Birding In Lake Mburo

Birding sites in Uganda: Lake Mburo National Park

Lake Mburo National Park is found in Kiruhura district in western Uganda. It is the smallest savannah national park and is situated about 240km west of Kampala-the capital of Uganda. It has a variety of wildlife and over 300 bird species.

Lake Mburo covers an area of about 370 sq. km, and stands at an altitude range of 1220 to 1828m above sea level.

Vegetation in the park is dominated by tall grass Savannah with some acacia and Euphorbia trees, dense thorn thickets along the water courses, and some taller mixed woodland. The moist acacia savannah, rocky ridges, Savannah grasslands, lakes and papyrus swamps, forests are habitat to many different species of birds and animals. 20% of the park is comprised of wetland habitats.

Birder’s paradise?

With over 300 bird species, Lake Mburo National park is something of a birder’s paradise. Some of the more common birds, those that are often seen on walks or drives through the park include;
the Red-necked Spur fowl, Arrow marked Babler, Crested Francolin, Emerald spotted wood Dove, Brown Parrot, Trilling Cisticola, Yellow-Breasted Apalis, Northern Black Flycatcher Barefaced Go-away -bird, Blue-napped and Speckled Mouse bird, Lilac-breasted and Broad-billed Roller, and Green Wood-hoopoe, common scimitarbill, African Grey Hornbill, Spot-flanked Barbet, Nubian Woodpecker,, Chin-spot Batis, Greater Blue-eared starling and Marico sunbird. You are likely to see most of these as you drive to Rwonyo Camp. There is a woodland near the camp which is home to these different bird species.

Lake Mburo is famous for being a home to hundreds of zebras. You can do some birding on the zebra tracks as well. You will see bird species such as: the impressive northern ground horn bill which is seen in grasslands every once in a while, the Coqui Francolin, Red-necked Spur fowl, Black-bellied Bustard, Temminck’s Courser, African Wattled Plover, Rufous-Naped and lapped Larks, Rufous-chested Swallow, Yellow-throated Long claw and Southern Red Bishop. You might also see some migratory Brown-chested Plover in the grassland around the Mirti Valley trail. With some spotlighting you might get to see some nocturnal birds such as the African Scops Owl; Verreaux’s Eagle-Owl and Fiery-necked, White-tailed and Pennant-winged Night jars.

20% of the park is comprised of wetlands. There are five lakes within the park’s borders and these are all habitats for different birds. There are some swamps as well.

The water habitats in the park also have some interesting bird life. The Kyempitsi trail leads to some of these habitats around Lake Mburo. In the swamps along the lake, you will see some Papyrus Gonolek and a few other birds. If you are lucky you might get to see the elusive and much sought after Shoebill stork. There are some more birding spots along the “lakeside trail” .

There are several birds to be seen around Lakeside campground. Some of the species you will find here include; African Darter, Water Thicknee, Hamerkop, African Water Rail, Spur-winged Plover, Giant, Pied and Malachite kingfishers, and Yellow-throated Leaf love. It is also the best spot to see the African Fin foot in Uganda.

After birding around Lake Mburo, you move on to the Kigambira Loop. The Kigambira loop is an area covered with taller, mixed woodland, an has several habitats. The Red-faced barbet which is the park’s most sought after bird is found in this birding spot. Other birds found here include the Black-collared barbet, Red-headed lovebird, Narina Trogon, White-winged Tit and Finfoot, Green Wood-hoopoe, Common Scimitarbill, Lead-coloured Flycatcher, Green-capped Eremomela and the Black Cuckoo-shrike.

Lake Mburo National Park has about 35 species of raptors too, these include: African Marsh Harrier, Black-chested, Brown and Banded snake, Bateleur, African Harrier Hawk, African White-backed, Reppell’s Griffon, Lappet-faced and white headed Vultures, Tawny, Steppe, African Hawk, Long-Crested and Martial Eagles, Grey Kestrel, Shikra, Gabar and Dark chanting Goshawks, Lizard and Augur Buzzards and African Fish.

There is more to this amazing park than birding, although the birding is very interesting. The park is home to antelopes, topi, impalas, oribi, defassa waterbuck, hippos, hyenas and leopards. On your Uganda safari, enjoy some game viewing as well, when you go birding in this small amazing park. Take pictures to capture the memories and simply have fun!


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