Birding In Mgahinga National park
Mgahinga Gorilla National Park is part of the Virunga conservation area that was gazzeted in 1991. The Virunga conservation area has over 250 bird species recorded and Mgahinga on its own has a record of 115 bird species which makes it a better bird watching than other places in the virunga conservation area.
Some of these species are endemic to the Albertine Rift Mountains. Notable bird species include; White-necked raven, Black kite, Pin-tailed whydah, Double-collared sunbird, Speckled mouse bird, Paradise flycatcher, Ibis, Whydah, Speckled Mouse birds, Fire Finch Stonechat, Grey Capped Warbler, Waxbills, Alpine, Archer’s robin-chat, Blue-headed coucal, Dusky crimson wing, Kivu ground-thrush, Olive pigeon, Olive woodpecker, Ruwenzori batis, Ruwenzori nightjar, Ruwenzori turaco.
Best time for bird watching in Mgahinga
Bird watching can be done all year round in the park; the best time however is April to Mid-May, and October to November. There are migratory birds in the park in the period of November to April together with Gorilla Trekking to make your trip a complete adventure.
Birding in Mgahinga is good and can be done for birding throught the year. Bird watchers can have a decent birding experience at any time of the year but the best time is April to Mid-May and October to November. The migratory birds in this park usually move from November to April adding to the variety of bird species to be seen.
The Park covers an area of over 33.7 sq. km. the area mostly consists of partly forested slopes and the extinct volcanoes. For someone approaching the park, the Virunga Mountains dominate the landscape and are quite a sight. The Virungas are home to quite a variety of wildlife, the most special of which are the mountain gorillas. Nearly half of the world’s surviving mountain gorilla population is found in this forest. The vegetation in the park explains the concentration of mountain gorillas because it is mostly afro montane vegetation supported by cool climate which is food for these vegetarian apes. Vegetation types like bamboo takes up about 60% of the entire vegetation cover of the park, then there is lobelia and haegenis, etc.
Other than just bird watching, Mgahinga provides game viewing opportunities and gorilla tracking trips. Some of the animals found in the park that you could maybe get to see include buffalo, forest elephant, golden monkeys among others.
Birding in Mgahinga also takes in some of the most stunning scenery in the valley between Mountains of Gahinga and Sabinyo, through the bamboo forest and in the montane forest where the beautiful Rwenzori Turaco may be observed.
The 3 to 4-hour Gorge Trail between Gahinga and Sabinyo provides enormous views of the Dusky Turtle Dove, Olive Thrush, Brown-crowned Tchagra, Cape Robin-chat, Kivu-ground Thrush, Bronze Sunbird, Rwenzori Batis, Black-headed Waxbill, Regal Sunbird, Blue-headed Sunbird and Streaky Seedeater.
Free Birding at Mgahinga National Park
Free birding can be done at the edge of the park on request by the client. A stroll along the buffalo wall toward the DR.C takes you via a swamp area where Speckled Mouse bird, Ibis, Whydah and Fire Finch are seen. Stonechat, Grey Capped Warbler, Waxbills, and Yellow-Vented Bulbul are also seen around the campground. Ask your guide to help you on where the best birding spots are in this area.
Other good birding spots include the bamboo belt at about 2,500m above sea level, and the tall montane forest at 2,660m. Along the Uganda-Congo border and on level ground you will notice the Chubb’s Cisticola, Red-faced Woodland Warbler, Banded Prinia and Doherty’s Bush-shrike are vocal yet inconspicuous inhabitants of the tangled vegetation at the forest’s edge.
Conclusion; A Gorilla and birding tour to Mgahinga is one of the best moments you can ever miss on a Ugandan safari. You will be amazes at the sweet melody of the morning birds if the hotel is near the forest. The birds are most active in the morning and this normally gives a rewarding experience as you watch them in the forest.