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Birding Safaris In Uganda

Birding Safaris

Are you looking for birding safaris in Uganda, as well as bird watching vacations and tours? Bird Uganda with a tailor-made African birding package tailored to your needs; explore Uganda’s birding paradise with a bird-watching guide. Uganda is one of the best bird-watching destinations in the world, not just in Africa. With over 1065 bird species identified. Birds can be seen everywhere in Uganda. It has 24 endemic species. Uganda also has species that can only be found in the Albertine Rift. The unique endangered shoebill stork, Chaplin flycatcher, Ruhlman’s double-collared sunbird, regal sunbird, fox weaver, turacos, strange weaver, dwarf honeyguide, handsome spurfowl, and others are among the bird species that attract the majority of tourists in the country.

 

Despite the fact that Uganda is one of the top bird-watching destinations in the world. However, this is not marketed like primate tracking or game viewing, which are more appealing to tourists in Uganda than bird watching. Uganda still has experienced management, professional guides, and an information center. The few people who want to promote birding are frustrated by the lack of general interest among influential decision-makers and the destruction of bird habitats. Despite the fact that birding safaris in Uganda face numerous challenges, the number of birds continues to increase, allowing Uganda to maintain its position as the best birding destination in East Africa. As a result, Uganda may rank first among other countries in terms of birding.

 

Bird species in Uganda

Uganda is home to a diverse range of unique bird species, making it ideal for birding safaris. The rare shoebill stork, crested crane, saddle-billed, African green broadbills, blue turaco, bee-eater, Shelley’s Crimsonwing, Jameson’s ant pecker, brown chested, Nahan’s Francolin, saddle-billed stork, and Marabou stork are among the most commonly seen bird species. The shoebill stork is Uganda’s most popular bird. This rare shoebill can be found in Uganda’s wetlands and marshes. Because the shoebill is uncommon in Uganda, there is no specific location where they can be found. Birders feel insignificant if they do not see shoebills while on a birding trip to Uganda. You must spend more time in the birding areas to fully appreciate this experience. Birds are agile and aerial creatures, which gives them an advantage.

 

For the best experience, pay close attention and be patient when observing them. Some bird species in Uganda are migratory; they migrate from one area of the country to another in search of food, but this also depends on the season. Birds should not have high hopes of spotting them because they are unpredictable. Unless the guides can go deep into the wilderness in search of the rare species, there is no guarantee of sighting.

 

 

 

 

The best place in Uganda for bird watching.

Birds can be found all over Uganda, but there are some prime spots for bird watching. They have the highest concentration of birds, which benefits bird watchers by providing a high chance of successful sightings. The majority of birding safari destinations in Uganda are swamps/wetlands, forests, and national parks. As explained further below;

 

Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park

The Bwindi Impenetrable Forest is home to half of the remaining mountain gorillas and is also the best place in the world to go bird watching. With over 350 bird species, 23 of which are endemic to the Albertine. The Africa Birding Magazine named Bwindi Forest National Park one of the top ten birding areas in Africa in 2010. The following are some of the most common birds in the Bwindi forest: Among the many species are the African broadbill, Narina’s trogon, collared pails, equatorial akalat, yellow-eyed black flycatcher, forest robin, Montane Oriole, red-throated athlete, rufous napped lark, pink-backed pelican, papyrus Gonolek, greater flamingos, pale-breasted illadopsis, lesser flamingos, Because the Bwindi forest is too large, it is divided into four sectors: Ruhija, Rushanga, Nkuringo, and Buhoma. In any Bwindi sector, gorilla trekking can be combined with bird watching.

 

National Park of Queen Elizabeth

Queen Elizabeth National Park is one of Uganda’s most popular bird-watching destinations.  With over 600 bird species, it is known as a bird sanctuary. Birds thrive in Queen Elizabeth National Park because it is surrounded by savannah grassland, wetlands, woodlands, and tropical rainforest. It is near other national parks in western Uganda, as well as those in Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, which attract some species from central Africa. To get the most out of Queen Elizabeth National Park, you should stay at least 6 days and observe all of the specific species. Kasenyi, Katwe, Lake Edward, Mweya, and George are the best birding areas in Queen Elizabeth National Park. The Kazinga channel provides a beautiful view of various bird species along the shoreline. The rare shoebill, African jacana, yellow bishop, swamp flycatcher, black-billed barbets, knob-billed ducks, falcon, eagles, malachite, water-thick knee, grey-headed kingfisher, papyrus canary, squacco heron, white-winged warbler, long-tailed cormorants, and thing-tailed nightjars are among the bird species to see at Queen Elizabeth National Park.

 

National Park Kibale Forest

Kibale Forest National Park is located in western Uganda and is commonly known as the “primate’s capital of the world.” It is also a good ideal for bird watching with over 370 bird species including; shite-naped pigeon, red-chested fluff tail, red-winged francolin, Narina’s trogon, olive long-tailed cuckoo, Abyssinian-ground thrush, grey throated flycatcher, The Uganda woodland warbler and the scaly francolin

 

The Budongo forest.

