Fauna of Rwenzori Mountains, wildlife and animals to see in Uganda
Rwenzori wildlife Uganda

The Rwenzori Mountains in Uganda are home to a diverse array of fauna, ranging from iconic African mammals to colorful avian species.

A total of 177 bird species and 70 animal species call these vegetation zones their home. Elephants, chimpanzees, Rwenzori otters, and leopards are also included in the category of mammals. Even though they are present, these are not very often seen because of the deep vegetation.

The wildlife within the park exhibits variations corresponding to different elevations. Among the notable species found here are the forest elephant, chimpanzee, hyrax, black-and-white colobus monkey, L’Hoest’s monkey, Ruwenzori duiker, and Rwenzori turaco.

Small antelope, such as bushbucks, and rare reptiles, like as the three-horned chameleon, are easier to see than other primates. Blue monkeys and colobus monkeys, of which both angola and black-and-white types are said to be present, are also easier to spot.

Here are some of the notable wildlife and animals to see in the Rwenzori Mountains:

  1. African Forest Elephant (Loxodonta cyclotis): These majestic creatures are the largest land animals on Earth and can occasionally be spotted roaming the dense forests of the Rwenzori Mountains. The forest elephants of the region are a subspecies known for their smaller size compared to their savanna counterparts.
  2. Southern Tree Hyrax (Dendrohyrax arboreus): Often found in rocky outcrops and forested areas, the Southern Tree Hyrax is a small, furry mammal known for its distinctive calls and agile climbing abilities. It’s not uncommon to hear their vocalizations echoing through the mountain forests.
  3. Eastern Chimpanzee (Pan troglodytes schweinfurthii): The Rwenzori Mountains are part of the natural habitat of the eastern chimpanzee, one of the closest living relatives of humans. These intelligent primates can be observed in the forested slopes, exhibiting complex social behaviors and tool usage.
  4. Black-and-white Colobus Monkeys (Colobus polykomos): These striking monkeys are characterized by their black fur and long white tails. They are often seen moving gracefully through the forest canopy, feeding on leaves and occasionally emitting loud calls to communicate with their troop members.
  5. L’Hoest’s Monkey (Allochrocebus lhoesti): Named after the Belgian explorer Henri Lhoest, these monkeys inhabit the montane forests of the Rwenzori Mountains. They have a distinctive reddish-brown coat and can be observed foraging for fruits and insects in the treetops.
  6. Ruwenzori Turaco (Ruwenzorornis johnstoni): This vibrant bird species is endemic to the Rwenzori Mountains and is known for its striking plumage. With its green and red feathers and distinctive call, the Ruwenzori Turaco adds a splash of color to the mountain forests.

Since the Rwenzoris is home to a number of bird species that are only found in the Albertine Rift, it is considered an Important Birding Area (IBA).

The greatest variety of bird species is found in the montane forest where you may see the Rwenzori Turaco, Barred Long-tailed Cuckoo, Long-eared Owl, Handsome Francolin, Cinnamon-chested Bee-eater, Archers’ Robin-chat, White-starred Robin, Rwenzori Batis, Montane Sooty Boubou, Lagden’s Bush Shrike, Slender-billed Starling, Blue-headed Sunbird, Golden-winged Sunbird, Strange Weaver and several varieties of Barbets, Greenbuls, Apalises, IIladopsis, Flycatchers and Crimson wings.

Chameleon in Rwenzori National Park, UgandaNot to mention the superstars: when you are high above, you should go hunting for black eagles and lammergeiers.

The park is home to a wide variety of unique and diversified vegetation, including the gigantic heather, as well as a great number of natural habitats for creatures that are at risk of extinction.

Moorland zone, bamboo zone, heather zone and afro-alpine zone, montane forest, and grassland zone are the five unique vegetation zones that make up the Rwenzori region’s rich and diversified vegetation. Groundsels and enormous lobelia are two examples of plants that reside at greater elevations. Even though it is most well-known for the challenging hiking and climbing opportunities it provides, it is also home to a wide variety of animals, totalling 177 bird species and 70 mammal species, many of which are endemic to the Albertine Rift. Among the many animals that call this mountain their home are elephants, buffalo, the Rwenzori leopard, Rwenzori colobus, Hyrax, Blue monkey, and Rwenzori Turaco, all of which are endangered with extinction. It is the only national park in Uganda where witnesses have reported seeing the Angola Colobus.

