Birds in Uganda – Best bird watching destinations
Birds in Uganda; Uganda is home to a remarkable number of bird species and it is known as one of the best birding destinations in Africa with a list of birds over 1000 found in the country. Many of them live in tropical forests with rare sighting while others are believed to stay in remote forests of the country.
There is a huge number of bird species that a recorded in Uganda and among these species, we can only find two species found in the country namely; endemic and common sight.
In Uganda you can only get to see these birds from places such as; Lake Mburo National Park, Queen Elizabeth National Park, Bwindi Impenetrable National, Murchison falls, Semuliki National Park, Lutembe bay, Mabamba Island.
Thus, the following are the most wanted after birds in Uganda.
- Ostriches: these are the largest and earthly living bird species in Africa. They have long legs and neck and they are capable of running at a higher speed.
- Cranes: these are long-necked and long-legged birds and large in size. They fly with their necks outstretched and they consist of two types which include; black crowned crane and gray crowned crane.
- Egyptian plover: these are found across equatorial Africa and along the Nile River.
- Flamingos: these are outgoing birds found in both western and eastern hemispheres. They are usually 3to 5 feet tall (0.9 to 1.5m) and commonly known to feed on shellfish and algae. They have two types which include; lesser flamingo and greater flamingo.
- Pigeons and doves: these are stout-bodied birds with short slender bills and short necks. They include; rock pigeon,white-naped pigeon, lemon dove, speckled pigeon,rameron pigeon,namaqua dove, blue-spotted wood dove,vinaceous dove,bronze-naped pigeon among others.
- Bustards: these are omnivorous large birds mainly associated with dry open countries. They are known to walk steadily on strong legs and big toes pecking for food. They have long broad wings with fingered wingtips and striking patterns in their flight. They include; buff-crested bustard, white-bellied bustard, kori bustard, Denham’s bustard, black-bellied bustard etc.
- Cuckoos: these birds come from a family of cuculidae which include road runners, anis and cuckoos. They are of variable size with slender bodies, long tails and strong legs. They include; yellow-throated cuckoo, black cuckoo, red-chested cuckoo, pied cuckoo, blue-headed coucal,blue malkoha,great spotted cuckoo, olive long,Madagascar,African,lesser and common cuckoo among others.
- Turacos: these a medium sized arboreal bird which includes plantain eaters, go-away-birds and turacos to make up a family of musophagidae. The turacos and plantain eaters are brightly coloured in blue, green and purple. They include Ross’s turacos, white-crested turacos, black-billed turacos, great blue turacos, purple-crested turacos etc.
- Grebes: these are small to medium-large freshwater diving birds. They have their feet placed far back on the body making them quite ungainly on land. They include; great crested grebe, eared grebe, and little grebe.
- Hoopoes: they have black, white and orangey-pink colouring with a large erectile crest on their head. They include; Eurasian hoopoe.
- Mouse birds: they are slender greyish or brown birds with soft hair-like body feathers and long thin tails. They comprise of other types such as; blue-naped mousebird and speckled mousebirds.
- Trogons: they come from a family of trogonidae which includes quetzals and trogons. They are soft, often colorful and they are found in tropical woodlands worldwide. The trogons feed on insects and fruits. They include; bar-tailed trogon and narina trogon.
- Hornbills: these are a group of birds whose bill is shaped like a cow’s horn but without a twist. At times their casque is on the upper mandible and the bill is brightly coloured. They include; crowned hornbill, Jackson’s hornbill, piping hornbill, African gray hornbill, African pied hornbill, northern red-billed hornbill, white-crested hornbill, black dwarf hornbill etc.
- Kingfisher: these are medium-sized birds with large heads, long pointed bills, short legs and stubby tails. They include other birds such as; African dwarf kingfisher, chocolate-backed kingfisher, pied kingfisher, giant kingfisher, striped kingfisher, gray-headed kingfisher, shining-blue kingfisher, half-collared kingfisher and malachite kingfisher among others.
- Ground hornbills: these are land dwelling birds which feed almost entirely on snakes, amphibians, insects and other birds. They also include; southern ground-hornbill and Abyssinian ground-hornbill.
- Rollers: the rollers are somehow like crows in size but they are more closely related to the kingfishers and bee-eaters. They have a colorful appearance of those groups with brown and blues predominating. They include; broad-billed roller, European roller, lilac-breasted roller, rufous-crowned roller and blue-throated roller among others.
