Bird Species in Queen Elizabeth National Park

Bird Species in Queen Elizabeth National Park

December 30, 2021
Safari Tips

Queen Elizabeth national park is well known for hosting the big cats, large mammals, and primates however, it is also a home to over 600 bird species hence the park boosts enough avifauna to keep even the most experienced birdwatchers happy.

Birding in Queen Elizabeth national park is possible throughout the year however for visitors who wish to maximize their chances of spotting several birds, we recommend to book your birding trip in Queen Elizabeth national park from June to September. These are normally dry months, and there is plenty of food sources for a good number of birds.

The park hosts several migratory birds from Europe and north Africa from November to April, and the drier months of January to February are good months to see them.

The following are some of the bird specie that can be spotted in Queen Elizabeth national park Uganda;

Collared Pratincole

A collared pratincole is among the common bird species sighted in Queen Elizabeth national park and this bird is elegant, agile flier that looks like a cross between a plover and a swallow. The adult collared pratincole is warm gray-brown with an elegant “necklace” and red bill base while the Juvenile is grayer, with white-fringed feathers.

Very narrow (sometimes invisible) white trailing edges to wings and dark rusty underwings distinguish this species from similar pratincoles.

The collared pratincole is usually seen in buoyant flight over open country, from dry fields to grassy wetlands with muddy shorelines.

This bird also feeds mainly in flight, sweeping back and forth like a giant swallow to snatch aerial insects.

Palm-nut Vulture

A Palm-nut Vulture is also known as Gypohierax angolensis. This is also a common bird in Queen Elizabeth national park. The Palm-nut Vulture is small, odd, distinctive vulture. An adult Palm-nut Vulture is boldly patterned with black-and-white and red bare facial skin whereas the Juveniles are brown. Immature Palm-nut Vulture shows a mixture of juvenile and adult traits.

The distinctive shape in flight is broad, paddle-shaped wings and a short as well as a wide tail.

The Palm-nut Vulture is mainly found in several habitats such as woodlands, and savanna grasslands of Queen Elizabeth national park Uganda.

The Palm-nut Vulture is somewhat similar to African Fish-Eagle, but easily distinguished by red facial skin and different pattern of black and white. The juveniles are similar to Hooded Vulture, but are smaller, with a thicker bill.

Pel’s fishing-owl

The Pel’s fishing-owl is one of the rare bird specie of Queen Elizabeth national park in Uganda. This is a giant bird with round-head, ginger-rufous owl covered by dusky bars, spots, and chevrons.

The Pel’s fishing-owl is quite shy; day-roosts are well-hidden in big trees along the kazinga channel, Lake Gorge and lake Edward in Queen Elizabeth national park.

The call of Pel’s fishing-owl is a deep, low, horn-like “Ooom”; also produces a series of grunts. Young Pel’s fishing-owls sometimes emit an eerie screeching: “wheeeuuu”.

Shoebill Stork

Shoebill is utterly a unique bird that makes up its own family. The plumage is homogeneously gray in adult shoebill storks and brownish in immatures.

A shoebill is stork-like, but with a thick neck and massive hooked bill. In flight, which in most cases quite high, the long legs trail.

The shoebill is normally found in deep marshes, especially papyrus swamp and usually alone or in pairs.

In Queen Elizabeth national park, the shoe bill can be spotted in the swamps of Ishasha sector; south of the park. This sector also is a good place to see the rare tree climbing lions.

Swamp Flycatcher

The swamp Flycatcher is among the common bird species of Queen Elizabeth national park normally seen at the Mweya Peninsula.

The Swamp Flycatcher is chunky brown flycatcher with a white throat and brown chest band; normally found in habitats adjacent to water such as papyrus swamp, riverbanks, marsh, and lakeshores of the park.

The Swamp Flycatcher is not only very vocal, but the quiet song is a mix of rasps, trills, and high-pitched whistles.

African skimmer

An African skimmer is distinctive tern-like bird with long wings, a short tail, and a bizarre bill where by the upper mandible is shorter than the lower mandible. In slow flight, the African skimmer shows a very white underwing and a white stripe along the back of the upper wing. The African skimmer feeds on small fish. The call of an African skimmer is a husky “chep.”

The African Skimmers are easily seen along the Kazinga Channel of Queen Elizabeth national park- a water body that connects Lake George and Lake Edward in western Uganda

Other bird species found in Queen Elizabeth national park include; African finfoot, Great white pelican, African hobby, Common sand martin, Ayres’s hawk eagle, Black bee-eater, Black-rumped buttonquail, Broad-billed roller, Caspian plover, Collared pratincole, Crab-plover, Great blue turaco, White-winged tern, Grey-winged robin-chat, Yellow-bellied wattle-eye, Heuglin’s gull, Papyrus gonolek, Pel’s fishing-owl, Pink-backed pelican, Red-chested sunbird, Rufous-bellied heron, Spotted redshank, White-backed night heron, Yellow-throated cuckoo, Western banded snake eagle among others.

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