Birding in Mabira Forest

Uganda birding sites: Mabira forest Reserve

Mabira forest is a beautiful and serene rain forest found along the Kampala-Jinja highway. It is one of the most famous forests in Uganda . Its proximity to Kampala makes it quite popular with tourists. It is located in Buikwe district between Jinja and Lugazi (20km from Jinja and 54km from Kampala), and covers an area of about 30,000 hectares (about 300 sq. km). It exists at an altitude range of 1070-1340km above sea level an has a vegetation composition of 78% Forest, 18% Savannah, 2% Terrestrial/Artificial vegetation. It is the largest block of moist semi-deciduous forest left in the central region of the country and has been a protected reserve since 1932.
Mabira forest reserve is home to over 300 bird species, with 74 of the 144 guinea-Congo forest biome species that occur in Uganda. It is also a habitat for over 300 species of trees including the Diphasia angolensis which cannot be found anywhere in Uganda and five tree species which are of international conservation concern. These are; the Cordia Millenii, Irvingia gabonensis, Entandrophragma angolense, Milicia Exelsa, and the Lovoa Swynnertonii. The forest also has several medicinal plants, and is known as a source of rubber.

Birding in Mabira

With over 300 bird species, the Mabira forest reserve is a very good birding spot. It has over 10km of well maintained trail systems for birding nature walks. The forest has a number of Guinea-Congo forest biome bird species such as; Black shouldered Nightjar, Nahan’s Francolin, Capuchin Babbler, Yellow and Grey Long-bills, Yellow-mantled weaver. There are also about four species of afro-tropical highland birds and one specie of Sudan-Guinea Savannah biome. Some of the other birds you are likely to see on a birding safari in mabira include: the blur throated roller, African dwarf kingfisher, white-bellied kingfisher, Forest woodhoopoe, African pied hornbill, Jameson and chestnut wattle eyes, the Forest robin, Fire-crested Alethe, Red-capped robin chat, Cassin’s Hawk, White Spotted Flufftail, Yellow-billed Barbet, Cassin’s Honey-guide, Buff Spotted Wood pecker, Brown-eared Woodpecker, Golden-crowned Woodpecker, Speckled Tinker bird, Yellow – throated Tinkerbird, Yellow-spotted Barbet, Gray Parrot, Dusky Long Tailed Cuckoo, red-tailed bristlebil, Little greenbul, Honeyguide greenbul, Sooty boubou, Grey-green bush-shrike, Cassin’s hawk eagle, Grey parrot, Sabine’s spine-tail, Cassin’s spine-tail and so many more.

While the bird life in Mabira is very rich, there is more to see in the forest reserve than the numerous bird species. This forest is nature at its best and has a lot of wildlife, and trees and exotic plants. It is the perfect place to visit if you are looking to get away from the hustle and bustle of the city and experience some peace and quiet as you enjoy nature in all its beauty.

In Mabira, you will see some wild animals such as: blue duikers, red-tailed monkeys, Grey-cheeked mangabees, red-tailed monkeys, vervet monkeys, bush pigs, and many others. The forest also has over 200 species of trees, patches of grassland, a number of papyrus swamps, some simple beautiful streams and a peaceful waterfall. It is a good camping and picnic spot.

This beautiful portion of nature has faced several threats over the years from parties interested inn agricultural extension, energy production and mining, over exploitation and control of species, pollution and so much more, but it thankfully, has survived and is still standing.

Although located between two urban centers, Mabira has managed preserve its natural beauty and that is one of its best selling points. It’s location makes it a perfect get away and relaxation destination. On a birding safari in Mabira, you can enjoy nature walks along the various trails in the forest, picnics, camps, see some wildlife and explore an study various trees and plants.

A birding trip to Mabira forest reserve is well worth the time and effort. The forest clearly has a lot to offer as a tourist destination and you can enjoy most of it when you go birding.


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