Are you looking for that excellent safari destination with diverse bird species and you do not know where to go? For bird enthusiasts, Murchison Falls National Park is remarkably one of the most exceptional destinations that offer refuge to diverse birdlife for you to explore while on a safari in Uganda. The park is situated about 90 kilometers off Masindi town northwest of Uganda and covers an area of about 3840 square kilometers which also makes it the country’s largest protected area. Its expansive size comes with several habitats where distinct birds are inhabited. Murchison Falls National Park derived its name from the one of the most powerful waterfalls-Murchison Fall and it ranks the 9th best birding area in Africa. Its varied vegetation features mostly savanna, Riverine forests and woodland that also come with variety of wildlife and birdlife.
About 460 bird species call Murchison Falls National Park their home plus over 76 species of mammals. Murchison Falls Conservational Area comprises of the Bugungu and Karuma Falls Wildlife Reserves. This protected area features about 20 species from 3 non qualifying biomes, 11 species of the Guinea Congo forests, six afro tropical highland species and three Somali-Maasai biome River Nile. The Nile along the park features dense population of hippos, crocodiles and several of aquatic birdlife like African skimmer, African fish eagle and the shoebill stork that is usually spotted at River banks.
To spot out most of the aquatic birdlife in this park, a launch cruise is the best choice for you to undertake. The notable bird species for you to catch a glimpse at include the blue napped mouse birds, silver bird, grey crowned crane, bluff bellied warblers, Goliath heron, black headed Gonolek, black headed batis, green winged ptyilia, long toed plover, chestnut crowned sparrow weaver, white backed night heron, pel’s fishing owl, standard winged nightjar, long tailed and pennant winged nightjars, verreaux’s owls, saddle billed stork, African darter, abdim’s stork, white faced whistling duck, osprey, secretary bird, martial eagle, dark chanting goshawk, spotted mourning thrush, Hugli’s francolin, Denham’s bustard, Malachite kingfishers, Senegal thick knee, spotted thick knee, Vitelline masked weaver and many more.
The notable birding sites within Murchison Falls National Park include the Red Chili Rest Camp and the Nile Safari Lodge area. Game drives and boat cruises are the best ways for bird watchers to easily catch a glimpse at variety of the birdlife right from savanna, aquatic and Albertine rift endemics. The commonly spotted birds include the black bellied bustards, open billed storks, widow bird, Abyssinian ground hornbill, secretary birds and marabou stork. Whereas next to the river, the notable birds for one to sight include the Red throated bee eaters swallow tailed bee eaters which can be spotted at the Nyamusika cliffs, the woodland, the pied, giant and malachite kingfishers, francolins, hamerkop, shrikes, flycatchers, cuckoos, woodpeckers, Crombec and others.
Murchison Falls National Park is situated between altitude 650 and 1292 meters and it is also famous for its big game in Africa especially the African lions, leopards, buffaloes, elephants as well as the rhinos in the Ziwa rhino sanctuary that make a complete list of the big five game in Uganda.
Birding safaris to Murchison Falls National Park attract bird lovers who are interested in looking out for the elusive shoebills that can be best spotted during the dry spell from January to March.
In conclusion, Murchison Falls National Park is one of Uganda’s birding paradises that you should consider in your bucket list. The park offers wide range of birdlife for you to explore right from forest birds, savanna species, aquatic birdlife and many more.