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50 Awesome Birds You Can See in Uganda

50 Awesome Birds You Can See in Uganda: Uganda's National Bird: Grey Crowned Crane
Discover 50 of Uganda birds that we saw and photographed on our 2 week trip to East Africa. Most people equate Uganda with gorilla trekking but with over 1000 species of birds calling Uganda home, a trip here is simply a delight for opportunistic birdwatchers like myself. Read on for information about the best places to see Uganda’s birds along with plenty of bird photos to inspire your own Uganda safari.

Birds of Entebbe Botanical Gardens

One cool thing to do in Entebbe is to visit Entebbe Botanical Gardens which 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 to the botanical gardens from Carpe Diem Guest House and we were rewarded with some unique Ugandan bird sightings including a hamerkop building a nest.

1. Marabou Stork

50 Awesome Birds You Can See in Uganda: Marabou Stork in Entebbe Botanical Gardens

2. Crowned Hornbill

50 Awesome Birds You Can See in Uganda: Crowned Hornbill in Entebbe Botanical Gardens

3. Hamerkop

50 Awesome Birds You Can See in Uganda: Hamerkop in Entebbe Botanical Gardens

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 and photographed below.

4. Red-Chested Sunbird

50 Awesome Uganda birds: Red-chested Sunbird in Entebbe

5. Black-Headed Gonolek

50 Awesome Ugandan Birds: Black-headed Gonolek in Entebbe

6. Eastern-Grey Plantain Eater

Awesome Ugandan birds: Eastern-gray Plantain-eater in Entebbe

7. Double-toothed Barbet

Birdwatching in Uganda: Double-toothed Barbet in Entebbe

8. Rüppell's Long Tailed Starling

Uganda Garden birds: Rüppell's Long-Tailed Starling spotted in Entebbe

Uganda 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 Uganda birds that Geoffrey spotted along the road.

9. Weaver Birds

Weaver bird nests in Uganda
Weaver bird in Uganda

10. Black-Shouldered Kite

Black-shouldered kite on a trip to Uganda

11. African Open-Billed Stork

African Open-billed Stork on a trip to Uganda

12. African-Paradise Flycatcher

Uganda's African-paradise flycatcher

Birds of Uganda's Bigodi Wetlands Swamp

Kibale Forest National Park is best known for chimpanzee tracking. However, nearby community run Bigodi Swamp was a treasure-trove of bird species. Our guide, Rodgers, had a special knack for making the birds come to us. I like to think of him as the Bird-whisperer of Bigodi Swamp.

13. Blue Turaco

50 Uganda Birds: blue turaco bird in Bigodi Wetlands
Uganda's blue turaco bird in Bigodi Wetlands

14. Yellow-Billed Barbet

Yellow-billed barbet in Uganda's Bigodi Wetlands Sanctuary

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.

15. Verreaux's Eagle

Verreaux's Eagle in Queen Elizabeth National Park in Uganda

16. Red-necked Spurfowl

Uganda's Red-necked spurfowl

17. Pallid Harrier

Pallid Harrier in QENP Uganda

18. White-Browed Coucal

White-browed Coucal in Uganda

19. Grey-Crowned Crane

Awesome bird photos: Uganda's National Bird: Grey Crowned Crane

20. Southern Red Bishop

Awesome Uganda Bird Photos: Southern Red Bishop bird in Uganda

21. Martial Eagle

A Marshall Eagle in Western Uganda

22. Pin-Tailed Whydah

Pin-tailed Whydah in Uganda

Birds of the Kazinga Channel

During our trip to Uganda, we took a 2 hour Kazinga Channel boat cruise 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 followed in the wake of our boat and we saw some extraordinary bird species both on the water and near the shore.

23. Pied Kingfisher

Pied Kingfisher spotted on a boat cruise on Uganda's Kazinga Channel

24. Yellow-Billed Oxpecker

Yellow-billed Oxpecker on the Kazinga Channel in QENP Uganda

25. African Fish Eagle 

African Fish Eagle on Uganda's Kazinga Channel

26. Albino Malachite Kingfisher

Albino Malachite Kingfisher on the Kazinga Channel in Uganda

Birds Near Western Uganda's Lake Mutanda 

The area in and around Lake Mutanda is the staging area for tracking 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.

27. Black Crake

Black Crake near Lake Mutanda in Uganda

28. Souza's Shrike

Souza's Shrike in Western Uganda

29. White-Browed Robin-Chat

50 Awesome Birds You Can See in Uganda: White-browed Robin-chat in Western Uganda

Ugandan Birds Near 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.

