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Wed, 06/02/2013 - 15:26 -- abc_admin

Strange Weaver Ploceus alienus in Nyungwe Forest Reserve in July 2011

Image Credit: 
John Caddick

The following largely unconfirmed records have appeared in Bulletins of the African Bird Club and are for information only.

from ABC Bulletin 26.1

A Capped Wheatear Oenanthe pileata photographed c.3–4 km from the summit of Mutumba in the direction of Nyamatete, Akagera National Park, on 22 December 2018, would be the first for Rwanda (GV per

from ABC Bulletin 25.1

On 2 December 2017, a group of c.100 Black-tailed Godwits Limosa limosa was observed at Bugesera, in the south-east (Fig. 23; CN); there is just one previous record for Rwanda, of a single in ricefields of the Nyabugogo Valley on 28 December 1986 (Vande weghe, J. P. & Vande wege, G. R. 2011. Birds in Rwanda)

from ABC Bulletin 24.1

A Secretary-bird Sagittarius serpentarius remained on the Kilala Plain, Akagera National Park, from 22 October until at least 13 November 2016; according to Vande weghe & Vande weghe (2011. Birds in Rwanda—An Atlas and Handbook) the species is an irregular visitor, with only five previous records, the last being from 1990 to the south of the park. In August, a Shoebill Balaeniceps rex was showing well on the Kilala Plain; this scarce resident breeds in the large swamps of Akagera, but sightings are rare. A Southern Ground Hornbill Bucorvus leadbeateri was observed near rice paddies in Rusumo District, south-east Rwanda, on 13 November; this uncommon and irregular visitor was probably a wanderer from Burundi or Tanzania (JH)

from ABC Bulletin 23.2

The first Eastern (Long-tailed) Paradise Whydah Vidua paradisaea for the country was photographed near Ibanda-Makera Forest, Kirehe District, on 15 May 2016 (JHo & JdG); the species is not mentioned in Vande weghe & Vande weghe (2011. Birds in Rwanda). Possibly the same male was observed c.30 km away, at itta Pitta angolensis was photographed near Bambou Lodge, at the edge of Volcanoes National Park, on 15 May—a notable sighting (per JHo). A male Collared Flycatcher Ficedula albicollis was noted in Kigali on 18 March; this species is seldom recorded in Rwanda (JHo).

from ABC Bulletin 22.2

A Black Stork Ciconia nigra was roosting in a tree in Akagera National Park on 22 March 2015; according to Vande weghe & Vande weghe (2011. Birds in Rwanda) this is the first record of this species since 1969. 

from ABC Bulletin 22.1

The most noteworthy records from the period September–December 2014 include the following. A Lesser Flamingo Phoeniconaias minor was photographed at Hippo Beach, Lake Mihindi, Akagera National Park (=NP), on 11 September; according to Vande Weghe & Vande Weghe (2011. Birds in Rwanda: An Atlas and Handbook) this is the first confirmed record since 1987. White-backed Duck Thalassornis leuconotus and Lesser Jacana Microparra capensis, both reported as very rare and probably locally extinct due to habitat loss (Vande Weghe & Vande Weghe 2011) were observed in good numbers by the Rwanda Birding Club; the former was present at a dam near Nyamata in Bugesera District and the latter at two locations in Bugesera District and at Rugezi Swamp. An injured female Striped Crake Amaurornis (=Aenigmatolimnas) marginalis was found in Akagera NP on 13 December; there are fewer than ten records in Rwanda. An immature Black-winged Pratincole Glareola nordmanni was observed at Lake Garharwa, Bugesera District, on 15 October; although field guides state that the species is frequent in Rwanda, Vande Weghe & Vande Weghe (2011) mention no records since 1984. A subadult male Red-footed Falcon Falco vespertinus was seen in Akagera NP on 19 October; this species is very irregularly recorded in the country. 

from ABC Bulletin 21.2

A presumably over-summering juvenile Osprey Pandion haliaetus was observed at Lake Muhazi on 8 and 14 June 2014; the only record in the boreal summer months mentioned by Vande Weghe &Vande Weghe (2011. Birds in Rwanda) is that of a bird in Akagera National Park in July 1971. A Willow Warbler Phylloscopus trochilus seen in Kigali on 15 May is a late date; the previous latest record is 5 May.

