Shoebill Stork

Uganda Birdwatching Holidays

See Shoebills in Semliki

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Discover the best places for birdwatching in Uganda

Shoebill storks and red-throated bee-eaters are amongst the hundreds of species you might see on a Uganda birding safari

From the banks of the mighty Nile to the tranquil shores of Lake Victoria, and from the dense forests of Bwindi to the lush lowlands of the Albertine Rift alley, the diverse habitats of Uganda are home to an impressive number of bird species. Indeed, even within the surroundings of the capital city Kampala, you can record nearly 300 species in a single day.

Although Uganda has only one endemic bird (the Fox’s Weaver), there are 23 Albertine endemics here that are difficult or even impossible to find anywhere else. Another drawcard on a tailor made birdwatching holiday in Uganda is the rare and majestic Shoebill stork, considered to be one of the five most desirable birds in Africa by ornithologists. These can be seen relatively easily in at least three different areas of Uganda.

Uganda’s twelve national parks offer incredible bird watching opportunities, with a particular favourite being Semliki Wildlife Reserve, hidden away in a remote corner of south-western Uganda at the bottom of the Albertine Rift. This is the most important bird habitat in the country is home to around 400 different bird species, including the red-throated bee-eater, pennant-winged nightjars, marsh tchagra, Abyssinian hornbill, leaf love, and the popular shoebill.

Another of the best bird watching locations in Uganda is Kibale National Park, with around 360 grassland and aquatic bird species, four of which aren’t found anywhere else in the country: Nahan’s francolin, cassin’s spine tail, blue-headed bee-eater, and the masked apalis. Recently there have also been occasional green-breasted pitta sightings.

Murchison Falls National Park is the largest of all parks in Uganda. It’s an excellent bird watching destination with a recorded population of about 470 bird species, including the shoebill stork and other aquatic birds and raptors which are found along the riverbanks of the Nile.

Queen Elizabeth National Park not only prides itself in having the richest biodiversity, it is factually a true ‘Bird Paradise’ with a total recorded population of over 610 birds, the largest ever recorded number in the whole of Africa. The species found here include woodland, forest and aquatic birds, as well as an incredible 54 raptors.

In Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, a total population of 355 bird species have been recognized and recorded, including 14 species that are found only in these forests, such as the Frazer’s eagle owl, African green broad bill, white bellied robin chat, and the tailed blue flycatcher.

Finally, if you want an easily accessible location to see the Shoebill Storks, then head to Mabamba Wetlands just north of Entebbe where day and half day trips are offered.

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