A complete guide to birding in Rwanda : Rwanda is listed among the best birding destination in Africa with over 750 different bird species found in different areas of the country, Rwanda referred to as the Land of a thousand hills is a land locked country located in the Albertine part of the rift valley. The country is bordered by Uganda, Burundi and Congo.
Rwanda comprises of several bird habitats including grasslands, swamps and plains that are found in the Eastern part of the country, the grass hill scattered around the central region and the montane Albertine forests covering mostly the western part of the country. There are also several wetlands, rivers and wetlands acting as habitats for several bird species especially water birds.
There are different birding locations in Rwanda including Akagera national park, Nyabarongo, Rugezi, Cyamudongo among others, these sites hosts some of the most famous bird species in Rwanda such as the Shoebill, best sighted in the Akagera national park.
Note: Rwanda hosts no endemic birds, however it has the highest number of Albertine birds which are mostly found in Nyungwe Forest.
Birding in Rwanda is done on several trails, the experience has lately improved with construction of roads, accommodation facilities around the country and presence of professional guides available to assist you during this fascinating and memorable journey and explain different bird species to you.
Birding Destinations in Rwanda
In Rwanda there are several birding destinations in Rwanda, however the best birding destinations are volcanoes in National park, Akanyaru Wetland, Rugezi Marsh, Kigali City, Nyabarongo River, Cyamudongo Forest.
Volcanoes National Park
Volcanoes national park is the most safari Rwanda safari destination in the country popular for hosting the endangered mountain gorillas, the park is also a great birding destination.
Volcanoes national park is located at in the North West region of Rwanda along the border of Congo and Uganda, the park is dominated by a dense population of vegetation with bamboo trees and grasslands which act as bird habitats.
Volcanoes national park hosts over 187 bird species and some of the species include the Rwenzori Batis, Dusty crimson wing, Red faced woodland warbler, Archer’s ground Robin, francolin, strange weaver, and the collared Apalis.
Akanyaru wetland is another amazing birding destination in Rwanda located in the southern part of the country, near the border of Burundi. The forest is a home to over 54 different bird species including the Madagascar squacco Heron, Guinea Congo forest Biome, Pallid harrier, lesser kestrel, lesser swamp, Papyrus Gonolek among others.
Birds in Akanyaru wetland live in the different habitants around the swamp including the shrub vegetation, swamps and Rwihinda Lake, A complete guide to birding in Rwanda
Rugezi Marsh is a wonderful Rwanda birding site located in the northern part of the country, Rugezi comprises of wetlands, papyrus and swamps which act as habitats for different species of birds.
Rugezi Marsh hosts only three bird species that have been registered and they include the Graurer’s Rush Warbler, lesser swamp warbler and the papyrus Gonolek.
Kigali City is the capital of Rwanda and because of its status, it may look like it has no place where one can go for birding experience. However the city has different birding spots and these include
Mountain Kigali Forest
Mountain Kigali is known as the largest hill in Kigali and is one of the best birding spots in Rwanda, the hill is located in the city center and hosts some amazing bird species to spot including yellow-fronted canary, thick-billed seedeater, white-eyed slaty flycatcher, Green-backed camaroptera, Red Chested cuckoo, common Bulbul and the African paradise flycatcher among others, A complete guide to birding in Rwanda
Nyarutarama Lake is a habitat to amazing bird species including black Egret, Grey capped warbler, paradise flycatcher, pygmy kingfisher, African fish Eagle, Black kite, swifts, Tawny flanked prinia, swallow and the winding Cisticola among others.
The Nyabarongo River Wetland
The Nyabarongo River Wetland is located in the South East region of Rwanda and Kigali the capital city, the area comprises of different habitats including the wetlands, swamps and grasslands where different bird species can be spotted.
The Nyabarongo River Wetland hosts different bird species which include the papyrus Gonolek, white collared olive bark, Madagascar squacco heron, white winged scrub warbler, papyrus yellow warbler, Northern brown throated weaver, African jacana, yellow wagtail, Black headed Heron, African Marsh Harrier, common snipe, little Egret, spur-winged geese, long-toed lapwing, African open bill and Caruthers’s Cisticola among others.
Cyamudongo Forest is located in Nyakabuye, south west region of Rwanda at the border of Rwanda and Congo, the forest comprises of different habitats including the wetlands, grasslands and forests where birds live. Birds in the Cyamudongo forest include the Congo forest Biome species, Kungwe Apalis and Ross’s Turaco.
Akagera National park, A Birders Paradise
Akagera national park is a birder’s paradise and one of the best wildlife destinations in Rwanda as it is the only savannah national park in the country, the park is located in the North East part of Rwanda and is bordered by Uganda and Tanzania, A complete guide to birding in Rwanda.
Akagera national park comprises of different habitants including swamps, grasslands, vegetation and plain plains that act as the habitats of the birds found in the area. The park hosts a population of 525 bird species of both the indigenous and migrant birds, these birds include the Great snipe, Suaza’s shrike, Arnot’s chat, shoebill stork, Palearctic migrants, lesser kestrel, long tailed Cisticola, papyrus Gonolek and black winged kestrel.
Nyungwe Forest national park
Nyungwe Forest hosts over 275 bird species and is recognized for being a conservation for montane birds in Rwanda, the park is located at the border of Lake Kivu and Rwanda and is in the south western part of the country, A complete guide to birding in Rwanda
Birds found in Nyungwe Forest include the Chapin’s flycatcher, Rockefeller’s sunbird, strange weaver, Red collared mountain Babbler, Handsome Francolin, Mountain sooty Boubou, Archer robin’s chat, yellow eyed black flycatcher, Graurer’s warbler and the stripe-breasted tit.
When To Go For Birding in Rwanda
Birding in Rwanda can be done all year round, although the best and most favorable time is between December and February as it is the time when the birds migrate from countries that are experiencing winter in this time of the year and you can easily spot the birds.