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Africa Geographic Travel

Uganda is 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!

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

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 were frequently stolen from nests until the Uganda Bird Guide Club’s efforts made it illegal to trap these birds and steal their eggs.

 2. Green-breasted pitta

Uganda birds
© Flickr/Greg Miles

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

3. African green broadbill

Uganda birds
© 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 the loss of its habitat from forest clearing and degradation.

4. Great blue turaco

Uganda birds
© Kevin Bartlett

The great blue turaco and 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

© The Gorilla Organization

One of the world’s rarest birds, 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 – the only known images are of birds netted (and released) during biodiversity surveys.

6. Standard-winged nightjar

Uganda birds
© Wikimedia/Paul Cools

This picturesque bird is characterised by the central flight feathers that appear during the 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.

7. Short-tailed warbler

© Ken Behrens

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

Uganda birds
© Mike Gaudaur

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

9. Bar-tailed trogon

Uganda birds
© 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

Uganda birds
© Nik Borrow

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 human conflict, and so it is rarely seen by tourists. Uganda is one of the safest regions to catch a glimpse of this magnificent bird.

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Africa Geographic Travel
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