- Bee-eaters: these are mostly found in Africa but also others can be found in southern Europe, New Guinea, Australia and Madagascar. They are colorful with slender bodies, long down turned bills and pointed wings. They include; little bee-eater, black bee-eater, green bee-eater, Madagascar bee-eater, cinnamon chested bee-eater, swallow tailed bee-eater, white throated bee-eater etc.
- Woodpeckers: these are small-medium sized birds with chisel like beaks, stiff tails, short legs and long tongues used to capture insects. They include; Elliot’s woodpecker, cardinal woodpecker, bearded woodpecker, African gray woodpecker, olive woodpecker, African piculet,golden-tailed woodpecker, brown and green backed woodpecker, speckle-breasted woodpecker etc.
- African barbets: these are desirable birds with large heads and short necks. They include; crested barbet, western tinkerbird,yellow rumped tinkerbird,red and yellow barbet,moustached tinkerbird,hairy breasted barbet, black billed barbet, bouble toothed barbet, red fronted barbet, black throated barbet double toothed barbet etc.
- Old world parrots: these are found in Africa east across south and southeast Asian and Oceania to Australia and New Zealand. They are 8cm in size and 1m in length. They include; rose-ringed parakeet, Fischer’s lovebird, red-headed lovebird and black-collared lovebird.
- Drongos: these are black or dark grey in color and at times metallic tints. They have short legs, long forked tails and they sit very upright when perched like a shrike. They feed from fly catch or take prey from the ground. They include; velvet mantled Drongos, glossy backed Drongos, fork tailed Drongos and Sharpe’s Drongos.
- Larks: these are fairly dull earthly birds with extravagant songs and display flights. They mainly feed on insects and seeds. They include; dusky lark, flappet lark, sun lark, singing bush lark, red winged lark, rufous rumped lark, pink breasted lark, foxy lark and red capped lark among others.
- Shrikes: these are passerine birds commonly known for their habit of catching other birds and impaling the uneaten portions of their bodies on thorns. They have a hooked beak like that of a typical bird of prey. They include; lesser gray shrike,northern fiscal, woodchat shrike, Souza’s shrike,tita fiscal, red backed shrike, red tailed shrike, masked shrike as well as Emin’s shrike among others.
- Swallows: the swallows have a slender streamlined body, a long pointed wings and short bill with a wide gape. Their feet are modified to perching rather than walking and the front toes are partially joined at the base. They include; plain martin, Ethiopian swallow, rock martin, barn swallow, lesser striped swallow, mosque swallow Angola swallow etc.
- Nicator: these are shrike like with hooked bills. They are common to sub-Saharan Africa. They include; yellow throated nicator and western nicator.
- Bulbuls: these are medium sized songbirds coloured with red, yellow, orange vents and others with uniform olive-brown to black plumage. They include; red tailed greenbul, slender-billed greenbul, spotted greenbul, eastern bearded greenbul, gray greenbul, honeyguide greenbul, lesser bristlebill,swamp greenbul, gray greenbul, eastern mountain greenbul and simple greenbul among others.
- Starlings: the starlings are small to medium sized passerine birds. They are typically dark with a metallic sheen and they feed on insects and fruits. They include; wattled starling, Waller’s starling, slender billed starling, narrow tailed starling, red winged starling, purple starling, superb starling, greater blue eared starling etc.
- Waxbills and allies: these are outgoing and small passerine birds of the old world tropics and Australasia. They have short thick but pointed bills with wide variation in plumage colors and patterns. They include; orange cheeked waxbill, black crowned waxbill, black cheeked waxbill, gray headed nigrita,yellow bellied waxbill, grant’s bluebill, fawn-breasted waxbill and common waxbill among others.
- Wagtails and pipits: these belong to a family of motacillidae birds with medium to long tails. They are slender ground feeding insectivorous of open country. They include; cape wagtail, African pied wagtail, tree pipit, golden pipit, striped pipit, western yellow wagtail, white wagtail, plain-backed pipit, African pipit as well as mountain wagtail.
- Indigo birds: these are finch like species which usually have black or indigo in their plumage. They are all blood parasites which lay their eggs in the nests of estrildid finches. They include; eastern paradise, village indigobird, pin tailed whydah, straw tailed whydah, parasitic weaver and steel blue whydah.
Birds in Uganda