Bird watching in Mgahinga national park
Bird watching in Mgahinga national park: Mgahinga national park is a small of 33.9 sq. km in southwestern Uganda. The national park was gazetted in 1991 to protect endangered mountain gorillas, vegetation, and other wildlife species which include birds. The national park is famous for mountain gorillas but so many wildlife species live within the park among which include 180 bird species, and 76 mammals.
Not so many people know Mgahinga national park for bird watching activities but trust me it’s a birder’s haven. There are over 180 bird species within the forest of Mgahinga national park and 14 of these are endemic to the Albertine rift region. Mgahinga national park is one of the areas tourists that love birds can visit more so if they are on a mountain gorilla or golden monkey trekking tour.
The bird watching experience in Mgahinga national park
On the day of bird watching, bird lovers gather for a briefing from their ranger guide where they learn the rules and regulations of bird watching. Bird watching is carried out in the morning and evening hours and it’s done in form of nature walks. Bird lovers are taken through different birding trails searching for different bird species.
Birding trails of Mgahinga national park include the bamboo trail, George trail, and several others. During the search for birds in Mgahinga national park, bird lovers are asked to keep silent so as not to scare away the birds. When a bird is spotted, a guide gives you enough time to do photography and record videos. By the time you end the walking trail, you would have seen a number of bird species that live in Mgahinga national park.
Birds to see in Mgahinga Gorilla Park
Bird watching activities in Mgahinga national park do give tourists an opportunity to see some of the 180 bird species recorded here and even migratory birds if you visit the park from November to April. 14 of the 180 bord species recorded in Maghunga national park are endemic to the Albertine rift region.
Birds of Mgahinga national park do include Kivu ground thrush, Dusky turtle dove, olive pigeon, double-colored sunbird, alpine chat, handsome francolin, ladgen’s bushshrike, brown crowned tchagra, mackinnon’s fiscal, black kite, Rwenzori turaco, cape robin chat, Rwenzori batis, white starred robin, banded prinia, narina tragon, strange weaver, Rwenzori night jar, grey capped warbler, white starred robin, speckled mouse bird, blue-headed coucal, dusky crimson wing, yellow vented bulbul, and lagden’s bushshrike
Buff spotted flufftail, cinnamon bracken warbler, montane double collared sunbird, chubb’s cisticola, moorland chat, scarlet tufted malachite sunbird, speckled mousebird, scarlet tufted malachite sunbird, cinnamon bracken warbler, red-billed fire finch, cinnamon bracken warbler, ibis, strange weaver, white-necked raven, white-eyed slaty flycatcher, pin tailed whydah, African paradise flycatcher, waxbills, cinnamon chested bee-eater, regal sunbird among others.
How much is a bird watching permit in Mgahinga national park?
To be part of the bird watching team in Mgahinga Gorilla Park you need a bird watching permit. This permit can be got from Uganda wildlife authority offices or from Ntebeko Visitors Centre. A single bird watching permit in Mgahinga national park does cost $30 for foreign non-residents, $25 for foreign residents, and UGX20,000 citizens of East African member states.
Best time for birding in Mgahinga national park
Tourists can do birding in Mgahinga national park all throughout the year but certain months are better than the rest. November to April gives out the best bird watching activities in Mgahinga Gorilla Park because migratory birds from areas like Europe and Asia are within the park which means you will see more bird species.
June to September and December to February are also good for bird watching in Mgahinga Gorilla Park. The fact that birding is done in form of nature walks and there is little or no rainfall received in the park means that the trails will be dry and easier to navigate. Vegetation is short with good views of bird species and roads leading to the park are in a good state.
During the rainy season, bird watching in Mgahinga is still good the fact that there is plenty of food for birds and birders get to see them everywhere. The rainy season has an issue of rainfall which makes walking trails muddy and slippery, the vegetation is tall with unclear views of wildlife, and roads leading to the park are in poor conditions.
Things you need to pack for birding trips in Mgahinga national park
Bird lovers visiting Mgahinga national park have a lot of things they can pack for bird watching and among these include a light rain jacket, a sweater, a light backpack, a bird guide book, waterproof hiking shoes, a pair of gaiters, long cotton stocks, good camera, a pair of binoculars, a hat, insect repellents, a drinking water bottle, energy giving snacks, long-sleeved shirts, and long-sleeved shorts to mention but a few.