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Location Uganda, Bundibugyo,Kabarole,Kasese
Central coordinates 29o 58.44' East  0o 23.58' North
IBA criteria A1, A2, A3
Area 98,000 ha
Altitude 1,700 - 5,110m
Year of IBA assessment 2001

NatureUganda



Site description The park, which includes Uganda’s highest point, Margherita, rises from the floor of the Western Rift Valley. It is contiguous with the Virunga National Park of the Democratic Republic of Congo (IBA CD010). The park covers an extremely steep and rugged mountain range, whose highest peaks are permanently covered with ice and snow, although this is retreating. The natural vegetation is determined largely by altitude, with five distinct zones. In the lower-lying areas (below c.2,400 m, though up to 3,800 m in sheltered valleys), the vegetation is montane forest, characterized by trees of Symphonia, Prunus, Albizia, Dombeya and others. There are few large trees and the canopy is very open, except in valley bottoms and on ridge-tops where the gradient is comparatively gentle. This area occupies about 240 km². Bamboo Arundinaria forms almost pure stands in many areas between 2,500 and 3,000 m. Above c.3,800 m, a tree-heath occurs, in which giant heather Phillipia forms dense thickets, although in more sheltered places there is a mixture of stunted trees and tangled undergrowth. Above this, up to the snow-line at c.4,400 m, is an Afro-alpine moorland zone. In total, forested and wooded areas cover c.55,000 ha of the park. Although the fauna of the park may not be easily seen, the attraction which makes the Rwenzoris so famous is the remarkable spectacle of snow and ice-covered peaks in the centre of Equatorial Africa.

