Birds of Entebbe Botanical Gardens
Entebbe Botanical Gardens is just a short distance from Uganda's main international airport and it's possible to walk here from the majority of tourist lodges. It took us 30 minutes to get here from Carpe Diem Guest House and we were rewarded with some cool bird sightings including a hamerkop building a nest.
Birds at Entebbe's Guest Lodges
The gardens of the various guest houses in Entebbe are oases popular with Uganda's birds. We sat outside at both Carpe Diem and Karibu Guest Houses and watched as the birds simply came to us. Check out the colorful and entertaining species that we saw below.
Ugandan Birds by the Roadside
Our Matoke Tours guide, Geoffrey Katende, had an immense knowledge of the birds of Uganda and an eagle-eye for spotting them. Outside of the urban area around Kampala and Entebbe, the traffic in Uganda was very light. Many times on our 9-day East African safari adventure, Geoffrey would hit the brakes, pull out his binoculars, and point out fascinating birds. Here are some of the many birds that Geoffrey spotted along the road.
|weaver bird (the subspecies are hard to tell apart)|
|African Open-billed Stork|
Birds of Uganda's Bigodi Swamp
Community run Bigodi Swamp near Uganda's Kibale National Forest was a treasure-trove of bird species. Our guide, Rogers, had a special knack for making the birds come to us. I like to think of him as the Bird-whisperer of Bigodi Swamp.
Birds of Queen Elizabeth National Park
Queen Elizabeth National Park (QENP) in Western Uganda may be most well-known for the Big Five but we were impressed by the magnificent diversity of bird species that call the park home. Read on to discover our favorite sightings.
|Grey Crowned Crane|
|Southern Red Bishop|
Birds of the Kazinga Channel
During our trip to Uganda, we took a 2 hour boat cruise on the Kazinga Channel in Queen Elizabeth National Park. While the Kazinga Channel is known for a great concentration of hippos, we were pleased to see a wide variety of birds as well. Flocks of birds followed in the wake of our boat and we saw some extraordinary species both on the water and near the shore.
|African Fish Eagle|
|Albino Malachite Kingfisher|
Birds Near Western Uganda's Lake Mutanda
The area in and around Lake Mutanda is the staging area for treks to see Uganda's famous mountain gorillas. Lake Mutanda also sits near the crossroads of three nations: Uganda, Rwanda, and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). We saw an amazing array of birds on our trip to the region.
Birds Near Uganda's Lake Bunyonyi
It's worth traveling to Uganda's Lake Bunyonyi to build a little respite into an otherwise hectic safari. We took a boat cruise on Lake Buyonyi and stopped on an island where the local lodge hosted a "bird restaurant". I was most impressed by the abundance of Speckled Mousebirds that we saw on the trip.
Birds of Mburo National Park
Mburo National Park is Uganda's smallest savanna park but features a wide range of birds flitting about in the acacia trees. Check out the abundance of bird species that we spied on our game drives in the park.
|African Wattled Lapwing|
|Little Green Bee-eater|
Birds on Uganda's Lake Victoria
Back in Entebbe, we took a sunset 'cruise' on Lake Victoria. Paddling along in a wooden canoe equipped with an outboard motor, we explored the channels through the papyrus swamp at lake's edge and saw more of the incredible birds of Uganda.
Birds of Mabamba Swamp
Sure, a trip to Uganda's Mabamba Swamp offers a once-in-a-lifetime chance to see shoe-billed storks but this wetlands area about an hour away from Entebbe Airport offers so much more for birdwatchers who take time to arrange a guide and get out upon the water.
|Common Squacco Heron|
Uganda's Star Birding Attraction: The Shoebill Stork
Yes, I wanted to see mountain gorillas, chimpanzees, and more on our safari in Uganda. The one wildlife opportunity that tipped the balance for us toward Uganda from other safari destinations in East Africa was the Shoebill. Your chances of seeing Shoe-billed Storks in Uganda's Mabamba Swamp are higher than probably anywhere else in the world and just an hour from Entebbe, the journey is very accessible. I was so excited to see this pinnacle of the Ugandan bird hierarchy sitting among the reeds.
As you can see, birdwatching opportunities abound on a trip to Uganda. Everyplace we visited, the air was filled with birdsong and we spotted an incredible variety of species on our journey. I've shared 50 with you today, but this only includes those birds that were nice enough to stay still long enough for me to get a picture. In reality, we probably caught a glimpse of more than 100 out of Uganda's 1000+ bird species. What an amazing adventure!
For help identifying the birds of Uganda before, during, and after your safari, I recommend picking up a copy of Birds of East Africa.
All photos in this post were taken with a Canon Powershot SX60 bridge camera with a 65x optical zoom lens.