Rwanda Birding Safaris

The birders’ paradise of Rwanda is undoubtedly the best destination that avid birders shouldn’t miss out on their birding expedition. Rwanda birding safaris offer a cocktail of about 700 bird species. These include migratory birds, present between November and April, and near-endemic bird species that the country shares with the neighboring countries.

The smooth transport system and all-year favorable climate of Rwanda, have enabled birding activities in the country. With easy accessibility to the birding sights, and beautiful bird species make bird watching in the land of thousand hills worth.

The Lake Victoria basin bird endemics and the 27 Albertine rift endemics that are resident in Rwanda are a must-see for all bird lovers that visit the country. The bird population in Rwanda is distributed across the country with high near-endemic bird species in Nyungwe national park and Akagera national park.

However, bird watching in Rwanda can be enjoyed as well in Kigali, the capital of Rwanda, wetlands, and other national parks.

Birding in Nyungwe national park.

This forest park is located in southwestern and preferably the most visited birding site in Rwanda. It is home to 27 Albertine endemics, which can be sighted while on a birding expedition in the park. There are over 300 bird species within the park and are easily accessed through the five birding trails of the park. These include inganji trail, isumi waterfall trail, kamiranzovu trail, Bigugu trail, and karamba trail.

The most notable bird species in Nyungwe national park include the regal sunbird, Grauer’s swamp warbler, Ruwenzori nightjar, handsome spurfowl, Rockefeller’s sunbird, red collared babbler, Albertine rift, long-crested eagle, Albertine owlet, Neumann’s warbler, purple–breasted sunbird, Dusky Crimsonwing, Blue-headed Sunbird, mountain masked Apalis, Ruwenzori turaco, Shelley’s Crimsonwing, Red-throated alethe and many more.

Birding in Akagera national park.

This is another renowned birding destination in Rwanda, holding the second position among Rwanda’s birding sites. Despite the famous big 5 game drive and abundant wildlife for Rwanda wildlife safaris. This park is a honey pot for bird watching.   Akagera national park is located in eastern Rwanda, with about 480 bird species, with 100 bird species unique to only this national park.

A beautiful pool of birds sighted in Akagera national park include; Amur falcon, booted eagle, cabanis bunting, Brown-chested Lapwing, Blue –shouldered robin chat, Dimorphic egret, Red-faced Barbet, Shoebill, Carruthers’s cisticola, Denham’s bustard, Grasshopper Buzzard, Papyrus gonolek, Yellow-bellied eremomela, western reef heron, Tabora cisticola, Souza’s Shrike, Sooty falcon, slate-colored boubou, short-tailed pipit, and many more.

Different wetlands distributed across Rwanda, making 10% of the country, offer lifetime birding on a Rwanda safari. Rugezi swamp marsh located in the northwest region is an ideal site for birding watching. Bird species such as papyrus yellow warbler, papyrus canary, Grey-crowned cranes, Grauer’s swamp warbler, and more. The diversity of the birdlife at this swamp earned it a mark as the only RAMSAR site located in Rwanda.

Birding in Rugezi marsh.

This is located in Lake Nyagafunzo a famous birding site, with easy spots of water birds.  Birding encounters on this lake is experienced on a small boat cruise across the shoes, with rewarding sights of bird species such as lesser jacana and White-backed duck.

Southwest of Rwanda is another area well served with numerous birding sites, bird lovers can explore. About 415 bird species have been recorded in the Bugesera district, offering a great opportunity to view bird species such as the papyrus gonolek, lesser jacana, white-winged swamp warbler, white-backed Duck, Blue-naped mousebird, red chested sunbird, Palm Nut Vulture, white collared Olive back, African fish eagle to mention but a few.

Birding in and around Kigali city.

The capital of Rwanda, is as well a phenomenal birding destination to check while on a Rwanda birding expedition.  For city lovers and travelers, a short birding experience would entice your Kigali Rwanda city tour and stay. The lover’s lake, Also Known As Nyarutarama Lake hosts a couple of bird species located just a few meters away at the edge of Kigali golf.

Bird watching in this area offers a great opportunity to view birds such as Black cuckoo-shrike, white collared olive back, Narina trogon, Palm Nut Vulture, Ruppell’s starling, Bronzy sunbirds, African swamphen, Grey-crowned cranes, African Goshawk many more.

Rwanda offers infinite sights of countless birds located in the interior of this country. The birding experience involves hiking through the thick forests or sailing across various water bodies that avail get chances in the observation of the bird of Rwanda. All make Rwanda birding safari a must.

Other bird species sighted in Rwanda include; Yellow-eyed black Flycatcher, Yellow-bellied eremomela, Rwenzori nightjar, Ring-necked francolin, slate-colored boubou, short-tailed pipit, Northern brown-throated weaver, strange weaver, striped pipit, Souza’s Shrike, red-collared babbler, etc.

The favorable weather conditions in Rwanda Have made birding available the whole year. The dry season is a more favorable time for most birders.  Between June to September, the birding trails are easily assessable and reachable.

What to carry on a Rwanda birding safari?

  • Scope camera
  • Binoculars
  • Hat
  • Insect repellant
  • Field guide

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