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Bird watching in Kibale Forest National Park

Bird watching in Kibale Forest, covering a total land mass of 560 sq km, the Kibale Forest National park is dominated with a dense verdant forest in the north that gives way to the medium altitude damp, ever-green, semi-deciduous forest in the south all together covering about 77 percent of the total land mass. The remaining 23 percent consists of a number of plantations having exotic conifers, grasslands as well as swamps. All these serve as a diversity of habitats to the various species of birds living within this park.
The Kibale National Park is a wide national park, sheltering a huge chunk of rain forest, and swamps that supports a diversity of flora and animal life. With a flourishing tropical rain-forest, swamp and charming diversity, this is one of the very attractive and striking forests within Uganda. In addition to the great variety and number of primates living within this forest (which is the greatest in the whole of East Africa), the Kibale forest park prides in a diversity of bird species.

There are 82 species of Guinea Congo forest-biome plus 32 species of the Afro-tropical highland biome in addition to some of the uncommon species found within the highland areas. Among these are: Bar-tailed Trogon plus the Fine-banded woodpecker, Red-faced Crimson-wing plus the White-bellied Crested Flycatcher. The park in addition supports 5 of the 32 constrained range species within Uganda, as well as 5 of the twelve Ugandan species belonging to the Lake Victoria-biome.

Among the species that bird watchers should look out for while in Kibale Forest National Park is the Nahan’s Francolin which is an endangered species living in 3 additional forest reserves, on the other hand, the Forest ground thrush has been recorded in just 2 other IBAs. Additional fascinating species are the: Black bee-eater, Gree-breated Pitta, Yellow-spotted Nictor, White-thighed hornbilland, Yellow- ramped Tinker bird, the African Pitta as well as the Little Greenbul.

Bird watching in Kibale Forest National Park Common Checklist

(E) endemic = only lives in Uganda
(NE) near-endemic = also lives in neighboring countries

  • Abyssinian ground thrush
  • Afep pigeon
  • African pitta
  • Black bee-eater
  • Black-capped apalis
  • Black-eared ground thrush
  • Blue-breasted kingfisher
  • Blue-headed bee-eater
  • Blue-headed sunbird (NE)
  • Brown illadopsis
  • Brown-chested alethe
  • Cassin’s spinetail
  • Crowned eagle
  • Dusky crimsonwing (NE)
  • Green-breasted pitta
  • Grey parrot
  • Little greenbul
  • Masked apalis
  • Nahan’s francolin (NE)
  • Purple-breasted sunbird (NE)
  • Red-chested owlet
  • Red-faced woodland warbler (NE)
  • Ruwenzori apalis
  • Scaly-breasted illadopsis
  • Western nicator
  • White-naped pigeon
  • Yellow-rumped tinkerbird

Bird watching trips within the park begin at 7am local time at Kanyanchu and visitors are recommended too book these birding tours in advance. Uncommon species to look out for within this park are: the Papyrus Canary, Papyrus Gonolek, White-collared Oliveback as well as the White-winged Warbler.

Best Time for Bird Watching in Kibale Forest National Park

The birdlife in Kibale is good year-round, but at its best from March to May and from September to November. June to September is the main fruiting season, so food is abundant, and many birds are in breeding plumage. Migratory birds, though not a major factor in the forests, can be found here from November to April.

December to February and June to July have the least rain while March to May and September to November have the most rain. Rainstorms might limit your bird-watching time.

Bird Watching Bigodi Wetland Sanctuary

Bigodi Wetland Sanctuary, situated just on the exterior of the park, is habitat to 138 species of bird which can best be seen through the various guided walks conducted along the board-walk trail as well as on the viewing platforms. Among the species seen within this swamp are: the Black-crowned Waxbill, White-spotted Flufftail, White-breasted Negrofinch, Yellow-spotted Barbet, Black Bishop, Hairy-breasted Barbet, Bocage’s Bush-shrike, Yellow-billed Barbet, Brown-crowned Tchagra, Black & white Shrike-flycatcher, Western Nicator, Superb Sunbird, Grey-winged Robin-chat, Brown-throated Wattle-eye, White-tailed Ant-thrush plus the Brown-backed Scrub-robin, in addition to many other species.

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