In this article, you find information about Uganda’s most important bird areas (IBs). it is a complete guide to those interested in bird watching safari in Uganda, either escorted or self-drive.
1) Lake Mburo National Park
Landscape diversity such as open savannah plains and grasslands dotted with acacia tree species. The savanna is interspersed with rocky ridges and forested gorges in the western part of the park while patches of papyrus swamp and narrow bands of lush riparian woodland line many lakes.
Lake Mburo forms part of a 50km-long wetland system linked by a swamp together with 13 other lakes in the area. Notable birds include; Red-faced Barbet, Shoebill, Papyrus Gonolek, Carruthers’s Cisticola, White-winged Scrub-warbler, Papyrus Yellow Warbler, Sharpe’s Pied-babbler, Red-chested Sunbird and Northern Brown-throated Weaver.
2) Rwenzori Mountains National Park
The Park contains the second-highest number of Albertine Rift endemics of any Important Bird Area in Uganda, and the second-highest number of species of the Afro tropical Highlands biome, both after Bwindi. There is an unconfirmed report of the globally near-threatened Lagden’s Bush-shrike. The species of the Afro tropical Highlands biome include some spectacular or rare birds, such as Bamboo Warbler, Golden-winged Sunbird, and Red-tufted Sunbird. Seventeen species of Guinea–Congo Forests biome also occur, but all are well represented in other sites.
Birds include; Shelley’s Crimson-wing, Western Green Tinkerbird, Handsome Francolin, Dusky Turtle-dove, Ruwenzori Turaco, African Long-eared Owl, Scarce Swift, Cinnamon-chested Bee-eater, Grey Cuckooshrike, White-bellied Crested-flycatcher, White-tailed Crested-flycatcher, Stripe-breasted Tit, Chubb’s Cisticola, Collared Apalis, Black-faced Apalis, Eastern Mountain Greenbul, Mountain Flycatcher-warbler, Red-faced Woodland-warbler, Brown Woodland-warbler, White-browed Crombec, Mountain Illadopsis, Grey-chested Babbler, African Hill Babbler, Sharpe’s Starling, Red-throated Alethe, White-starred Robin, Equatorial Akalat, Thick-billed Seedeater, and Oriole Finch.
3) Murchison Falls National Park
The Park boasts a rich avifauna, with a checklist of more than 460 species, due to its large size and wide range of habitats. The convergence zone between the lake and the delta forms a shallow area that is important for waterbirds, especially Shoebill. This species is an important tourist attraction of Murchison Falls national park, the only Park where one is almost certain of seeing the bird. Shoebill is regularly recorded along the Nile inside the park, especially at the delta and on two islands in the river. The Park supports 20 species from three non-qualifying biomes: 11 species of Guinea–Congo Forests, six species of the Afro tropical Highlands, and three of the Somali–Masai biome.
Populations of Important Bird Area Trigger Species include; Ring-necked Francolin (Near Threatened), Pallid Harrier (Near Threatened), Black-winged Pratincole (Near Threatened), African Skimmer (Near Threatened), Papyrus Gonolek (Near Threatened), Heuglin’s Francolin, Lesser Kestrel, Rock Pratincole, White-crested Turaco, Red-throated Bee-eater, Yellow-billed Shrike, Emin’s Shrike, Red-pate Cisticola, White-winged Scrub-warbler, Sharpe’s Pied-babbler, Purple Glossy-starling, Bronze-tailed Glossy-starling, Red-chested Sunbird, Chestnut-crowned Sparrow-weaver, White-cheeked Oliveback, Black-bellied Firefinch, Black-rumped Waxbill and Papyrus Canary.
4) Bwindi Impenetrable National Park
Add bird watching on your gorilla safari in Uganda‘s Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, home to half of the world’s last remaining population of mountain gorillas. The National Park checklist currently totals 347 species. Mubwindi swamp is home to Grauer’s Swamp-warbler. Some of the species endemic to the Albertine Rift, such as Brown-cheeked Hornbill, African Green Broadbill and Turner’s Eremomela have limited distributions elsewhere in their range. The northern sector is especially rich in species of the Guinea–Congo Forests biome.
Populations of Important Bird Area Trigger Species include; Speckled Tinkerbird, Western Green Tinkerbird, Yellow-spotted Barbet, Handsome Francolin, Cassin’s Hawk-eagle, White-spotted Fluff tail, Afep Pigeon, Dusky Turtle-dove, Black-collared Lovebird, Dusky Long-tailed Cuckoo, Red-chested Owlet, Bar-tailed Trogon, Blue-throated Roller, Forest Scimitarbill, Grey-cheeked Hornbill, Brown-cheeked Hornbill, Dwarf Honeyguide, Buff-spotted Woodpecker, Ruwenzori Batis, Chestnut Wattle-eye, Jameson’s Wattle-eye, Lagden’s Bush-shrike, Forest Ground-thrush, and Scarlet-tufted Sunbird
5) Queen Elizabeth National Park
This is one of the most popular National Parks in Uganda for birdwatchers. Its diversity is reflected in its list of more than 600 species, the highest number recorded in any Important Bird Area in Uganda and probably the highest of any protected area in Africa. Seven species of the Afro tropical Highlands biome have been recorded, as have three of Sudan–Guinea Savanna biome. Other notable congregations at this site include Shoebill on Lake George.
Populations of Important Bird Area Trigger Species include; Speckled Tinkerbird, Yellow-spotted Barbet, Hairy-breasted Barbet, Lesser Flamingo, Madagascar Pond-heron, Shoebill, Great White Pelican, Lesser Kestrel, Great Snipe, Black-winged Pratincole, Sterna nilotica, African Skimmer, Black-collared Lovebird, Sabine’s Spinetail, Chocolate-backed Kingfisher, Grey-cheeked Hornbill, Brown-eared Woodpecker, African Shrike-flycatcher, Chestnut Wattle-eye, Papyrus Gonolek, Petit’s Cuckooshrike, Western Black-headed Oriole, Yellow-spotted Nicator, White-winged Scrub-warbler, Uganda Woodland-warbler, Scaly-breasted Illadopsis, Sharpe’s Pied-babbler, Purple-headed Glossy-starling, White-tailed Ant-thrush, Rufous Flycatcher-thrush, Forest Robin and Papyrus Canary