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Bird Watching in Rwanda and Best Birding Destinations 2024

A bird watching in Rwanda is soul-captivating and immersive, offering birders the opportunity to spot over 700 impressive bird species spread across the best birding destinations in the country.

Rwanda is ranking as one of the top Eco-tourism destinations across Africa  characterized with several birding sites spread all over it’s diverse natural habitats offering the best African montane birding .

Bird Watching in Rwanda

The incredible road networks, focus on tourist’s safety combined with a compact kind of nature of the country that is featured with several birding sites make it an excellent destination for birding enthusiasts, exploring several birding habitats with in a very short period of time granting them access to sight most of the rare desirable bird species of Africa.

In November 2018, the country was documented to hold 703 bird species inclusive of the different bird species that had been added to the country birding list since 2010.

Some of these birds include the most desirable Lake Victoria Basin Endemics and 29 Albertine Rift Endemics, topping the wish lists of bird lovers.

Although most birders to Rwanda put most of their attention  to birding in Akagera National park and Nyungwe National park, there are a number of birding sites spread all over the country where a traveler can go for Bird watching in Rwanda.

Some of them are with in a few kilometers from the capital, Kigali ,making it very possible to sight different birds species during your Rwanda wildlife safaris no matter your destination.

Some of the of the unique bird species sighted during bird watching in Rwanda include Albertine boubou, Albertine owlet, Archer’s robin-chat, Black-faced apalis,

Best Birding Destinations in Rwanda

Blue-headed sunbird, Red-faced woodland warbler, Red-throated alethe, Regal sunbird, Congo bay owl, Dusky crimsonwing, Grauer’s swamp warbler, Grauer’s warbler, Purple-breasted sunbird, Red-collared babbler, Handsome francolin, Kivu ground thrush, Kungwe apalis, Neuman’s warbler, Rockefeller’s sun-bird, Rwenzori apalis ,Rwenzori batis, Rwenzori double-collared sun-bird ,Rwenzori nightjar, Rwenzori turaco, Schouteden’s swift, Strange weaver, Yellow-eyed black flycatcher, Willard’s sooty boubou and Stripe-breasted tit.

Best Birding Destinations of Rwanda 

Volcanoes National Park;

Famously know for it’s Endangered Mountain Gorillas, the park is nestled among the dormant volcanoes, hosting Mount Karisimbi, the highest peaked mountain of Rwanda and a diverse of 200 bird species of which 17 are Albertine Rift Endemics making it a right destination for bird watching in Rwanda.

Most of the birds of Rwanda are very similar to those sighted at Nyungwe National park  apart from the one unique impressive species called Scarlet-Tufted Sunbird which can only found here across Rwanda.

Birds of Volcanoes National park

 

The bird can only be seen at the peak of Mount Bisoke therefore requiring an eager birder who wants to catch glimpse of to hike the Mount to it’s peak, covering 12,175 feet distance.

In addition to bird watching in Rwanda adventures, the park is surrounded by a number of lakes, close to it is Buhanga Eco-park, a right spot of sighting African Pitta  during its migration. All in one package giving a memorable birding adventurous tour in Rwanda.

Nyungwe National Park;

Nyungwe national park characterized with tropical rainforest, a home to 322 impressive bird species, 13 primate species, a variety of plant species and a diverse of animal species. The most desired birds spotted at the park include the Red-collared Babbler, Rwenzori Turaco,

Birds of Nyungwe National Park

Francolin, Rwenzori Nightjar, Grauer’s Warbler, Regal, Blue-headed and Purple Breasted Sunbirds, Neumann’s Warbler and Grauer’s Swamp Warbler best seen during nature walks, taking trails into forests ,with help of an experienced bird guide to help you spot different colorful birds as he is guiding you about their diet, breeding, behavior, numbers and so much more.

At the park, you have high chances of spotting the rare   Rockefeller’s Sunbird, Congo Bay Owl, Kungwe Apalis, Willard’s Sooty Boubou, Albertine Owlet and Shelley’s Crimson-wing, Kivu Ground Thrush flying around the forest.

