Mount Elgon National Park kenya

Mackinnon's Fiscal
  • Size: 95,000 ha
  • Checklist: Over 240 Species
  • Location: Western, Rift Valley
  • Altitude 2,100–4,280m

Mount Elgon is located app. 470 kilometers from Nairobi, 140 km north-east of Lake Victoria and bisected by the Uganda Kenya border.

It is an ancient, eroded volcano with a huge caldera and, on its summit, the spectacular flat-topped basalt column known as Koitobos at 4,200 m. Another unique feature of the mountain is the ‘lava tube’ caves, some over 60 m wide. The mountain soils are red laterite, and rainfall is 1,200 mm/year on the mid-slopes. Mount Elgon is an important water catchment for the Nzoia River, which flows into Lake Victoria, and for the Turkwel River, which flows into Lake Turkana.

The vegetation is zoned by altitude, with wet montane forest dominated by Olea capensis and Aningeria adolfi-friedericii grading into Olea– Podocarpus falcatus forest, a zone of mixed Podocarpus and bamboo Arundinaria alpina, and the Hagenia abyssinica zone with giant heath Erica arborea and Erica trimera elgonensis. Afro-alpine moorlands occupy the highest parts of the mountain, with tussock grasses such as Festuca pilgeri, bogs of Carex runssoroensis, giant groundsels and giant lobelias. Open wooded grassland with Erythrina and Combretum covers part of the lower, drier north-eastern slopes.

Mount Elgon National Park was gazette and opened for tourism activities in 1968. Spot fishing on River Suam, game viewing (African Elephant, Waterbuck, African Buffalo, Leopard, Giant Forest Hog, Monkey species, e.t.c), birdwatching, primate watch, Mountain hiking, and nature walks are among the activities conducted in the park.

Birds

The park boosts over 240 bird species. Three of the eight Kenya Mountains Endemic Bird Area species, five of the thirteen species of the Sudan-Guinea biome species, 19 of the 43 Guinea–Congo Forests biome species, 47 of the 70 species of the Afrotropical biome, and a number of the Sudan-Guinea Savannah biome species that occur in Kenya have been recorded here. The park also favours one globally threatened species- Sharpe's longclaw along with some regionally threatened and range restricted species; Gypaetus barbatus, Stephanoaetus coronatus, Francolinus streptophorus, Sarothrura affinis,Bubo capensis, Glaucidium tephronotum, Indicator conirostris, Phyllastrephus baumanni, Kakamega poliothorax, Sheppardia polioptera,Campephaga quiscalina and Cisticola hunteri, Francolinus jacksoni respectively.

Grauer's Broadbill (Pseudocalyptomena graueri)

Kingdom: Animalia, Phylum: Chordata, Class: Aves, Family: Eurylaimidae, Genus: Pseudocalyptomena, Species: Pseudocalyptomena graueri

The Grauer's Broadbill or African Green Broadbill (Pseudocalyptomena graueri) is an actual broadbill, one of only a few African representatives of a primarily Asian family. It is bright green with a blue throat and vent and a small bill, quite unlike those of the other broadbills. It is endemic to the Albertine Rift Mountains of Uganda and Democratic Republic of Congo. Its natural habitat is subtropical or tropical moist montane forests where it forages in canopies.

It is one of the African Big Five bird species, highly sought after by ornithologists but very elusive.

The species is both globally endangered and endangered according to the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.

Blue-breasted Bee-eater (Merops variegatus)

Kingdom: Amimalia, Phylum: Chordata, Class: Aves, Order: Coraciiformes, Family: Meropidae, Genus: Merops

The Blue-breasted Bee-eater is endemic to Africa and just as the name suggests, predominantly eats flying insects, especially bees and wasps, which are caught in the air by sallies from an open perch. While pursue any type of flying insect, honey bees predominate in their diet. Hymenoptera (ants, bees and wasps) comprise from 20% to 96% of all insects eaten, with honey bees comprising approximately one-third of the Hymenoptera.

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