On the lower slopes of the mountain, some other animals, such as duikers, can be found. Among the birds that may be found in this area are the Rwenzori turaco, olive pigeons, mountain buzzards, francolins, and white-necked ravens. Mountaineering and hiking are two of the most popular activities in the Rwenzoris Mountains in uganda, which offer a breathtaking and one-of-a-kind trip. Climbing, visits to unique vegetation, and opportunities to see birds are all included in the seven-day core circuit. One should be in great health and physically active before climbing since this is the recommendation. Rwenzori Mountaineering Services brings all of the climbing gear that is required for the climb.

Bird Watching

The Rwenzori Mountains have been recognized by the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) as a World Heritage Site. In addition, there are opportunities to go birdwatching in the Rwenzori, which are often located in montane forests. However, there have been a few species identified in the rough habitat of the high Rwenzori. Bee-eaters, sunbirds, robins, and barbets are just some of the 217 species that can be found in Rwenzori Mountain National Park. The park and its mountains provide a habitat for a wide range of species, including barbets, forebears, and sunbirds.

Some of the other species that can be found in the area are the African Long-eared Owl, Archers’ Robin-chat, Barbets, Barred Long-tailed Cuckoo, Blue-headed Sunbird, Cinnamon-chested Bee-eater, Collared Apalis, Crimson wings, Dusky and Shelley’s Crimson wing, Dwarf Honeyguide, Evergreen Forest and Bamboo Warblers, Flycatchers, Golden-winged sunbirds, Sunbird, Grauer’s Cuckoo-shrike, and Greenbuls.

Related: Mount Kilimanjaro Birdlife

Rwenzori Mountain National Park in Uganda is home to 217 different kinds of birds, some of which include bee-eaters, sunbirds, birds of the Robin family, and barbets. In addition to the long-eared Owl and the Rwenzori Turaco, there are many kinds of birds that may be seen here, including those that are higher up the slopes, such as Bearded Vultures, swifts, and black Eagles, which may circle in search of prey.

Exploring the Rwenzori Mountains offers an opportunity to encounter these fascinating creatures in their natural habitat. Whether trekking through lush forests or ascending rocky slopes, visitors to the region can witness the rich biodiversity that thrives in this mountainous landscape.

Rwenzori BirdlifeBecause it is well known to be home to approximately 18 different species of mammals, including forest elephants, bush bucks, giant forest hogs, leopards, red duikers, Rwenzori otters, Uganda clawed frogs, Rwenzori climbing mice, rock hyrax, six amphibians, and nine reptiles, Mount Rwenzori national park is considered to be an absolute necessity for anyone who is planning to go on an adventurous safari in Uganda. There are also a variety of different primate species that can be found within this national park. Some of these primate species include olive baboons, blue monkeys, black and white colobus monkeys, chimpanzees, red-tailed monkeys, l’hoest monkeys, and plenty of other primate species.

Read: What animals will I see around Kilimanjaro?

Mount Rwenzori National Park is considered to be a birder’s paradise because it is home to different species of birds. These birds can be seen in the park at any time. Some of the birds that can be seen there are the following: the Queen turaco, the Rwenzori collared birds, the red-faced woodland warbler, Shelley’s crimson wing, dwarf honeyguide, strange weaver, kivu ground thrush, the purple-breathed sunbirds, the barred long-tailed cuckoo, collared apalis, the golden-winged sunbird, the Rwenzori blue turaco, the Rwenzori night jar, the Rwenzori batis, the western green tinker bird, and the montane masked, amongst other species. Additionally, these birding activities always start at the Robin Trailhead, which leads you through the montane forests. It is in these woods that travellers are provided with the opportunity to witness various bird species in huge numbers, which makes their journey a colourful and complete one, particularly for those who are passionate about birds.


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