Uganda’s Key birding list; Uganda is one of the world’s top birding destination for birders as we see number of tourists flocking in from different races of the world. However, country boosts with more than 1096 bird species which can be spotted in several rewarding places such as Mabamba swamp, Semuliki National park, Lake Mburo national park, Bwindi Impenetrable national park, Queen Elizabeth National Park among other touristic destinations which can easily be accessed by both car and air transport. Below are Uganda’s Bird list to see while on Uganda Birding safaris.
Common Ostrich ‘’Struthio camelus’’
The Ostrich is world’s largest bird that inhabits savannah resident bird species. In Uganda Ostriches are restricted in Kidepo Valley National park in northeast. Can also be seen at Uganda Wildlife Centre –Zoo in Entebbe.
Pelicans ‘’Pelecanus spp’’
These are waterbirds large in size which often seen swimming in tight flotillas on open lakes and the Kazinga Channel, Queen Elizabeth National Park that lies in southwestern Uganda region. In Uganda there are two species present.
African darter ‘’ Anhinga rufa’’
The African darter ‘referred ‘to as snake bird which are habitant of swimming low water with elongated rufous neck. This species is longer than any cormorant, extended in serpentine fashion, fairly common in most freshwater habitant with vast vegetation, perches openly often with wings spread open to dry.
Goliath Heron ‘’Ardea Goliath ‘’
They are unique in their own way raising 1.5-meter-tall with lovely cryptic purple-grey and orange colors. Best way to see them is from boat trip along the Victoria Nile in Murchison Falls.
Hammerkop ‘’Scopus umbretta’’
These hammerkop are beautiful species medium sized, brown waterbirds with no close allies. They have a backward -pointing crest and long bill that adjoins to create the hammerhead effect for which it is named. They build a vast scruffy nest and can be easily seen on the Mweya peninsula in Queen Elizabeth National Park.
Saddle –billed stork ‘’Ephippiorhynchus senegalensis’’
The saddle –billed stork look handsome and are very common in Uganda. They raise up to 1.4meter high, with black and white feathering and gaudy red. They are yellow and black bill which usually spotted in pair. They are easily seen on game drive safari to north of Murchison Falls National Park.
Marabou Stork ‘’Leptoptilos crumenferus’’
They are Macabre carrion – eating stork that measures 1.5meter with large expandable air sac below neck .This species have black and white feather pattern reminiscent of an undertaker’s suit. Commonly seen in both rural and urban environments.
Shoebill ‘’Balaeniceps rex’’
The shoebill species are large grey swamp dweller that relates with pelican and the major sought bird on Uganda Birding Tour. Best places to see shoebill stork include; Mabamba swamp in Entebbe, Murchison Falls along Lake Albert and Semuliki Wildlife Reserve.
Flamingoes ‘’Phoenicopterus spp’’
These are one of the most beautiful bird species stunning in their pink white algae eaters. Best spotted in Katwe, Crater lakes in Queen Elizabeth national park and Kyambura wildlife Reserve. Only two species of flamingoes exist in Uganda.
Secretary Bird ‘’Sagittarius serpent Arius’’
They are unique grey snake eater with stork like build. The secretary bird raises up to 1.5-meter-tall, featuring red face marking, black head quills, rare and localized in northern Uganda.
African fish eagle ‘’Haliaeetus vocifer’’
The African fish eagle are known as eating raptor that inhabits wet area. They are stunning fish with bold black, white and chestnut feather pattern.
Palmnut Vulture ‘’Gypohierax angolensis’’
This is a fish eagle and associated with palm-fringed waterways and lakes but with more white than black, no chestnut and a red rather than yellow. Best seen in Murchison Falls national park, Queen Elizabeth.
Lappet-faced vulture ‘’Torgos tracheliotos ‘’
This is Africa’s largest vulture, dark black with a bare red head. They are often seen singly or in pairs alongside in Uganda’s savanna reserves, Uganda’s Key birding list
Bateleur ‘’terathopitis ecamlatus’’
These are the largest raptor, a predominantly black short –tailed eagle with unique red collar and lice, bold white under wings seen clearly in fight. Commonly seen in Uganda’s Savanna Reserves but often spotted soaring with a tilting motion reminiscent of the tightrope walkers from which its name was got.
Long –crested eagle ‘’Lophaettus ecudatus’’
These are handsome bird species, medium sized eagle with diagnostic foppish long crest. Unlike other large raptors which are commonly seen outside of game reserve. They also like inhabiting areas near water.
They are large pale – headed wildfowl, found on east African mountains and in Uganda can be spotted to forest edge and in Mount Elgon National park in Eastern Uganda.
Helmeted Guinea fowl ‘’Numida meleagris’’
The Helmeted Guinea fowl are largely wildfowl with striking white speckled grey feathering and blue head with ivory casque.
They have panic-prone flocks common in savanna parks.
African Jacana ‘’Octophilornis africanus’’
These are unusual chestnut, white and black wader. Also known as lily trotter for its habit walking across floating vegetation. They are commonly seen in Uganda wetlands.
Grey crowned crane ‘’Balearic regulorum’’
This is famously known as Uganda’s National Bird known as the Crested crane, grey and white feathering, with beautiful golden crest. Commonly seen in swamp and associated moist grassland as well as to the north of the Nile in Murchison Falls National park and other areas.
African green pigeon ‘’Trevon calva’’
The African green pigeon is a large, dove and are inhabitant of riparian woodland with cryptic green –grey feathering. They are often seen in fruiting fig trees. They are Bruce’s green pigeon distinguished by a yellow chest.
African grey parrot ‘’Pittacus erithacus’’
This is familiar caged bird, large, grey with red tail feathers. They are inhabitant of forested areas, have nice loud squawking call emitted in flight, Uganda’s Key birding list
Great blue turaco ‘’Corythaeola cristata’’
This is a beautiful blue-green forest habitant that raises up to 75cent-meter from the tip of its red and yellow bill to the end of its blue black –barred tail. Best seen at Entebbe Botanical Gardens.
Ross’s turaco ‘’Musophaga rossae’’
They are deep purple species with a bold yellow facemask and red crest and underwings. They are resident of forested habitats bordering wetlands or rivers.
Eastern grey plantain –eater ‘’Crinifer zonurus’’
They are large grey turaco with bold yellow bill and off –white crest. Commonly seen in woodland and savanna as well as suburban Kampala and Entebbe.
Other bird species to see on Uganda Birding Safaris includes ; African emerald cuckoo ,Coucals ,Verreaux’s eagle –owl ,Pennant-standard –winged nightjars ,pied kingfisher ,Giant kingfisher ,Northern carmine bee –eater ,Broad-billed roller ,Malachite Kingfisher ,Red-throated bee-eater ,Northern carmine bee-eater ,Broad –billed roller ,Lilac –breasted roller , hoopoe ,Black and white casqued hornbill ,Abyssinian ground hornbill ,Double- toothed barbet ,White-browed robin-chat ,Grey-capped warbler ,Brown-throated wattle-eye ,African paradise flycatcher ,silver bird ,Scarlet –chested sunbird ,Black-headed gonolek ,Fork-tailed drongo ,Piapiac ,Black-winged red bishop ,Red-cheeked cordon-bleu ,Pin-tailed whydah ,African finfoot among others, Uganda’s Key birding list
Best Time for Uganda Birding Tours
The best time for bird watching in Uganda occurs in wet season when food is in abundant in the reserves and parks, starts from May and June and September to November a best month to watch migratory birds. But you can still the park in dry months of June to Mid-September and December to February within these months receives less rain and easy to access forest trails in spotting variety of notable bird species.