Birding In Murchison Falls
Murchison falls National Park is the largest park in Uganda and is home to up to 450 species of both migrant which are into 2, the Palearctic migrants from northern Europe that as here from September to March and the Intra African migrants which are both vertical and horizontal together with the resident and breeding bird species that are around through the year. Murchison Falls National park being dominated by the woodland and grassland savannah all well-nourished with rivers and lake shores teaming with the riverine forests make birding in the park very enjoyable, no wonder is has been voted many times as the 3rd best birding spot on the African continent.
There are different birding activities that the park offers and these give assurance for the best bird sightings and mostly done during boat rides on the Victoria Nile towards the bottom of the falls and downstream towards the delta area. With the exception of birding, game viewing on these boat rides is exceptional schools of hippos in their hundreds not leaving out some of the largest crocodiles left in Africa, small herds of buffalo and African Elephant come down to the waters in the hot hours of the day, waterbuck and other antelopes.
The boat safari downstream from the newly finished bridge along the Victoria Nile towards the Delta of Albert is among the bird watchers highlights as it offers perhaps the best opportunity to see the highly sought after bird in Uganda – the Shoebills than anywhere in Africa, particularly during the rainy season, all these boats combined, expect birds like Spur-winged & Egyptian Geese, Common Squacco, Goliath & Purple Herons, Little, Intermediate, Great, & Black Egrets, African Darter, Long-tailed Cormorant, Saddle Billed and Yellow-billed Stork, Glossy, Sacred & Hadada Ibises, White-faced & Fulvous Whistling Ducks, African Fish Eagle, Marsh Harriers, African Jacana, , Senegal Thick-knee, pairs and at times small parties of Rock Pratincole, Spur-winged & Long-toed Lapwings, the seasonal Osprey, Grey-headed Gull, Gull-billed Tern, African Skimmer, and Pied Kingfisher, the spectacular and massive Giant Kingfisher, colonies of breeding Red-throated Bee-eaters and on very lucky days with a kin guide we have found the Pel’s Fishing Owl among other bird species on these launch cruises.
The Migrating species from the northern tropics like the medium sized Abdim’s Stork that converge in the park from March to May in large numbers, the Grasshopper Buzzards, and a few sightings of the Southern Carmine Bee-eaters are among the common Intra African migrants and this is also a good time for winter visitors to Uganda during the cold seasons in the countries they migrate from and it is often in the months of November to April. For a tourist interested in bird watching, those are the best months to visit the park as it will be dawned with variety, but June, July and August still remain the peak months for tourist activities in Murchison Falls National Park, trust the Journeys Uganda team in putting up a great birding safaris for you with its expert and energetic birding guides.
Best Bird Watching Places In Murchison Falls National Park.
It is the biggest and most interesting forest bird habitat in this conservation area having up to 360 bird species. The western part of the forest has 2 birding sports, the Royal mile where the King of Bunyoro held many ceremonies and the Busingiro section. Birding here at its best produces species like; Blue Breasted, African Dwarf, African Pygmy and Chocolate-backed Kingfisher, Brown-eared and Yellow Crested Woodpecker, Dusky long-tailed, African Emerald, Red Chested and Klaas’s Cuckoo, Crowned Hawk Eagle, Grey, Forest and Chestnut Capped Flycatcher, Rufous Flycatcher-Thrush, Olive Green and Yellow-browed Camaroptera, Yellow and Grey Longbills, Narina Trogon, Rufous-crowned Eremomera, White-spotted Flufftail, Lemon-bellied and Green Crombec,, Black-headed and African Paradise Flycatcher, Little Green, Superb, Collared, Blue-throated Brown and Green Sunbird, White-Breasted and Grey-headed Negrofinch, Western Black-headed Oriole, Red-tailed Ant-Thrush, Forest Robin, Brown and Scaly-breasted Illadopsis, Tit Hylia, Yellow-mantled Weaver, Crested Malimbe and Red-headed Bluebill, Cassin’s Hawk Eagle, Xavier’s, Ictrine, Slender-billed, White-throated, Spotted, Plain, Spotted and Toro Olive Greenbul, Ituri Batis, Uganda Woodland Warbler, Blue-throated Roller among others all are best seen on nature walks in the forest.
Given the landforms that have been created by the deposition of sediments carried by the Victoria Nile from Lake Kyoga the convergence zoneof Lake Albert there are shallow area left that form the delta which is important for wading birds, this part of Murchison Falls National Park is well interlinked with maintained Buligi, Victoria and Delta truck that provide excellent game and bird viewing opportunities for the massive Shoebill, flocks of African Skimmers are periodically sighted, Pink Backed Pelicans, the Cormorant like Darter, African Jacana, Squacco, Grey and Goliath Heron, Gulls, Terns, Ducks, Marsh Harriers, Plovers and Ibises all punctuate the fringes of the delta area where the waters are shallow.
Kaniyo Pabidi forest
Located in the southern part and easily accessed through the Kichombonyobo gate as you enter Murchison Falls National Park, it serves as a habitant to primates, antelopes and many bird species that can best be viewed on very early or late evening nature walks.
Kaniyo Pabidi is a magical birding hot spot in Uganda as it is the only place in Central East Africa where the Shy and skulking Puvel’s Illadpsis can be sighted, this Illadopsis very Similar to others can best be located and distinguished by voice in company of Journeys Uganda unmatchable and comparable safari guides, much as the Puvel’s if the highlight, other forest species as always heard and seen including the Crested Guinea-fowls, the endangered and unusual Nahan’s Partridge, Rufous Sided Broadbill, White-thighed Hornbill and the key and rare species. You will get to see and hear some primates like chimpanzees and this is a big home range to many troops, Red Tailed Monkeys and the always guilty Olive Baboon.
Best Time To Do Birding In Murchison Falls National Park
Murchison falls national park is the second best birding site in Uganda and has over 440 bird species, both migrant and breeding resident species. Given that the migrating Palearctic bird species are in the park between late September and early April then the biggest number of Intra African migrants are here from late April to November making a good timing for bird watchers interested in species of the African continent, given the above, it is very heard to choose when to bird Murchison Falls National park but given the experience of our director -Paul Tamenya who has led bird watching trips in all corners of Uganda, Rwanda, Southern Kenya and Northern Tanzania, to maximize on the sightings, he advises the months of June, July, August, December, January and February respectively. However, given that Uganda’s weather is very conducing and birding activities cannot be interrupted even in the rainy seasons, Murchison falls national park can be birded at any time of the year.
To have the best out of your birding trip to Murchison Falls National Park, take time and prepare, finding a good, committed, energetic and professional guide should be and the apex as he will find you species and make this your dream birding destination, come along with the East African guide book by Terry Stevenson and Fanshawe, we advise 2 pairs of binoculars is the trip is long, a laser pointer, good hiking boots, camera to have evidence of the birds sighted outside your memory for would be birding clients and sharing shots with the birding world, Playback, A backpack to carry water, snacks, extra batteries while walking and any other things you deem necessary for your memorable birding safari.