Birding in Bwindi National Park

Birding in Bwindi National Park : Bwindi national park is a destination which is home to mountain gorillas in Uganda as well as different bird species. Birding in Bwindi national park is carried out in the different sectors of the national park such as Rushaga sector, Nkuringo sector, Buhoma sector and Ruhija sector where over 350 bird species are recorded. There are different trails followed during the search for the various bird species found around Bwindi.

Gorilla trekking is the popular activity which brings many tourists visiting Uganda to explore the different sectors of Bwindi national park. This activity involves searching for the mountain gorillas in the forests and enjoying 1 hour in their presence and the cost of a permit to see the gorillas is 800 USD for foreign nonresidents, 700 USD for foreign residents and 300,000 Uganda shillings for East African citizens.

The cost of birding in Bwindi National Park is 40 USD for foreign nonresidents, 30 USD for foreign residents and 30,000 Uganda shillings for East Africans.

Birding in Rushaga sector

The Rushaga sector is located in the southern part of Bwindi national park and there are different bird species found in the area.

Bird species which can be seen during Uganda tours around the Rushaga sector include Rwenzori Nightjar, Crowned Hornbill, Giant Kingfisher, African Green Broadbill, Mountain Masked Apalis, Rwenzori Batis, Collared Apalis, Kivu Ground-Thrush, Red-Throated Alethe, Dusky Crimsonwing, Black-faced Rufous Warbler, African Harrier Hawk, Grey Cuckoo Shrike, Short tailed Warbler, Purple-breasted Sunbird, Brown-capped weaver, Red-fronted Antpecker, Doherty’s Bush Shrike among others.

Apart from the various bird species found in Rushaga sector, tourists can also see gorillas which are a major attraction found in Bwindi national park. the habituated gorilla families in Rushaga include Bweza gorilla family, Nshongi gorilla family, Mishaya gorilla family, Kahungye gorilla family, Busingye gorilla family and Bweza gorilla family.

Activities which can also be done around Rushaga sector include gorilla trekking, gorilla habituation, guided nature walks, hiking and Batwa community tours.

The different lodges where tourists can spend their nights during birding around Rushaga sector include Rushaga haven lodge, Ichumbi lodge, Gorilla valley lodge, Four gorillas lodge, Rushaga gorilla camp, Nshongi camp among others. Tourists can choose from the budget, midrange and luxury lodges found around the sector.

Birding in Nkuringo sector

Bird watching in the Nkuringo sector is done during tours around the southern part of Bwindi national park.

Bird species found in Nkuringo sector include Cape Wagtail, Yellow-rumped Tinkerbird, Blue-headed Sunbird, Crowned Hornbill, Elliot’s Woodpecker, Rwenzori Batis, Pink-footed Puff back, Great Blue Turaco, Double-Toothed Barbet, Yellow-fronted Canary, African Dusky Flycatcher, Handsome Francolin, Helmeted guineafowl, Dusky Twinspot, Ross’s Turaco, African Pygmy kingfisher, Grey Crowned Crane, African hill Babbler,  White headed Saw-wing, Snowy Crowned Robinchat among others.

Tourists visiting the Nkuringo sector in Bwindi national park can also engage in activities like gorilla trekking which is a popular activity in the national park, visiting the Batwa community, hiking and also guided nature walks through the forest.

Places to stay during birding in Nkuringo sector include Nkuringo lodge, Gorilla Heights lodge, Clouds Mountains gorilla lodge among other midrange, luxury and budget lodges found around the sector.

Birding in Buhoma sector

Different bird species can be seen when visiting the Buhoma sector which is located in the northern part of Bwindi National Park.

In Buhoma sector, some of the bird species which can be seen during safaris include African Dusky Flycatcher, Ross’s Turaco, African Broadbill, Black bee-eater, Rwenzori Batis, White-throated Greenbul, Yellow-rumped Tinkerbird, Great Blue Turaco, Cape Wagtail, Yellow-fronted Canary, Handsome Francolin, Brown-capped Weaver, Archer’s Robinchat, Sooty Falcon, Helmeted Guineafowl, Buff-spotted Woodpecker among others.

Other activities which take place in the Buhoma sector during tours in Bwindi National Park include gorilla trekking, hiking, nature walks and community tours such as the Batwa tours which involve interactions with the Batwa pygmies and taking part in experiences such as making fire using sticks among others.

During bird watching tours in Buhoma sector, tourists can stay in the budget lodges, midrange lodges or luxury lodges found around the sector which include Buhoma haven lodge, Buhoma community rest camp, Silverback lodge, Buhoma lodge, Gorilla Forest camp among others.

Birding in Ruhija sector      

Ruhija sector in the eastern part of Bwindi national park is home to various bird species which can be seen during excursions in the area.

Bird species which can be seen around the Ruhija sector during birding tours in Bwindi national park include Great blue Turaco, Ross’s Turaco, Barred Long-tailed Cuckoo, Rwenzori Batis, Regal Sunbird, Palm nut Vulture, Little Sparrow Hawk, Dusky Turtle Dove, Cape Wagtail, Black bee-eater, Grey-cheeked Hornbill, African Citril, Scaly Francolin, Red chested Flufftail, Black crake, Handsome Francolin, Purble-breasted Sunbird, African Hawk Eagle, Little grebe, Forest robin, Northern Pin tail, African Jacana, Black Swift, Alpine Swift, Dwarf Honey guide, Tiny Sunbird, Red rumped Swallow, White winged tit among others.c

Birding in Bwindi National Park
African Citril

Some of the birding spots in Ruhija include the Mubwindi swamp.

Best time for birding in Bwindi national park

Bird watching is an activity which takes place throughout the year during tours to Bwindi national park. The best time for birding around the national park is around March to September and also around November to April when migratory bird species can be seen around the Bwindi forests.

For other activities such as gorilla trekking in Bwindi national park, the dry season is considered the best time to visit the destination since the trails are passable when exploring the forests in search of the mountain gorillas.

How to get to Bwindi national park

Bwindi national park can be accessed by flights from Entebbe international airport to Kisoro airstrip or Kihihi airstrip. Kisoro airstrip is used to access Rushaga sector and Nkuringo sector while tourists visiting Buhoma sector and Ruhija sector use Kihihi airstrip.

Another way to access Bwindi national park during birding tours is by driving from Kampala to Kabale or Kisoro which takes about 8 to 10 hours. Tourists can also get to the destination by driving from Rwanda via the Cyanika border or the Gatuna border.

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