Bird Watching in Rwanda
Bird Watching in Rwanda: Rwanda is Africa’s best birding country in the Montane sector given the ideal and smooth road network in most of the parts of the country with a safe and secure system. A number of factors have boosted the birding safaris in the country. Rwanda has a number of places where you can opt to visit the birds, both the endemic and the foreign bird species. Rwanda is known to have one of the best eco-tourism systems among the countries of Africa.
Rwanda is a relatively small country and this has favored the birders in a way that they can cover a great number of birding points all over the country in the shortest time and being able to spot a great number of the Rwanda birds. In November of 2018, the recorded number of bird species in the country was 703 different bird species however over the years, different birds are expected to have joined the scene much later and have not been documented.
There are 29 recorded bird species that are endemic to the Albertine Rift which Rwanda falls in along with the Lake Victoria basin endemic species and these are the most common birds any birder would look forward to spotting.
The major birding spots for people in Rwanda is the Nyungwe forest national park that is located in the south western part of the country and the Akagera national park in the north eastern part of the country. This should however not limit the bird lovers as the different bird species can still be spotted all over the country on your visit. A few of the birding spots one should look out for while in the country also include the Volcanoes national park, the Gishwati Mukura national park, Lake Kivu, Kigali and the wetlands of Rwanda.
Nyungwe forest national park as a birding destination (Bird Watching in Rwanda) is a home of up to 322 bird species co existing with the 13 different primate species of the park living in the many endemic plants species. The Nyungwe forest is a thick mountane rain forest which favours the habitation of these birds and species. The outstanding bird species that one should look out for while on a bird safari in Nyungwe or any activity in the park include the Rwenzori Turaco; an Albertine rift endemic species, the Handsome francolin, Grauer’s Warbler, Newman’s warbler, the Rwenzori Night jar, Regal blue headed and the purple breasted sunbirds.
To get the most of these birds of Nyungwe forest, birders are advised to have an experienced birding guide of Nyungwe forest. You may be able to spot the Kivu Ground Thrush, Kungwe Apalis, the Willards Sooty Boubou, the Congo Bay Owl, Shelley’s Crimsonwing, Albertine Owlet on a successful birding trip all in Nyungwe forest as they are the rarest of the species in the forest however much their presence was documented. Nyungwe forest national park has a plan to introduce night walks to spot the nocturnal birds.
Akagera national park is also another birding destination in Rwanda with a different terrain as compared to Nyungwe forest national park. Akagera national park boosts of the Big 5 animals and offers its visitors a wildlife experience along with a birding experience (Bird Watching in Rwanda). Akagera is a savannah park with hills, small water bodies, woodlands and wetland covering about 1,122 square kilometers. About 490 bird species have been spotted in the Akagera national park which is a greater number compared to most destinations in the country.
The boat trip on Lake Ihema is bound to give you the best viewing points for the birds of Akagera national park mainly the African finfoot that is a commonly viewed bird at the luxury Ruzizi tented camp deck. The other species spotted in the Akagera national park include the red faced barbet usually spotted around the Akagera game lodge and the Muyumbu campsite that are great lodging for the midrange visitors. You can also spot the northern brown throated weaver, papyrus gonelek, white winged swamp warbler, white collared oliveback, grey crowned cranes, carruthers’s cisticola and the much sought after shoebill often seen in the park wetland area. There are also a number of water birds that you can see on your safari to Akagera national park.
On a night game drive in Akagera national park be sure to check out the nocturnal bird species like a few of the Night jar species or the Verreaux’s Eagle Owl.
Volcanoes national park is famously known for its habitation of the mountain gorilla specie however, there is a number of birdlife one can spot while on a visit to this park. Volcanoes national park has thick vegetation with the highest Virunga range mountain that is the Karisimbi mountain and this park offers a great birding experience with about 200 bird species of which 17 are Albertine endemic species. The birds spotted in this park are familiar to the birds of the Nyungwe forest. There are different activities offered by the park that gives visitors a great birding point like the Mount Bisoke hike, the visit to the Buhanga Eco-park, or a visit to the twin lakes where you will spot the Scarlet-Tufted sunbird, African pitta.
Other birding points in the country are the Gishwati-Mukura national park that is located north of Lake Kivu with a new establishment is a home to about 232 bird species in the Gishwati forest and 163 bird species in the Mukura forest. Lake Kivu is also a great birding point whereyou can spot the White breasted cormorants, osprey, kingfishers, double tooth barbet, yellow bellied waxbill, spot flanked barbet to mention but a few. The Rugezi, Nyabarongo and Akanyaru wetlands are also great birding points in the country and have even been noticed by the Birdlife International as Important Bird Areas. Not forgetting Kigali that has recorded about 100 species. Book yourself a birding safari in Rwanda.