Birding? Don’t Miss Budongo Forest in Uganda

Uganda is a haven to over 1061 species of birds (10% of the World’s population of bird species) and has over 30 Important Bird Areas, one of which is the evergreen Tropical Rainforest within Murchison Falls National Park. Budongo Forest Reserve is a renowned ecotourism site and one of the top birding sites stretching for 825 square kilometers (82500 hectares). Situated in the north-western side of Uganda and north-eastern side of Lake Albert, the Forest Reserve is characterized by savannah vegetation and woodland dominated by medium altitude moist semi-deciduous forest and drained by four main rivers-Bubwa, Sonso, Wake and Waisoke that flow into Lake Albert.

Budongo Forest Reserve occupies gently undulating terrain with a slope north and north-west wards towards the Rift Valley and made up of five major forest types that include the Cynometra, mixed, Cynometra-mixed, colonizing and the swamp forest much as the largest part of the forest is dominated by the tropical high forest communities.

Are you interested in exploring forest bird species during your safari in Uganda? Add the Budongo Forest Reserve, the home to over 360 species of birds including two species that are endemic to the Budongo Forest (hence can’t not be sighted in other places of East Africa), 10 of the 22 species of the Sudan-Guinea Savanna Biome and 93 of the 144 species of the Guinea-Congo Forest biomes. Another surprising thing about this birding Area is that it is one of the few places (after Semliki National Park) to offer shelter to the Guinea-Congo forest biome species of birds but also the extraordinary yellow-footed flycatcher is only found in Budongo Forest although is difficult to spot during a birding safari.  Budongo Forest has over 115 kilometers of well maintained birding trail system including the Royal Mile that stretches from Nyabyeya Forestry College to the Research Station thus allowing birders to explore what the Reserve offers.

Besides the listed ones, other interesting bird species within Budongo Forest Reserve include the Crowned Eagle, Olive Green Camaroptera, Crested Malimbe, Jameson’s Wattle-eye, Brown Twin-spot, Yellow-browed Carmaroptera, Nahan’s Francolin, Chocolate-backed Kingfishers, Slender-billed Greenbul, Cassin’s Hawk-eagle, Blue-breasted Kingfishers, Lemon-bellied Crombec, Western Black-headed Oriole, Speckled Tinker-bird, Little Green Sunbird, White-spotted Fluff tail, Cassin’s Honey guide, Yellow-browned Camaroptera, Dwarf Kingfishers, Chestnut-capped Flycatcher, Sabine’s spine tail, Black and White Casqued Hornbills, yellow-billed oxpecker, Yellow-manted Weaver, greater blue-eared starlings, Forest Robin, African Citril, Chin-spot batis, Black-headed Paradise Flycatcher, Chestnut Crowned Eremomera, northern brown-throated weavers, Bronze Mannikin, Cameroon Somber Greenbul, Blue-throated Roller, the rare Cassin’s Spine-tail, western violet-backed sunbirds, black-crowned waxbill, Yellow-spotted Barbet, White-spotted Flufftail, Dusky long-tailed Cuckoo, Hammerkop, yellow-throated greenbul, Pygmy Crakes, African shrike Flycatcher, Lesser grey shrike, Yellow and Grey Longbill, Holub’s golden weavers, Lemon-throated Greenbul, African Emerald Cuckoo, Little Crake, Black-winged red Bishop, Ituri Batis, Little Green Sunbird, Puvell’s Illadopsis, African pied, Yellow-crested Woodpecker, Grey-headed Sunbird and red-backed shrike among others.

Besides bird species, this Forest Reserve is also known for over 25 species of mammals including 9 primate species, 290 species of butterflies, 465 species of trees and shrubs as well as 130 moth species and on top of bird watching, other activities like chimpanzee tracking and nature walks.

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