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Location Congo, The Democratic Republic of the, Nord-Kivu,Orientale
Central coordinates 29o 29.46' East  0o 19.50' South
IBA criteria A1, A2, A3
Area 780,000 ha
Altitude 798 - 5,110m
Year of IBA assessment 2001





Site description Virunga National Park occupies a large area encompassing a variety of habitats. It is situated in north-eastern DR Congo, and is contiguous with Semliki, Rwenzori and Queen Elizabeth National Parks and Mgahinga Gorilla Park (IBAs UG009, UG005, UG007 and UG001 respectively) in Uganda and Volcans National Park in Rwanda (RW002). It extends from the Rwenzori range, south through Lake Edward (the DR Congo part of which is entirely contained within the park) and the chain of volcanoes, just north of the town of Goma, to Lake Kivu. Some of the volcanoes are still active; Nyiragongo, the highest on the DR Congo side of the border, last erupted in 1977. Altitudes vary between 798 m in the lower plains and 3,470 m on the top of the Nyiragongo, to 5,110 m on Margherita Peak (Mount Stanley), Africa’s third-highest mountain, in the Rwenzori range. Rainfall is equally diverse, averaging between 500 mm per year at Lake Edward to more than 3,000 mm on the slopes of the Rwenzori. The variety of altitudes, soils and rainfall produces very diverse habitats, comprising lakes, marshy deltas and peatbogs, grasslands and wooded savanna, lava-plains, transition forest, montane rainforest, bamboo forest and high-altitude areas with Hagenia, Lobelia, Dendroscenecio, Erica and Philippia and, finally, glaciers and snow-fields. A significant portion of the Semliki Forest, shared with Uganda, occurs within the park, where it is known locally as the Watalinga forest. The steep western slopes of Rwenzori, which meet abruptly with the alluvial plain of the Semliki, are one of the wettest areas in the country, with frequent rain even during the ‘dry’ season and an average annual rainfall of more than 3,000 mm. Hot springs occur in the Rwindi plain. The park is known to support a greater biological diversity than any other single protected area in Africa. Agriculture and animal husbandry are the main economic activities of the region, an increasing amount of which occur within park limits. Fishing occurs on Lake Edward; several fisherman’s villages, of which Vitshumbi is the largest, are situated on the lake shores.

