Bird Watching at Mgahinga Gorilla National Park
Among the thrilling encounters to undertake on your visit to Mgahinga Gorilla National Park is bird watching. Primarily, the park is famous for conservation programs for the mountain gorillas and being an endemic host of the golden monkeys in Uganda, a place where “gold meets silver.”
Mgahinga is the smallest of the national parks in Uganda, covering an area of 33.7 km2. The park is among the special places that experience the highest altitude in Uganda, between 2,227m and 4,1127m. It features a rolling landscape mainly known for the three major volcanoes of Gahinga, Sabinyo, and Muhavura. Mgahinga in this is a stretcher from the major Virunga Conservation Area seated in the arrays of the Albertine Rift Valley.
The park features a wider range of vegetation covers that range from open grasslands, lowland closed and humid montane forests, swamps, bamboos, and alpine vegetation. Mgahinga is a bit of a remote destination, but it stands out for having a long checklist of flora and fauna. There is limited attention from researchers; the main focus of the recent notice was only on mountain gorillas. However, today there are open opportunities, among which is a long checklist of bird species.
Mgahinga Gorilla National Park is a birder’s haven; the paradise accommodates a greater number of bird species. It’s recorded to have about 185 bird species, and 14 of the species are recorded to be endemic to the Albertine Rift Valley.
Notable Bird Species at Mgahinga Gorilla National Park
When visiting Mgahinga for birding purposes, expect to encounter several of them, among which are the Ruwenzori Turaco, Ruwenzori Night Jar, Regal Sun Bird, Stone Chat, and Red-faced Woodland Warbler. African hill warblers, Kivu ground thrash, handsome Francolin, crowned hornbills, montane scooty babou, chubs cisticola, green tinker bird, and olive woodpecker, among others,
The best time to go Birding at Mgahinga
The best time to walk in the tropical forests searching for birds would be in the dry months. Mgahinga, being a birding spot, can be visited throughout the year. However, months with limited rainfall suggest that this is the best time to watch birds. The months of March to May have the highest rainfall reception, and August to November receive reasonable rainfall. The grounds are wet, muddy, and slippery to walk through and watch birds in the moist forests. It’s a bit difficult to go into the forest to search for bird species. Then, December to February, which are drier with limited rainfall, are mainly open for this hiking and sloping adventure. And the months of June to August are still better.
How’s the birding at Mgahinga?
Mgahinga Gorilla National Park is managed by the Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA), the state agency responsible for all adventures done at Mgahinga Gorilla National Park. UWA has a staff of well-trained, knowledgeable, and experienced birding ranger guides. On a big day of tracing bird species, you’re led by one of the armed ranger guides to ensure that all is well. There are several birding trails that are taken for birding purposes. The most popular birding trail is the Sabinyo Gorge Trail; then there is the Bamboo Trail, the Buffalo Wall Trail, and the Border Trail.
What to pack for birding at Mgahinga National Park
Endeavor to have the following pack when opting for a birding safari at Mgahinga: jungle hiking boots, a long-sleeved shirt, binoculars, a camera, enough drinking water, a first aid box, insect repellant, a birding guide book, a rain jacket, and a waterproof bag.