Birding in Rwanda

Bird watching is so rewarding with a huge bird list of about 750 species. Since it’s a small country that covers an area of 26, 338 sq kilometres, the country has got the highest concentration of birds as per kilometre in Africa.

Rwanda Birding will give you variety of bird species by covering a small area and also spending a short time on the birding trail. There is also an easy access as well as the view to the rare bird species.

rwanda birdingThe habitats are diverse and these include; the Albertine rift montane forests with in the western region, swamps and the grassland along the eastern border. There are also many swamps, wetlands, rivers, lakes, that are scattered through the grassy hills of the central region and also across Rwanda. Even though there are no birds that are endemic to Rwanda, it also accounts for most of the albertine rift endemic species and they are 44, 27 of which are found in the Nyungwe Forest. There are also breath taking land scapes of the grassy hills as well as misty volcanoes that live there like the mountain gorillas and the primates that make Rwanda for the bird lovers.

When you should go birding in Rwanda

It’s all year round! Though the period from December to February is the season for the migrant birds and here Rwanda hosts variety of pelearactic and wintering migrants. The birding set up like the trails, accommodation and the roads lead to the birding spots that have been developed. There are also professional birding guides that have been trained and are available to lead the birding tours in Rwanda.

Where to go bird watching in Rwanda

  • Birding in Kigali city

Kigali city is also the entry place into Rwanda via the Kigali international Airport and it offers you the best birding activities in Rwanda. There are many common birding spots in the city for the birders that gives a good introduction to some of the birds in Rwanda.


  • The Albertine Eco- region ( the albertine rift endemics)

This albertine region has a chain of mountains that were formed through the uplift as well as volcanic activity. It goes across the western half of Rwanda, and covers five of other countries. The albertine is called the centre of the Afromontane habitant and is also a strap of exceptional flora and fauna endemism including the 40 bird species, 117 butterflies, 34 mammals, 16 reptiles, 34 amphibians. Rwanda has also got 27 albertine rift endemics.

  • The Volcanoes National Park

This park protects Rwanda’s part of the virunga mountain Ranges and five volcanoes including; Gahinga, Muhavura, Bisoke, Sabinyo and Karisimbi. This park is also famous for the mountain gorillas as well as the golden monkeys and common for the gorilla treks to see these endangered and the endemic primates and hikes to the volcanoes. The park also harbours over 165 bird species, 17 of which are endemic to the area. This is a must visit park for birding to get the rare species and also enjoy the breath taking Virunga scenery and a chance to view the gorillas.

  • The Nyungwe National Park

This is a tropical mountain rain forest and lies on the south western slopes of the highland region that also forms a diverse Congo and Nile drainage system. The park also protects the region’s biggest montane rain forest and is home to 310 bird species. This is the most popular birding destination in Rwanda, and it’s famous for the many albertine rift endemics, and 27 of them found in this park, some of the cpecies include; the red collared babbler, Regal sunbird, Rwemzori Batis, Spurfowl, Grauer’s swamp, the Blue headed sun bird, and the Albertine Owlet.

  • The Akagera National park

This park also lies in the north east of the Rwanda, which is outside the high rising Albertine belt. It covers a mass of savannah. There is a mixture of rolling grassland scattered with broad leafed and the acacia woodland, these lower lying lands are divided by the Akagera River. There are 525 species and these include; Sousa’s shrike, the white collared Oliverback and the Red faced Barbet. This park has a mosaic of the wetlands and the lakes and these are along the course of the Akagera River and the eastern boundary. Some species in the wetland are Papyrus Canary, the shoebill, Papyrus Gonolex and the Carruther’s Cisticole.

  • The Marshes and the Wetlands

The wetlands in Rwanda and the Marshes also cover 10% of this country. The major protected ones include; Nyabarongo, Rugezi and Akanyaru wetlands where many wanders and the water species can be seen.