Uganda is set to host the fourth Africa Birding Expo at the Entebbe Botanical Gardens from December 10 to 12.
The expo aims to create awareness and build Uganda as a premium birding destination.
The expo, which started in 2016, is an initiative of Bird Uganda Safaris to market birding to local and international tourists.
Birding is one of the fastest-growing tourism niche businesses in the world.
At the launch of the expo at Uganda Museum last week, Mr Herbert Byraruhanga, the founder of Bird Uganda Safaris, said the growth of the expo has earned them membership with the prestigious World Bird Fair Council, a global body that promotes birding events across the world.
Uganda hosts 1,083 bird species, and holds 73 percent of East Africa’s bird population, 52 percent of Africa’s bird species, and 11 percent of world’s birds species.
Some of Uganda’s popular and beautiful birds include the grey crowned crane, shoebill stork, Shelley’s crimson wing, great blue turaco, bar-tailed Trogon, Green-breasted Pitta, African Green Broadbill, African Green Broadbill, and the Standard-winged Nightjar.
The country’s popular birding destinations include the Mabamba Wetland where the shoebill stork is commonly sighted, the Karamoja area, the Bugondo Forest-Royal Mile and Busingiro Section. Others are Kibale National Park, Lake Mburo National Park, Mabira Forest Reserve, the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest and National Park, which is also home of the sought-after mountain gorillas.
It is estimated that an international birder who visits Uganda for birding excursions will stay for 21 days during which he or she will spend an estimated $7,000 which accounts for about Shs24m spent on transport, accommodation, payment to safari or tour companies, and feeding.
Mr Byaruhanga called for creating community awareness to protect some of the endangered bird species such as the Fox’s Weaver, the grey crowned crested crane and the shoebill.
Some of the expo activities will include pre and post-birding tours, familiarisation trips, clinics, walks, photography, exhibitions, and training.