The 9th ranking of Africa’ birding spots, is 90km from Masindi town in the northwestern part of Uganda. This is the largest amongst all national parks in Uganda. It protects a variety of untamed African savannah!
Murchison Falls National Park of Uganda got its name from the dramatic Murchison Falls which are found within the park. These falls are spectacular and are formed at a point where the world's longest river explodes through a narrow gorge and flows down to become a river. Its banks are thronged with plenty of wild life from Mammals to birds and Reptiles. The vegetation is characterised by Savannah, riverine forest and woodland. A large number of mammals are found in this area: include Lions, Leopards, Elephants, Giraffes, Cape buffaloes, Hartebeests, Oribis, Uganda kobs, name it. Rabongo Forest which is situated in the South-east of the park is home to a number of primates such as Chimpanzees and other rainforest creatures.
The Park boasts of a rich avi-fauna, with a Checklist of up to 460 bird species and 76 mammal species due to its large size and wide range of habitats. It is certain that the birds Checklist list is incomplete and many additions can be expected with more intensive research. The Murchison falls National Park together with Bugungu and Karuma Falls Wildlife Reserves form the Murchison Falls Protected Area.
The Park supports 20 species from three non-qualifying biomes: 11 species of the Guinea–Congo Forests, 6 species of the Afro tropical Highlands and 3 of the Somali–Masai biome.River Nile
The Nile itself hosts one of Africa's densest hippos and crocodile populations, and a dazzling variety of water birds such as the African Fish Eagle, African Skimmer and the elusive Shoebill stork which can easily be seen at the banks of the river. A boat cruise to the delta is a highlight for an avid birdwatcher. Other bird species that can be seen on a birding Safari include the Silver Bird, Blue-napped Mouse birds, Grey-crowned Crane, Bluff-bellied Warblers, Goliath Heron, Black-headed Batis, Black-headed Gonolek, Green-winged Ptyilia, Chestnut-crowned Sparrow-weaver, Long-toed Plover, Vitelline Masked Weaver, Saddle-billed Stork, Spotted Mourning Thrush, Spotted and Verreaux’s Owls, Long-tailed and Pennant-winged Nightjars, standard-winged Nightjar, White-backed Night Heron and Pel’s Fishing Owl.
Fishing is available in the river above and below the falls, Nile Perch and tiger-fish provide an exciting challenge to anglers. Do bring your own fishing equipment.
Nature walks are offered at Rabongo Forest, top of the fall and Kaniyo Pabidi. Murchison Falls Conservation Area offers the opportunity to explore the wild on foot.
A trail at Paraa winds through riverine forest, gullies and low hills. Animals, birds and plants can be closely and quietly observed.
Shoebill Balaeniceps rex
Diet: Lungfishes, Catfish, Tilapia, Frogs, Reptiles, and small mammal
Habitat and feeding: Swamps, marshes, particular floating vegetation, generally muddy areas on fresh water bodies
The Shoebill is a massive bird, growing to heights of 3-1/2ft to 4-1/2ft tall.
The birds nest solitarily, laying one to three eggs in a large flat nest built amid swamp grasses or sedges, usually in remote areas. These eggs measure 80 to 90 mm high by 56 to 61 mm and weigh around 164 g. It takes 140 days of nest-attendance to get from new-laid egg to independent offspring and it takes three to four years to get from newly independent offspring to mature adult.
This species is considered to be one of the five most desirable birds in Africa by ornithologists.