Besides the numerous captivating wildlife species found in Queen Elizabeth national park, it is also a bird watcher’s Paradise because it is a home to over 606 bird species (about 60% of Uganda’s total bird species), hence making it the destination with the highest bird species in East Africa and also an Important Bird Area (IBA) in Uganda.
This park runs across the Crater spotted foothills of Mountain Rwenzori in the North, along the shores of Lake Edward to the isolated/remote Ishasha River in the South, covering a wide range of habitats that include the Open Savannah, tropical rain forests, brooding Crater Lakes, thick papyrus swamps and the large Lake Edward. It is for this rich vegetation range that it is one of the richest biodiversity Conservation National parks in Africa.
Birding in Queen Elizabeth National Park is an incredible treat as this is Uganda’s most popular and scenic park containing a variety of habitats that range from savanna to wetlands to lowland forests. A majority of the birds found in this area are regarded as famous birds of East Africa and are a must see for birdwatchers in Africa!
As earlier mentioned, there are 606 bird species in this park including 11 species of global conservation concern that call this park home. The best bird watching areas in Queen Elizabeth national park include the Kazinga Channel famous for the aquatic bird species, the Maramagambo Forest, Katunguru Bridge area, Ishasha Sector, the Katwe area popular for the migratory bird species, Lake Kikorongo, the area around the Mweya Peninsula and Kasenyi area among others.
Some of the popular bird species you might encounter in this park include the African Jacana, Great Cormorants, Papyrus Gonolek, pin-tailed whydah, Verreaux’s Eagle-Owl, Common Squacco Heron, white-winged terns, the African Fish Eagle, Marabou Storks, African Mourning Dove, Pin-tailed Whydah, Great white Pelicans, black-headed gonolek, African mourning dove, yellow-billed stork, Long-tailed Cormorants, Slender-tailed Nightjars, Pink-backed Pelicans, collared pratincole, the Black-headed Gonolek, Sedge Warbler, pied kingfishers, Malachite Kingfishers, Swamp Fly-catcher, Black-rumped Buttonquail, White-winged Terns, Collard Pranticles, White-winged Warbler, Gabon Nightjars, Grey-headed Kingfisher, African Open-billed Stork, African Skimmer, Papyrus Canary, Pied Kingfishers, open-billed Storks, Egyptian Goose and Grey-capped Warbler.
Magnificent flocks of Flamingos are always seen in the Crater lakes, creating a pink-like carpet Image. While on a boat ride/launch cruise on the Kazinga Channel, you will sight some of the aquatic bird species that include pelicans (for example the Pink-backed Pelicans), African Fish Eagles, Egyptian goose, Kingfishers, African Jacana and Saddle-billed Storks among others.
Bird species like the elusive Shoe bill stork, swamp flycatcher, Papyrus Gonolek, papyrus Canary and White-tailed Lark and the White-winged warbler are popular around the Swampy vegetation zone. The bird species common in Maramagambo forest include over 54 raptors, Papyrus Canary, Lesser Flamingo, White-winged Warbler, Verreaux’s Eagle Owl, Martial Eagle, Chapin’s Flycatcher, Black Bee-eater, the rare Shoebill stork, African Broadbill, Greater Flamingo, African Skimmer, White-tailed Lark, Black-rumped Buttonquail, Bar-tailed Godwit and Pink-backed Pelicans among others. Other common bird species include Common Squaco Heron, Yellow-backed Weavers, Black-bee eaters and African Jacana among others.
Best bird watching time in Queen Elizabeth national park
Bird watching in Queen Elizabeth National park is an all year activity, but tourists can be rewarded with the best views if they visit during the rainy seasons (Mid-March to end of May and September to November) because numerous migratory bird species are common. The Flamingos for example are commonly sighted around then Crater lakes (especially Lake Katwe and Bunyampaka) during the rainy seasons.
Best Places to Go Birding
Don’t miss these birding hot spots in Queen Elizabeth National Park:
- Kazinga Channel Kasenyi Area
- The Mweya Peninsula Maramagambo Forest
- Ishasha Sector Lake Kikorongo
- Katunguru Bridge area Katwe Area
You can book birding safaris through the listed tour operators or at the Katwe Tourism Information Center if you are already within the park.
How to access Queen Elizabeth National Park
Queen Elizabeth National park is about 420 kilometers/5-6 hours drive from Kampala, and the commonly used route is Kampala – Masaka – Mbarara – Bushenyi – Kasese via a murram road to the center of the park. Tourists from Bwindi national Park can also connect to Queen Elizabeth National park through the Southern side (Ishasha sector). An alternative route to be used is Kampala – Mubende – Fortportal – Kasese then to Queen Elizabeth national Park.
In conclusion, Queen Elizabeth national park is the destination with the highest bird species in the whole of east Africa because over 606 bird species call this park home. This makes this Park a perfect destination for an African Safari because it is not only birds that you will see but also four for the Big Five animals (Lions, Leopards, Buffaloes an Elephants) and also engage in a life changing launch cruise on the Kazinga Channel which all complement your safari in Queen Elizabeth National Park
Access Uganda www.accessugandatours.com
Africa Adventure Safaris www.birdinginuganda.com
Avian Watch Uganda www.avianwatchuganda.co.ug
Bird Uganda Safaris Ltd. www.birduganda.com
Birding in Paradise Safaris www.birdinginparadise.com
Bunyoni Safaris Ltd. www.bunyonyisafaris.com
Churchill Safaris and Travel www.churchillsafaris.com
Classic Africa Safaris www.classicuganda.com
Escape Tours and Safari www.escapeuganda.com
Hoopoe Tours and Travel Ltd. www.hoopoe-tours.com
Lake Kitandara Tours & Travel www.lkttsafaris.co.ug
Livingston African Safaris www.tours-uganda.com
The Far Horizons ww.thefarhorizons.com
Uganda Safari Company www.safariuganda.com
Venture Uganda www.ventureuganda.org
Wild Frontiers / G&C www.wildfrontiers.co.ug