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18 Days Best Uganda Forest Birding Safari

The 18 days Best Uganda Forest Birding Safari, is a remarkable adventure designed for avid birding enthusiasts and nature lovers. Uganda, known as the “Pearl of Africa,” offers a haven for bird species, boasting over 1,000 recorded avian inhabitants. This meticulously crafted safari takes you on a journey through Uganda’s diverse ecosystems, including lush forests, wetlands, savannahs, and national parks, where you’ll have unparalleled opportunities to spot rare and endemic bird species.

18 Days Best Uganda Forest Birding Safari highlights

Day 1: Bird in Entebbe Environments
Day 2: Birding to Mabira Forest
Day 3: Morning birding in Mabira then transfer to Masindi
Day 4: Budongo Forest at Kaniyo Pabide. Puvel’s illadopsis
Day 5: Birding the Royal Mile
Day 6: Masindi to Kibale Forest National Park
Day 9 and Day 10 Kibale National Park
Day 11 and 12 Semliki National Park
Day 13: Bwindi Natioanl Park
Day 14: Whole day Birding in the Forest
Day 15: Gorilla tracking
Day 16: Buhoma to Ruhija, North of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park
Day 17: Birding Ruhija – Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and transfer to Kabale
Day 18: Birding as we drive to Kampala and departure

Detailed 18 Days Best Uganda Forest Birding Safari

Day 1:Arrival

On the arrival at Entebbe International Airport you will meet our representative who will transfer you to your respective Hotel in Entebbe and give you a thorough briefing about your tour and Uganda in general, early arrivals will have an introduction to the birds of Uganda at the Botanical Gardens.

Here we look out for weavers like the Slender-billed, Brown-throated¸ Golden-backed, Yellow-backed and Black headed, Grey-headed Gull, Cormorants, Common Squacco Heron, Yellow-billed Duck, Kingfishers- Pied, Giant, Malakite, Pygmy and Striped, Flycatchers-Swamp, African Paradise and Red Bellied Paradise, Broad-billed Roller, Hornbills- Black-and-white Casqued, Crowned and African Pied

Day 2: Birding to Mabira Forest

After an early breakfast we’ll transfer to Mabira Forest. Although isolated by the surrounding banana and sugar plantations, this remarkably productive forest is possibly the richest in the country, and well-maintained trails make birding easy. Mixed flocks are often found along the broad tracks, and noisy groups of the near-endemic Weyn’s Weaver, arguably the most attractive of the group, busy themselves in the canopy. We can also hope to see African Pied Hornbill and Forest Wood-Hoopoe, while the seasonal pools can attract Blue-breasted, White-bellied, Dwarf and Shining-blue Kingfishers.

Bird watching in RwandaYellow-throated and Speckled Tinkerbirds live in the canopy and Toro Olive Greenbul and Green-tailed Bristle bill are secretive interior inhabitants. If there are safari ants on the march, Fire-crested Alethe, Forest Robin and Blue-shouldered Robin-Chat may be in attendance. Over night in Mabira Forest Lodge.

Day 3: Morning birding in Mabira then transfer to Masindi.

Today we shall travel north to Murchison Falls. Along the way, we will no doubt find plenty of good birds. There are areas of moist grasslands and swamps where species such as Banded Snake-Eagle, Blue-cheeked Bee-eater, Green-backed Eremomela, Black Bishop, Yellow-shouldered and Marsh widowbirds occur.

3 Days Uganda Birding Tour

Dry woodlands further north will provide our best chance of finding the unusual Yellow-billed Shrike and Yellow-bellied Hyliota. As the countryside becomes drier with extensive grasslands dotted with fig trees, we may stop to search for African and the less common Bruce’s green-pigeons, White-headed Barbet, Yellow-fronted Tinkerbird, white Crested Turaco, flocks of Lesser Blue-eared and Violet-backed starlings and Piapiac, a small carved which associates with cattle and wild game.

Murchison Falls National Park is Uganda’s largest and famous for its big game, spectacular scenery and the falls for which the park was named. Abundant Hippos, Crocodiles, Elephant, Buffalo, Uganda Kob and Waterbuck can be seen along with occasional Lions and Patas Monkeys. There is another chance (if we need it) of finding Shoebill amongst a huge variety of widespread African bird species in the wetlands.

Other water birds abound and we hope to see Darter; Intermediate Egret; Goliath and Purple herons; African Finfoot; Woolly-necked, Saddle-billed and Yellow-billed storks; Hamerkop (near their giant stick nests); Egyptian and Spur-winged geese; Osprey; African Fish-Eagle; Black Crake; Purple Swamphen; the regal Gray Crowned-Crane (Uganda’s national bird); Senegal Thick-knee; Long-toed Lapwing; Spur-winged Plover; African Jacana; flocks of African Skimmer resting on the sandbanks; Malachite and Giant kingfishers and dashing Wire-tailed Swallows.