30. Speckled Mousebird

Speckled Mousebird on Uganda's Lake Bunyonyi
Speckled Mousebirds on Uganda's Lake Bunyonyi

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 Ugandan bird species that we spied on our game drives in the park.

31. Woodland Kingfisher

Woodland Kingfisher in Uganda's Mburo National Park

32. Long Crested Eagle

long-crested eagle in Mburo National Park in Uganda

33. African Wattled Lapwing

African Wattled Lapwing in Uganda

34. Little Bee-Eater

Little Bee-eater in Uganda

35. Little Green Bee-Eater

Little Green Bee-eater in Uganda's Mburo National Park

36. Grey-Backed Fiscal

Grey-backed Fiscal in Uganda

37. Broad-Billed Roller

Broad-billed Roller in Uganda

38. Lilac-Breasted Roller

Lilac-breasted Roller in Mburo National Park in Uganda

39. Common Cuckoo

Common Cuckoo in Uganda

40. Collared Sunbird

Collared sunbird in Uganda
Collared sunbird on a flower in Uganda

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 Uganda's incredible birds.

41. Malachite Kingfisher

Malachite Kingfisher on Lake Victoria in Uganda

42. Purple Heron

Purple Heron on Lake Victoria in Uganda

43. Long-Toed Lapwing

Long-toed Lapwing in Uganda

44. Black-Winged Stilt

Uganda Birds: Black-winged Stilt

45. Spur-Winged Lapwing

Birds of Uganda: Spur-winged Lapwing

Birds of Mabamba Swamp

Sure, a trip to Uganda's Mabamba Swamp offers a once-in-a-lifetime chance to see large 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 on the water. 

46. African Jacana

African Jacana in Mabamba Swamp, Uganda

47. Common Squacco Heron

Common Squacco Heron in Uganda

48. Saddle-Billed Stork

Saddle-billed Stork in Uganda

49. Yellow-Billed Ducks

Yellow-billed Ducks spotted on a trip to Mabamba Swamp near Entebbe

Uganda's Star Birding Attraction: The Shoebill Stork

Yes, I wanted to see mountain gorillas, chimpanzees, and more on our Uganda safari. 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 the wetlands is just an hour from Entebbe so the journey is very accessible. I was so excited to see this pinnacle of the Ugandan bird hierarchy sitting among the reeds.

50. Shoe-Billed Stork

Shoebill in Uganda
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 The Birds of East Africa.
All photos in this post were taken with a Canon Powershot SX60 bridge camera with a 65x optical zoom lens.

Uganda Birdwatching Checklist

  1. Marabou Stork
  2. Crowned Hornbill
  3. Hamerkop
  4. Red-Chested Sunbird
  5. Black Headed Gonolek
  6. Eastern-Grey Plantain Eater
  7. Double-toothed Barbet
  8. Rüppell's Long-Tailed Starling
  9. Weaver Birds
  10. Black-Shouldered Kite
  11. African Open-Billed Stork
  12. African-Paradise Flycatcher
  13. Blue Turaco
  14. Yellow-Billed Barbet
  15. Verreaux's Eagle
  16. Red-necked Spurfowl
  17. Pallid Harrier
  18. White-Browed Coucal
  19. Grey-Crowned Crane
  20. Southern Red Bishop
  21. Martial Eagle
  22. Pin-Tailed Whydah
  23. Pied Kingfisher
  24. Yellow-Billed Oxpecker
  25. African Fish Eagle 
  26. Albino Malachite Kingfisher
  27. Black Crake
  28. Souza's Shrike
  29. White-Browed Robin-Chat
  30. Speckled Mousebird
  31. Woodland Kingfisher
  32. Long-Crested Eagle
  33. African Wattled Lapwing
  34. Little Bee-Eater
  35. Little Green Bee-Eater
  36. Grey-Backed Fiscal
  37. Broad-Billed Roller
  38. Lilac-Breasted Roller
  39. Common Cuckoo
  40. Collared Sunbird
  41. Malachite Kingfisher
  42. Purple Heron
  43. Long-Toed Lapwing
  44. Black-Winged Stilt
  45. Spur-Winged Lapwing
  46. African Jacana
  47. Common Squacco Heron
  48. Saddle-Billed Stork
  49. Yellow-Billed Ducks
  50. Shoe Billed Stork

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Sidewalk Safari | Part-time Travel Blog: 50 Awesome Birds You Can See in Uganda
50 Awesome Birds You Can See in Uganda
Discover Uganda birds on a trip to East Africa. Learn about 50 different Uganda birds you can see on safari with awesome photos of each. Check out the birds of East Africa and inspire your own Uganda bird safari.
Sidewalk Safari | Part-time Travel Blog
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