Murchison Falls National Park contains the Budongo Forest. It is home to over 360 bird species and is one of the best places in Uganda for a bird-watching safari. Puvel’s illadopsis and the yellow-footed flycatcher are two of the most common birds in Budongo forest. The forest flycatcher, Yellow-browed camaroptera, Lemon-bellied crombec, dusky long-tailed, crowned eagle, crested alethe, and other birds can be found in the forest.

 

Swamp of Mabamba

The Mabamba wetlands are located on Lake Victoria’s shores and can be reached from Mpingi or Entebbe. Mabamba swamp is one of Uganda’s most popular tourist destinations because it is home to the unique endangered shoebill. The shoebill at Mabamba wetlands is tracked using canoes with the assistance of a birding guide or local fishermen. The pursuit of the shoebill at Mabamba is both fascinating and rewarding. Other birds to look out for in the area include the black-billed turaco, white-spotted fluff tail, Wayne’s weaver, blue-shouldered, sooty boubou, robin-chat, and others.

 

Wetland sanctuary at Bigodi.

This small wetland can be found in western Uganda, near the Kibale forest. It was established to safeguard small primates and birds. This wetlands is much smaller than Mabamba, but it is home to over 200 bird species. Papyrus Gonolek, black-faced Rufus warbler, blue turaco, ibris, blue-headed coucal, and other bird species are common in this wetland.

 

When is the best time to go birding in Uganda?

The best time to visit Uganda for birding safaris is during the dry season, which runs from June to August and December to February, when the water levels are low and the grass is short, allowing you to search for the rare shoebill without disturbing it. However, some birds, such as migratory birds, are common in Uganda during the wet season, which lasts from March to April, May, October, and November, because there is plenty of food to attract them. In Uganda, birding can be done all year, but the best time is during the dry season. Please keep in mind that some of Uganda’s birding destinations, such as Kibale Forest National Park, Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park, and others, are located in tropical rainforests, so if it rains in the above areas, you must be prepared by bringing hiking boots, a raincoat, long clothes, hand gloves, and other items.

Wildebeests at Great Migration - Big group of animals

Wildebeests Kenya

THE WILDEBEEST MIGRATION IN EASTAFRICA 

The wildebeest migration is an amazing annual occasion to watch that you wouldn’t want to leave out on your to do list in Africa. The event is recognized as one of the seven wonders of the Natural World, famously known to take place in East Africa, particularly in Kenya’s Masai Mara National Park and Tanzania’s Serengeti National Park.It is amazing how the wildebeests never lose their way to Masai Mara national park and also as they come back to Serengeti national park. Usually, wildebeest live in the Serengeti plains, where they spend majority of their lives grazing in the grassy savannas and open woodlands of the plains that divide Tanzania and Kenya.

The event happens annually where a population of over 1.5million wildebeest migrate from Tanzania to Kenya and vice versa following the seasonal rains, as they migrate they are accompanied by some other species of animals such as the zebras, Grant’s gazelle, Thompson’s gazelle, elands and impalas. . It is amazing how the wildebeests never lose their way to Masai Mara national park and also as they come back to Serengeti national park. The wildebeests face difficulties during their migration, including the risk of being devoured by lions on land and crocodiles when they cross rivers such as river Grumeti.

 The wildebeest are believed to migrate for a couple of reasons such as looking for greener pastures of plains rich in nutritious grass to provide best conditions for raising their new calves and also to protect the newborn calves from predators like lions on the hunt for vulnerable newborns.

What time of the year do the wildebeest migrate?

The wildebeest migrate in different months of the year following the rain season and their birthing periods.

          Around January or February, the wildebeests are in the Ngorongoro Crater highlands and Olduvai Gorge giving birth to newborn calves which takes about 2-3weeks, the new born calves are very vulnerable and stand a risk of being eaten by predators on the hunt. It’s fascinating to observe the tension between the wildebeest and the predators at this time.

          In April, along with hundreds of zebra, the wildebeest trek northwest towards the center Serengeti in search of new pasture.

          In May, the wildebeest continue to roam the Serengeti, passing by camps that offer excellent vantage points to see them move, and at the end of May, the mating season starts.The wildebeest, zebra, and gazelle continue to graze while traveling at a leisurely pace. Here the journey is towards the GrumetiRiver.

          During June, the dry season starts with large concentrations of wildebeest in the Serengeti on the banks of Grumeti River, here the animals are faced with a challenge of crossing the river where they are prone to being eaten by crocodiles.

          In July, the wildebeests and zebras are headed for a more challenging situation of crossing the Mara River in the north of the Serengeti, however by the end of July the animals have successfully crossed the Mara River in Serengeti which stretches up to Masai Mara.