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
Handsome Francolin Pternistis nobilis resident  2000  present  A2, A3  Least Concern 
Shoebill Balaeniceps rex resident  2000  present  A1  Vulnerable 
Buteo oreophilus resident  2000  present  A3  Not Recognised 
Congo Serpent-eagle Dryotriorchis spectabilis resident  2000  present  A3  Least Concern 
Chestnut-flanked Sparrowhawk Accipiter castanilius resident  2000  unknown  A3  Least Concern 
Long-tailed Hawk Urotriorchis macrourus resident  2000  present  A3  Least Concern 
Cassin's Hawk-eagle Aquila africana resident  2000  unknown  A3  Least Concern 
White-spotted Flufftail Sarothrura pulchra resident  2000  present  A3  Least Concern 
Afep Pigeon Columba unicincta resident  2000  unknown  A3  Least Concern 
Western Bronze-naped Pigeon Columba iriditorques resident  2000  unknown  A3  Least Concern 
Blue-headed Wood-dove Turtur brehmeri resident  2000  unknown  A3  Least Concern 
Black-collared Lovebird Agapornis swindernianus resident  2000  present  A3  Least Concern 
Psittacus erithacus resident  2000  present  A3  Not Recognised 
Ruwenzori Turaco Gallirex johnstoni resident  2000  present  A2, A3  Least Concern 
Dusky Long-tailed Cuckoo Cercococcyx mechowi resident  2000  present  A3  Least Concern 
Yellow-throated Cuckoo Chrysococcyx flavigularis resident  2000  present  A3  Least Concern 
Bubo poensis resident  2000  unknown  A3  Not Recognised 
African Long-eared Owl Asio abyssinicus resident  2000  present  A3  Least Concern 
Caprimulgus nigriscapularis resident  2000  present  A3  Not Recognised 
Caprimulgus ruwenzorii resident  2000  present  A2, A3  Not Recognised 
Bates's Nightjar Caprimulgus batesi resident  2000  unknown  A3  Least Concern 
Scarce Swift Schoutedenapus myoptilus resident  2000  present  A3  Least Concern 
Sabine's Spinetail Rhaphidura sabini resident  2000  unknown  A3  Least Concern 
Bates's Swift Apus batesi resident  2000  unknown  A3  Least Concern 
Bare-cheeked Trogon Apaloderma aequatoriale resident  2000  unknown  A3  Least Concern 
Bar-tailed Trogon Apaloderma vittatum resident  2000  present  A3  Least Concern 
Blue-throated Roller Eurystomus gularis resident  2000  present  A3  Least Concern 
Chocolate-backed Kingfisher Halcyon badia resident  2000  present  A3  Least Concern 
African Dwarf-kingfisher Ispidina lecontei resident  2000  present  A3  Least Concern 
Black Bee-eater Merops gularis resident  2000  present  A3  Least Concern 
Merops muelleri resident  2000  present  A3  Not Recognised 
Cinnamon-chested Bee-eater Merops oreobates resident  2000  present  A3  Least Concern 
Tropicranus albocristatus resident  2000  present  A3  Not Recognised 
Tockus fasciatus resident  2000  present  A3  Not Recognised 
Tockus hartlaubi resident  2000  present  A3  Not Recognised 
Dwarf Hornbill Lophoceros camurus resident  2000  present  A3  Least Concern 
White-thighed Hornbill Bycanistes albotibialis resident  2000  present  A3  Least Concern 
Black-casqued Hornbill Ceratogymna atrata resident  2000  present  A3  Least Concern 
Dwarf Honeyguide Indicator pumilio resident  2000  unknown  A2, A3  Near Threatened 
Cassin's Honeybird Prodotiscus insignis resident  2000  unknown  A3  Least Concern 
Zenker's Honeyguide Melignomon zenkeri resident  2000  present  A3  Least Concern 
Spotted Honeyguide Indicator maculatus resident  2000  present  A3  Least Concern 
Willcocks's Honeyguide Indicator willcocksi resident  2000  unknown  A3  Least Concern 
Lyre-tailed Honeyguide Melichneutes robustus resident  2000  unknown  A3  Least Concern 
Campethera tullbergi resident  2000  present  A3  Not Recognised 
Dendropicos gabonensis resident  2000  present  A3  Not Recognised 
Buff-spotted Woodpecker Campethera nivosa resident  2000  present  A3  Least Concern 
Brown-eared Woodpecker Campethera caroli resident  2000  present  A3  Least Concern 
Yellow-crested Woodpecker Dendropicos xantholophus resident  2000  present  A3  Least Concern 
Grey-headed Broadbill Smithornis sharpei resident  2000  unknown  A3  Least Concern 
Rufous-sided Broadbill Smithornis rufolateralis resident  2000  present  A3  Least Concern 
Green-breasted Pitta Pitta reichenowi resident  2000  present  A3  Least Concern 
African Shrike-flycatcher Megabyas flammulatus resident  2000  present  A3  Least Concern 
Ruwenzori Batis Batis diops resident  2000  present  A2, A3  Least Concern 
Chestnut Wattle-eye Platysteira castanea resident  2000  present  A3  Least Concern 
Jameson's Wattle-eye Platysteira jamesoni resident  2000  present  A3  Least Concern 
Papyrus Gonolek Laniarius mufumbiri resident  2000  present  A1, A3  Near Threatened 
Yellow-crested Helmet-shrike Prionops alberti resident  2000  present  A1, A2, A3  Vulnerable 
Doherty's Bush-shrike Telophorus dohertyi resident  2000  present  A3  Least Concern 
Fiery-breasted Bush-shrike Malaconotus cruentus resident  2000  unknown  A3  Least Concern 
Mountain Boubou Laniarius poensis resident  2000  present  A3  Least Concern 
Grauer's Cuckooshrike Coracina graueri resident  2000  unknown  A2, A3  Near Threatened 
