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Location Uganda, Kisoro
Central coordinates 29o 38.46' East  1o 22.26' South
IBA criteria A1, A2, A3
Area 4,100 ha
Altitude 2,280 - 4,127m
Year of IBA assessment 2001

NatureUganda



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).

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
Western Green Tinkerbird Pogoniulus coryphaea resident  1998  present  A3  Least Concern 
Handsome Francolin Pternistis nobilis resident  1998  present  A2, A3  Least Concern 
Buteo oreophilus resident  1998  present  A3  Not Recognised 
Dusky Turtle-dove Streptopelia lugens resident  1998  present  A3  Least Concern 
Ruwenzori Turaco Gallirex johnstoni resident  1998  present  A2, A3  Least Concern 
Cinnamon-chested Bee-eater Merops oreobates resident  1998  present  A3  Least Concern 
Ruwenzori Batis Batis diops resident  1998  present  A2, A3  Least Concern 
Doherty's Bush-shrike Telophorus dohertyi resident  1998  present  A3  Least Concern 
Lagden's Bush-shrike Malaconotus lagdeni resident  present  A1  Near Threatened 
Mountain Boubou Laniarius poensis resident  1998  present  A3  Least Concern 
Stripe-breasted Tit Parus fasciiventer resident  1998  present  A2, A3  Least Concern 
Chubb's Cisticola Cisticola chubbi resident  1998  present  A3  Least Concern 
Collared Apalis Oreolais ruwenzorii resident  1998  present  A2, A3  Least Concern 
Black-faced Apalis Apalis personata resident  1998  present  A2, A3  Least Concern 
Chestnut-throated Apalis Apalis porphyrolaema resident  1998  present  A3  Least Concern 
Eastern Mountain Greenbul Andropadus nigriceps resident  1998  present  A3  Least Concern 
Grauer's Swamp-warbler Bradypterus graueri resident  1998  present  A1, A2, A3  Endangered 
Bracken Warbler Bradypterus cinnamomeus resident  1998  present  A3  Least Concern 
Mountain Flycatcher-warbler Chloropeta similis resident  1998  present  A3  Least Concern 
Red-faced Woodland-warbler Phylloscopus laetus resident  1998  present  A2, A3  Least Concern 
Brown Woodland-warbler Phylloscopus umbrovirens resident  1998  present  A3  Least Concern 
White-browed Crombec Sylvietta leucophrys resident  1998  present  A3  Least Concern 
African Hill Babbler Pseudoalcippe abyssinica resident  1998  present  A3  Least Concern 
Slender-billed Starling Onychognathus tenuirostris resident  1998  present  A3  Least Concern 
Zoothera tanganjicae resident  1998  present  A1, A2, A3  Not Recognised 
White-starred Robin Pogonocichla stellata resident  1998  present  A3  Least Concern 
Archer's Robin-chat Cossypha archeri resident  1998  present  A2, A3  Least Concern 
White-eyed Slaty Flycatcher Dioptrornis fischeri resident  1998  present  A3  Least Concern 
Northern Double-collared Sunbird Nectarinia preussi resident  1998  present  A3  Least Concern 
Regal Sunbird Nectarinia regia resident  1998  present  A2, A3  Least Concern 
Bronze Sunbird Nectarinia kilimensis resident  1998  present  A3  Least Concern 
Red-tufted Sunbird Nectarinia johnstoni resident  1998  present  A3  Least Concern 
Baglafecht Weaver Ploceus baglafecht resident  1998  present  A3  Least Concern 
Strange Weaver Ploceus alienus resident  1998  present  A2, A3  Least Concern 
Dusky Crimson-wing Cryptospiza jacksoni resident  1998  present  A2, A3  Least Concern 
Shelley's Crimson-wing Cryptospiza shelleyi resident  1998  present  A1, A2, A3  Vulnerable 
Yellow-browed Citril Serinus frontalis resident  1998  present  A3  Least Concern 
Serinus striolatus resident  1998  present  A3  Not Recognised 
Thick-billed Seedeater Serinus burtoni resident  1998  present  A3  Least Concern 

IBA Monitoring

2012 low favourable medium
Habitat
Good - based on reliable and complete / representative data

Over-exploitation, persecution and control of species habitat effects - gathering plants happening now small area/few individuals (<10%) no or imperceptible deterioration low

Forest   0 0 good (> 90%) good (> 90%) favourable
Grassland   0 0 good (> 90%) good (> 90%) favourable
Savanna   0 0 good (> 90%) good (> 90%) favourable

Whole area of site (>90%) covered by appropriate conservation designation  A management plan exists but it is out of date or not comprehensive  Substantive conservation measures are being implemented but these are not comprehensive and are limited by resources and capacity  medium 

Protected areas

Protected area Designation Area (ha) Relationship with IBA Overlap with IBA (ha)  
Mgahinga Gorilla National Park 3,800 protected area contained by site 3,800  

Habitats

IUCN habitat Habitat detail Extent (% of site)
Artificial - terrestrial   9%
Unknown   8%
Savanna   4%
Grassland   1%
Forest   75%

Land use

Land-use Extent (% of site)
agriculture -
forestry -
nature conservation and research -
tourism/recreation -
water management -
other -
Notes: Bee keeping and water collection.

References Harcourt et al. (1983), Hedberg (1951), Kalina (1991), Kingdon (1967), Reynolds and Pomeroy (1993), Rossouw and Sacchi (1998), Schaller and Emlen (1963), UNEP (1988a), Werikhe (1991).

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Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2014) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Mgahinga Gorilla National Park. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 28/11/2014

To provide new information to update this factsheet or to correct any errors, please email BirdLife