          By August, the herds have started spreading throughout the Masai Mara ‘s northern region with some still in Serengeti facing the challenge of crossing the river. Here the tension is high for the animals since the river is in full flow and there is great loss of life due to the hungry predators hunting after them.

          By September, the main chaos has ended but to be encountered again as the wildebeest head back to Serengeti.

          In October and November, the wildebeest head to Serengeti.

          By December, they are already spread in the South of Serengeti where they are lush rains.

How much does it cost to see wildebeest Migration?

This really depends in which part you are and in the camps you are residing in, however the park entrance fees are a bit expensive.

In Masai Mara, 70$ is charged per person per day.

THE WILDEBEEST MIGRATION, A WONDER TO REMEMBER!

 

 

Lilac

WHERE CAN I SEE BIRDS IN KENYA?

WHERE CAN I SEE BIRDS IN KENYA?

The nation of Kenya is regarded as a bird lover’s heaven with 1154 bird species, 11 being endemic like William’s Lark, Hinde’s Babbler among others and 4 introduced by human. The country is also known for its great wildlife safaris where you will see mammals like the lion, leopard, giraffe, spotted hyena and others. While on these wildlife safaris, you will have the opportunity to see some of these bird species for example; the African Fish Eagle, African Emerald Cuckoo, Bar-tailed Trogon, Dickinson’s Kestrel and many more.However, Kenya offers a variety of birding places with ideal environmental conditions and a suitable geographical context for watching the birdssuch as rift valley areas and hilly areas.

Kenya’s well-known birding locations include;

·         Natural parks:

Nairobi National Park, a city park located in the Capital city of Kenya. Here your eyes will land on bird species like Hornbill, the multicolored Red-and-yellow Barbet, not leaving out the flamingos on Lake Magadi and many more. The nature of the park is primarily an open grassy plain with sporadic Acacia bushes and with a large and diverse wildlife population of species like lion, leopard, African buffalo, giraffe, and hippopotamus among others. Throughout the year, Nairobi National Park is a fantastic place to observe birds, but November to April are the greatest months because this is when the migratory from Europe and North Africa arrive. Due to the timing of nesting season, many species are doing so now.

Ruma National Park located in Suba district close to Lake Victoria, the only park in Nyanza province. The park is a home to over 350 bird species including endangered species, vulnerable species and near-threatened species.The most renowned bird species in the area is the uncommon African migrant blue swallow, which is noted for living there. The bird species found in Ruma National Park include; Helmeted Guineafowl, Harlequin Quail, Crested Francolin, European Bee-eater, Meyer’s Parrot, White-bellied Tit and many more.

Amobseli National Park located in Kajido in the southern region of Kenya. The savanna grassland and woodland that cover the park offer the ideal habitats for birdlife and other wildlife. The park provides habitats to over 400species of birds, some will be spotted on the water areas like the Pelicans, King fisher, Egrets as well as some in the grass like the bustard birds among others. The best time for bird watching in Amboseli National Park is during the months of November, December, January, April and May, because around this time are migratory birds.

Other national parks with bird watching includeChyulu Hills National Park, Manas National Park, Tsavo West National Park and Samuburu National Park

·         Lakes

Especially the rift valley lakes, with features that harbor variety of either land or water bird species. These lakes include;

Lake Nakuru, famously known for having the highest number of flamingo birds in the world. You will find other species like; Greater spotted Eagle, Pallid Harrier, Grey-crested Helmet-shrike and others

Lake Naivasha is part of the Great Rift Valley with over 400 different bird species including threatened species, rare species, endangered species, and migratory species. List of bird species include; the ducks, guineafowl, grouse, flamingos, pigeons, cuckoos, cranes and many more.

Lake Elementaita, a spot known for also flamingo watching along with other birds like; Black Crakes, African Jacanas, Grebes

Other lakes for bird watching include; lake Baringo, Lake Victoria.

·         Kakamega Forest, is an outstanding birding destination covered with a magnificent tropical rainforest that harbors mammals like Bush pigs, Colobus monkey, Pottos and many more. The forest is also a habitat for a variety of bird species like the Blue-headed Bee-eater, Grey Parrot and also the Blue Turaco. The forest has a lot to offer for all bird lovers.

You can also watch birds in Kenya in places like; Kisumu Impala Sanctuary, Crescent Island Sanctuary, Mt. Kenya and Mt. Aberdare.

What you need to carry for bird watching.

·         Cameras and extra batteries for taking pictures of the bird species you spot.

·         Boots for hiking as you walk through the forest trails and in mountainous areas.

·         Binoculars to enable you look closely at birds that may be so far like up on the trees.

·         Notebook to list down a number of birds spotted and their names as told by your guide

·         Insect repellant to avoid bites from insects as you go through the forests.

·         A water bottles to take water on breaks after walking some long trails in forests.

·         You can carry any extra items that you thick you might need.

 KENYA, A BIRD LOVER’S HEAVEN!