Burrows in the riverbanks represent colonies of either colourful Red-throated Bee-eaters or querulous Pied Kingfishers. The elusive Pel’s Fishing-Owl is even a possibility here and elegant Red-necked Falcons frequent palm trees, which line the banks.

In addition to the birds, large numbers of huge Nile Crocodiles; Hippopotamus; African Buffalo; Vervet Monkey and Olive Baboon are often seen at very close range, and herds of African Elephants sometimes bath en masse in the shallows.

The vista point at the top of the Murchison Falls offers incredible views of the Victoria Nile boiling down the narrow gorge. Bare, rocky islets are favoured perches and breeding sites of Rock Pratincole. We should see large numbers of these attractive waders wheeling in the spray of the falls.

Thick riverine forest in this vicinity is home to the magnificent White-crested Turaco, often considered the most beautiful member of its striking family; Double-toothed Barbet; Yellow-throated Greenbul; Spotted Morning-Thrush; Red-capped Robin-Chat; Brown-throated Wattle-eye; the localized Red-winged Grey Warbler and Purple-banded Sunbird.

This evening (and tomorrow evening) it will be worthwhile to embark on a night drive in search of one of Africa’s most spectacular birds: the Standard-winged Nightjar. Witnessing a male Standard-winged Nightjar fluttering up from the track, his bizarre standards trailing behind him, is likely to be a highlight of the trip.

Other possibilities include Spotted Thick-knee; Grayish Eagle-Owl; Northern White-faced Owl and Slender-tailed, Long-tailed, Plain and Swamp nightjars. Nocturnal mammals that we may encounter include Serval; White-tailed Mongoose; African Civet; Crested Porcupine; Blotched and Common genets and Uganda Grass-Hare.

Day 4: Budongo Forest at Kaniyo Pabide. Puvel’s illadopsis

Early this morning we will turn back south the short distance to the famous Budongo Forest. This will be our first introduction to central African forest birding, and we will spend much of the day in the vast Budongo Forest Reserve, the largest natural forest area in East Africa. Our efforts will be concentrated on the Kaniyo Pabidi area in the southern sector of the Murchison Falls NP, and the only known site in East Africa for Puvel’s Illadopsis.

We can expect to find this bird as well as a wide range of other forest species. We will have much of the day to try and find a good mix of widespread species and more local specialties such as Crested Guineafowl sporting their “punk hair-do’s”, White-crested Turaco, Chestnut-crowned Eremomela, Yellow & Grey Longbills, Olive-bellied Crombec, Yellow-browed Camaroptera, Little Green Sunbird, Crested Malimbe and Red-headed Bluebill among others.

Here are many other special birds with a West African origin: White-thighed Hornbill, Green-breasted Pitta, Rufous-sided Broadbill, Blue-breasted, Dwarf & Chocolate-backed Kingfishers, Yellow-crested & Brown-eared Woodpeckers, Yellowbill, Western Black-headed Oriole, Yellow-spotted, Hairy-breasted & Yellow-billed Barbets, Green Hylia, Buff-throated, Black-throated & Black-capped Apalises, Black-eared Ground-Thrush, Rufous-crowned Eremomela, the elusive Lemon-bellied Crombec, Crested & Red-headed Malimbes various forest starlings among others.

We will also be in prime area for a wide range of primates such as Blue & Red-tailed Monkeys and Black and white Colobus – and if lucky Chimpanzees (this area is home to Uganda’s largest population of Chimpanzees)

Day 5: Birding the Royal Mile.

Today our birding will be centered on what we call “The Royal Mile,” a wide forestry track considered to be the country’s premier forest birding locality. Among the numerous specials we hope to find include Buff-spotted Flufftail; Tambourine Dove; Yellowbill a skulking forest coucal; the three forest-dwelling kingfishers; Chocolate-backed, Blue-breasted and Dwarf

The rarely encountered Uganda Wood-Warbler; Gray, Buff-throated, Black-throated, and the stunning Black-capped apalises; Rufous-crowned Eremomela; Green and elusive Lemon-bellied crombecs; African Forest-Flycatcher; Chestnut-capped Flycatcher; Purple-headed Glossy-Starling; Little Green, Green, Collared, Olive-bellied and the aberrant Gray-headed sunbirds and White-breasted Negrofinch.

There are many confusing forest greenbuls to test us and we shall work slowly through any flock that we encounter, looking for Plain, Gray, Yellow-whiskered, Slender-billed, Honeyguide, White-throated, Xavier’s, Red-tailed, and the striking Spotted greenbuls. This is the best place in Uganda to find the beautiful Nahan’s Francolin. It is fairly commonly heard, but we will require luck and patience to see this secretive and near-endemic species.

