The Big Birding Day 2013 was jointly organised by the Nature Uganda, Uganda Wildlife Authority and other partners including Diary of a Muzungu, Guide 2 Uganda and Uganda/USAID Tourism For Biodiversity Project. The Sponsors included Rwenzori Bottling Company, Pride Micro Finance and the National Forestry Authority .
Classified as an Important Birding Area (IBA) by Birding International, Queen’s great variety of habitats mean it is home to over 600 species. This is the greatest of any East African national park, and a phenomenal number for such a small area. The park’s confluence of savanna and forest, linking to the expansive forests of the DR Congo allow visitors to spot East as well as Central African species.
Excellent birding opportunities exist around Kapkwai Forest Exploration Centre, in particular in the secondary forest and thick shrub along the loop trail to Cheptui Falls. It supports the African Goshawk; Chubb’s Cisticola, White-chinned Prinia and African Blue Flycatcher among others.
Both the game drives and the launch trips offer an opportunity for one to come across distinct birdlife, including savannah forest birds, water birds and Albertine Rift endemics. The park’s main birding attraction is the Shoebill, best sighted in the dry season from January-March.
Lake Mburo's key birding spots include swampy valleys and viewing platforms near the salt licks and in the forest. Species found at these locations include the Rufous-bellied Heron, Bateleur, Coqui Francolin, Grey Crowned Crane, Black-bellied Bustard and Brown-chested Lapwing.
The varied habitats of Uganda’s oldest forest mean it is the ideal habitat for a variety of birds, with 350 species recorded, including 23 endemics (90% of all Albertine Rift endemics) such as the Short-tailed Warbler and Blue-headed Sunbird as well as seven IUCN red data listed species.
Birders who make it to Semuliki will be rewarded with some of Africa’s best forest birding.
The best birding in Mgahinga also takes in some of its most beautiful scenery - in the gorge between Mts Gahinga and Sabinyo, through the bamboo forest, and in the montane forest, where the beautiful Rwenzori Turaco may be observed.
Bird watching tours start at 7am at Kanyanchu. Bigodi Wetland Sanctuary, located just outside the park, is home to 138 bird species which may be seen during guided walks along the boardwalk trail and viewing platforms.