Shenton Safaris

Top 10 Ugandan birds

Uganda, is known as Africa’s premier birding destination with the list of birds found in the country topping 1 000! Many of these birds live only in these tropical forests with rare sightings being described as “mythical” while it is believed that some of the birds living in the remote forests of Uganda may not even be classified as of yet!

In the October 2013 issue of Africa Geographic magazine we meet the Uganda Bird Guide Club and chat to them about their lives spent birding in Uganda. This beautiful country must be on any birders bucket list and this is our list of the top 10 birds to see in Uganda.

1. Shoebill

© Kevin Bartlett

© Kevin Bartlett

The Shoebill is endemic to Africa and birders from around the globe flock to Uganda to catch a rare glimpse of this clumsy giant. For a long time this bird was not protected and its eggs where frequently stolen from nests until the Uganda Bird Guide Club’s efforts succeeded in making it illegal to trap these birds and steal their eggs.

 2. Green-breasted Pitta

© Flickr/Greg Miles

© Flickr/Greg Miles

The Green-breasted Pitta is a difficult bird to find despite its relatively common status in the central African countries. It lives, well camouflaged, in the lowland tropical forests and photographing one of these little-guys is a bird lovers dream.

3. African Green Broadbill

© Flickr/Ross Tsai

© Flickr/Ross Tsai

The vivid colours of this eye catching bird can only be seen in two places in the world – The Itombwe Mountains in the Democratic Republic of Congo and Uganda’s Bwindi Forest. The species is declining due to loss of its habitat from forest clearing and degradation.

4. Great Blue Turaco

© Kevin Bartlett

© Kevin Bartlett

The Great Blue Turaco as well as the White-crested Turaco are some of the largest, most exquisite birds found in Uganda. These birds are actively hunted as their meat and feathers are highly sought after commodities.

5. Shelley’s Crimsonwing

Undoubtedly one of the world’s rarest birds, the Shelley’s Crimsonwing can be found on most bird-bucket lists. They live in a thin strip of mountains and volcanoes – known as the Albertine Rift – that borders Uganda, Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Photos of these beauties in the wild are almost non-existent, in fact this is the only known photo of this elusive beauty.

6. Standard-winged Nightjar

© Wikimedia/Paul Cools

© Wikimedia/Paul Cools

This picturesque bird is characterised by the central flight feathers that appear during breeding season on the males. Raised vertically during display, it is a dream come true to see these birds during this short time span when their feathers can stretch up to 38cm in length.

7. Short-tailed Warbler

The Short-tailed Warbler can be found primarily in Uganda’s forest undergrowth while the forests of the Democratic Republic of Congo and Rwanda are also home to this camouflaged species.

8. Doherty’s Bushshrike

© Mike Gaudaur

© Mike Gaudaur

Found in the subtropical montane forests and moist shrub-lands of central Africa these brightly-coloured birds are one of the more common birds seen in Uganda and thankfully, their population levels seem to be stable for the most part.

9. Bar-tailed Trogon

© Flickr/Steve Garvie

© Flickr/Steve Garvie

This beautiful medium-sized bird lives in high altitude forests and has a large range throughout central and southern Africa although it is rarely seen.

10. Black-breasted Barbet

The giant Black-breasted Barbet has been seen by very few individuals and is highly sought after by bird watchers. Unfortunately it tends to live in areas of conflict and so it is rarely seen by tourists to this region with Uganda being one of the safest regions to possibly catch a glimpse of this magnificent bird.

Contact us to go birding in Uganda today.

Africa Geographic Editorial

We're the Africa Geographic editorial team – a diverse set of editors, designers and social media natives, all united by our passion for this addictive continent.

  • David

    Uganda is undeniably a birding paradise every adventurous birder should include it on their bucket list. Currently Uganda’s checklist stands at 1065 birds species, which is about half of Africa’s bird list, and close to 11% of the global birds. The enormous diverse habitats compares to no other, Uganda actually shares all of Africa’s ecological zones. The climate is superb, no wander it is a favorite destination for lots of migrant birds. European birds such as Barn Swallow & European Bee-eater are perpetual visitors to Uganda. Conservation efforts are in top gear to protect all the habitats here and the local populace are increasingly appreciating birds. All top birding spots are now well optimized for bird watching with neat nature trails, enough expert birding guides have been trained courtesy of the Uganda Bird Guides Club. Peace and political stability was long been achieved. Not just birds, but mountain gorillas, chimpanzees, monkeys, all the big game are in Uganda. Seeking for an experience, for more information on birding and wildlife travels in Uganda, i’d recommend this:

  • Miriam – KageraSafaris

    Bwindi Impenetrable forest was voted Africa’s best birding spot due to its large and rare albertine rift endemics. Welcome to Uganda the best birding destination.

  • Are you bored staying in the same place and doing the same thing? Why
    not take an adventurous trip to Uganda – Africa and contribute your time to
    bring about sustainable community development to those in need. Visit our
    website for signup at

  • One of the best times for birding is early morning when the birds are feeding. As the day gets warmer, the birds tend to relax in the shade while butterflies become more active, which allows a natural shift of attention to another set of beautiful flying creatures.

  • Mamerito Lyazzi

    Great list. Thank you Africa Geographic.

    My favourite bird is the Shoebill Stork commonly found in Mabamba Wetland Bay in Mpigi District, near Entebbe and in the Murchison Falls National Park.

    Goliath Heron, Saddle Billed Stork and African Grey Parrot also rank high of my birding list.

    I W’d love to see you there. #VisitUganda

  • ipuki justine

    My favorite bird is the Standard winged nightjar,this bird can wave its wings like a free flag which wows my love for birding,this bird is commonly found in Teso during seasons of white ants.

  • Pingback: The African Savanna | uclaafricansavanna()

Jacis Lodges
Wildshot Safari
Africa Geographic