We will search the undergrowth alongside the track for the numerous under storey skulkers, which may include Scaly-breasted, Brown and Pale-breasted illadopses; Blue-shouldered Robin-Chat, Fire-crested Alethe; Rufous Flycatcher-Thrush; Red-tailed Ant-Thrush; Yellow-browed and Olive-green camaropteras and Grey-throated Tit-Flycatcher.

We will keep an eye on any openings in the forest canopy, as Cassin’s and Crowned hawk-eagles; White-throated Bee-eater and Cassin’s, Mottled and Sabine’s spinetails are all possible. The spinetails occasionally drink from a nearby forest pond, and here we also hope to find a pair of brilliant Shining-blue Kingfishers. Canopy flocks support Yellow-mantled Weaver, Crested and Red-headed malimbes, Rufous Thrush and Uganda Woodland-Warbler. The area around the Park Headquarters is the only site in East Africa for the elusive canopy-dwelling Ituri Batis.

Day 6: Masindi to Kibale Forest National Park.

Today we will take a longish drive south from Masindi to Kibale. If time allows we may have time for birding along the journey at the Rift Valley escarpment looking out for Vinaceous Dove, Black-billed Barbet, Cliff-chat, Foxy Cisticola, Red-winged Pytilia and Chestnut-crowned Sparrow-Weaver.

Birding here and en-route should continue to produce species not found elsewhere in East Africa and more akin to West African rainforest: Western Banded Snake-Eagle, Great Blue Turaco, Lizard Buzzard, Red-Chested Swallow, Joyful Greenbul, Masked Apalis and Green-headed Sunbird.

Kibale is an extensive National Park, c760, at an altitude of c.4,000′, protecting a large block of rainforest that offers excellent birding. It harbours the greatest variety and concentration of primates found anywhere in East Africa and is famous for its Chimpanzees.

Superb birds and primates combined with easy access, a good infrastructure and a variety of interesting activities make this forest a “must-see”. Bird life in Kibale is magnificent and prolific with over 335 species recorded: African Crowned-Eagle, Afep Pigeon, Red-winged Francolin, Black-billed Turaco, Narina Trogon, Black Bee-eater, White-headed Wood Hoopoe, Yellow-rumped Tinkerbird, African Pitta, Grey-winged Robin-chat, African Broadbill, Willcock’s & Thick-billed Honeyguides

Day 9 and Day 10 Kibale National Park

Early morning departure to Kibale National Park. This is a rainforest which hosts over 12 species of primates, including chimpanzee, L’Hoests, Red tailed, Blue Monkey, red colubus, black and white colobus, grey-cheeked Mangaby of the 12.

Among other birds you find here Scaly Francolin, Marsh Tchagra, Black-bellied Seedcracker, Green-backed Twinspot, Pittas, Bicoloured Mannikin, White-naped Pigeon, Afep Pigeon, Narina’s Trogon, Joyful Greenbul, Olive Long-tailed Cuckoo, Black Bee-eater and many others.

22 Days Uganda Rwanda birding tourA nature walk at Kihingamy Wetland is rewarding. This is home to Blue-headed Coucal, Blue-breasted Kingfisher, Scaly-throated Honeyguide and Black-faced Rufous Warbler. Lunch is included. Dinner and overnight at Primates Lodge.

Day 11 and 12 Semliki National Park

After an early breakfast, we leave for Semliki Forest with our packed lunch for a whole day birding. The forest is a lowland tropical rain forest about 700m asl. Sometimes in the rain season, some parts are flooded and therefore boots are necessary.

However this doesn’t stop it from being the best forest for birding in Uganda. This forest is a moist semi-deciduous forest that is home to Spot-breasted Ibis, Northern Bearded Scrub-robin, Capuchin Babbler, Lyre-tailed Honeyguide, Yellow-throated Green Cuckoo, White-bellied Kingfisher, Maxwell’s Black Weaver, Black-winged Oriole, Red-eyed Puffback, Crested and Red-bellied Malimbe

This is home to some of the regional endemics and West African Guinea-Congo biome endemics. Overnight stay at semlik Safari Lodge

Day 13: Bwindi Natioanl Park

We leave after breakfast. We carry packed lunch and travel south birding to Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. We bird through the seasonal Ishasha road – an area known for climbing lions.

Day 14: Whole day Birding in the Forest

Today after breakfast, we take our lunch packs and join the forest for the whole day birding. Walking along forest trails is a wonderful natural experience with hundreds of colourful butterflies and areas of streams and tumbling waterfalls.

