Mount Elgon National Park forms part of the western Kenya birdwatching circuit, which includes birding destinations such as Kakamega Forest, Saiwa National Park, Busia Grasslands, Lake Victoria, Kongelai Escarpment, and Cherangani Hills. Mount Elgon has plenty of birdwatching opportunities to see beautiful and exciting bird species found in the western region of Kenya. Mount Elgon National Park comprises montane forest, wooded grassland, bamboo, and alpine moorland on the eastern slopes of Mount Elgon, Kenya’s second-highest mountain. Mount Elgon lies 140 kilometers northeast of Lake Victoria and is divided by the Kenya/Uganda border. The mountain is an ancient, eroded volcano with a huge caldera and, on its summit, the spectacular flat-topped basalt column known as Koitobos. Another isolated feature of Mount Elgon is the ‘lava tube’ caves, some extending 60 meters wide and visited by elephants at night (and other animals) digging for mineral salts. The mountain soils are red laterite, and rainfall is 1,200 millimeters on the mid-slopes. Mount Elgon National Park (16,900 hectares was gazetted in the year 1968) covers a narrow transect up the northeastern slopes of the mountain, from the lower montane forest to the caldera edge. The remaining forest and moorland (73,000 hectares) are part of Mount Elgon Forest Reserve. The northeastern wooded grassland is unprotected. The Ugandan side of the mountain, above 2,000 meters, is protected by Uganda’s Mount Elgon National Park. 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
Birding in Mount Elgon is done while walking in some places, with an armed ranger, starting at Chorlim Gate, and going all the way to Kitum caves or beyond. The birdwatching tour in Mount Elgon takes place at a relaxed and comfortable walking pace, which helps to learn various aspects of bird identification. Mount Elgon National Park is home to 305 species of birds most of which are only found; Jackson’s and Moorland Francolins, endemic to Kenya, Hartlaub’s Turaco, Black-collared Apalis, and Streaky-headed Seedeater, Eastern Bronze-naped Pigeon, Bruce’s Green Pigeon, Blue-spotted Wood-Dove, Yellowbill, African Emerald Cuckoo, Ross’s Turaco, Slender-tailed Nightjar, Plain Nightjar, Sabine’s Spinetail, Buff-spotted Flufftail, Western-banded Snake Eagle, Bat Hawk, Crowned Eagle, Mountain Buzzard, Red-chested Owlet, Forest Wood-hoopoe, Pallid Honeyguide, Red-throated Wryneck, Buff-spotted Woodpecker, Speckle-breasted Woodpecker, Yellow-crested Woodpecker, Tullberg’s Woodpecker, Grey-throated Barbet, Yellow-fronted Tinkerbird, Hairy-breasted Barbet, Yellow-billed Woodpecker, Grey –Cuckooshrike, Black-headed Batis, Doherty’s Bush-shrike, Yellow-billed Shrike, Velvet-mantled Drongo, Blue-crested Flycatcher, Dusky Tit, and Chubb’s Cisticola. In Mount Elgon, the rare and endangered Bearded Vulture or Lammergeier may be seen flying high in the sky.