Uganda is the birders' ultimate destination
Uganda has more bird species per square kilometer than any other country in Africa. Uganda, approximately the same size as the United Kingdom, 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 of Bird species 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.
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 Albertan 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 Mhagahinga 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.
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 (special hire motorbike) to Mabamba Bay for Ushs2000-.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.
Bwindi Impenetrable Forest: 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
Uganda is situated in a major flyway between the Albertan and Great rift Valleys.
Of Uganda's 1008 species, 137 are Pale arctic 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 up to 30 or more around the hills of Kampala.
Barn Swallow and Sand martins 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.