Are you a birder and you are planning to visit Africa soon? Think of a birding tour in Africa and Rwanda should be a must to include in your travel plan and you won’t regret in life. Bird watching is Rwanda’s one most amazing safari experience any traveler on African safari shouldn’t miss to be part. About 750 bird species call this magical country their home and the fact that this is a small country, with area coverage of about 26338 square kilometers; it thus inhabits intense concentration of avifaunal species per square kilometers in Africa. A trip to sight birds in Rwanda rewards you with diverse bird species and most interestingly, you spend less time and cover small area while on birding trail. You can also easily spot out the unique birds in this stunning country. It features diverse bird habitats ranging from the Albertine Rift montane forest in the western area, grassland plains as well as swamps on the eastern border area. Besides, there are many rivers, lakes, through the grassy hills of central region and across Rwanda. Whereas there are no endemic birds exclusively to Rwanda, it inhabits variety of the Albertine Rift endemic species about 44 of them, of these, 27 can be spotted within Nyungwe Forest National Park. Besides tracking mountain gorillas and many primates in Rwanda, you can also embark on birding safari and you will be filled with ultimate experiences.
Best time to go for bird watching in Rwanda
Visitors on birding tour in Africa can pay a visit to Rwanda at any time of the year and they can get the best sights over diverse bird species. However, depending on which birds you are interested in sighting at, December to February is considered more ideal period for you to see most migrants especially the wintering and Palearctic migrants. Interested, even most bird watching infrastructures like trails, areas of stay, roads that take you up to the main birding sites have been developed. Besides, there are well trained and professional guides to take you through your birding exploration in Rwanda.
Where to go for birding in Rwanda
Rwanda has many birding sites with unique bird species for you to spot out and they include among others; Kigali capital city. You can start your birding exploration in Kigali city which is main entry point to Rwanda through Kigali International Airport. It provides the first bird watching experience while you are on safari in Rwanda. This capital alone boasts of diverse and unique birds that are worth spotting while you are on your birding tour.
The Albertine eco-region-this mainly consists of mountain chain which came as a result of up lift and volcanic activity. It extends across the western half of Rwanda and covers about 5 other states. It is heart if the afro montane habitat and a belt of rare fauna and flora endemism with about 40 species of birds, 34 mammals, 34 amphibians, 16 reptiles and 117 butterflies. Over 27 Albertine rift endemic birds exist in this region.
Volcanoes National Park-in the northwestern side of Rwanda and mainly popular for mountain gorillas and golden monkeys as well as numerous bird species that make up a total of about 200 with 27 of them endemic to the area. Nyungwe forest national park on the other hand lies suitably on the southwestern side of highland area which makes up the great divide between the Congo and the Nile drainage systems. About 310 bird species thrive within this forested protected area and they include among others red collared babblers, Rwenzori Turaco, Regal sunbird, handsome spur fowls, Rwenzori Batis, Grauer’s swamp warbler, blue headed sunbird, Albertine owlet a mention but a few. Akagera National Park-this lies strategically in the north east side of Rwanda just close to border area with Tanzania and mainly features the savanna woodland and open grassland species comprising of about 525 bird species-both savanna and terrestrial. They include among others papyrus canary, papyrus gonolek, shoebill stork, Caruthers’s cisticola a mention but a few. In addition, there are also numerous wetlands and marshes that make up about 10 percent of this landlocked country with major ones being Rugezi, Nyabarongo and Akanyaru wetlands.