email a friend
printable version
Location Uganda, Kapchorwa,Mbale,Tororo
Central coordinates 34o 27.30' East  1o 9.66' North
IBA criteria A2, A3
Area 180,000 ha
Altitude 1,460 - 4,320m
Year of IBA assessment 2001

NatureUganda



Site description Mount Elgon extends along Uganda’s international border with Kenya, which effectively divides the mountain into two roughly equal parts. The mountain itself extends for about 80 km north–south and 50 km east–west. It is a solitary extinct volcano, with one of the largest craters in the world—8 km across—and it is the fourth-highest mountain in Africa. There are hot springs on the caldera floor.Mount Elgon National Park is located on the slopes of the mountain, contiguous with IBA KE059 in Kenya. Four broad classes of vegetation occupy different altitudinal zones of the mountain. The lowest is a community of mixed montane forest below c.2,500 m; a broad belt of bamboo and low-canopy montane forest occurs between c.2,400 and 3,000 m; a zone of high montane forest between 3,000 and 3,500 m; and there is a high moorland community above 3,500 m. In addition, there are a number of extensive grassland areas within the mixed montane forest and bamboo areas in the northern sector. Most of the mountain slopes were originally heavily forested, but land-use practices and the growing human population have had an impact on the area and most of the forest on the lower slopes has been lost to agriculture and settlement. The remaining forest is continuous, with an area of c.790 km² in the National Park in Uganda. With numerous streams, Mount Elgon represents an important water catchment area, serving around one million people to the north and west and providing water for the people of Mbale, Tororo and Kapchorwa Districts.

Key Biodiversity See Box and Tables 2 and 3 for key species. Mount Elgon’s forests are rich in birds, with a total of 300 species recorded. There are isolated records of one near-threatened species—Falco fasciinucha—the only confirmed records from Uganda, although recent searches failed to locate the species. Mount Elgon represents the western range-limit of some species or races that occur in the highlands of Kenya and northern Tanzania, such as Cisticola hunteri and Francolinus jacksoni, although the presence of Francolinus jacksoni needs confirmation (there is only one sight record). Notable among the species that are restricted to the Afrotropical Highlands biome, the park holds three that are not currently known from any other Ugandan IBA: Francolinus psilolaemus, Pogoniulus leucomystax and Cercomela sordida. Other notable highland species include Caprimulgus poliocephalus, Linurgus olivaceus and Cryptospiza salvadorii. There is an endemic race of Pogonocichla stellata. Francolinus jacksoni and Apalis pulchra are both forest-dependent species known only from Mount Elgon in the Ugandan part of their ranges. Species of the Guinea–Congo Forests biome are numerous, although most of them are well-represented at other Ugandan IBAs, especially in western Uganda. Also occurring are three species of the Lake Victoria Basin biome and seven of the Sudan–Guinea Savanna biome.

Non-bird biodiversity: Threatened mammals known from this site include Loxodonta africana (EN). The small-mammal fauna is rich, and includes a relict population of Rhabdomys pumilio (DD), only known in East Africa from Mount Elgon. The butterflies Metisella trisignatus and Imbrasia balayneshae are known in Uganda only from this forest.