Akagera National Park is one of the savannah parks of Rwanda featured with lakes, wetlands, rolling hills, woodlands and lush vegetation. The park is a habitat to 490 bird species inclusive of the most thought of by bird enthusiast but very rare in other habitats  called Red-faced barbet.

Birds of Akagera National Park

other very rare species in other habitats include the Northern Brown-throated Weaver, White-collared Oliveback, Papyrus Gonolek, White-Winged Swamp Warbler, Carruthers’s Cisticola,  and Grey-crowned Cranes.

The park is a habitat to a variety of raptors and water wading birds inclusive of the famous shoebill stork  best seen during canoe rides on Lake Ihema. Besides birding best explored on nature walks and canoe rides, the park is also a good destination for game drives, sighting different animal species grazing on the Savannah plains and hanging in the woodlands inclusive the Big Five making it a complete tour package destination of Rwanda.

Gishwati-Mukura National Park is Rwanda’s newest park located in the west mountainous regions of Rwanda with mukura holding about 232 bird species and mukura 163 bird species  inclusive of the most loved by birders and Albertine rift endemics.

Birds of Gishwati-Mukura National Park

 

The park offers uninterrupted scenic views of Lake Kivu located just below the park and lush green vegetation featured with wildlife going about its daily activities.

Lake Kivu; lake kivu is a home to a good number of water wading bird species best seen during boat cruise. It is a habitat to some of the most loved bird species inclusive of the White-breasted Cormorants, Pied Kingfishers and Osprey. While on a boat cruise, at the lake shores you sight semi-Aquatic species which include the large alligators and Hippos and terrestrial species which get attracted by the lake from their habitats to cool off. While at the lake, you will see the Double-tooth Barbet Yellow-bellied Waxbill, Familiar Chat, Brown-throated Wattle-eye and Spot-flanked Barbet on a daily basis.

Wetlands; wetlands  and marshes cover about 10% of the country’s vegetation with Rugezi marsh, Nyabarongo  and Akanyaru Wetlands  declared as bird areas by Birdlife International. Rugezi march is a habitat to a variety of Grauer’s Swamp Warbler, Grey-crowned Cranes, Papyrus Canary, and Papyrus Yellow Warbler.

At the south end of the marsh ,  you find  Lake Nyagafunzo offering magnificent views of water wading bird species inclusive of the White-backed Duck and Lesser Jacana though very rare all best seen while on a boat ride.

wetlands of Rwanda

In Bugesera district located in the south eastern regions of Rwanda, you will find the easily accessible lakes and wetlands documented to hold about 415 bird species inclusive of the the Papyrus Gonolek, Lesser Jacana, Papyrus Canary, White-winged Swamp Warbler, White-backed Duck and White-collared Oliveback. In the region, you will also fine  Blue-naped Mousebird, Red-chested Sunbird,  African Fish Eagle and Palm Nut Vulture.

Kigali: Kigali is a urban birding destination. While in the city, you will catch glimpses of different impressive bird species flying around the hotel gardens offering you a clear picture of the rich diversity of bird species that is awaiting you in its reserved habitats. The famous birds sighted in Kigali city include  Brown-backed Honeybird, Black ,White-collared Oliveback, African Swamphen, Crested Barbet, Grey-backed Fiscal, Rüppell’s Starling ,Grey-headed Bushshrike, Bat Hawk, Narina Trogon, Lesser Honeyguide,Cuckoo-Shrike, Olive-bellied, Red-chested Sunbird and Bronzy Sunbirds, African Goshawk, Palm Nut Vulture, and Black-headed Weaver.

Umusambi village, at the edge of the city is a home to endangered Grey crowned cranes holding up to about 100 species of birds in the restored habitat making it a good destination for urban birding .

Cranes at Umusambi village

 

Best time for Bird Watching in Rwanda

Rwanda is open for birding all year round but the best bird watching days are the dry months of Rwanda with very low or no rainfall at all ranging from January to June, when the birds are very active in the habitats offering you the best expected views. Note that April is a wet month characterized with heavy rainfalls making all adventurous

 

 

 

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