Birding in Rwanda

Rwanda is also situated in the albertine Rift and the dense forests and the mountains that create a unique and extra ordinary beautiful environment for the guests to enjoy. Rwanda is also a birding destination with over 700 species and it has got the highest number of the albertine rift endemics in Africa. This country has also got over seven birding areas that include; Akagera national park, Nyungwe forest national park and the Volcanoes national park. The other birding areas also include; Akanyaru, Rugezi swamp, Cyamundongo and the Nyabarongo area. The most famous bird here is the shoebill stork that is mainly found in Akagera national park and in the wetlands of the fantastic country.

rwanda birding africa










Akagera supports both the acacia and the papyrus species including the; Red-faced Barbet, Broad-tailed Warblers, Bennett’s Woodpecker, White-winged, Papyrus Gonolek, Carruther’s, Tabora Cisticolas, Papyrus Gonolek, Miombo Wren-Warblers and Black and familiar Chats,and many more. Those that are interested in birding and staying at Akagera national park, there are many lodges including the Akagera game lodge and there are campsites that can be used by the tourists who are interested in birding. Also on top of the many bird species that are found in Akagera as the best birding destination of Rwanda, you can as well meet many animals like the Hippos, elephants, the kobs, giraffes, Rhinos, lions and many more.

In the southwestern direction of the country, you will find Nyungwe national park that is the virgin forest and the largest natural forest that is remaining in Africa and is also home to over 300 bird species and 27 of these are regional endemics. This forest has also got steep hills as well as deep valleys that make the forest hard to be adventured. There is also a new road that was constructed and it divides the park and has made it easy for the guests to access the park. This national park has also got many bird species that include; the mountain sooty Boubou, the Rwenzori Batis, Grauer’s Rush, Rwenzori Hill Babbler and many more. The country has also got many birding spots that are visited by the bird watchers and some of these are detailed and explained below.


Rwanda also contains an extraordinary diversity of the habitat as well as the prolific bird species. There are two main phytochoria and the afro montane region between 1,800m and 4,500m and the Lake Victoria regional mosaic which is below 1,800m and in Rwanda includes; the elements of Guineo – Congolian and the Sudanian vegetation. Many of Rwanda’s forests also lie in the afromontane region where they form part of the forests of the albertine rift, the flora as well as the fauna of which have a great degree of endemism. Until lately, there were only four main montane forests with in Rwanda, Gishwati, Nyungwe, Mukura and the volcanoes that is located in the western part of the country, where they will form the border between the Guinea- Congo lowland rain forests of the DR Congo and the lake Victoria in the far south east where the vegetation is acacia and the combretum conquered woodland basin towards the east. These are also considered by their high altitudes of 2000m on average which varies from 1,600 to 4,500m and the clearings and the dense under stormy distinctive of montane forests.

The savannas of Lake Victoria regional mosaic also occur majorly in the eastern part of Rwanda and comprises of the 5 different natural zones, and these are known as Mutara, Mubari- Migogo, Buganza, Gisakura as well as Bugesera. The levels of endemism are so low which reflects the provisional composition of the vegetation.

birdwatching rwanda

The wetlands also occupy only 10% of the country. It’s also said that Rwanda is also made up of many hills and between each of these, there are small rivers as well as wetlands. There are also three wide areas of swamps; the akanyaru on the border with Burundi, Mugesera- Rugwero in the south east and the Kagera swamp along the border of Tanzania in the east. The smaller swampy areas also occur within the high valleys and in the form of many wide bogs in the central plateau and the mountains. 90% of the water of this country pipes into the Nile Basin with a small amount flowing into the Congo River system. Many of the wetlands with in Rwanda are also under substantial pressure from agricultural expansion.

Rwanda as a country also enhancements a great healthy bird checklist of up to 680 species in contrast to its size of 26, 328km. the avifauna also includes 17 species of the global conservation concern, and five of these are non- breeding migrants, 4 from the Palearctic including; the lesser Kestrel, the pallid Harrier, the black winged pratincole, the great Snipe and the Madagascar Squacco heron, the breeds in Madagascar. The breeding species also include; the 8 albertine Rift endemics, the Dwarf Honey guide, albertine Owlet, Kivi ground Thrush, the red collared mountain Owlet , the Nuemann’s , the Rockefeller’s sun bird, the grauer’s Rush warbler, Kungwe Aplais, as well as the Shelley’s crimson wing.  There are also two species of the papyrus swamps including the papyrus Gonolex, the shoebill stork, the papyrus Yellow Warbler, and the red faced Barbet , both of which are found in  savannah wetlands in Akagera national park.

shoebill rwanda

There are also no birds that are endemic to Rwanda, but the montane forests as well as the related habitats have 25 of the 37 albertine Rift Mountains endemic bird areas. More so, the elements of the Guinea and Congo forests biome also occur at the lower altitudes with in the forests in the west, with over 23 species of birds from Rwanda out of the 278 bird species that are controlled to the biome. The eastern side of the country also falls in Lake Victoria basin biome and 11 of its 12 species live nationally .the montane forests of the Congo –Nile water shed also hold over 74 species of the afro tropical highland biome. Also the presence of the other species are yet to be confirmed. There are approximately 280 bird species that are known from these forests. And the major are found in Nyungwe forest, which is the most important site for the conservation of diversity in Rwanda.