The Bwindi Impenetrable Forest is not just a mountain gorilla habitat but a bird sanctuary and a birding paradise for ornithologists and bird watchers. The park is perfect for birding safaris being a host to about 357bird species of which 24 are Albertine rift endemics. It’s no surprise Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is ranked among the top birding destinations in the region.
On a Uganda birding safari in Bwindi Impenetrable forest, bird watching is done all year- round. May and June are mostly nesting months. Trek into the forest making stops at areas with a high bird concentration using the well maintained trails to different birding spots.
The birdwatching experience is a whole days’ affair in the forest. You will carry packed lunch and enough water to keep you on the trail. You will have your birding guide, ranger guide and a site guide to advise on the recent bird sightings and locations.
These are our top 10 Bwindi impenetrable forest key species
- GRAUER’S BROADBILL
This unique appealing bird with a buffy crown that is usually seen in pairs is also known as the African Green Broadbill. The Grauer Broadbill can be seen in the lower canopy and at middle levels of the forest within 1760m and 2500m. This Albertine rift endemic bird species can only be found in Bwindi impenetrable national park and Kahuzi Biega national park. It is mainly seen in on the Mubwindi swamp trail in Ruhija sector of the forest. The bird feeds on fruit flower buds and invertebrates like centipedes, millipedes, larvae.
- MONTANE NIGHTJAR
This is also known as the Abysssinian nightjar or mountain nightjar. This bird can be seen with your guide when you step out of the your lodge in the evening. Please note that the park closes at 7pm by which time all the birdwatches should have exited the forest. This birds feeds mainly on large insects.
- BLACK BILLED TURACO
The black billed turaco is slightly similar to the green turaco because of its length – both species are 40cm long. The Black Billed Turaco is however all black with a white chest. This bird stays 16 feet above the ground within the montane areas of the impenetrable forest and is quickly identified by its ‘’khwa kkhaw kwah’’ sound.
- BLACK BEE EATERS
The black-bee eater appears all black from a distance but once you get close to it you will be amazed at this bird’s beautiful colour pattern. The bird has a bright red throat, an electric blue belly with a blend of black on the other parts of its body. It’s known for its ji-lip sound and is usually found in the dampest parts of the forest. You can often sight these in the Buhoma sector and at “The Neck” section of the forest.
- MONTANE ORIOLE
The montane oriole birds are in pairs but often the join other birds and form mixed flocks. They sometimes feed in groups especially during breeding seasons and at the forest edge. The Montane Oriole is known to be the loudest bird in the forest. You can hear its distinct sounds from afar even before you notice its bright feathers.
- HANDSOME FRANCOLIN
The handsome francolin is often seen by the edge of the forest and therefore often seen as one drives through the forest to the park and or when on the birding trail in the forest. The species is most active in the evenings and can be seen on road paths moving in pairs. They make kroo and kree sounds that you hear when you are close to the birds.
- KIVU GROUND THRUSH
The kivu ground thrush also known as the Abyssinian ground thrush is an Albertine rift endemic bird species that is found in Bwindi impenetrable forest, Mgahinga national park, volcanoes national park and Virunga national park however its most sighted in Bwindi. The bird stays on the ground and is easily spotted on nature walks and treks.
- REGAL SUNBIRD
The regal sunbird is an Albertine rift bird distinguished by its green, yellow, red and brown colors with a long bill and tail. This beautiful bird is found in Bwindi forest, you can find it both in the Buhoma sector and the Ruhija sector.
- DOHERTY’S BUSH SHRIKE
The Doherty’s bush shrike is a medium sized coloured bird species with a bright red forehead, broad black breast band and lemon green – yellow underparts for the adults. This beautiful bird is easily found in the Ruhija sector.
- BAR-TAILED TROGON
This beautiful bird can been seen while birding the trails especially in the Buhoma sector of Bwindi impenetrable national park. It is separated from the other African trogons by the barred tail.