East African Moorlands | WWF

East African Moorlands

About the Area

The montane grasslands of East Africa represent a poorly protected and rapidly declining habitat. This Global ecoregion is made up of these terrestrial ecoregions: East African montane moorlands; Ruwenzori-Virunga montane moorlands.
The grasslands support a remarkable diversity of plants showing eighty-one percent endemism, and provide habitat for many unique bird species. However, the number of vertebrate species is small and endemism rates are low.

Local Species
Plant species include Giant groundsels (Dendro senecio) and Lobelias (Lobelia). Bird species include several members of the Afromontane sunbirds; among these are Stuhlmann's double-collared sunbird (Nectarinia stuhlmanni), Regal sunbird (Nectarinia regia), and Rockefeller's sunbird (Nectarinia rockefelleri).

Other bird species here include handsome Francolin (Francolinus nobilis), Archer's robin-chat (Cossypha archeri), and Stripe-breasted tit (Parus fasciiventer).

Fire, grazing, and agriculture threaten this ecoregion.


6,000 sq. km (2,300 sq. miles)

Habitat type:
Montane Grasslands and Shrublands

Geographic Location:
Eastern Africa: DRC, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania, and Uganda

Conservation Status:
Relatively Stable/Intact

Quiz Time!

How have the plant species adapted themselves to the local climate?

Species have developed special adaptations to protect against solar radiation and freezing night temperatures of this ecoregion. Like many plants have thick and woolly leaves that close up at night to insulate the stem and buds of the plant from the cold. Some mosses form moss balls that ride on top of the soil as its freezes and thaws. Another plant is the cushion plant, which has stunted growth because of ultraviolet light and cold temperatures.

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