Bwindi offers some of the best forest birding in Uganda. Around the lodges and camps, look out for Black Sawwing, Petit’s Cuckoo-shrike, Black and White Shrike, African Blue Flycatcher, Mackinnon’s Fiscal, Luhder’s, Bocages and many coloured Bush-shrikes, Mountain Greenbul, Black-billed, black necked, strange Weavers, Variable Sunbird and Grey-crowned Negrofinch.

On the main trail we enter the forest proper as it passes under huge trees and areas of lichen-lined trunks. Species recorded along the main track will be many; they could include crested guineafowl, black bee-eaters, olive pigeons, Fine banded woodpeckers, several species of tinkerbirds, barbets, greenbuls, starlings, warblers, akalats, flycatchers, and possibly Red-fronted Antpecker, Rufous chested Fluff tail, Red-chested Owlet, and Montane masked Apalis.

Another track takes us to the waterfall trail, a reliable area for Red-throated Alethe, Red-faced Woodland Warbler, Yellow-eyed Black Flycatcher and Kivu Ground Thrush, Cassin’s Hawk-eagle, Handsome Francolin, White-headed Wood-hoopoe and many other specialties.

We also have a chance of locating primates such as L’Hoest’s Blue and Red-tailed Monkeys and troops of Chimpanzees.

Day 15: Gorilla tracking

Today is a whole day Gorilla tracking, we carry packed lunch. Gorilla tracking depends on the movements of the Gorillas in search for food. Walking varies from 20 minutes to a whole day. Note that these are mountain Gorillas and therefore they live in the mountains. The exercise therefore requires enough energy to go up and down the mountains including steep slopes.

14 Days Rwanda and Uganda Gorilla SafariPorters are available from the surrounding community. They help to carry the bags and any heavy stuff from the visitors. Above all Gorilla tracking is a very captivating activity; it involves walking in the wilderness in search of these great apes.

It can be a challenging activity; therefore physical fitness must be ensured. Today we transfer to the southern part of Bwindi- Ruhija for an over night stay.

Day 16: Buhoma to Ruhija, North of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park.

Today we will be moving from the lower forest biome to the seldom-visited higher forest in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. In scrubby areas beyond Buhoma, we will search for Ross’ Turaco; Rufous-necked Wryneck; Brown-backed Scrub-Robin; Bronze, Copper and Variable sunbirds; Baglafecht, Black-necked and Holub’s Golden weavers; Yellow Bishop; Village Indigobird and Black-throated Seed-eater.

Further along the road, we will pass through “The Neck,’ another well-known birding locality. Here we will search for species such as Black Goshawk; Bronze-naped Pigeon; Cinnamon-chested Bee-eater; Cassin’s Honeyguide; Petit’s Cuckoo-shrike; White-chinned Prinia; the enigmatic Chapin’s Flycatcher; Mountain Wagtail; Pink-footed Puffback; the rare Tiny Sunbird and the attractive Brown-capped Weaver.

Even further up the road, cultivated areas provide feeding opportunities for many seedeaters. Our main targets here will be the highly sought-after Dusky Twinspot and Yellow-bellied, Black-headed and Black-crowned waxbills.

African Stonechat; Streaky and Thick-billed seedeaters; African Citril and Cape Canary may also be found here. Noisy Chubb’s Cisticolas will mock us from deep within the bracken, and the beautiful Doherty’s Bushshrike can be lured out from the dense vegetation. Mackinnon’s Shrikes survey the road from high, exposed perches.

There are so many special birds at these elevations that we do not want to rush through. Thus we plan to stay at a simple, but well-organised private camp. Two over nights at the Trekkers Tervan

Day 17: Birding Ruhija – Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and transfer to Kabale.

At the highest elevation bamboo forests, we will look out for African Black Duck and Mountain Wagtails in the small fast-flowing streams. Mountain and Augur buzzards; Ayres’s Hawk-Eagle, Rufous-chested Sparrowhawk; Rameron Pigeon; Brown-necked Parrot; Black-billed Turaco; Barred Long-tailed Cuckoo; White-headed Woodhoopoe; Western Green Tinkerbird; Olive Woodpecker; Thick-billed, Least, and the elusive Dwarf honeyguides; Black Sawwing; Gray Cuckoo-shrike; Eastern Mountain, Honeyguide, Red-tailed, Shelley’s and Yellow-streaked greenbuls

Day 18: Birding as we drive to Kampala and departure

End of the 18 Days Best Uganda Forest Birding Safari

Tour Inclusives

  • Gorilla Permits
  • Chimpanzee Permits
  • Rhino Tracking
  • Bottled Water
  • English Speaking Guide
  • Park Entrance Fees
  • Boat Rides
  • Cultural Tours

Tour Excludes

  • Tourist Entry Visa
  •  International Flight Tickets
  •  Travel Insurance
  •  Items of Personal Nature
  •  Tips and Gratuities

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