Budongo Forest, nestled in the heart of Masindi district in Mid-Western Uganda, is a treasure trove for birding enthusiasts. This lush expanse of woodland, located approximately 3-4 hours’ drive en route to Murchison Falls National Park, offers a captivating journey through Uganda’s avian wonders. Encompassing a vast area of 793 square kilometers, Budongo Forest stands as the largest forest reserve, graced by ancient mahogany and ironwood trees, some reaching towering heights of 80 meters. Notably, it reigns as East Africa’s largest Mahogany forest.
One of the remarkable features of Budongo Forest is its thriving chimpanzee population, ranging from 600 to 800 individuals. However, the avian realm of this forest is equally enchanting, with a host of rare bird species awaiting discovery. Among these avian treasures are the Lemon Bellied Crombec, white-thighed hornbill, puvel’s illadopsis, and the Chocolate-backed Kingfisher. Within Budongo Forest Reserve, the prominent ecotourism sites of Kaniyo Pabidi and Busingiro beckon tourists with their unique attractions.
Two bird species found in Budongo Forest are exclusive to this region within East Africa: the Yellow-footed flycatcher and Puvel’s illadopsis. While ‘The Royal Mile’ at Busingiro is the favored hotspot for birdwatching, Kaniyo Pabidi also offers exceptional opportunities for forest birding, with its more accessible terrain.
Bird enthusiasts are in for a treat when exploring the Budongo forest trail. The forest canopy resonates with the melodies of a diverse array of avian wonders, including:
The vibrant symphony of these feathered inhabitants enhances the enchanting atmosphere of Budongo Forest, making it a must-visit destination for birdwatchers.
Royal Mile in Budongo Forest is not only home to a rich avian population but also hosts a variety of primate and mammal species. Visitors can expect to encounter chimpanzees, olive baboons, black and white Colobus monkeys, red-tailed monkeys, and antelopes such as bushbucks and duikers. Giant forest hogs and elephants add to the allure of wildlife experiences within the forest.
While the birdlife in Budongo Forest is captivating year-round, the months of February to April and September offer the most rewarding birding experiences. The period from June to September marks the main fruiting season, ensuring an abundance of food for the resident birds and the opportunity to observe many in their striking breeding plumage. Migratory birds grace the forest from November to April.
It’s worth noting that December to February witnesses the least rainfall, while April to May and September to October bring heavier rains, which may lead to road closures and slippery hiking trails. Trek Africa Tours is your trusted partner for arranging birding trips in Budongo Forest and organizing activities in Murchison Falls National Park, ensuring a seamless and memorable adventure amidst Uganda’s natural wonders.