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Bird Watching In Queen Elizabeth National Park – Birding in Queen Elizabeth Park
Bird watching in Queen Elizabeth National Park Uganda/Birding in Queen Elizabeth Park is one of the recreational safari activities that involves observing birds of Uganda in their natural environment.
Queen Elizabeth National Park has the highest number of species of Uganda birds, that is, over 600 out of the estimated 1,096 species. It is therefore one of the most impressive renowned bird-watching areas where you can do extraordinary bird-watching in Uganda.
Birding International classifies Queen Elizabeth National Park as an Important Birding Area. The park’s union of the savanna and forest, linking to the expansive forests of the Democratic Republic of Congo allows visitors on bird-watching safaris in Uganda to spot both the East as well as Central African bird species.
In fact, the big birding days in Uganda are a fruitful adventure as many birders gather to identify different birds in different places around the country, including Queen Elizabeth National Park.
The park has many threatened sought-after Uganda bird species like the elusive Shoebill and the Uganda Crested Crane bird (which is the Uganda National bird). The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) classified both birds as endangered and vulnerable respectfully.
As you do birding during Uganda safari tours in Queen Elizabeth National Park, you will also meet the big five birds in Uganda which are
- Great Blue Turaco
- Gray-Crowned Crane
- Long-Crested Eagle
- Black-and-White-Casqued Hornbill
Apart from being a home to birds in Uganda, Queen Elizabeth National Park is also a bird migration corridor. It hosts many of the over 300 annual migratory bird species to Uganda, from all over the world. These birds migrate in around November to April from Europe and South Africa.
Leave no space for the expansive wondering “which birds migrate to this park? Migratory birds to see in Queen Elizabeth safaris are both global and intra-African
And among the numerous are;
- Common Cuckoos
- Madagascar Pond Herons
- Lesser Flamingos
- Greater Flamingoes
- African Spoonbill
- African Cuckoo-Hawk
The biomes in Queen Elizabeth National Park are favorable for Uganda birding as the different landscapes harbor unique bird species.
Bird watching in Queen Elizabeth National Park is therefore largely dependent on the region’s different Uganda landscape. It champions the settlement of different types of birds, for example, waders, grassland birds, woodland, and forest birds.
Birding in Queen Elizabeth National Park is an endless adventure, one that is expertly proven to be both fun and healthy. With the high Uganda bird list and the high biodiversity, the park is a place for birding without borders in your safari to Uganda.
Below we look at the major birds to see in the different sectors of Queen Elizabeth National Park.
Major Uganda Bird List To See In The Different Bird Watching Areas During Birding/Birdwatching In Queen Elizabeth National Park
Queen Elizabeth National Park is one of the best Uganda birding spots and has different sectors in which you can do a Uganda birding tour. While you safari in Uganda’s Queen Elizabeth Park, you will site birds in the;
- Kazinga Channel
- Kasenyi Area
- Mweya Peninsular
- Maramagambo Forest
- Ishasha Sector
- Kyambura Gorge
- Katwe Area
- Lake George Ramsar site
- Katunguru Bridge Area
Bird Watching In The Kazinga Channel
Kazinga Channel is a top Uganda birding spot for bird watching in Queen Elizabeth National Park. It is a 32km stream that drains into Lake Edward on the West from Lake George on the East. The channel carries a large diversity of aquatic bird species thus one of the best bird-watching sites in Uganda.
The International Birding Organisation categorized Kazinga Channel as an Important Birding Area. A trip on this channel is actually considered one of the most important launch trips in the world.
Your birding tours at the Kazinga Channel will give you sightings of:
- Water Thick-Knee
- Yellow-Billed Stork
- African Spoonbill
- Saddle-Bellied Stork
- White-Billed Stork
- Marabou Storks
- White-Faced Whistling Duck
- Knob-Billed Ducks
- Black-Headed Gonolek
- African Fish Eagle
- African Jacana
- Weaver Birds
Uganda Bird Watching Tours At Lake George Ramsar Site
Lake George is also an Important Birding Area that was designated Uganda’s first Ramsar site in 1988. Bird watching in Queen Elizabeth National Park’s Lake George in the North is a remarkable encounter as the lake has the highest bird species count among Uganda’s wetlands. Over 491 bird species are in this vicinity with about 167 wetland species and 9 globally threatened birds.
