Uganda, is known as Africa’s premier birding destination with the list of birds found in the country topping 1 000! Many of these birds live only in these tropical forests with rare sightings being described as “mythical” while it is believed that some of the birds living in the remote forests of Uganda may not even be classified as of yet!
In the October 2013 issue of Africa Geographic magazine we meet the Uganda Bird Guide Club and chat to them about their lives spent birding in Uganda. This beautiful country must be on any birders bucket list and this is our list of the top 10 birds to see in Uganda.
The Shoebill is endemic to Africa and birders from around the globe flock to Uganda to catch a rare glimpse of this clumsy giant. For a long time this bird was not protected and its eggs where frequently stolen from nests until the Uganda Bird Guide Club’s efforts succeeded in making it illegal to trap these birds and steal their eggs.
2. Green-breasted Pitta
The Green-breasted Pitta is a difficult bird to find despite its relatively common status in the central African countries. It lives, well camouflaged, in the lowland tropical forests and photographing one of these little-guys is a bird lovers dream.
3. African Green Broadbill
The vivid colours of this eye catching bird can only be seen in two places in the world – The Itombwe Mountains in the Democratic Republic of Congo and Uganda’s Bwindi Forest. The species is declining due to loss of its habitat from forest clearing and degradation.
4. Great Blue Turaco
The Great Blue Turaco as well as the White-crested Turaco are some of the largest, most exquisite birds found in Uganda. These birds are actively hunted as their meat and feathers are highly sought after commodities.
5. Shelley’s Crimsonwing
Undoubtedly one of the world’s rarest birds, the Shelley’s Crimsonwing can be found on most bird-bucket lists. They live in a thin strip of mountains and volcanoes – known as the Albertine Rift – that borders Uganda, Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Photos of these beauties in the wild are almost non-existent, in fact this is the only known photo of this elusive beauty.
6. Standard-winged Nightjar
This picturesque bird is characterised by the central flight feathers that appear during breeding season on the males. Raised vertically during display, it is a dream come true to see these birds during this short time span when their feathers can stretch up to 38cm in length.
7. Short-tailed Warbler
The Short-tailed Warbler can be found primarily in Uganda’s forest undergrowth while the forests of the Democratic Republic of Congo and Rwanda are also home to this camouflaged species.
8. Doherty’s Bushshrike
Found in the subtropical montane forests and moist shrub-lands of central Africa these brightly-coloured birds are one of the more common birds seen in Uganda and thankfully, their population levels seem to be stable for the most part.
9. Bar-tailed Trogon
This beautiful medium-sized bird lives in high altitude forests and has a large range throughout central and southern Africa although it is rarely seen.
10. Black-breasted Barbet
The giant Black-breasted Barbet has been seen by very few individuals and is highly sought after by bird watchers. Unfortunately it tends to live in areas of conflict and so it is rarely seen by tourists to this region with Uganda being one of the safest regions to possibly catch a glimpse of this magnificent bird.
11. African Broadbill
The vivid colors of this eye catching bird can only be seen in two places in the world – The Itombwe Mountains in the Democratic Republic of Congo and Uganda’s Bwindi Forest. The species is declining due to loss of its habitat from forest clearing and degradation
12. Green Breasted Pitta
This one is a difficult bird to find despite its relatively common status in the central African countries. It lives, well camouflaged, in the lowland tropical forests and photographing one of these little-guys is a bird lovers dream