Grey Cuckooshrike Coracina caesia resident  2000  present  A3  Least Concern 
Petit's Cuckooshrike Campephaga petiti resident  2000  unknown  A3  Least Concern 
Western Black-headed Oriole Oriolus brachyrhynchus resident  2000  unknown  A3  Least Concern 
Black-tailed Oriole Oriolus percivali resident  2000  present  A3  Least Concern 
Bedford's Paradise-flycatcher Terpsiphone bedfordi resident  2000  present  A1, A3  Near Threatened 
Black-headed Paradise-flycatcher Terpsiphone rufiventer resident  2000  present  A3  Least Concern 
Blue-headed Crested-flycatcher Trochocercus nitens resident  2000  present  A3  Least Concern 
White-tailed Crested-flycatcher Elminia albonotata resident  2000  present  A3  Least Concern 
Dusky Tit Parus funereus resident  2000  present  A3  Least Concern 
Stripe-breasted Tit Parus fasciiventer resident  2000  present  A2, A3  Least Concern 
Square-tailed Saw-wing Psalidoprocne nitens resident  2000  unknown  A3  Least Concern 
Chubb's Cisticola Cisticola chubbi resident  2000  present  A3  Least Concern 
Collared Apalis Oreolais ruwenzorii resident  2000  present  A2, A3  Least Concern 
Black-faced Apalis Apalis personata resident  2000  present  A2, A3  Least Concern 
Chestnut-throated Apalis Apalis porphyrolaema resident  2000  present  A3  Least Concern 
Olive-green Camaroptera Camaroptera chloronota resident  2000  present  A3  Least Concern 
Eastern Mountain Greenbul Andropadus nigriceps resident  2000  present  A3  Least Concern 
Shelley's Greenbul Andropadus masukuensis resident  2000  present  A3  Least Concern 
Grey Greenbul Andropadus gracilis resident  2000  present  A3  Least Concern 
Plain Greenbul Andropadus curvirostris resident  2000  present  A3  Least Concern 
Honeyguide Greenbul Baeopogon indicator resident  2000  present  A3  Least Concern 
Spotted Greenbul Ixonotus guttatus resident  2000  present  A3  Least Concern 
Simple Greenbul Chlorocichla simplex resident  2000  present  A3  Least Concern 
Joyful Greenbul Chlorocichla laetissima resident  2000  present  A3  Least Concern 
Swamp Greenbul Thescelocichla leucopleura resident  2000  present  A3  Least Concern 
Toro Olive Greenbul Phyllastrephus hypochloris resident  2000  present  A3  Least Concern 
Icterine Greenbul Phyllastrephus icterinus resident  2000  present  A3  Least Concern 
Xavier's Greenbul Phyllastrephus xavieri resident  2000  present  A3  Least Concern 
Common Bristlebill Bleda syndactylus resident  2000  present  A3  Least Concern 
Red-tailed Bulbul Criniger calurus resident  2000  unknown  A3  Least Concern 
Yellow-spotted Nicator Nicator chloris resident  2000  unknown  A3  Least Concern 
Grauer's Swamp-warbler Bradypterus graueri resident  2000  present  A1, A2, A3  Endangered 
Bracken Warbler Bradypterus cinnamomeus resident  2000  present  A3  Least Concern 
Mountain Flycatcher-warbler Chloropeta similis resident  2000  present  A3  Least Concern 
Papyrus Yellow Warbler Chloropeta gracilirostris resident  2000  unknown  A3  Vulnerable 
Yellow Longbill Macrosphenus flavicans resident  2000  present  A3  Least Concern 
Grey Longbill Macrosphenus concolor resident  2000  present  A3  Least Concern 
Violet-backed Hyliota Hyliota violacea resident  2000  present  A3  Least Concern 
Green Hylia Hylia prasina resident  2000  unknown  A3  Least Concern 
Red-faced Woodland-warbler Phylloscopus laetus resident  2000  present  A2, A3  Least Concern 
Brown Woodland-warbler Phylloscopus umbrovirens resident  2000  present  A3  Least Concern 
Rufous-crowned Eremomela Eremomela badiceps resident  2000  unknown  A3  Least Concern 
Turner's Eremomela Eremomela turneri resident  2000  unknown  A3  Endangered 
Green Crombec Sylvietta virens resident  2000  unknown  A3  Least Concern 
White-browed Crombec Sylvietta leucophrys resident  2000  present  A3  Least Concern 
Scaly-breasted Illadopsis Illadopsis albipectus resident  2000  unknown  A3  Least Concern 
Brown Illadopsis Illadopsis fulvescens resident  2000  present  A3  Least Concern 
Mountain Illadopsis Illadopsis pyrrhoptera resident  2000  present  A3  Least Concern 
Grey-chested Babbler Kakamega poliothorax resident  2000  present  A3  Least Concern 
African Hill Babbler Pseudoalcippe abyssinica resident  2000  present  A3  Least Concern 
Sharpe's Pied-babbler Turdoides sharpei resident  2000  present  A3  Least Concern 
Capuchin Babbler Phyllanthus atripennis resident  2000  present  A3  Least Concern 
Purple-headed Glossy-starling Lamprotornis purpureiceps resident  2000  unknown  A3  Least Concern 
Sharpe's Starling Cinnyricinclus sharpii resident  2000  present  A3  Least Concern 
Waller's Starling Onychognathus walleri resident  2000  unknown  A3  Least Concern 
Chestnut-winged Starling Onychognathus fulgidus resident  2000  unknown  A3  Least Concern 
Slender-billed Starling Onychognathus tenuirostris resident  2000  present  A3  Least Concern 
Stuhlmann's Starling Poeoptera stuhlmanni resident  2000  unknown  A3  Least Concern 
Narrow-tailed Starling Poeoptera lugubris resident  2000  unknown  A3  Least Concern 
