They can be funny or elegant, for sure they are a show to admire. Storks and cranes are the main attractions of birdwatching safaris in Uganda, and they are not the only ones. This nation includes over 1.000 species of birds, 150 of which can be considered endemic. This is one of the most interesting touristic choices, if you love to go birdwatching. Besides, you can be sure you will admire the animals from a close point of view. The territory in fact offers many “birds sanctuaries” where tourists can approach them in their safe habitat. Make sure you always follow your guides’ advice, so to live the experience in the best way ever.
Uganda, funny storks and elegant cranes
It can be called Uganda‘s national animal, and it is funny like a cartoon. Its name is Shoebill Stork, though it looks more like a pelican. It is usually grey, squat, with a funny shoe-shaped beak (or bill, hence the name) and lives in swamp lands since prehistoric age. This stork, in fact, is a living testimony of the dinosaurs era; it used to be a dinosaur bird itself, as its weird beak still tells. In Uganda it can be found everywhere – though mainly at Queen Elizabeth National Park, Lake Mburo, Semiliki Wildlife area and Mabamba Swamps.
The Ugandese cranes are not just another kind of crane, they are wonderful visions. The Grey Crowned Cranes -which can be spotted in most birds sanctuaries of the nation – have bright colours and a long, grey neck. It ends in a small head crowned with thin golden feathers which make it a royal looking bird. This is the best experience a birdwatching safari in Uganda can give, so you should plan it if you are aiming to try this trip.
Not only storks and cranes
Besides these two incredible birds, in Uganda you can meet so many volatiles! Another beautiful vision, here, is the Long Crested Eagle which is considered a sacred bird, by local people. If you meet this eagle, in fact, you will be sure to marry the man or woman you love. In order to meet them, you should book a mountain safari because the eagles live over 2000 metres height, on bare untouched rocks. Safaris at Queen Elizabeth Park or Murchison Falls Park will let you admire another bird of prey: African Fish Eagle.
It is much easier to admire the Marabou, a bird that has learnt how to live close to villages and towns … many people here consider it as a pet. They also call it “Charlie”, like a good old friend. More birds to see, in Uganda: common ostrich, fulvous whistling duck, crested guineafowl, red necked francolin, flamingos, blue turaco, dideric cuckoo, Senegal coucal and many others more.
What to wear, what to bring
Most of the birds in Uganda live in swamp and wet places, or in rain forests. So you better wear waterproof jackets and trousers and always long boots. You will certainly need mosquitoes repellent creams, hats with veils, sunscreen and sunglasses. Make sure you have a waterproof bag or cover for your cameras. Some birdwatching safaris will follow mountain routes: in that case, make sure you bring heavy jackets, long sleeved shirts, because temperatures can be cold even though you are in Africa.
Best period for birdwatching in Uganda
The best period to go birdwatching in Uganda is from May to September, and the most recommended month of all is August. This is the period of the first fly for many young birds, but also gives the chance to see the new plumage for other species’ chicks. This all will happen among the stunning bright colours of wild flowers and many butterflies. In some forests, the best time for birdwatchings safaris is March.