Sites - Important Bird and Biodiversity Areas (IBAs)
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Mgahinga Gorilla National Park
29o 38.46' East 1o 22.26' South
A1, A2, A3
2,280 - 4,127m
Year of IBA assessment
Site description Mgahinga Gorilla National Park (MGNP) is Uganda’s smallest but probably most scenic National Park, situated at the extreme south-western corner of the country. It encompasses the Ugandan side of the three Bufumbira volcanic mountains of Mgahinga (3,400 m), Muhavura (4,127 m), and Sabinyo (3,645 m) on the boundary with Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). The three mountains are part of the six extinct and two active volcanoes of the Virunga range, which extends into Rwanda and DRC. The park forms part of the large transboundary conservation area that straddles the political boundaries to include Volcans National Park in Rwanda and Virungas National Park in the DRC (IBAs RW002 and CD010 respectively).The vegetation of the park consists of: a bamboo Arundinaria-forest zone at 2,800–3,100 m; a misty Hypericum-woodland zone at 3,100–3,700 m; a tree-heather zone; a subalpine ericaceous belt; and the topmost alpine moorland vegetation (alpine zone). There are numerous north-flowing streams, two crater-lakes on Mount Mgahinga and Mount Muhavura, and high-altitude swamps and marshes. Forest covers a total of c.3,000 ha within the park.
Key Biodiversity See Box and Tables 2 and 3 for key species. The park is relatively remote and has received little attention from ornithologists. The most recent checklist lists 115 species. Three of the globally threatened species, and others such as Nectarinia johnstoni, can be viewed in the open heath between the bamboo zone and the edges of the forest. Other scarce highland species include Musophaga johnstoni, Phylloscopus laetus, Chloropeta similis, Apalis personata, Nectarinia preussi and Cercomela sordida (known only from old records). Other notable species, such as Francolinus nobilis, Cossypha archeri, Batis diops and Parus fasciiventer, are found in only a few other places in Uganda.
Non-bird biodiversity: Threatened mammals include Gorilla gorilla beringei (CR), Cercopithecus mitis kandti (EN) and Loxodonta africana (EN).