White-tailed Ant-thrush Neocossyphus poensis resident  2000  present  A3  Least Concern 
Rufous Flycatcher-thrush Stizorhina fraseri resident  2000  present  A3  Least Concern 
Zoothera piaggiae resident  2000  present  A3  Not Recognised 
Zoothera tanganjicae resident  2000  present  A1, A2, A3  Not Recognised 
Red-throated Alethe Alethe poliophrys resident  2000  present  A2, A3  Least Concern 
Alethe diademata resident  2000  present  A3  Not Recognised 
White-starred Robin Pogonocichla stellata resident  2000  present  A3  Least Concern 
Forest Robin Stiphrornis erythrothorax resident  2000  unknown  A3  Least Concern 
Equatorial Akalat Sheppardia aequatorialis resident  2000  present  A3  Least Concern 
Archer's Robin-chat Cossypha archeri resident  2000  present  A2, A3  Least Concern 
Blue-shouldered Robin-chat Cossypha cyanocampter resident  2000  unknown  A3  Least Concern 
African Forest Flycatcher Fraseria ocreata resident  2000  present  A3  Least Concern 
White-eyed Slaty Flycatcher Dioptrornis fischeri resident  2000  present  A3  Least Concern 
Olivaceous Flycatcher Muscicapa olivascens resident  2000  present  A3  Least Concern 
Little Grey Flycatcher Muscicapa epulata resident  2000  present  A3  Least Concern 
Yellow-footed Flycatcher Muscicapa sethsmithi resident  2000  unknown  A3  Least Concern 
Dusky-blue Flycatcher Muscicapa comitata resident  2000  present  A3  Least Concern 
Scarlet-tufted Sunbird Anthreptes fraseri resident  2000  unknown  A3  Least Concern 
Green Sunbird Anthreptes rectirostris resident  2000  present  A3  Least Concern 
Bates's Sunbird Nectarinia batesi resident  2000  present  A3  Least Concern 
Blue-headed Sunbird Nectarinia alinae resident  2000  present  A2, A3  Least Concern 
Blue-throated Brown Sunbird Nectarinia cyanolaema resident  2000  unknown  A3  Least Concern 
Green-throated Sunbird Nectarinia rubescens resident  2000  present  A3  Least Concern 
Northern Double-collared Sunbird Nectarinia preussi resident  2000  present  A3  Least Concern 
Regal Sunbird Nectarinia regia resident  2000  present  A2, A3  Least Concern 
Rockefeller's Sunbird Nectarinia rockefelleri resident  2000  unknown  A2, A3  Vulnerable 
Purple-breasted Sunbird Nectarinia purpureiventris resident  2000  present  A2, A3  Least Concern 
Bronze Sunbird Nectarinia kilimensis resident  2000  present  A3  Least Concern 
Red-tufted Sunbird Nectarinia johnstoni resident  2000  present  A3  Least Concern 
Red-chested Sunbird Nectarinia erythrocerca resident  2000  present  A3  Least Concern 
Baglafecht Weaver Ploceus baglafecht resident  2000  present  A3  Least Concern 
Black-billed Weaver Ploceus melanogaster resident  2000  unknown  A3  Least Concern 
Strange Weaver Ploceus alienus resident  2000  present  A2, A3  Least Concern 
Northern Brown-throated Weaver Ploceus castanops resident  2000  present  A3  Least Concern 
Vieillot's Black Weaver Ploceus nigerrimus resident  2000  present  A3  Least Concern 
Brown-capped Weaver Ploceus insignis resident  2000  unknown  A3  Least Concern 
Crested Malimbe Malimbus malimbicus resident  2000  unknown  A3  Least Concern 
White-breasted Negrofinch Nigrita fusconotus resident  2000  unknown  A3  Least Concern 
Chestnut-breasted Negrofinch Nigrita bicolor resident  2000  unknown  A3  Least Concern 
Pale-fronted Negrofinch Nigrita luteifrons resident  2000  present  A3  Least Concern 
White-collared Oliveback Nesocharis ansorgei resident  2000  present  A3  Least Concern 
Red-faced Crimson-wing Cryptospiza reichenovii resident  2000  present  A3  Least Concern 
Abyssinian Crimson-wing Cryptospiza salvadorii resident  2000  present  A3  Least Concern 
Dusky Crimson-wing Cryptospiza jacksoni resident  2000  present  A2, A3  Least Concern 
Shelley's Crimson-wing Cryptospiza shelleyi resident  2000  present  A1, A2, A3  Vulnerable 
Grant's Bluebill Spermophaga poliogenys resident  2000  present  A3  Least Concern 
Swee Waxbill Estrilda melanotis resident  2000  present  A3  Least Concern 
Yellow-browed Citril Serinus frontalis resident  2000  present  A3  Least Concern 
Papyrus Canary Serinus koliensis resident  2000  present  A3  Least Concern 
Serinus striolatus resident  2000  present  A3  Not Recognised 
Thick-billed Seedeater Serinus burtoni resident  2000  unknown  A3  Least Concern 
Oriole Finch Linurgus olivaceus resident  2000  present  A3  Least Concern 
Trachyphonus purpuratus resident  2000  present  A3  Not Recognised 
Sladen's Barbet Gymnobucco sladeni resident  2000  present  A3  Least Concern 
Speckled Tinkerbird Pogoniulus scolopaceus resident  2000  present  A3  Least Concern 
Western Green Tinkerbird Pogoniulus coryphaea resident  2000  unknown  A3  Least Concern 
Red-rumped Tinkerbird Pogoniulus atroflavus resident  2000  unknown  A3  Least Concern 
Yellow-throated Tinkerbird Pogoniulus subsulphureus resident  2000  present  A3  Least Concern 
Yellow-spotted Barbet Buccanodon duchaillui resident  2000  present  A3  Least Concern 
Hairy-breasted Barbet Tricholaema hirsuta resident  2000  unknown  A3  Least Concern 

