There are more than 10,000 bird species in the world, according to BirdLife International. 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.
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, or in remote Karamoja, you will still hear birds chirping away in the distance singing songs so beautiful you need to pause to listen.
There are so many other places that have rare birds all over Uganda that you can go see. Below are some of major bird reserves as recommended by Jovago, a hotel booking service with offices in Kampala.
Entebbe Botanical Gardens
Right off the Entebbe-Kampala highway in the heart of Entebbe is a beautifully landscaped area covered with trees. As you walk through the trees, you will find a number of vervet monkeys.
“That is not the only attraction. One will find a number of the birds that are relative to the Ugandan environment,” says Mercy Kigongo, a keen bird watcher.
“But mostly you will find the Great Blue and Ross’ 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.
The thick forest cover along Kampala- Jinja highway is home to over 315 species including unrecorded rare bird species. It 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).
Also, the Bocage Bush Shrike (Grey-green Bush-shrike), Hooded Vulture, Red-capped Robin Chat, Ashy Flycatcher, African Shrike Flycatcher, Yellow-mantled Weaver, Black-and-white Mannkin, Slender-billed Greenbul among many others can be sighted in Mabira.
Bodongo Forest Reserve
This expansive mixture of tropical tree species is a true bird paradise. It is one of Uganda’s biggest forest reserves with over 360 bird species. About 22 species can be found only in that very area. These include the Puvel’s Illadopsis, Nahan’s Francolin, and the Chocolate–Backed Kingfisher, White-headed Saw-wing, White Wagtail, Yellow-throated Greenbul, African Citril, African Golden-breasted Bunting, Black-crowned Waxbill. Be sure to see more endangered species all over the reserve.
Mount Elgon, located in the eastern part of Uganda has 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.
Kigongo says you can find the Cape Robin, Blue-shouldered Robin-Chat, Little Rock-Thrush, Northern Anteater C, Nightingale, Spotted Morning-Thrush and Mountain Yellow Warbler
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 and Long-tailed Hawk among others.