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
Trachyphonus purpuratus resident  1998  present  A3  Not Recognised 
Speckled Tinkerbird Pogoniulus scolopaceus resident  1998  present  A3  Least Concern 
Moustached Green Tinkerbird Pogoniulus leucomystax resident  1998  present  A3  Least Concern 
Yellow-throated Tinkerbird Pogoniulus subsulphureus resident  1998  present  A3  Least Concern 
Yellow-spotted Barbet Buccanodon duchaillui resident  1998  present  A3  Least Concern 
Francolinus psilolaemus resident  1998  present  A3  Not Recognised 
Jackson's Francolin Pternistis jacksoni resident  1998  present  A2, A3  Least Concern 
Buteo oreophilus resident  1998  present  A3  Not Recognised 
White-spotted Flufftail Sarothrura pulchra resident  1998  present  A3  Least Concern 
Dusky Turtle-dove Streptopelia lugens resident  1998  present  A3  Least Concern 
Hartlaub's Turaco Tauraco hartlaubi resident  1998  present  A3  Least Concern 
Red-chested Owlet Glaucidium tephronotum resident  1998  present  A3  Least Concern 
Caprimulgus poliocephalus resident  1998  present  A3  Not Recognised 
Scarce Swift Schoutedenapus myoptilus resident  1998  present  A3  Least Concern 
Sabine's Spinetail Rhaphidura sabini resident  1998  present  A3  Least Concern 
Nyanza Swift Apus niansae resident  1998  present  A3  Least Concern 
Bar-tailed Trogon Apaloderma vittatum resident  1998  present  A3  Least Concern 
Cinnamon-chested Bee-eater Merops oreobates resident  1998  present  A3  Least Concern 
Forest Scimitarbill Rhinopomastus castaneiceps resident  1998  present  A3  Least Concern 
Grey-cheeked Hornbill Bycanistes subcylindricus resident  1998  present  A3  Least Concern 
Campethera tullbergi resident  1998  present  A3  Not Recognised 
Buff-spotted Woodpecker Campethera nivosa resident  1998  present  A3  Least Concern 
Brown-eared Woodpecker Campethera caroli resident  1998  present  A3  Least Concern 
Yellow-crested Woodpecker Dendropicos xantholophus resident  1998  present  A3  Least Concern 
Ruwenzori Batis Batis diops resident  1998  present  A3  Least Concern 
Chestnut Wattle-eye Platysteira castanea resident  1998  present  A3  Least Concern 
Jameson's Wattle-eye Platysteira jamesoni resident  1998  present  A3  Least Concern 
Doherty's Bush-shrike Telophorus dohertyi resident  1998  present  A3  Least Concern 
Sooty Boubou Laniarius leucorhynchus resident  1998  present  A3  Least Concern 
Grey Cuckooshrike Coracina caesia resident  1998  present  A3  Least Concern 
Western Black-headed Oriole Oriolus brachyrhynchus resident  1998  present  A3  Least Concern 
Black-tailed Oriole Oriolus percivali resident  1998  present  A3  Least Concern 
Black-headed Paradise-flycatcher Terpsiphone rufiventer resident  1998  present  A3  Least Concern 
Dusky Crested-flycatcher Elminia nigromitrata resident  1998  present  A3  Least Concern 
White-tailed Crested-flycatcher Elminia albonotata resident  1998  present  A3  Least Concern 
Dusky Tit Parus funereus resident  1998  present  A3  Least Concern 
Chubb's Cisticola Cisticola chubbi resident  1998  present  A3  Least Concern 
Hunter's Cisticola Cisticola hunteri resident  1998  present  A2, A3  Least Concern 
Black-collared Apalis Oreolais pulchra resident  1998  present  A3  Least Concern 
Masked Apalis Apalis binotata resident  1998  present  A3  Least Concern 
Black-faced Apalis Apalis personata resident  1998  present  A3  Least Concern 
Apalis rufogularis resident  1998  present  A3  Not Recognised 
Chestnut-throated Apalis Apalis porphyrolaema resident  1998  present  A3  Least Concern 
Olive-green Camaroptera Camaroptera chloronota resident  1998  present  A3  Least Concern 
Eastern Mountain Greenbul Andropadus nigriceps resident  1998  present  A3  Least Concern 
Shelley's Greenbul Andropadus masukuensis resident  1998  present  A3  Least Concern 
Grey Greenbul Andropadus gracilis resident  1998  present  A3  Least Concern 
Plain Greenbul Andropadus curvirostris resident  1998  present  A3  Least Concern 
Honeyguide Greenbul Baeopogon indicator resident  1998  present  A3  Least Concern 
Joyful Greenbul Chlorocichla laetissima resident  1998  present  A3  Least Concern 
Toro Olive Greenbul Phyllastrephus hypochloris resident  1998  present  A3  Least Concern 
White-throated Greenbul Phyllastrephus albigularis resident  1998  present  A3  Least Concern 
Common Bristlebill Bleda syndactylus resident  1998  present  A3  Least Concern 
Red-tailed Bulbul Criniger calurus resident  1998  present  A3  Least Concern 
Yellow-spotted Nicator Nicator chloris resident  1998  present  A3  Least Concern 
Bamboo Warbler Bradypterus alfredi resident  1998  present  A3  Least Concern 
Bracken Warbler Bradypterus cinnamomeus resident  1998  present  A3  Least Concern 
Mountain Flycatcher-warbler Chloropeta similis resident  1998  present  A3  Least Concern 
Green Hylia Hylia prasina resident  1998  present  A3  Least Concern 
Uganda Woodland-warbler Phylloscopus budongoensis resident  1998  present  A3  Least Concern 
Brown Woodland-warbler Phylloscopus umbrovirens resident  1998  present  A3  Least Concern 
Green Crombec Sylvietta virens resident  1998  present  A3  Least Concern 
White-browed Crombec Sylvietta leucophrys resident  1998  present  A3  Least Concern 
Brown Warbler Sylvia lugens resident  1998  present  A3  Least Concern 
Scaly-breasted Illadopsis Illadopsis albipectus resident  1998  present  A3  Least Concern 
Brown Illadopsis Illadopsis fulvescens resident  1998  present  A3  Least Concern 
Mountain Illadopsis Illadopsis pyrrhoptera resident  1998  present  A3  Least Concern 
Grey-chested Babbler Kakamega poliothorax resident  1998  present  A3  Least Concern 
African Hill Babbler Pseudoalcippe abyssinica resident  1998  present  A3  Least Concern 
Purple-headed Glossy-starling Lamprotornis purpureiceps resident  1998  present  A3  Least Concern 
Sharpe's Starling Cinnyricinclus sharpii resident  1998  present  A3  Least Concern 
Waller's Starling Onychognathus walleri resident  1998  present  A3  Least Concern 
Slender-billed Starling Onychognathus tenuirostris resident  1998  present  A3  Least Concern 
Stuhlmann's Starling Poeoptera stuhlmanni resident  1998  present  A3  Least Concern 
Zoothera piaggiae resident  1998  present  A3  Not Recognised 
Alethe diademata resident  1998  present  A3  Not Recognised 
White-starred Robin Pogonocichla stellata resident  1998  present  A3  Least Concern 
Forest Robin Stiphrornis erythrothorax resident  1998  present  A3  Least Concern 
Equatorial Akalat Sheppardia aequatorialis resident  1998  present  A3  Least Concern 
Blue-shouldered Robin-chat Cossypha cyanocampter resident  1998  present  A3  Least Concern 
Moorland Chat Cercomela sordida resident  1998  present  A3  Least Concern 
Little Rock-thrush Monticola rufocinereus resident  1998  present  A3  Least Concern 
Yellow-eyed Black Flycatcher Melaenornis ardesiacus resident  1998  present  A3  Least Concern 
Green Sunbird Anthreptes rectirostris resident  1998  present  A3  Least Concern 
Northern Double-collared Sunbird Nectarinia preussi resident  1998  present  A3  Least Concern 
Tacazze Sunbird Nectarinia tacazze resident  1998  present  A3  Least Concern 
Bronze Sunbird Nectarinia kilimensis resident  1998  present  A3  Least Concern 
Golden-winged Sunbird Nectarinia reichenowi resident  1998  present  A3  Least Concern 
Baglafecht Weaver Ploceus baglafecht resident  1998  present  A3  Least Concern 
Black-billed Weaver Ploceus melanogaster resident  1998  present  A3  Least Concern 
Vieillot's Black Weaver Ploceus nigerrimus resident  1998  present  A3  Least Concern 
Brown-capped Weaver Ploceus insignis resident  1998  present  A3  Least Concern 
Red-headed Malimbe Malimbus rubricollis resident  1998  present  A3  Least Concern 
White-breasted Negrofinch Nigrita fusconotus resident  1998  present  A3  Least Concern 
Abyssinian Crimson-wing Cryptospiza salvadorii resident  1998  present  A3  Least Concern 
Swee Waxbill Estrilda melanotis resident  1998  present  A3  Least Concern 
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 
Oriole Finch Linurgus olivaceus resident  1998  present  A3  Least Concern 