A Uganda safari tour to the Lake George Ramsar site area will expose you to:
- Migrant Waders and Waterfowl
- White-Winged Warbler
- Papyrus Gonolek
- Papyrus Yellow Warbler
- Papyrus Canary
Birding In The Kasenyi Area
The Kasenyi plain is also another of the superb birding sites in the North Eastern Queen Elizabeth National Park. It is on the Western shores of the adjacent stunning Lake George, at the point where the Lake meets with the Kazinga Channel.
Key bird species to look for at Kasenyi Area during a bird-watching safari trip in Uganda include;
- Grey-Crowned Crane
- Hooded Vulture
- White-Backed Vulture
- White-Headed Vulture
- Palm-Nut Vulture
- Red-Throated Spurfowl
- Yellow-Throated Longclaw
- Long-Crested Eagle
- Black-Bellied Bustard
- Grey-Backed Fiscal
Bird Watching At Mweya Peninsula
Mweya Peninsular Kazinga Channel is a top Uganda birding spot famous for birding in Queen Elizabeth National Park. It is a 10 square kilometer of land in the Northern part of Queen Elizabeth NP. It has bushland that sticks out between Lake Edward, Lake George, and Kazinga Channel.
A birding tour near or at Mweya Peninsular will make you see;
- Red-Chested Sunbird
- Black-Headed Gonolek
- African Mourning Dove
- Swamp Nightjar
- Little Bee-Eater
- Nubian Woodpeckers
Uganda Birding Trips In Maramagambo Forest
Maramagambo Forest, in the South Western sector of Queen Elizabeth Park, is also favorable for birding in Queen Elizabeth National Park on a Uganda tour. This medium-altitude rainforest has many forest birds.
You will notice these major birds of Maramagambo Forest during your Uganda safari tours;
- African Finfoot
- Rwenzori Turaco
- White-Napped Pigeon
- Chestnut Wattle-Eye
- Snowy-Headed Robin Chart
- Scaly-Breasted Illadopsis
- Brown Illadopsis
- Forest Greenbuls
- Forest Flycatchers
- African Emerald Cuckoo
- Red-Throated Wryneck
- African Mustached Warbler
Uganda Birding Tours In The Ishasha Sector
Ishasha, in the South Western sector, is also a famous Uganda birding area/spot for bird watching in Queen Elizabeth National Park.
The swamps in Ishasha are a great spot to see the rare and most sought-after shoebill. As you go birding to Uganda, you will find this sector as one of the most reputable destinations as you safari Queen Elizabeth National park.
The major bird species to see in the Ishasha sector during your Uganda birding vocation are;
- Cassin’s Grey-Flycatcher
- Black Bee-Eater
- Broad-Bellied Roller
- Black Coucal
- Compact Weaver
- Fan-Tailed Widow
- Many Water birds
Bird Watching In Kyambura Gorge
Kyambura Gorge also called the ‘Valley of Apes’, is on the North-Eastern side of Queen Elizabeth National Park. The gorge offers sightings of colorful bird species in your Uganda wildlife safaris. These include;
- Black Bee-Eater
- Black-Headed Bee-Eater
- Blue-Bellied Kingfisher
- Great Blue Turaco
- Black-and-White Cascade Hornbill
- Martial Eagle
- African Fish Eagle
- Verreaux’s Eagle Owl
- African Broadbill
- African Falcon
- Papyrus Canary
- White-Winged Warbler
- Black-Rumped Buttonquail
Birding Trips In The Katwe Area
The Katwe Area incorporates Lake Munyanyange which is a special bird sanctuary. The lake is also a migratory spot for the Lesser Flamingos from around August to November.
During your bird-watching trips, the other bird species to look for in the Katwe Area are;
- White-Breasted Nigro Finch
- Black Bishop
- Chestnut Wattle Eye
- Sulphur–Breasted Bush Shrike
- Marsh Tchagra
Bird Watching In Katunguru Bridge Area
This is another Uganda birding spot for bird watching in Queen Elizabeth National Park. Major birds to see at the Katunguru Bridge area in your Uganda tours and safaris include
- Papyrus Gonolek
- White-Winged Tern
- White-Winged Warbler
- Pied Kingfisher
- Malachite Kingfisher
- Greater Swamp Warbler
- Lesser Swamp Warbler
Guided Bird Watching Fees For Birding/Birdwatching in Queen Elizabeth National Park Safari
|Foreign Non-Resident (USD)||Foreign Resident (USD)||East African Citizen (USD)|
Best Birding Season In Queen Elizabeth National Park
Uganda birding safaris and tours to Queen Elizabeth National Park can happen any time of the year.
