Among the reasons why Uganda is rated among the best birding destinations in the entire world is primarily because of its richness in the different habitats. There is a variety of bird species corresponding to these habitats. These habitats include: lush tropical rainforest, East African savannah, gardens, woodlands, lakes and wetlands, and mountain vegetation.
Bird watching itineraries will take you any part of the country. Queen Elizabeth National Park alone boasts of over 500 species of birds. Other areas where bird watching can take place are; Kidepo national park, Kibale National Park, Murchison Falls National Park, Bwindi Impenetrable National park, Lake Mburo , Mgahinga, Elgon, Mt. Rwenzori National Parks and Ssesse Islands.
Even within the surroundings of the capital city Kampala, one can record nearly 300 species in a day, and all this is thanks to the richly diverse of habitats from the scenic shores of Lake Victoria to the lush forests of the Albertine Rift and the banks of the mighty Nile River. In Entebbe Botanical Gardens, Mabamba Swamp and Mabira Forest, several of the sought-after species can be seen. Add to this the fact that there is a very active community of local birding guides, and a Uganda Tourist Board that actively encourages birding tourism, making the environs of Lake Victoria a must-visit locality.
While Uganda has only one Endemic bird (Fox’s Weaver), 23 Albertine Endemics occur here and are difficult or even impossible to find somewhere else.
The huge bird list is so remarkable given the small size of Uganda of over 235,000km2; it is approximately the size of Great Britain, making it without doubt, the richest birding destination in Africa. The Albertine Rift stretches from northern Uganda along its borders with Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Several species endemic to this area are found in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, Semilki National Park, Rwenzori Mountains and Mgahinga. These include Green Broadbill, Grauer’s, Grauer’s Swamp and Neumann’s Warblers, Shelley’s and Dusky Crimsonwings, Yellow-eyed Black Flycatcher, Strange Weaver, Rwenzori Double-collared, Regal, Purple-breasted and Blue-throated Sunbirds, Rwenzori Turaco, Handsome Francolin, Stripe-breasted Tit and several others.
In the papyrus swamps around Lake Victoria and other lakes, the enigmatic Shoebill can be found, as well as specialities including Papyrus Yellow and White-winged Warblers, Carruther’s Cisticola, Papyrus Gonolek, Swamp Flycatcher and Orange Weaver.
There are also several highland and lowland forests spread across the country, which offer species which are generally West African. Great Blue and Black-billed Turacos, African Grey Parrot, Green-breasted Pitta, several Woodpeckers, Barbets and Greenbuls, and scarcities such as Weyn’s Weaver, Nahan’s and Forest Francolins all occur.