Rwanda Birding Safaris

Rwanda Birding tours safaris Best Birding Spots

Ultimate Birding Holidays Rwanda Africa and bird watching in Rwanda

Bird watching on Rwanda birding tours safaris focus on the largest contiguous block of montane forest with a very high birding potential at each site. Rwanda is a birders haven with 703 bird species and 29 Albertine Rift Endemics within diverse habitats. 

703 bird species are recorded to exist in Rwanda 510 of them thought to be resident and 183 species being visiting, seasonal migrants and vagrants. 

Rwanda arguably offers the best montane birding in Africa made better with the great road network easing access, security and safety. The country being relatively small in size makes it even easier to visit the birding spots on a short Rwanda tour.

Though the country has been fairly birded, the country has had several species added to the country list since 2010.

Resident bird species in Rwanda include the 29 Albertine Rift Endemics and several Lake Victoria Basin Endemics. All these endemics are those any ardent birder should not miss out on their wish list while birding in Rwanda.

If you are having a short Rwanda birding tour then visiting Nyungwe Forest National Park and Akagera National Park can offer a big bird list. However, the whole country is very well vegetated and inhabit several bird species even within Kigali city

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Where to Go Birding in Rwanda

The main destinations for birding tours in Rwanda are Akagera National Park and Nyungwe Forest National Park in the East and West of the country specifically. Volcanoes National Park has most of its bird species similar to those in Nyungwe but Volcanoes has the Albertine Rift Endemics and a Rwanda gorilla trekking destination.

Nyungwe Forest National Park:  This is a tropical montane rainforest home to 322 bird species and as well 13 primate species. The forest offers the safest chances to see the Red-collared Babbler.  

Northern double collared sunbird Akagera National Park Bird watching

Northern double collared sunbird  in Akagera National Park Rwanda Bird watching tours

Other bird species in Nyungwe forest include the Rwenzori Turaco, Purple Breasted Sunbirds, Handsome Francolin, Grauer’s Swamp Warbler, Neumann’s Warbler, Rwenzori Nightjar and many more. 

Rarest birds of Nyungwe forest include the Congo Bay owl, Shelley’s Crimsonwing and Albertine Owlet.

Akagera National Park: Majorly a savannah park with rolling hills, woodlands, lakes and wetlands the park is a wildlife tour destination but still offers great birding. 

490 bird species have been identified within Akagera National Park.

Top restricted range bird species in Akagera include the Red-faced Barbet, this is easily seen at Akagera game lodge and Muyumbu campsite.  Some other bird species include the Northern Brown-throated Weaver, Grey-crowned Cranes, White-collared Oliveback and many more. 

Pre-historic like Shoebill Stork can also be seen in Akagera National Park of Rwanda. 

Volcanoes National Park:  Popular for Rwanda gorilla trekking tours, the park is also a perfect birding Rwanda spot. 200 bird species are known to be in the area and 17 of them are Albertine Rift Endemics. 

Scarlet-tufted Sunbird is endemic to the park in Rwanda and when birding in the country the only chances of seeing the bird is by visiting the park and hiking to the summit of Mt Bisoke. 

Gishwati-Mukura National Park: Located west of Rwanda, this is the newest park in the country. The bird life count reaches to upto 232 species in the Gishwati forest and 163 bird species in Mukura Forest. The forest is a good spot for birding Rwanda’s forest birds as well as the Albertine Rift Endemics. 

Apart from the national parks, there are other birding hotspots all around the country. Kigali city itself is a well vegetated city where you can spot several bird species. In Nyarutarama there are quite productive records of bird species including the White-collared Oliveback and Purple Swamphen.

Great sightings of water birds can be during a boat trip on Lake Ihema with birds like the African Finfoot.  

Birding spots also include Buhanga Sacred Forest, Gishwati-Mukura National Park, Lake Burera and Lake Ruhundo, Rugezi swamp, Bugesera District and many more.

Birds in Rwanda

Rwanda is such a beautiful birding destination that suits several kinds of tour itineraries. With a bird count of 703 species, here are some of the bird species in Rwanda as listed on the African Bird Club.

Red-collared Mountain Babbler Ruwenzori Turaco Stuhlman’s Double-collared Sunbird
Purple-breasted Sunbird Neumann’s short-tailed Warbler Kungwe Apalis
White-collared Oliveback Purple Swamphen Grey-headed Bushrike
Bat Hawk Scarlet-chested Sunbird Red-faced Barbet
Shoebill Stork Shelley’s Crimsonwing Congo Bay Owl
Albertine Owlet Rockefeller’s Sunbird Secretary Bird
Hooded Vulture Lappet-faced Vulture White-headed Vulture
Martial Eagle Grey Parrot Papyrus Yellow Warbler
Grey-backed Fiscal Black-headed Weaver Crested Barbet
Bronzy Sunbirds Lesser Honeyguide Osprey
Pied Kingfishers White-breasted Cormorants Verreaux’s Eagle
Northern Brown-throated Weaver

When to go birding in Rwanda/Best time for Rwanda birding tours safaris

Birding is good throughout the year but the best time for seeing forest birds is during the dry season. These are the months from October-November and March to May. During this time forest birding is at its best and migratory birds are present. 

In this season plants are flowering and attract many birds. The rainy season is also the best time for chimpanzee trekking and therefore tailoring your Rwanda tour with birding and chimp trekking is perfect. The dry season is from the months of June to September. 

Rwanda birding tours are indeed rewarding bird watching safaris that can be done within a short period of time. Birding Rwanda can be tailored with all other kinds of tour activities in the country for instance wildlife tours or mountain gorilla trekking.

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