However, the dry months of late May and September are the best. This is when there is less rain and a lot of food for the birds. Also, June to July has the least rain whereas April to May and September to November has a lot of rain.
This makes the trails slippery and hard to pass hence making bird watching in Queen Elizabeth National Park quite challenging.
However, November to April is the ideal time to view migratory bird species.
Why Is Queen Elizabeth National Park One Of The Best Birding Areas In Uganda?
Birding safaris in Uganda’s Queen Elizabeth National Park are guaranteed by the
- The high number of species, that is over 600 bird species
- Availability of food for the birds
The High Number of species
Queen Elizabeth National Park has over 600 bird species, the highest in any of Uganda’s protected areas. This high checklist is favorable for birders who would like to identify many bird species, making the park one of the best birding areas in Uganda.
The favorable weather and climate
The park has generally favorable climatic conditions due to its location near the Equator line. Temperatures in the day generally go up to 29°C and drop to about 17°C at night.
This is way favorable for birds, especially those that migrate into the park to escape the winter in different countries.
With a variety of biomes that are supportive of the different birds in the park, many birds find a home in their favorite spot.
These biomes include lakes, rivers, swamps, plains, grasslands, forests, woodlands, streams, salty craters, and humid rainforests. In their preferred habitat, the birds reproduce, eat and live comfortably.
Availability of food for the birds
Bird watching in Queen Elizabeth National Park is also favored by the unique fertile soils that support healthy plant/fruit growth.
These plants are food to different bird species; the humid forests for instance offer food like fruits, buds, leaves, shoots, and flowers to forest birds. The waters also offer food like fish, rodents, worms, and other invertebrates to wading birds. Likewise, the savannahs provide grass seeds for the birds to eat.
Altitude/Elevation at Queen Elizabeth National Park
Different birds fly at different elevations in Queen’s park which ranges from 910m to 1,390 m. This explains why there are so many birds in the region.
With the highest elevation being at Lake Katwe and the lowest elevation being at Lake Edward, different birds will choose a favorable altitude.
Top 4 Reasons Why You Should Do Birding/Bird watching in Queen Elizabeth National Park
The colored birds of Queen Elizabeth National Park are a resourceful mark in the lives of humans. These birds can help both individually and environmentally to
- Improve your physical and mental health
- Connect with friends and family
- Travel to different parts of the world
Improve your physical and mental health
Is there a way that you wish to connect to the liberating feel of nature? Then birding is for you! This activity as discovered by experts will enlighten your mood as its one of the most therapeutic activities that will help you to connect to nature, and keep you calm.
Research also found that studying and listening to birds in their habitat helps with concentration and therefore releases stress.
Physically, birding is an activity that will help you stretch in nature when you trek and hike different tenures.
Connect with your friends and family
Birding tours in Uganda are a bonding and team-building activity. It will help you not only to fall in love with nature but to also connect with your friends and family members.
Travel to different parts of the world
As you begin birding, you will feel the urge to always find more of these creatures. Hence, bird watching in Queen Elizabeth National Park is a way to start planning your birding travels to different places and getting other new experiences!
By going birding, you help to contribute to the conservation strategies when you find out more about birds and how we can help them.
9 Prime/Top Birding Practices Whether You Are A Beginner Or A Pro For Bird Watching in Queen Elizabeth National Park
- Study as much as you can about birds, and this will help you locate and identify them.
- Have birding mentors from whom you will learn. Also, learn from others as you respect their skills, knowledge, and interests.
- Do not wait to first go to the wild, but begin with the birding sites nearest to you, which is your home surrounding. Remember to go out as many times as you can to grab new opportunities.
- Move slowly as you pay attention to birds and their calls both near, far, and in the sky.
- Through nature, the internet, or recordings, memorize and master as many bird calls and details in identification as you can.
- Bird by habitat as you keenly look through their habitation and ground cover. This is because you will only find some birds in their habitat like swamps, woodlands, and forests.
