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Birding Experience in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park

Birding Experience in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park

Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park is unearthed in the South Western part on Uganda on the edge of the Rift Valley inside the most densely populated areas which are Kanungu, Kabale and Kisoro, occupying about 331km2 and in 1994, it was listed as UNESCO world heritage site due to its ecological importance and it became popular to the world because of Gorilla trekking. In 1932 two blocks of Bwindi were designated as Crown Forest Reserves. The Northern sector was known as Kayonza Crown Forest and the Southern sector was known as the Kasatora Crown Forest. Ten years later in 1942 the two sections were combined to create the Impenetrable Crown Forest and in 1964 it was designated as an animal sanctuary to provide extra protection for gorillas and renamed the Impenetrable Central Forest Reserve.

In 1991 it was renamed Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park and this was mainly to protect a range of species within it especially the mountain gorillas. This move made a large impact on the Batwa people as they occupied the lands before it was gazetted and lived within it as they were evicted and stopped from accessing the park to the outskirts of the park leaving the life they knew behind in the forest. In 1993 Gorilla tracking become an activity making the park a popular tourist destination and it is managed by Uganda Wildlife Association.

Bwindi is an old, complex and biologically rich forest with diverse species including 120mammals with 10 primates like mountain gorillas, white and black colobus monkeys, golden monkeys, baboons, chimpanzees, L’hoest’s monkeys, red-tailed monkeys, blue monkeys, pottos and galagos, African elephants, giant forest hogs, bush pigs, antelopes, jackals, golden cats; 350 bird species with 23 Albertine rift endemics namely green broadbills, black bee-eater, regal sunbird, bar-tailed trogon, 200 butterflies, bats, rodents and many more.

Bwindi is famous for its population of endangered mountain gorillas, it’s also a prime destination for birdwatchers. Many birding enthusiasts combine gorilla trekking with birding excursions, as the park’s diverse habitats provide ample opportunities to spot both gorillas and birds in their natural environment. Keep your eyes peeled for birds while trekking through the forest, as you never know what avian treasures you might encounter along the way.

Bwindi impenetrable forest national park is home to an incredible array of bird species, with over 350 recorded species, including 23 Albertine Rift endemics. Among the highlights are the African green broadbill, Shelley’s crimsonwing, handsome francolin, Rwenzori nightjar, dwarf honeyguide, red-throated alethe, archer’s robin-chat, kivu ground-thrush, Rwenzori turaco, grauer’s warbler, collared apalis, Rwenzori batis, purple-breasted sunbird, regal sunbird, strange weaver, dusky crimsonwing and blue-headed sunbird, mountain oriole, African emerald cuckoo, dusky twinspot, bush shrikes, trogons, African wood owl and many others.  Whether you’re strolling along forest trails or venturing deep into the heart of the jungle, you’ll encounter a fascinating variety of feathered inhabitants. The bird viewing can be done on different trails in the forest like Buhoma waterfall, bamboo zone, Ivy river, Mubwindi swamp, Kashasha river, areas around river Munyaga and others which enables birders have options for their watching and desired species to be seen and when.

The best time for birdwatching in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest depends on various factors such as bird activity, weather conditions, and your personal preferences. However one can go for birding at any time throughout the year including the dry season which June-September and December- February which is also often considered the best time as the vegetation is less dense making it easy to spot birds including the migratory birds which adds to the already diverse avian life; breeding season which is March-May which is a perfect time to observe breeding behaviors and nesting birds and the fruiting season which is September- November and this increases the possible viewing of different bird species as the birds are enjoying the abundant food resources available.


In addition to its incredible birdlife, Bwindi Impenetrable Forest is renowned for its breathtaking natural beauty. Towering trees, cascading waterfalls, and mist-shrouded valleys create a dramatic backdrop for birdwatching adventures. Take some time to soak in the tranquil atmosphere and immerse yourself in the sights and sounds of the forest. Whether you’re a dedicated birder or simply appreciate the wonders of nature, a birding experience in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park is sure to leave a lasting impression. From rare endemic species to stunning landscapes, Bwindi offers a truly unforgettable birding adventure in the heart of Africa.

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