoma Waterfall Trail and along the bamboo-zone plus the Mubwindi Swamp trail found in Ruhija.
Bwindi impenetrable forest is located in south-western Uganda along the Democratic Republic of the Congo border. Lucky birders also have a chance to encounter with the gorillas while on their hunt for the precious birds of Uganda. Bwindi forest is must do birders’ haven.
With two main sections; Kaniyo Pabidi in Murchison Falls National Park, and the Royal Mile and Busingiro areas in the south of the park, Budongo forest lies at the edge of the Albertine Rift valley protecting the largest natural forest area in the whole of East Africa.
It is a haven for more than 350 bird species and the most sought-after birds in this area are the Cassin’s spinetail, chestnut-capped flycatcher, Ituri batis, Nahan’s francolin, black-collared lovebird, brown twinspot, chocolate-backed, blue-breasted and African dwarf kingfishers.
The forest’s location on the nice looking escarpments north of Lake Albert has enabled it to rank among the best listed forests for birding in Uganda. You can also do chimp trekking here for those birders who also love primates. It’s one destination that no birder should ever miss.
Mpanga Central Forest Reserve.
It is also another paradise for birds in Uganda located in Mpigi district covering 453 hectares. It is one of the Uganda birding spots closest to Kampala with very many forest bird species. Most birds are observed at the forest edge and in flight the well maintained trail that runs the entire length of the forest and climaxes at a water stream which sometimes hosts the Shoebill, and many other water species.
Birding this forest can take up to three hours with a reward of over 50 bird species. The most common bird species observed at Mpanga Forest include: Long-tailed Cormorant, Cattle Egret, Black-headed Heron, Purple Heron, Hadada Ibis, Egyptian Goose, Black Kite, Palm Nut Vulture, Lizard Buzzard, African Harrier-Hawk, Wahlberg’s Eagle, Crested Guineafowl, plus many more others.
Generally, Uganda is a bird rapture.
Some birding safaris also go to Mgahinga mountain forest, Kibale forest, Maramagambo forest and Kalinzu forest. Have you been looking for a country with various options for awesome birding experiences? Uganda is the correct answer.