At only half the size of Kenya, Uganda’s staggering bird diversity—1078 species—exemplifies the notion that “good things come in small packages.” This huge bird count results from three coalescing circumstances: the meeting of East and West African avifauna; regional endemism; and concentrated habitat diversity. Geographically, Uganda is part of East Africa, but the Semliki Forest contains many birds typical of West and Central African lowland forests, such as Yellow-throated Cuckoo, Long-tailed Hawk and a plethora of others. Regional endemism really shines on Uganda's portion of the Albertine Rift, with 20 very localized bird species that straddle four national borders. These include the boldly “painted” Ruwenzori Turaco and the incredibly sought-after African Green Broadbill. As a major bonus, the Albertine Rift endemics share the local forests with Mountain Gorillas and Forest Elephants. Uganda’s amazing habitat diversity begins with the lowland and mountain forests described above, and it continues to some very arid habitats, where classic dry country East African birds can be found, including the Karamoja Apalis. These arid regions also host Africa’s epic mammalian megafauna. Uganda’s diversity continues at Africa’s largest lake (the world’s third largest), Lake Victoria, with its vast papyrus swamps. These wetlands support Papyrus Gonolek, Papyrus Canary, and Papyrus Yellow Warbler, plus the strange, monstrous Shoebill. Elsewhere, Kibale National Park. is Africa’s richest region for primates, featuring the charismatic Chimpanzee. Rare Ugandan specialties also include the nationally endemic and enigmatic Fox’s Weaver and the Green-breasted Pitta. From its snow-capped mountains to the source of the Nile on the humid shores of Lake Victoria, Uganda is Africa’s place to be for bird diversity. Contributed by: Chris Lotz/Birding Ecotours.
Uganda has more than 30 Important Bird Areas (IBAs), some of which include:
While Uganda is a good bird watching country all-year-round, wet seasons receive heavy rainfall and may make bird watching conditions unfavorable. From late May to September rain is at a minimum and food abundance is at peak.
December and January are also good months as temperatures are not too hot in the North and rain fall is low in the South.