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
Handsome Francolin Francolinus nobilis resident  1998  present [units unknown]  A2, A3  Least Concern 
Mountain Buzzard Buteo oreophilus resident  1998  present [units unknown]  A3  Least Concern 
White-spotted Flufftail Sarothrura pulchra resident  1998    Least Concern 
Dusky Turtle-dove Streptopelia lugens resident  1998  present [units unknown]  A3  Least Concern 
Ruwenzori Turaco Ruwenzorornis johnstoni resident  1998  present [units unknown]  A2, A3  Least Concern 
Red-chested Owlet Glaucidium tephronotum resident  1998    Least Concern 
Abyssinian Owl Asio abyssinicus resident  1998  present [units unknown]  A3  Least Concern 
Montane Nightjar Caprimulgus poliocephalus resident  1998  present [units unknown]  A3  Least Concern 
Ruwenzori Nightjar Caprimulgus ruwenzorii resident  1998  present [units unknown]  A2, A3  Least Concern 
Scarce Swift Schoutedenapus myoptilus resident  1998  present [units unknown]  A3  Least Concern 
Sabine's Spinetail Rhaphidura sabini resident  1998    Least Concern 
Cinnamon-chested Bee-eater Merops oreobates resident  1998  present [units unknown]  A3  Least Concern 
Black-and-white-casqued Hornbill Bycanistes subcylindricus resident  1998    Least Concern 
Western Green-tinkerbird Pogoniulus coryphaeus resident  1998  present [units unknown]  A3  Least Concern 
Hairy-breasted Barbet Tricholaema hirsuta resident  1998    Least Concern 
Yellow-billed Barbet Trachyphonus purpuratus resident  1998    Least Concern 
Ruwenzori Batis Batis diops resident  1998  present [units unknown]  A2  Least Concern 
Jameson's Wattle-eye Platysteira jamesoni resident  1998    Least Concern 
Lagden's Bush-shrike Malaconotus lagdeni resident  present [units unknown]  A1  Near Threatened 
Sooty Boubou Laniarius leucorhynchus resident  1998    Least Concern 
Mountain Boubou Laniarius poensis resident  1998  present [units unknown]  A3  Least Concern 
Grey Cuckooshrike Coracina caesia resident  1998  present [units unknown]  A3  Least Concern 
Black-headed Paradise-flycatcher Terpsiphone rufiventer resident  1998    Least Concern 
White-bellied Crested-flycatcher Elminia albiventris resident  1998  present [units unknown]  A3  Least Concern 
White-tailed Crested-flycatcher Elminia albonotata resident  1998  present [units unknown]  A3  Least Concern 
Stripe-breasted Tit Parus fasciiventer resident  1998  present [units unknown]  A2, A3  Least Concern 
Chubb's Cisticola Cisticola chubbi resident  1998  present [units unknown]  A3  Least Concern 
Collared Apalis Oreolais ruwenzorii resident  1998  present [units unknown]  A2, A3  Least Concern 
Black-faced Apalis Apalis personata resident  1998  present [units unknown]  A2, A3  Least Concern 
Chestnut-throated Apalis Apalis porphyrolaema resident  1998  present [units unknown]  A3  Least Concern 
Eastern Mountain Greenbul Andropadus nigriceps resident  1998  present [units unknown]  A3  Least Concern 
Honeyguide Greenbul Baeopogon indicator resident  1998    Least Concern 
Joyful Greenbul Chlorocichla laetissima resident  1998  present [units unknown]  A3  Least Concern 
Common Bristlebill Bleda syndactylus resident  1998    Least Concern 
Bamboo Warbler Bradypterus alfredi resident  1998  present [units unknown]  A3  Least Concern 
Bracken Warbler Bradypterus cinnamomeus resident  1998  present [units unknown]  A3  Least Concern 
Mountain Flycatcher-warbler Chloropeta similis resident  1998  present [units unknown]  A3  Least Concern 
Red-faced Woodland-warbler Phylloscopus laetus resident  1998  present [units unknown]  A2, A3  Least Concern 
Brown Woodland-warbler Phylloscopus umbrovirens resident  1998  present [units unknown]  A3  Least Concern 
White-browed Crombec Sylvietta leucophrys resident  1998  present [units unknown]  A3  Least Concern 
Brown Illadopsis Illadopsis fulvescens resident  1998    Least Concern 
Mountain Illadopsis Illadopsis pyrrhoptera resident  1998  present [units unknown]  A3  Least Concern 
Grey-chested Babbler Kakamega poliothorax resident  1998  present [units unknown]  A3  Least Concern 
African Hill Babbler Pseudoalcippe abyssinica resident  1998  present [units unknown]  A3  Least Concern 
Sharpe's Starling Cinnyricinclus sharpii resident  1998  present [units unknown]  A3  Least Concern 
Waller's Starling Onychognathus walleri resident  1998  present [units unknown]  A3  Least Concern 
Slender-billed Starling Onychognathus tenuirostris resident  1998  present [units unknown]  A3  Least Concern 
Zoothera piaggiae resident  1998  present [units unknown]  A3  Not Recognised 
Red-throated Alethe Alethe poliophrys resident  1998  present [units unknown]  A2, A3  Least Concern 
Alethe diademata resident  1998    Not Recognised 
White-starred Robin Pogonocichla stellata resident  1998  present [units unknown]  A3  Least Concern 
Equatorial Akalat Sheppardia aequatorialis resident  1998  present [units unknown]  A3  Least Concern 
Archer's Robin-chat Cossypha archeri resident  1998  present [units unknown]  A2, A3  Least Concern 
Blue-shouldered Robin-chat Cossypha cyanocampter resident  1998    Least Concern 
Yellow-eyed Black Flycatcher Melaenornis ardesiacus resident  1998  present [units unknown]  A3  Least Concern 
White-eyed Slaty Flycatcher Dioptrornis fischeri resident  1998  present [units unknown]  A3  Least Concern 
Cassin's Grey Flycatcher Muscicapa cassini resident  1998    Least Concern 
Green Sunbird Anthreptes rectirostris resident  1998    Least Concern 
Blue-headed Sunbird Nectarinia alinae resident  1998  present [units unknown]  A2, A3  Least Concern 
Blue-throated Brown Sunbird Nectarinia cyanolaema resident  1998    Least Concern 
Northern Double-collared Sunbird Nectarinia preussi resident  1998  present [units unknown]  A3  Least Concern 
Regal Sunbird Nectarinia regia resident  1998  present [units unknown]  A2, A3  Least Concern 
Purple-breasted Sunbird Nectarinia purpureiventris resident  1998  present [units unknown]  A2, A3  Least Concern 
Bronze Sunbird Nectarinia kilimensis resident  1998  present [units unknown]  A3  Least Concern 
Golden-winged Sunbird Nectarinia reichenowi resident  1998  present [units unknown]  A3  Least Concern 
Red-tufted Sunbird Nectarinia johnstoni resident  1998  present [units unknown]  A3  Least Concern 
Baglafecht Weaver Ploceus baglafecht resident  1998  present [units unknown]  A3  Least Concern 
Strange Weaver Ploceus alienus resident  1998  present [units unknown]  A2, A3  Least Concern 
Brown-capped Weaver Ploceus insignis resident  1998  present [units unknown]  A3  Least Concern 
White-collared Oliveback Nesocharis ansorgei resident  1998    Least Concern 
Red-faced Crimson-wing Cryptospiza reichenovii resident  1998  present [units unknown]  A3  Least Concern 
Abyssinian Crimson-wing Cryptospiza salvadorii resident  1998  present [units unknown]  A3  Least Concern 
Dusky Crimson-wing Cryptospiza jacksoni resident  1998  present [units unknown]  A2, A3  Least Concern 
Shelley's Crimson-wing Cryptospiza shelleyi resident  1998  present [units unknown]  A1, A2, A3  Vulnerable 
Yellow-browed Citril Serinus frontalis resident  1998  present [units unknown]  A3  Least Concern 
Serinus striolatus resident  1998  present [units unknown]  A3  Not Recognised 
Thick-billed Seedeater Serinus burtoni resident  1998  present [units unknown]  A3  Least Concern 
Oriole Finch Linurgus olivaceus resident  1998  present [units unknown]  A3  Least Concern 

Protected areas

Protected area Designation Area (ha) Relationship with IBA Overlap with IBA (ha)  
Rwenzori Mountains National Park 99,500 protected area contained by site 99,500  
Rwenzori Mountains National Park World Heritage Site 99,600 is identical to site 99,600  

Habitats

IUCN habitat Habitat detail Extent (% of site)
Artificial - terrestrial   4%
Unknown   3%
Savanna   11%
Grassland   2%
Forest   78%

Land use

Land-use Extent (% of site)
nature conservation and research -
tourism/recreation -
water management -

Other biodiversity Two species of forest tree, Hypericum bequaertii and Schefflera polysciadia, are only known from Rwenzori, and seven others are restricted to Rwenzori and other montane forests of the south-western border areas of Uganda. Twenty-five species of invertebrate new to science have been described from the area in the last 15 years. Mammals of conservation concern include Cephalophus nigrifrons rubidus (EN), Loxodonta africana (EN), Pan troglodytes (EN), Colobus angolensis ruwenzorii (VU) and Cercopithecus l’hoesti (LR/nt); subspecies of Cercopithecus mitis and Procavia capensis are only known from this park.

References Dehn and Christiansen (in press a, b), Department of Lands and Survey (1967), Howard (1991), Prigogine (1985), Reynolds and Pomeroy (1993), Salt (1987), UNP (1992b), Yeoman (1985, 1992).

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Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2014) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Ruwenzori (Rwenzori) Mountains National Park. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 20/04/2014

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