Protected areas

Protected area Designation Area (ha) Relationship with IBA Overlap with IBA (ha)  
Parc national des Virunga Parc National 776,893 protected area contains site 780,000  
Parc national des Virunga Wetlands of International Importance (Ramsar) 800,000 protected area contains site 780,000  
Virunga National Park World Heritage Site 790,000 protected area contains site 780,000  

Habitats

IUCN habitat Habitat detail Extent (% of site)
Artificial - terrestrial   11%
Unknown   3%
Wetlands (inland)   4%
Shrubland   2%
Savanna   3%
Grassland   9%
Forest   64%

Land use

Land-use Extent (% of site)
agriculture -
fisheries/aquaculture -
forestry -
nature conservation and research -
tourism/recreation -

Other biodiversity 127>In total, 177 mammal species have been identified and it is estimated that the actual number may approach 200, making Virunga National Park one of the richest protected areas for mammals in the world. About half of DR Congo’s mammal species occur in the park which covers about 0.3 % of the country’s surface. The park is renowned for its population of the endangered Gorilla gorilla beringei (CR). Other species include Pan troglodytes schweinfurthii (EN), Cercopithecus l’hoesti rutshuricus (LR/nt), C. hamlyni (LR/nt), Panthera leo (VU), Loxodonta africana (EN), Okapia johnstoni (LR/nt) and Tragelaphus euryceros (LR/nt). The population density of Hippopotamus amphibius used to be among the highest known0>.

References Chapin (1932–1954), d’Huart (1977), IUCN (1990), Mertens (1986), Prigogine (1977), Schouteden (1933, 1938), Verheyen (1947), Verschuren (1966a, 1967, 1986, 1987, 1991).

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Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2014) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Virunga National Park. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 25/07/2014

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