Primate Holidays

Birding in Queen Elizabeth National Park

Birding in Queen Elizabeth National Park : The most popular and second-largest national park in Uganda is Queen Elizabeth National Park, which is situated in the districts of Kasese, Kamwenge, Rukungiri, and Rubirizi. Elephants, lions, leopards, buffaloes, warthogs, waterbucks, Uganda kobs, giant forest hogs, hippos, red-tailed monkeys, black-and-white colobus monkeys, vervet monkeys, baboons, and birds like the papyrus gonolek, pied kingfisher, and African fish eagle are just a few of the wildlife species that call the national park home.

Queen Elizabeth National Park is home to over 612 different bird species, including migratory, aquatic, forest-dwelling, and woodland birds, making it the best birding safari destination in Uganda. Birding is one of the fascinating and breathtaking safari activities that can be done there. There are several places in the park where one can go birding including,

Lake Edward and Lake George are connected by a 40 km long strait called the Kazinga channel. One of the best places to go birding safari in Queen Elizabeth National Park is the channel, where you may see a variety of bird species. During the boat cruise, which can be taken in the morning or the afternoon, bird watching on the Kazinga Channel will take place. Among the bird species that will be seen are the blue-napped mouse bird, little bee-eater, grey-capped warbler, yellow-backed weaver, pin-tailed whydah, slender-billed weaver, grey-headed kingfisher, pygmy kingfisher, swamp nightjar, African mourning dove, African jacana, Long tailed cormorant, Egptian goose, pelicans, African fish eagle and among many others.

The Mweya peninsular is situated inside the park on the Kazinga channel’s northern bank where it meets Lake Edward. The Mweya Peninsular is one of the best places to see leopards as well as other creatures including elephants, hippos, warthogs, and buffaloes, among others. It is covered in dense savannah vegetation. African mourning dove, black headed gonolek, Diederik cuckoo, red capped lark, Nubian woodpecker, scarlet chested sunbird, pin tailed whydah, lesser masked weaver, grey headed kingfisher, and blue napped mouse bird are just a few of the bird species that call the Mweya Peninsular in Queen Elizabeth National Park home.

Maramagambo forest, one of the biggest forests in the park in the Bushenyi district is the Maramagambo forest. Beginning from the Kichwamba escarpments and extending to Lake Edward is the Maramagambo forest. It’s a home of primates like L’hoest monkeys, chimpanzees, baboons, vervet monkeys, bush babies, pottos and various bird species including forest flycatcher, white napped pigeon, dark caped warbler, fawn breasted wax-bill, bat hawk, Rwenzori Turaco, African green pigeon, black headed batis, ross’s turaco, red tailed bristle, African emerald cuckoo, white winged warbler, Chapin’s flycatcher, African broadbill, pink backed pelican, verreux’s eagle owl among others.

Kasenyi Plains are located on the western banks of Lake George in the northeastern region of Queen Elizabeth National Park. Various animals can be seen during a game drive, lion study tracking, or bird watching because these plains are made up of open savannah, which serves as a habitat for them. During birding safaris in Kasenyi plains you will be able to view bird species such as red throat spur fowls, grey backed fiscal, white tailed lark, black lured babbler, black headed gonolek, crowned lover, brown snake eagle, grey crowned cranes, yellow throated long crow, African crake, martial eagle, raptors, African wattled eagle, palm nut vulture, white tailed lark, long crested eagle among others.

Ishasha Sector, One of the most well-known locations in the park, Ishasha, is famed for the tree-climbing lions that may be seen lounging in the fig and acacia trees when on a game drive. In the wide savannah grassland, forests, and marshes of the Ishasha sector, birds can be seen. Senegal plover, Ross’s turaco, striped kingfisher, greater honey guide, white-brown robin chat, green woodpecker, lappet-faced vulture, African crake, helmeted guinea fowl, broad-billed roller, white-headed barbet, hooded vulture, grey-backed fiscal, and double-toothed barbet are just a few of the bird species that can be seen.

