Birding in Uganda is most rewarding when you go to Bwindi forest National Park which is the haven for a variety of birds including the albetine forest endemics. Although Bwindi forest is known for mountain gorilla trekking, birding is another top safari you can do. Bwindi forest has been voted by Africa Birding fund as one of the highest birding destinations in Africa. Bwindi impenetrable National park is a fine montane forest and a key destination for a birder visiting Uganda or Africa. It is indeed a Uganda birding sanctuary.
Bwindi forest has over 23 species of the renowned 24 Albetine rift endemics in Uganda. Amongst them are some of the world’s threatened species like shelley’s crimsonwing and Africa Green Broadbill.
This forest is home to the mountain gorillas and gorilla trekking is number one activity though birding is another rewarding activity that can be done successfully. Bwindi forest is located in the rugged Kigezi Highlands southwestern Uganda. The forest cover ranges from montane to lowland areas. Because of this altitudinal variation, location and rich forest cover that make it rich with a variety of bird species, mountain gorillas, olive baboons, black and white colobus monkeys, vervet monkeys, wild chimpanzees and so many others.
For tourism purpose and research, Bwindi forest though large is subdivides into areas that is to say Rushaga gorilla trekking area, Ruhijah gorilla tracking sector, Buhoma gorilla trekking area and Nkuringo gorilla tracking area. Amongst the four, Ruhijah gorilla tracking area has the highest number of birds to spot. To get there, you travel through Kabale go through fine montane forest with micro-habitats in form of second growth vegetation around landslides and dense long streams.
Some of the birds to see include Cinnamon- chested bee eaters are commonly seen entering there nest burrow found on the exposed banks along the road, canopy and mid-storey flocks, western Green tinkerbird, mountain and yellow-steaked green buls, mountain masked and chestnut-throated Apalises, Red faced woodland walber, Rwenzori batis, white-tailed crested flycatcher, African Hill babbler, collared Apalis, Banded Prinia, enigmatic grauer’s warbler. In the close by vegetation, you may have the chance of spotting the rare and gorgeous shelley’s crimsonwing.
You may also see more species like Albertine rift endemics, red throated Alethe, Kivu Ground thrush, montane Masked Apalis, collared Apallis, grauer’s wabler, short-tailed warbler, red-faced woodland, Warbler, yellow-eyed Black flycatcher, strange weaver, pitta-like short tailed warbler, African sooty flycatchers, petite’s cuckoo-shrike.
Ruhija area in Bwindi Forest ranks high for birders on any birding Uganda Trip with excellent spectacular habitats surrounding it. While here birds are easier to spot and are in plenty.
While here, an early start will offer you more chances of finding variety of birds like the Handsome Francolin which may be seen sunning itself of feeding on the track in the morning, cinnamon-chested Bee- eaters are common, canopy and mid-storey flocks can be seen at eye level, western green Tinkerbird, mountain and yellow- streaked Greenbuls, mountain masked and chestnut-throated Apalises, Red-faced woodland Warbler, white-tailed crested flycatcher collared Apalis, banded Prinia and montane sooty Boubou favour tangles of creepers along forest edges.
As you carry on with your search for birds, you may encounter more wonderful bird species associated with mixed feeding flocks that are active throughout the day like Red throated Alethe, Archer’s Robin-chat, kivu Ground Thrush, Montane Masked Apalis, collared Apalis, Grauer’s Warbler, Short-tailed Warbler, Red-faced Woodland Warbler, yellow-eyed Black Flycatcher, Rwenzori Batis, Strange Weaver
All areas in Bwindi have accommodations you can book during your birding safari. They range from up-market (luxury), to Mid-range (moderate) and Budget (low class). You have the chance of booking any of your preferred lodges however, you need to book in advance because of the high demand from the gorilla trekking tourists most of these lodges have limited space which you need to book in time.
Gorilla forest Lodge, Engage lodge, Silverback lodge, Mahogany springs, Lake Kitandara camp, buhoma community Bandas, Bwindi view lodge and so many others.