chobe safari lodge birding murchison falls uganda (1)
Guests who wish to experience the splendour of the Murchison Falls National Park may stay at the Fort Murchison Safari Lodge, the Chobe Safari Lodge (above), the Murchison River Lodge. FILE PHOTO

For the diversity of its bird species, Murchison Falls National Park earns 4.4 stars out of 5 stars, placing it among the top birding destinations in Uganda and throughout Africa.

Murchison Falls National Park, which is best known for having the most powerful waterfall in the world is one of Uganda’s top birding destinations, boasting over 451 bird species, including unique Albertine rift birds, water birds, and savannah birds. 

Observing birds in Murchison’s stunning terrain and magnificent animals is one of the most fascinating aspects of a Ugandan safari. 

The park is located in the country’s Northwestern region, roughly 305 kilometres from Kampala and around a four-hour journey by car.

Murchison Falls National Park scores 4.4 stars out of five for its diversity of distinctive bird species, ranking it among the top birding destinations in Uganda and throughout Africa.

There are several birds in the park, including the Grey-crowned crane (Uganda’s national bird), Giant Kingfisher, Giant Heron, Shoebill stork, Abyssinian Ground Hornbills, Nightjars, Marabou stork, Black-headed lapwing, and Back-bellied Bustard.

Birds are best observed in Murchison on game drives, nature walks across savannah grasslands, and boat cruises down the Nile and on the Lake Albert Delta. 

Birds such as Blue-naped mousebirds, silver birds, and weavers can be observed among the dry thorn-shrubs near Paraa and Red chilli. Nightjars and other nocturnal birds can be spotted along the Paraa road and from a boat on the Nile. 

While having the boat cruise experience, numerous species such as black-headed lapwings, shoebills, grey crowned cranes and Goliath herons can be seen.

The perfect time for birding 

Birders can observe birds throughout the year, although the greatest time is during the dry season in January and March; this is a low tourist season in Uganda, but birding is still abundant during this period. 

Between December and February, the rains begin, but birding is still possible at the Murchison Falls National Park.

Between April and May and August and October, there are severe rains, which make birding difficult because the hiking routes become slippery and the park’s roads become unusable.

Although the shoebill is an uncommon bird, it can be seen in the park from January to March during the dry season. Between November and April, migratory birds can be spotted.

The bird species found in Murchison falls 

Shoebill at murchison park (1)
Shoebills are uncommon birds, but they are sometimes seen in the park during the dry season from January to March. PHOTO/Ariadne van Zandbergen
  • Shoebill
  • Black-billed Barbet
  • Weaver Birds
  • Long-tailed Nightjar
  • African Darter
  • Giant Kingfisher
  • Osprey
  • Long-toed Plover
  • Grey-headed Kingfisher
  • Veracious Dove
  • Black-headed Lapwing
  • Abyssinian Ground Hornbill
  • Rock Pratincole
  • African Jacana
  • Tinkerbird with a yellow front
  • Yellow-billed Stork
  • Martial Eagle
  • Silver bird
  • Grey-crowned crested crane
  • Sandpipers
  • Pied Kingfishers
  • Standard-winged Nightjar
  • Malachite Kingfishers
  • Blue-headed Coucal
  • Denham’s Bustard
  • Swamp Flycatcher
  • Giant Heron
  • African Jacana
  • Secretary Bird
  • Read-throated Bee-eater
  • Saddle-billed stork
  • Thick-kneed Senegal
  • Red-winged Grey Warbler

Birding locations within Murchison Falls National Park

Black-headed Lapwing (1)
From November to April, black-headed lapwings and other migratory birds can be seen. PHOTO/Ariadne van Zandbergen

Budongo forest

Budongo forest is home to a variety of bird species, which can be viewed during a guided nature walk when visiting Murchison Falls National Park. 

The forest is home to roughly 360 different bird species, including two endemics: the Yellow-footed Flycatcher and Puvel’s Illadopsis. 

There are several other species of birds in this forest. 

These include the Chestnut-capped Flycatcher, African dwarf kingfisher, the Ituri batis, the Black-eared ground thrush, the Blue-breasted kingfisher, the Brown twin spot, the Cassin’s hawk-eagle, the Cassin’s spinetail, the Chocolate-backed kingfisher, the Crested Guinea fowl, the Crowned Eagle and the Grey-headed Sunbird.

Delta of Lake Albert

Lake Albert Nile is the point at which the Victoria Nile empties into Lake Albert in Murchison Falls National Park’s southwestern region. 

While in this region, you can observe a variety of birds hiding in the shrubs and fronting the water’s greenery. The shoebill is the most significant. 

Others include kingfisher, woodpecker, ducks, francolin, warblers, giant malachite, grey heron, and geese. These birds are easily visible from a boat tour beneath the waterfalls.

In the vicinity of Parra and Red Chilli

Birds have also been sighted in the woods surrounding the Paraa safari resort and Red Chilli lodge in Murchison falls national park.

Kaniyo Pabidi forest

Kaniyo Pabidi forest is a major attraction in both Murchison Falls National Park and Uganda’s tourism industry

It is recognised for its birdlife, which supports birding safaris in Murchison Falls National Park. The forest is located to the northeast of Uganda’s largest indigenous forest, Budongo.

It is located 8 kilometres from the Kichumbanyobo entrance in the south part of Murchison Falls National Park

Numerous bird species call this woodland home, including the Ituri batis, yellow-footed flycatcher, white-thighed hornbill, and Puvel’s illadopsis. 

These birds are easily visible while on forest treks.

Birds are commonly noticed in Murchison national park when participating in activities such as:

  • Game drives and guided nature walks allow you to view birds such as marabou storks, Abyssinian ground hornbills, secretary birds, black-bellied bustards, and open-billed storks among the savannah vegetation and dense woodland.
  • Boat cruise where you can see a variety of waterbird species that live in dense vegetation and woodland along the river banks, including malachite kingfishers, pied gigantic malachite, francolin, grey heron, woodpecker, warblers, ducks, geese, and woodpecker.

What to bring for the birding experience

By permitting simple observation of the birds, the right equipment and fantastic technology may help make your bird watching experience in Murchison Falls national park amazing and the best of your life in the park.

These items include a birder’s guidebook, a pointer, binoculars, sunglasses, hats, sturdy shoes (for walks), and sufficient water.

Precautions about birding in Uganda

To have the best birding experience, tourists should book birding safaris through a reputable tour consultant. 

Additionally, trained game drives are suggested for safaris not only in Murchison Falls National Park but across Uganda’s protected areas.

Accommodation facilities in Murchison Falls National Park

chobe safari lodge murchison falls uganda (1)
Guests who wish to experience the splendour of the Murchison Falls National Park may stay at the Fort Murchison Safari Lodge, the Chobe Safari Lodge (above), the Murchison River Lodge. FILE PHOTO

While on safari in Murchison Falls National Park, lodging options include the Fort Murchison Safari Lodge, the Chobe Safari Lodge, the Murchison River Lodge, the Nile Safari Lodge, the Paraa Safari Lodge, the Pakuba Safari Lodge, the Murchison treehouse, geo lodges, Amuka safari lodge, and the baker’s lodge. 

These places provide nice sleeping accommodations and a variety of delectable food options.

Above all, Murchison Falls is a birder’s paradise, where visitors may observe a variety of bird species, both resident and migratory, while also enjoying the park’s scenic beauty.

Last but not least, for an all-inclusive tour experience in Uganda, view our guide to Sipi FallsKisiizi FallsMgahinga Gorilla National ParkLake Mburo National Park and Semuliki National Park.