Mount Rwenzori Birding

Uganda birding sites: Rwenzori Mountains national park

Rwenzori Mountains National Park is one of the few UNESCO world heritage sites in East Africa. It is located in the Rwenzori mountains in south western uganda. The park comprises mostly of the central and eastern half of the Rwenzori Mountains. It was gazetted and established in 1991 and was later named a UNESCO world heritage site in 1994 because of its natural beauty.
Rwenzori mountains national park covers an area of 996 sq. km and stand at an altitude range of 1700m to 5190m at the top of Margherita Peak on Mount Stanley. It is mostly made up of Montane forest with bamboo on the lower slopes and Afro-alpine moorland and heath on higher slopes.

The Rwenzori mountains

Also known as the “Mountains of the Moon” these magnificent mountains are are found in south western uganda on the Uganda-Congo border. They are the tallest mountain ranges in Africa, and the highest mountains in Uganda. The Rwenzori Mountains are higher than the Alps and are ice-capped. Mount Stanley is located in the park. Margherita Peak, one of Mount Stanley’s twin summits, is Africa’s third highest peak with a height of 5,109m (16,762ft). Africa’s fourth and fifth highest peaks (Mount Speke and Mount Baker) are also located in the park.

A visit to these mountains and hiking up the slopes is one of the most exhilarating experiences you can ever have. You can combine your birding safari with a hiking trip if you are interested in hiking.

Vegetation and Wildlife

The vegetation varies with the changes in altitude. The park has five distinctive vegetation zones. It is known to have some very impressive exotic plants and trees, that you might want to take some time to explore.

The wildlife in rwenzori mountains national park,varies with the differences in altitude. The park has a record of 70 mammals. Some of the animals that can be seen here include; forest elephant, chimpanzee, hyrax, black and white colobus, L’Hoest’s monkeys, duiker, and Ruwenzori Turaco.

Birding in Rwenzori Mountains National Park.
Rwenzori mountains national park boasts of a total, 217 species of birds documented. 18 of these are restricted range species of Albertine endemics, this number is only second to Bwindi impenetrable forest which has 24 restricted range species of birds. The Rwenzori mountains national park also has 60 of the 86 afro-tropical highland biome species , still second to the number in Bwindi impenetrable forest. these include; the Bamboo Warbler, Rwenzori Turaco, Golden-winged Sun bird, Scarlet-tufted Malachite Sun bird and Stuhlmann’s Double-collared Olive-back.
There are some Guinea-Congo forest biome species,17, to be exact and all can be found in other birding sites in the country as well.

Some of the other bird species that can be found in the Rwenzori mountains national park include: Verreaux’s eagle, Lanner Falcon, Rufous sparrow hawk, African Lammergeyer, Mountain Buzzard, Ruwenzori handsome francolin, Olive pigeon, Western lemon dove, Black-billed Turaco, Johnston’s Ruwenzori Turaco, Ruwenzori Nightjar, Alpine swift, Olive woodpecker, Ruwenzori Hill Babbler, Mountain Illadopis, Olive-breasted Mountain Greenbul, Toro Olive Greenbul, Dusky Flycatcher, Mountain Yellow flycatcher, Ruwenzori Puffback Flycatcher, White-tailed Crested Flycatcher, Ruwenzori Olive Thrush, Abyssinian Ground Thrush, Mountain Chat, Archer’s Robin Chat, Red-throated Alethe, Ruwenzori White-starred Bush Robin, Red-faced woodland warbler-, Bamboo warbler, Cinammon Scrub Warbler, Collared Apalis, East African Grey Cuckoo Shrike, Black rough-wing swallow, Mountain Sooty Boubou, Lagden’s Bush Shrike, Stripe-breasted Tit, White Necked Raven, Slender-billed Chestnut-winged Starling, Green White-eye, Scarlet-tufted Malachite (Dartmouth) Sun bird, Ruwenzori Double-collared Sun bird, Regal Sun bird, Strange Weaver, Shelley’s Crimson Wing, Ruwenzori streaky Seed-eater, Kivu Grosbeask Seed-eater, Rwenzori brown woodland warbler, Black duck and so many more.

With excellent trekking and hiking opportunities, nature walks, cultural encounters with the Bakonzo people, primates such as chimpanzees, numerous species of butterflies, exotic plants and tree, and amazing birding opportunities the Rwenzori Mountains National Park should definitely make it to your list of birding safari destinations in Uganda.

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