- When you go birding, keep records of the notes of the different birds to have accurate information about the different birds studied.
- Do not approach the birds closer than is necessary to not stress them. Neither should you destroy their habitat while searching for them.
- Endeavor to be up to date with birding developments in your locale through the clubs or websites.
What To Wear When Going For Birding/Bird Watching In Queen Elizabeth National Park
With everything else considered, your birding experience comes to life when you also know the appropriate attire for the occasion.
This expert birding recommendation fashion offers you both the ability to comfortably enjoy your birding experience and also protect you against the wild nature, that may threaten to harm you during bird watching in Queen Elizabeth National Park.
Professional Birding Attire
With birding, comfortable clothes will also determine how long you want to stay in the wild. Have the most relaxing clothes that are as free as the nature that you are about to encounter!
Depending on the weather, consider wearing thermal clothes too for birding in your Queen Elizabeth National Park Uganda safari. Restricting clothes will keep you uncomfortable and irritated with the whole experience, which is definitely not your intention!
The color of your attire is equally important. Try to camouflage with the natural environment by wearing, subdued colors like green, brown, and grey. Some birds associate white with danger so try to avoid it.
A UV-reflecting attire will also keep the birds away because how birds see is different from how we see. They can actually see the UV reflection!
Nonetheless, there are exceptions where some colors like red, yellow, and orange will attract some birds for example sunbirds and hummingbirds.
Your birding attire may entail
- Cargo pants
- Birding Vests
- Long-Sleeved shirts
- Sturdy shoes
- A hat
Cargo Pants; these are the best professional birding trousers, more so if they are green or dull colored. You would want to blend with nature for a more fruitful experience!
The long cargo pants will help to protect you both from the cold and the heat of the day. Yet it is perfect against insect bites too.
However, any comfortable long trousers can also do you good while birding.
Birding Vests; most of them are also army green and they have big deep pockets that will save you the burden of carrying very heavy bags. You will simply put your binoculars, guidebook, notebook, pens, and other necessary tools in your pocket.
Long-sleeved shirts will also save you a lot from the vegetation and the bites from insects.
Sturdy Shoes; wear comfortable sturdy shoes for your birding experience and make sure that they have proper ankle support for long excursions.
Better still, wear shoes that have soft material from the inside to avoid getting blisters while on your journey.
Wear a hat; when going birding, wearing a hat is more than just protecting you against the heat of the sun. It covers a part of your face outline to make the vigilant birds comfortable around you.
List Of What To Carry For Birding/Bird Watching In Queen Elizabeth National Park
Meanwhile, birding equipment is one of your top priorities as you choose bird watching in Queen Elizabeth National Park.
A memorable experience comes with documenting your findings in any way you can, but also enjoying the experience with the greatest comfort possible.
You can carry your
- List of bird species you would like to see
- A field guide/bird book
- Best birding camera
- Binoculars for birding
- Your notebook and pen
- Insect Repellant
- Sunscreen lotion
- A bottle of water
- A poncho or rain jacket
- A backpack
List of bird species;
It is important to know how many birds you would like to see as you do bird watching in Queen Elizabeth National Park. Have a list, and your birding guide will help you to identify them.
A field guidebook (bird book);
This will do you wonders with identifying birds as it becomes easy to find the birds using their description in the guidebook.
The best birding camera;
If you are birding for fun, you may not mind using your phone or any camera for the activity. However, for professional birders or for those who would love to become one, a quality professional camera will work for you.
This is because birds will not remain still for a photo, some will be flying while others, restless.
Therefore, some of the best cameras for birding fall into the categories of
- Bridge cameras
- DSLR cameras
- Mirrorless cameras
Binoculars for birding;
These will help you view enlarged images of distant birds. Some of the best birding cameras are;
- Swarovski NL Pure 10×42 Binoculars
- Kite Bonelli 2.0 8×42 Binoculars
- Nikon Monarch M7 8×30 Binoculars
- Viking Peregrine ED 10×42 Binoculars
- Swarovski CL Curio 7×21 Binoculars
- Hawke Frontier ED X 8×42 Binoculars
- Bushnell Forge 10×42 Binoculars BF1042T
- Zeiss SFL 8×40 Binoculars
A notebook and Pen; will come in handy when you want to note an important observation or experience.
