Top Birding Spots in Rwanda

In Rwanda

When it comes to African safaris, Rwanda isn’t only known for the rare mountain gorilla trekking adventures but also for birding experiences. With more than 750 distinct bird species that thrive in various habitats in this spectacular country, bird lovers need to worry as all their travel needs will be covered here.

Rwanda is a small and landlocked country with area coverage of about 26338 square kilometers and it is credited for its abundant bird species that thrive per square kilometer in Africa. This country features a number of incredible habitats which come along with distinct species. The main habitats include the Albertine Rift montane forests in the western area and the grassland plains and swamps via the eastern side.

You will also find many swamps, rivers, wetlands as well as Lakes dotted via the grassy hills of the central area and across the remarkable Rwanda. Whereas there are no birds endemic exclusively to Rwanda, there are many Albertine Rift endemic species which count about 44 and 27 of them thrive within Nyungwe Forest. The magnificent landscape of grassy hills and misty volcanoes is occupied by unique and remarkable wildlife species the rare mountain gorillas and many primates that make Rwanda the best birding and primate destination. For bird lovers, Rwanda is best visited from the month of December to February when most of migrant birds flock into the area especially the wintering and Palearctic migrants.

Below are some of the best areas for you to visit for bird watching in Rwanda.

Kigali city

Just at the entry point to Rwanda through Kigali International Airport, you will be amazed with bird encounters of most birdlife. The Nyarutarama Lake also known as Lover’s Lake at the border to Kigali Golf Course offers incredible nature walks and birding encounters. There are many local bird species to be spotted around this place. There is also Nyabarongo wetland which also provides walking trails and best birding site. For visitors within Kigali city, never miss out to spot bird species like the African grey hornbill, African rock pigeon, brown throated wattle eye, cardinal woodpecker and many more.

Albertine eco Region

This area consists of mountain ranges which were formed due to up life and volcanic eruptions. It extends across the western half of Rwanda and also occupies about five other states. The Albertine is known as the center of the Afro montane habitat and is a belt of remarkable faunal and floral endemic species which comprise of more than 40 birdlife, 34 mammals, 117 butterflies, 34 amphibians and 16 reptiles. About 27 Albertine rift endemics thrive within Rwanda and many more.

Volcanoes National Park

While this park is best known for mountain gorilla tracking, bird enthusiasts are never left out. The park comes along with the might Virunga Massifs of Mount Muhavura, Sabinyo, Karisimbi, Bisoke and Gahinga. Besides its famous apes-the golden monkeys and mountain gorillas, over 200 species of birds thrive within the park, 17 of them are endemic to the area. The notable bird species to spot out in this park include the dusky fly catcher, Chubb’s Cisticola, dusky fly catcher, red billed fir finch, cinnamon chested bee eater and many more.

Nyungwe Forest National Park

This park features one of the few tropical rain forests that still thrive within Africa. It offers refuge to more than 310 distinct bird species 27 of which are Albertine rift endemic. The notable birds for you to sight while on birding safaris in the park include the Rwenzori Turaco, the handsome spurfowls, red collared babbler, Grauer’s swamp warbler, blue headed sunbird, Albertine owlets and many more.

Akagera National Park

This park is one of the magnificent savanna grassland protected areas in East Africa. It comes with mixture of amazing grassland interspersed with broad leafed and acacia woodland as well as low lying area dissected by Akagera River. The park refuges about 525 bird species and the most looked for include red faced barbet, white collared olive back, Sousa’s shrike and many others. This protected area also refuges several wetlands, Lakes plus Akagera River and the most looked for birds in wetland places include the papyrus canary, papyrus gonolek, the shoebill and carruther’s Cisticola.

The wetland and the marshes

About 10 percent of Rwanda is covered by wetlands and marshes and refuges Akanyaru, Rugezi and Nyabarongo wetlands which offer refuge to most of waders and aquatic birds.

In conclusion, Rwanda features many spots where visitors can sight different birds and this makes one of the birders paradises in Africa. With variety of incredible birding sites, we believe that you will have a chance to make your dreams come true while on safari in Africa. Each of the destinations listed above features distinct bird species as well as other incredible attractions that are worth exploring.

Recent Posts

Leave a Comment