Birding Safaris & Bird Watching in Murchison Falls Park
Birding in Murchison Falls Park, Bird Watching in Murchison Falls, Uganda Birding Safaris to Murchison Falls, Shoebill, Marabou stocks, Secretary bird, Handsome francolins, Chapin’s flycatcher, Safari Activities in Murchison Falls, Uganda Activities in Murchison Falls Park. Birding in Murchison Falls National Park is one of the memorable activities you can have on Uganda safari tours. The park contains 451 species of birds that thrive in the varied environments within the park posing a rich ground for birding adventures in Murchison. The birding activity can be arranged as an activity of its own though it can also be done on the game drives and the boat cruise.
The savannah landscapes, water logged environments along the Nile and the forested landscapes of the south present ideal birding encounters for birders on Uganda safari tours. The vulnerable shoe bill stork which dates back in the pre historic era thrive along the banks of the Nile and the best period to encounter it is between January and March. A range of other bird species that can be encountered include; grey crowned crane, White headed vulture, Abyssinian ground horn bill, Black headed lapwing and Senegal thick- knee among others.
Shoebill – Birding in Murchison Falls Park: The shoe bill is also called the whale head bird given its large shoe shaped bill. The shoe bill has a height ranging from 110-140cm or 43-55in with also a body length of 100- 140cm or 39-55in and a wingspan 230-260cm or 7ft7in-8ft6in. the male shoe bill is larger than its female counterparts with male having an average weight of 5.6kg or 12Ib while the females weigh 4.9kg or 11Ib. The shoe bill can be distinctively identified by its signature large bulbous bill that has greyish markings on it. this bill has a length of 18.8-24cm or 7.4-9.4in measured along the upper mandible. The shoe bill mandible is very hard as it is made out of keratin and it has sharp edges which enable this bird to decapitate its prey.
The shoe bill also has long dark legs that have 21.7-25.5cm of length with large feet as its middle toe can measure up to 16.8-18.5cm or 6.6-7.3in. and this enables to stand on water vegetation when it goes fishing. Adult shoe bills have a blue grey color with darker slaty grey flight feathers. The shoe bill stock is not known for flying long distances as it usually flies between 100-500m or 330-1640ft when flashed or scared. Their wings are highly adapted to soaring and they have low flap rate that can only go up to 150 flaps per minute. The shoebill has a lifespan of about 35 years in their natural habitat. Both male and female shoe bill participate in nest building, incubation and chick rearing. Their incubation period is 30 days and usually lay between 1-3 eggs per mating season.
Marabou stocks – Birding in Murchison Falls Park: The marabou stock is a large bird that can be identified using its large size, bare head and neck, back and white underparts, it also has a huge bill with a pink gular sac on its throat. it has a body height of 152cm or 60in and it can weigh between 4.5-8kgor 9.9-17.6Ib. the marabou stock has a long bill measuring at 120-130cm or 47-51inand a matching wingspan of 225-287cm or 7-9ft.
Secretary bird – Birding in Murchison Falls Park: This bird has an eagle like body but with its legs resembling those of a crane due to their long nature. The secretary bird has a body length of 1.3m or 4.3ft. it has a body length of 112-152cm or 44-60in. and weighs between 2.3-5kg or 5.1-11Ib. The bird has a white plumage while the wings and thighs are black
Handsome francolins – Birding in Murchison Falls Park: This bird species has a dark reddish brown plumage, grey head, red legs and bills with a rufous grey under part and brown iris. The younger handsome francolin has a duller plumage but in adulthood both male and female birds look the same with a wing spans of up to 35 cm long.
Chapin’s flycatcher – Birding in Murchison Falls Park: Chapin’s fly catcher has a body length of 12-13cm. the male Chapin’s fly catcher is warm olive- brown above, the area around the eyes and the lores is dusky greyish with narrow pale grey-white supraloral line. This species of birds makes a thin and soft “tsseet, tsseet” voice call that also has a short and buzzy trill which is difficult to hear.
Activities in Murchison Falls National Park.
Murchison falls offers a variety of activities to guests that visit and these include game drives, white water rafting, chimpanzee tracking, bird watching, boat cruise or launch trips, nature walks, hot air ballooning and community encounters but for any of these activities to be conducted a park entrance fee has to be paid at any of the park offices and this fee is 40$ foreign nonresidents adults while children 20$, 30$foreign residents adults while children 10$, 20000ugx east African citizens adults while children 5000ugx, 5000 local university students and high school students and 3000ugx for local primary pupils.
Attractions in Murchison falls national park
Murchison falls national park has a myriad of attractions and these include: Murchison falls, over 3000 African elephants, largest concentration of Nile crocodiles, lions that are occasionally sighted, a variety of antelope species, Africa’s tallest mammals the giraffes, primates like chimpanzees and monkeys and a bird species count of over 400
Accessing Murchison falls park.
This park can be accessed using both road and air transport.
With road transport, there are three main routes that are used;
Kampala- Masindi-through Kichumbayobo gate. This route is approximately 305 km or 5 hours’ drive. This passes through the Kaniyo and Padibi forests to paraa. This is the shortest route to the park.
Kamapala- Masindi through Bugungu gate. This route is approximately 400km or 6.5 hours’ drive. This route offers a view of the escarpment of the western arm of the great east African rift valley and also lake albert can be viewed on your to Paraa.
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