Insect Repellent; will prevent the insects from biting you while you are in the wild, thus keeping you comfortable throughout your experience.
A Sunscreen lotion; ensures that your skin is protected from the burning sun rays of the tropical Queen Elizabeth National Park.
A bottle of Water; will keep you hydrated during your birding adventure. Kindly use eco-friendly water bottles, to not litter the environment.
A poncho or Rain Jacket; just in case it rains, your poncho or rain jacket will protect you from getting wet.
The backpack; will enable you to keep all your equipment very safely.
How To Spot (Identify) A Bird/ Uganda Birding Tips
Bird watching in Queen Elizabeth National Park or any other birding area can sometimes be challenging. This is more so if you are identifying some species from the same family or even order. There are birds with very minimal differences, and this can be very stressful for especially a beginner as you have to make sure that you do not be confused.
But the more you engage in the activity, the more fun it becomes and the easier it gets to notice birds. Additionally, with over 1,096 bird species in Uganda and over 10,000 in the world, you are surely destined for a lifetime of discoveries if you choose to do birding.
The following factors can help you differentiate one bird from another, and help you to easily identify them.
- Body shape and size
- Legs and Feet
Body Shape and Size;
The shape and size of a bird should be your first observation while doing birding. Usually, the general makeup can help you even know the order or family of the bird. Some birds are smaller while others are bigger, for example, vultures are bigger than weavers.
The feathers of a bird are another factor to help you identify a bird while doing birding. The following questions can go a long way in helping you with birding.
- Which type of feather does the bird possess?
- Which color(s) are the feathers?
- Does the plumage change color during a particular season like breeding?
- Do both the males and females have the same plumage type and color or are they different?
Many birds especially those in the same family can be differentiated by their bills or beaks. You can tell by the shape, size, color, and length of mandibles. For example, the beak of the Intermediate Egret is shorter than that of the Great Egret but longer than that of the Cattle Egret.
Legs and Feet;
The feet of birds speak volumes in telling them apart. Wading birds have webbed feet while running terrestrial birds have long and strong feet. Also, there are bird species that are so identical that you can only differentiate them by the color of their legs.
There are also some bird species that you will identify by their eyes. For example, the Black-Casqued Hornbill has a blue ring around its eyes while the Black and White Casqued Hornbill has brown eyes with no blue ring.
Like you can differentiate the voices of the people around you, you can also easily learn with diligence the voice of a bird species. The advantage is that one bird species in a specific region can call the same way. So all you have to do is to learn the call of one bird, and you can identify the rest of the birds in the same species. Additionally, most birders attest that identifying a bird by its voice is easier than by physical appearance.
Habitat identification is also one of the ways in which you can do bird watching in Queen Elizabeth National Park. The only other place a bird will ever stay apart from its habitat is the air. A shoebill for instance will forever dwell in marshy wetlands while other birds will only stay in forests, woodlands, or grasslands.
Different birds have different behaviors, relating to their breeding, feeding, or flight patterns.
Important Birding Guidelines While Bird Watching In Queen Elizabeth National Park
- Do birding in small groups to not stress the birds and to also be able to take good photos and videos.
- Make sure you walk on the birding trails as your birding guide directs you.
- Keep sounds at minimal levels because birds do not like noise. This will also help you to identify their calls.
- Do not throw stones at the birds, for this is considered animal harassment. You could hurt them!
The birds in Queen Elizabeth National Park are a great contribution to African birding safaris in Uganda. For the best safari in Uganda to experience adventurous birding eco-tours; book your convenient birding trip today with us, the best Uganda safari company.
Other Ideal Sites To See Birds And Do Birding In Uganda
- Semuliki National Park
- Bwindi Impenetrable National Park
- Murchison Falls National Park
- Kidepo Valley National Park
Other safari activities in Queen Elizabeth National Park apart from birding
- Game drives
- Boat Cruise
- Chimpanzee Trekking
- Nature Walks and Community Tours
- Lion Tracking
- Hippo Census
- Mongoose Tracking
Frequently Asked Questions About Bird watching in Queen Elizabeth National Park
How many bird species are in Uganda?
There are over 1096 bird species in Uganda. Among these are 24 Albertine Rift Endemics and one (1) Uganda national endemic bird (Fox’s Weaver).