Lake Katwe, Lake Natural or rock salt is harvested from Katwe, a salt lake, by the locals using conventional means to transport it to the landing point, where it is dried and then sold. The crater salt lake is situated close to Mweya Peninsular in the northern region of Queen Elizabeth National Park. Elephants, warthogs, and hippos are among the wildlife that can be found near the lake, as well as migratory birds like flamingos, Chapin’s flycatchers, papyrus gonoleks, pink-backed pelicans, martial eagles, papyrus canaries, African broadbills, and yellow-throated cuckoos.

The eastern region of Queen Elizabeth National Park, in the Kasese area, is home to the Crater Lake known as Lake Kikorongo. The greater swamp warbler, guinea fowl, African fish eagle, sacred ibis, papyrus gonolek, yellow wagtail, knob-billed ducks, white-winged warblers, saddle-billed stork, black crake, common squaco heron, brown neck eagle, and double-toothed barbet are just a few of the bird species that reside around the lake.

When travelling from Kasese to the Rubirizi district, the Kazinga Channel must be crossed over the Katunguru Bridge. Under Katunguru Bridge, there is a papyrus swamp that is a home to a number of bird species, including the white-winged warbler, papyrus gonolek, caruthers cisticola, pied and malachite kingfisher, and pink-backed pelican.

Best time for birding safari in Queen Elizabeth national park. 

Although it is possible to go birding in the park at any time of year, the dry season, from May to September, is the best. When compared to March to April, when there is a lot of rainfall that makes birding challenging, this time of year has less rainfall in the park, making access roads and birding trails passable. There will also be plenty of food for the birds, allowing you to see a greater variety of bird species. However, there are other months where birding in the park is possible, such as May and June, when you can see colorful birds because those are the months when they breed and lay their eggs, and November, which is a rainy season but great for seeing migratory birds.

lesser masked weaver

Requirements for birding safari in Queen Elizabeth national park.

When coming on a birding safari in Queen Elizabeth national park you need to pack the right equipment’s such as,

While walking through the forest or savannah plains, light walking shoes that are comfortable and flexible and most recommended.

As birding is typically best done during the dry season, a hat and sunglasses will shield you from the scorching sun.

Simple attire.

A pair of binoculars will enable you to see the various bird species clearly in the distance.

Camera and additional batteries will enable you to document your birding safari in images and videos.

Keeping yourself hydrated while birding in the park by drinking water.

Raincoat that is waterproof will keep you dry if it rains while you are birdwatching at the park.

Your camera, water, rain gear and other necessities for a birding trip will be stored in your rucksack.

How to get to Queen Elizabeth national park for birding safari. 

Queen Elizabeth national park is located in southwestern Uganda and visitors who want to visit for a birding safari can either use road or air transport means.

Air transport: There are domestic flights that run regular and charter flights, including as Aerolink, which takes about an hour to get from Entebbe International Airport/Kajjansi Airfield to Mweya Airstrip or Kasese Airstrip and then to Queen Elizabeth National Park.

Road transport:  you can go to Queen Elizabeth National Park from Kampala through Masaka, Mbarara, Fort Portal, and the park headquarters, which would take you about 6 to 7 hours to complete.

You can also fly from Entebbe airport to Kihihi airstrip and then connect to Queen Elizabeth national park by road, which will take you about a three to four-hour drive, or you can drive from Bwindi Impenetrable National Park to the park headquarters. When combining a gorilla trekking safari in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park with a birding safari in Queen Elizabeth National Park, this is your best option.

In addition to birding safari, Queen Elizabeth National Park offers other thrilling and adventurous safari activities. These include a game drive in the Kasenyi plains where you can see animals like elephants, buffaloes, warthogs, giant forest hogs, bushbucks, and Uganda kobs, a boat cruise on the Kazinga Channel where you can see large herds of hippos and crocodiles, a nature walk in the Maramagambo forest and among others.

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