IBA Monitoring

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

Agricultural expansion and intensification annual & perennial non-timber crops - small-holder farming happening now some of area/population (10-49%) slow but significant deterioration medium
Agricultural expansion and intensification livestock farming and ranching (includes forest grazing) - small-holder grazing, ranching or farming happening now small area/few individuals (<10%) no or imperceptible deterioration low
Geological events avalanches/landslides happening now small area/few individuals (<10%) no or imperceptible deterioration low
Over-exploitation, persecution and control of species gathering terrestrial plants - unintentional effects (species being assessed is not the target) happening now small area/few individuals (<10%) no or imperceptible deterioration low
Over-exploitation, persecution and control of species logging & wood harvesting - unintentional effects: subsistence/small scale happening now small area/few individuals (<10%) no or imperceptible deterioration low

Forest   0 0 good (> 90%) moderate (70-90%) near favourable

Whole area of site (>90%) covered by appropriate conservation designation  A comprehensive and appropriate management plan exists that aims to maintain or improve the populations of qualifying bird species  Some limited conservation initiatives are in place  medium 

Protected areas

Protected area Designation Area (ha) Relationship with IBA Overlap with IBA (ha)  
Mount Elgon National Park 111,000 protected area contained by site 111,000  
Mount Elgon UNESCO-MAB Biosphere Reserve 111,747 protected area contained by site 111,747  

Habitats

IUCN habitat Habitat detail Extent (% of site)
Artificial - terrestrial   49%
Unknown   3%
Shrubland   1%
Forest   45%

Land use

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

Further web sources of information 

Alliance for Zero Extinction (AZE) species/site profile. This site has been identified as an AZE due to it containing a Critically Endangered or Endangered species with a limited range.

References Delany (1975), Davenport et al. (1996a), Howard (1991), Katende et al. (1992), Langdale-Brown et al. (1964), Scott (1998).

Contribute  Please click here to help BirdLife conserve the world's birds - your data for this IBA and others are vital for helping protect the environment.

Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2014) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Mount Elgon National Park. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 21/12/2014

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