Apart from hosting mammals, East Africa is home to a variety of birds and is a great spot for birders interested in finding those rare African species in swamps, Lakes and Rivers, Forests, and in any other vegetation zones.
Overview about Birding in East Africa
Most National parks in East Africa are a biodiversity hotspot and a home to endemic species like the Shoebill especially in Uganda and Rwanda. Birders are guided by experienced bird guides trained from different Birding associations in East Africa.
This is the most popular bird that brings travelers to East Africa. This rare and endangered bird specie is sought after by many birders. Shoebills can be spotted in Rwanda, Kenya however the total population of shoebill storks in Uganda today is about 1000 birds and can be seen in several places such as; In the Ishasha sector of Queen Elizabeth Park along the Lake Edward Flats, in Murchison Falls national Park where the Nile merges with Lake Albert, Lake Mburo National Park, Ziwa Rhino Reserve, Lake Kyoga, Semiliki Wildlife reserve, the Mabamba Swamp close to Entebbe and in the Nabajuzi Swamp in Masaka.
Bird Watching in Rwanda
Rwanda has a bird list of over 700 species and supports the second highest number of Albertine Rift endemics than any other country. Rwanda has seven Important Birding Areas (IBAs) including the three National Parks—Volcanoes, Akagera and Nyungwe, Rugezi Swamp, Akanyaru, Nyabarongo and Cyamudongo.
The wetlands and lakes of Akagera National Park are home to the elusive Shoebill stork, and is one of the easiest sites in the region where it can be seen. Akagera supports a mixture of acacia and papyrus species, including Red-faced Barbet, Bennett’s Woodpecker, Papyrus Gonolek, White-headed, Black and familiar Chats, Carruther’s and Tabora Cisticolas, White-winged and Broad-tailed Warblers and Miombo Wren-Warblers
In the southwest Nyungwe National Park is a vast tract of virgin forest, one of the largest uncut natural forest reserves remaining in Africa and home to more than 300 species of birds, 27 of which are regional endemics. Much of the forest is unexplored .It has species like, Handsome Francolin, Rwenzori Turaco, Mountain Sooty Boubou, Rwenzori Batis, Yellow-eyed Black Flycatcher, Archer’s Robin-chat, Rwenzori Hill Babbler, Grauer’s Rush, Neumann’s and Grauer’s Warbles, Masked Mountain Apalis, Stripe-breasted Tit and Strange Weaver
Go Birding in Tanzania
In Tanzania, one can do birding in the Arusha Lark Plains, South East Serengeti – Ndutu area, Ngorongoro Crater ,Highlands and Tarangire National Parks.
Go Birding in Kenya
In Kenya, from April through June millions of Flamingos flock to the Rift Valley Lakes of East Africa specifically Lake Bogoria and Lake Nakuru turning the lakes in to vision of constantly moving pink. The pink color comes from the pigments in the organisms they eat, such as pink shrimp and algae. Effectively, the flamingo’s diet determines its color.