Bird Watching

There can be few destinations with a species list of over 600; Uganda’s Queen Elizabeth National Park is one. 350 species have been recorded in the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest. These two parks alone are among the richest protected areas to be found anywhere on Earth. Accolades for Uganda’s birding delights are rarely understated. Nigel Wheatley, in Where to Watch Birds in Africa says: In terms of its size, Uganda is the richest country for birds in Africa.

Uganda is an ideal destination for a voyage of discovery into the most enthralling continent in the world. Our country presents a captivating combination of the wonders of nature and cultural diversity which is a result of numerous ethnic entities. – The place to start when contemplating a trip.

Bird Watching in Photos

Uganda’s remarkable avian diversity (over 1,000 species within an area similar in size to that of Great Britain) can be attributed to its location between the East African savannah, West African rainforests and semi-desert of the north. Uganda offers easy access to bird-rich habitats that are difficult to reach elsewhere. The country has only two endemics, but if you only take East Africa into consideration, there are 150 species to be found only in Uganda. Migrant birds are present from November to April.

List of Endemic (E) & near-endemic (NE) birds

  • Archer’s robin-chat (NE)
  • Black-lored babbler (NE)
  • Blue-headed sunbird (NE)
  • Chapin’s flycatcher (NE)
  • Dusky crimsonwing (NE)
  • Dwarf honeyguide (NE)
  • Fox’s weaver (E)
  • Golden-winged sunbird (NE)
  • Grant’s bluebill (NE)
  • Grauer’s broadbill (NE)
  • Grauer’s cuckoo-shrike (NE)
  • Grauer’s swamp warbler (NE)
  • Handsome francolin (NE)
  • Hartlaub’s turaco (NE)
  • Jackson’s francolin (NE)
  • Karamoja apalis (NE)
  • Nahan’s francolin (NE)
  • Neumann’s warbler (NE)
  • Oberlaender’s ground thrush (NE)
  • Purple-breasted sunbird (NE)
  • Red-faced barbet (NE)
  • Red-faced woodland warbler (NE)
  • Red-throated alethe (NE)
  • Regal sunbird (NE)
  • Rwenzori apalis (NE)
  • Rwenzori batis (NE)
  • Rwenzori double-collared sunbird (E)
  • Rwenzori nightjar (NE)
  • Rwenzori turaco (NE)
  • Shelley’s crimsonwing (NE)
  • Strange weaver (NE)
  • Stripe-breasted tit (NE)
  • Turner’s eremomela (NE)
  • Uganda woodland warbler (NE)
  • Yellow-eyed black flycatcher (NE)

Other Birding Specials

  • Ansorge’s greenbul
  • Black bee-eater
  • Blue-throated roller
  • Equatorial akalat
  • Great blue turaco
  • Ituri batis
  • Jameson’s antpecker
  • Lühder’s bush-shrike
  • Magpie mannikin
  • Masked apalis
  • Olive long-tailed cuckoo
  • Papyrus gonolek
  • Pennant-winged nightjar
  • Red-chested owlet
  • Red-tailed ant thrush
  • Rufous flycatcher-thrush
  • Shoebill
  • White-bellied crested flycatcher
  • White-bellied robin-chat
  • White-naped pigeon
  • Yellowbill


Best Time for Bird Watching

From a birder’s perspective, Uganda is good all year-round, especially since the main birding interest lies in the resident birds. The climate is the main factor to take into consideration. Uganda is a very wet country. During the Wet seasons, roads and forest trails might be in poor condition and rains could interfere with birding time.

birds in kidepo

In general, the best time for bird watching is from late May through September, when the rain is less and food is abundant. The main nesting season in Bwindi and Mgahinga (key sites for the Albertine Rift endemics) is May and June, but from mid-April to mid-May the rains might still be too heavy. February and early March is the only time Toro-Semliki is relatively dry, but it is uncomfortably hot in the north, including in Murchison Falls NP. December and January are also good months since the north is not yet too hot and there is less rain in the south. The best time for primate tracking and wildlife viewing in the savannah reserves is also in the Dry season, from June to August and December to February.

Best Parks for Birding –Including Birding Rating

Murchison Falls is excellent for seeing a wide array of common birds and specials, including the sought-after shoebill. Bwindi Impenetrable and Mgahinga National Park are the most accessible sites for Albertine Rift endemics, and Semuliki is the only place in East Africa to see many Guinea-Congo regional species.