Birds – Uganda

Ariadne van Zandbergen
By Ariadne van Zandbergen

Ariadne is a renowned Africa expert and frequently visits Uganda. She and her husband are a travel photography/writing team with many Africa guidebooks under their belt, including the Bradt guide to Uganda.

Ariadne is a renowned Africa expert. She and her husband form a team who write and update many Bradt guides, including the guide to Uganda.

Ariadne is a renowned Africa expert. She and her husband form a team who author the Bradt guide to Uganda.

Ariadne and her husband form a team who author the Bradt guide to Uganda

Uganda's remarkable avian diversity (over 1,000 species within an area similar in size to that of Great Britain) can be attributed to its location between the East African savannah, West African rainforests and semi-desert of the north. Uganda offers easy access to bird-rich habitats that are difficult to reach elsewhere. The country has only two endemics, but if you only take East Africa into consideration, there are 150 species to be found only in Uganda. Migrant birds are present from November to April.

Notable Birds in Uganda
African jacana
Black-headed lapwing
Orange weaver
Locally common
Red-throated alethe
Rare and near-endemic
Rare and localized

Birding Rating

Endemic (E) & near-endemic (NE) birds

  • Archer's robin-chat (NE)
  • Black-lored babbler (NE)
  • Blue-headed sunbird (NE)
  • Chapin's flycatcher (NE)
  • Dusky crimsonwing (NE)
  • Dwarf honeyguide (NE)
  • Fox's weaver (E)
  • Golden-winged sunbird (NE)
  • Grant's bluebill (NE)
  • Grauer's broadbill (NE)
  • Grauer's cuckoo-shrike (NE)
  • Grauer's swamp warbler (NE)
  • Handsome francolin (NE)
  • Hartlaub's turaco (NE)
  • Jackson's francolin (NE)
  • Karamoja apalis (NE)
  • Nahan's francolin (NE)
  • Neumann’s warbler (NE)
  • Oberlaender's ground thrush (NE)
  • Purple-breasted sunbird (NE)
  • Red-faced barbet (NE)
  • Red-faced woodland warbler (NE)
  • Red-throated alethe (NE)
  • Regal sunbird (NE)
  • Rwenzori apalis (NE)
  • Rwenzori batis (NE)
  • Rwenzori double-collared sunbird (E)
  • Rwenzori nightjar (NE)
  • Rwenzori turaco (NE)
  • Shelley's crimsonwing (NE)
  • Strange weaver (NE)
  • Stripe-breasted tit (NE)
  • Turner's eremomela (NE)
  • Uganda woodland warbler (NE)
  • Yellow-eyed black flycatcher (NE)

Other Birding Specials

  • Ansorge’s greenbul
  • Black bee-eater
  • Blue-throated roller
  • Equatorial akalat
  • Great blue turaco
  • Ituri batis
  • Jameson’s antpecker
  • Lühder’s bush-shrike
  • Magpie mannikin
  • Masked apalis
  • Olive long-tailed cuckoo
  • Papyrus gonolek
  • Pennant-winged nightjar
  • Red-chested owlet
  • Red-tailed ant thrush
  • Rufous flycatcher-thrush
  • Shoebill
  • White-bellied crested flycatcher
  • White-bellied robin-chat
  • White-naped pigeon
  • Yellowbill

Best Time for Bird Watching

From a birder's perspective, Uganda is good all year-round, especially since the main birding interest lies in the resident birds. The climate is the main factor to take into consideration. Uganda is a very wet country. During the Wet seasons, roads and forest trails might be in poor condition and rains could interfere with birding time.

In general, the best time for bird watching is from late May through September, when the rain is less and food is abundant. The main nesting season in Bwindi and Mgahinga (key sites for the Albertine Rift endemics) is May and June, but from mid-April to mid-May the rains might still be too heavy. February and early March is the only time Toro-Semliki is relatively dry, but it is uncomfortably hot in the north, including in Murchison Falls NP. December and January are also good months since the north is not yet too hot and there is less rain in the south. The best time for primate tracking and wildlife viewing in the savannah reserves is also in the Dry season, from June to August and December to February.

Best Parks for Birding Including Birding Rating

Murchison Falls is excellent for seeing a wide array of common birds and specials, including the sought-after shoebill. Bwindi Impenetrable and Mgahinga National Park are the most accessible sites for Albertine Rift endemics, and Semuliki is the only place in East Africa to see many Guinea-Congo regional species.

Want to Visit Uganda?

Birding Rating

Facts & Figures

Birds in Uganda
Bird Species
Migratory Birds
Nov to Apr