The Mountain Rwenzori supports one of the most important bird communities in Uganda, with a total of 217 species recorded. Whilst this represents only a moderate level of species richness, the forest harbours many rare, threatened and endemic species. The park contains 17 restricted range species (Albertine endemics), second only to Bwindi Impenetrable National Park which has 24 species (Byaruhanga et al, 2001).
The park is one of the world’s Endemic Bird Areas (EBA). There are up to 241 species of birds which is about 27% of Uganda’s total (Stattersfield et al., 1998). Close to 177 bird species live in the Afromontane forest and 19 species are endemic to the Albertine rift (Wilson, 1995). The common bird species include the Ruwenzori turaco (Ruwenzorornis johnstoni), Bamboo warbler (Bradypterus alfredi), Shelley’s crimson-wing (Cryptospiza shelleyi) and four sunbird species, (i.e. Cynnyris regius, Nectorinia johnstonii, N. reichenowi and N. stuhlmanni). Other bird species include the dwarf honey guide (Indicator pumilio), Grauer’s cuckoo-shrike (Coracina graueri), Lagden’s bush-shrike (Maloconotus lagdeni) and ground robin (Cossypha archeri).
There are many species in the lower zones but the density decreases with increasing altitude. The species include the Ruwenzori turaco, a brightly coloured red, green and blue bird with a strident cackling cry. Francolins are often heard going noisily to roost in the evenings, and the olive pigeon is heard momentarily, whirring swiftly down the forest slopes. Other birds often heard or seen are Archer’s robin-chat, several species of Sunbirds, White-necked raven and Mountain buzzards. Shelley’s crimson-wing, Lagden’s bush-shrike and the Kivu Ground thrusts are in the near threatened category. There are a few other birds of the Alpine zone, the only conspicuous ones being Black duck which are sometimes seen on the lakes, and the Alpine Swift which nest on rocky cliffs and twitter loudly at night, visiting the plains by day to feed.