MURCHISON FALLS NATIONAL PARK
Lat:00o00´S/00o00´W ha topography msl
Best Time for visit (September-October 2004) 384,000ha
Best Time for visit (September-October 2004)
Birding Site Guide
On the way to Murchison Falls NP, it is worth stopping at Kanio Pabidi, where species such as Grey-backed Fiscal, Narina Trogon, Fire-crested Alethe and Brown Illadopsis may be seen. Mammals such as Chimpanzee and Olive Baboon are present.
In the national park, good accommodation can be found at Red Chilli, there are brick built huts with comfortable furnishings that generally sleep two each and they have showers and there is a bar/restaurant for food and drink, here you can eat and drink during the heat of the day while still observing the abundant and sometimes tame wildlife.
Birding is done along the roads in your vehicle, but for the star bird you will have to take to the water. From the camp head to the river and take the tourist boat either one way to the falls or one of the smaller boats the other way towards Lake Albert. For the Shoebill it is better to go towards the lake, and the huge birds though thin on the ground should be readily located. With a little patience it may be possible to get close enough for photographs. A good range of other birds should be seen from either boat as well as large numbers of hippos and Nile Crocodiles.
Red Chilli is close to the ferry and birding just around here is good. Caution should be exercised at night and a vehicle used to bird. The ferry to the falls is well worth doing, as well as the fairly impressive falls there is some good birding, but to see the most sought after bird here, the huge Shoebill, requires taking a small boat to Lake Albert from the same place, and this is easily arranged.
On the ferry to the falls look for Madagascan Squacco Heron, Rock Pratincole, White-crested Turaco, Green-backed Eremomela, White-crested Helmet-Shrike and Yellow-billed Shrike. After dark look for Square-tailed Nightjar and Spotted Eagle-Owl.
When going to Lake Albert for Shoebill, look also for Goliath Heron, Saddle-billed Stork, Dark-chanting Goshawk, Ovambo Sparrowhawk, Red-necked Falcon, Swamp Flycatcher, Stanley Bustard, Senegal Thick-knee, Blue-headed Coucal, Woodland-, Malachite- and Giant Kingfishers, Swallow-tailed and Blue-breasted Bee-eaters and Slender-billed Weaver.
Other birds to search for in the park include include Heuglin’s Francolin, Levaillant’s Cuckoo, Red-throated Bee-eater, Green Wood-hoopoe, Abyssinian Ground Hornbill, Black-billed Barbet, Spotted Morning Thrush, Pale Flycatcher, Silverbird, Croaking-, Rattling and Siffling Cisticolas, Red-winged Grey Warbler, Northern Crombec, Moustached Grass-Warbler, Black-headed Batis, Tropical Boubou, Northern Puffback, Chestnut-crowned Sparrow-Weaver, Orange Bishop and this is the only site for White-rumped Seedeater.
Around Red Chili camp there should be species such as Spotted Morning Thrush, Red-winged Grey Warbler, Beautiful Sunbird and Little Weaver.
A drive around to the north bank of the falls (with a park staff member) can produce some different species, in the Acacia savannas and other habitats, look for Martial Eagle, Grey Kestrel, Grey-crowned Crane, Stanley and Black-bellied Bustards, African Cuckoo, Cardinal Woodpecker, Flappet Lark, White-browed Coucal, Verreaux’s Eagle-Owl. This is the best site for Black Scimitarbill. Spot-flanked and Double-toothed Barbets, Black-winged Pratincole, Long-toed and Black-headed Lapwings and Spur-winged Plover, White-browed Scrub-Robin, Foxy-, Zitting-, Singing- and Rattling Cisticolas, Speckle-fronted-, Spectacled Weaver, Northern Crombec, Buff-bellied Warbler, Black Cuckoo-Shrike, Piapiac, Lesser Blue-eared Starling, White-browed Sparrow-Weaver, Black-winged Bishop, Viteline Masked Weaver, Red-winged Pytilia, Bar-breasted Firefinch, Black-rumped Waxbill, African Quailfinch and Brown-rumped Bunting. Grey-cheeked Mangabey, Vervet Monkey, Grey Baboon, African Elephant, hippopotamus, Warthog, Bushpig, Giraffe, Jackson’s Hartebeast, Bushbuck, Common Waterbuck, Kob, Oribi, African Buffalo and Side-striped Ground-Squirrel. Red-headed Lizard, Monitor Lizard.