Best time to do birding in Uganda
What is the best time to go birding in Uganda? This is a common question asked by most birders before confirming their trips to the pearl of Africa for excellent bird photography.
Uganda is a remarkable avian destination with over 1000 species that can be spotted in several savannahs, tropical rainforests, wetlands and private agricultural farmlands. Uganda has only two endemic species that can’t be seen anywhere in East Africa and about 150 birds that are strictly found only in Uganda. Migrant birds are also present from November to April.
Key bird species in Uganda
The following are the top birds you can spot in Uganda after understanding the best time to travel for birding activities;
Grauer’s cuckoo-shrike, Karamoja apalis, Nahan’s francolin, Handsome francolin, Neumann’s warbler, Oberlaender’s ground thrush, Purple-breasted sunbird, Red-faced barbet, Red-faced woodland warbler, Red-throated alethe, Grauer’s swamp warbler, Regal sunbird, Ruwenzori apalis, Ruwenzori batis, Ruwenzori double-collared sunbird, Black-lored babbler, Ruwenzori nightjar, Ruwenzori turaco, Shelley’s crimsonwing, Strange weaver, Stripe-breasted tit, Turner’s eremomela, Uganda woodland warbler, Yellow-eyed black flycatcher, Blue-headed sunbird, Archer’s robin-chat, Chapin’s flycatcher, Grauer’s broadbill, Dusky crimsonwing, Fox’s weaver, Golden-winged sunbird, Grant’s bluebill, Hartlaub’s turaco, Jackson’s francolin, Dwarf honeyguide, Ansorge’s greenbul, Black bee-eater, Equatorial akalat, Great blue turaco, Ituri batis, Jameson’s antpecker, Lühder’s bush-shrike, Magpie mannikin, White-bellied crested flycatcher, Masked apalis, Olive long-tailed cuckoo, White-naped pigeon, Yellowbill, Papyrus gonolek, Pennant-winged nightjar, Red-chested owlet, Rufous flycatcher-thrush, Shoebill, White-bellied robin-chat, Red-tailed ant thrush, Blue-throated roller among others.
Best Time for Bird Watching in Uganda
Looking for best time to do birding in Uganda? Yes, birdwatching is good all year around in Uganda because most birds are resident species.
Climate is a major factor to consider if planning any birdwatching tour. Uganda experiences two seasons that is; the dry season and the wet season. During the wet season; the roads connecting to different birding destinations and hiking forest trails tend to be slippery and muddy which at times affects movements of travelers hence interfering the birding time.
Generally, the best time for birding in Uganda is late May through September. During this period Uganda experiences less rains and food is always in plenty.
The main nesting season in Bwindi impenetrable national park and Mgahinga gorilla national park which are major sites hosting the Albertine Rift endemics is May and June.
From mid-April to mid-May, Uganda receives the highest rains and in most cases; many safari activities are affected. Sometimes you may miss out activities for your safety.
Toro-Semliki is relatively dry during February and early March however, it is uncomfortably hot in Murchison Falls National Park.
December and January are also good months for running a safari in Uganda including birdwatching and wildlife tours. During this period, the country experiences less rain.
From June to August and December to February is dry season and very good for gorilla trekking and chimpanzee tracking in Bwindi and Kibale national park respectively. Wildlife viewing is also excellent in all the savannah national parks of Uganda such as Queen Elizabeth, Lake Mburo, Kidepo valley and Murchsion falls national parks during this time.