from ABC Bulletin 20.2

A Crested Barbet Trachyphonus vaillantii was observed near the golf course in Kigali on 18 May 2013; this is apparently a new locality for this species, which was previously known only from Akagera National Park (=NP) on the eastern border. After having been observed for six consecutive years during its migration through the country in May, no African Pittas Pitta angolensis were recorded in 2013; the first sightings date from May 2007, when it was found in Buhanga Eco-Park and Musanze. Peter's Twinspot Hypargos niveoguttatus, a rare bird in Rwanda, was recorded in Mashoza Forest, a small and unprotected patch in the east; the species was previously known only from Akagera NP.

from ABC Bulletin 18.2

A Rockefeller’s Sunbird Cinnyris rockefelleri was reported from Nyungwe (Forest) National Park on 18 November 2010. The bird was being chased by a Regal Sunbird C. regia and at one stage both birds perched next to each other. The extensive red and limited yellow on the underparts, as well as the call, which was totally different from that of Regal Sunbird, were noted.


What appears to be the first Amethyst Sunbird Chalcomitra amethystina for Rwanda, a male, was photographed in a eucalypt and pine plantation, c.4 km east of Kibungo town, Ngoma District, on 21 August 2010; it was accompanied by a second bird, presumably a female. Other noteworthy records from 2010, with one from late 2009, include a Great White Pelican Pelecanus onocrotalus at Gahini on 7 February; four Madagascar Pond Herons Ardeola idae at Kageyo on 6 June; a Forbes's Plover Charadrius forbesii photographed on a small reservoir near Kageyo village on the western fringes of Akagera National Park on 22 August; a Grey Plover Pluvialis squatarola, a rare vagrant, at Gisenyi, on the shores of Lake Kivu, on 28 December 2009; a Grey-headed Gull Larus cirrocephalus at Lake Bulear on 20 March, a Brown-backed Scrub Robin Cercotrichas hartlaubi at Gahini on 7 February; and a Common Whitethroat Sylvia communis at Nyankora on 28

A pair of Green-backed Eremomelas Eremomela canescens found in open woodland in Akagera National Park on 8 April 2010 appears to be the first for Rwanda. The grey crown and nape, blackish mask, contrasting green upperparts, white throat and upper breast, and yellow lower breast and belly were clearly seen. A Grey Wagtail Motacilla cinerea, a generally scarce Palearctic winter visitor, was observed at Bugarama, near the Rubyiro River, in December 2008.

Records from Nyungwe Forest from the period June - October 2008 include the following. Breeding records include the following species seen on the nest: Mountain Buzzard Buteo oreophilus (13 June), Olive Woodpecker Dendropicos griseocephalus (3 August), Red-faced Woodland Warbler Phylloscopus laetus (15 June), Yellow-eyed Black Flycatcher Melaenornis ardesiacus (3 August), African Paradise Flycatcher Terpsiphone viridis (12 July), Waller’s Starling Onychognathus walleri (13 June), Strange Weaver Ploceus alienus and Dark-backed Weaver P. bicolor (28 June). An African Dusky Flycatcher Muscicapa adusta was seen feeding a nestling on 2 August. A flock of ten Red-collared Babblers Kupeornis rufocinctus with two short tailed juveniles were found on Bigugu trail on 25 July and on 2 August an adult was seen carrying nesting material. A Dusky Crimsonwing Cryptospiza jacksoni was nest building in vine tangles near Kamiranzovu swamp on 13 September.

Notable migrants in Nyungwe included a flock of 12 European Honey Buzzards Pernis apivorus flying south on 12 October, an African Blue Quail Coturnix  adansonii at Kitabi, at over 2,000 m, on 22 August, and three large flocks of
European Bee-eaters Merops apiaster on 13 October.

House Sparrow Passer domesticus has now reached Rwanda: it was observed in Gitarama in June and in Kigali in September.

An African Pitta Pitta angolensis was seen in Buhanga Forest, on the outskirts of Musanze, Ruhengeri, Northern Province, on 17 - 18 May 2008. Interestingly, single African Pittas were reported around the same dates in 2006, in Buhanga Forest and in a garden in Musanze, and also elsewhere in Rwanda / south- west Uganda.

A male Nubian Woodpecker Campethera nubica was seen in Buhanga Forest, on the outskirts of Musanze (Ruhengeri), on 26 July 2007; the small forest has no formal protection, but local people maintain it as a sacred site. This would constitute the second record for the country, the first having been reported in November 1989 from Akagera National Park. Previous records of the similar-looking Bennett’s Woodpecker C. bennettii in Rwanda are presumed to be based on misidentifications.

An African Pitta Pitta angolensis was found in a garden in the town of Musanze, Ruhengeri, Northern Province, on 19 May 2006, and stayed for several days. It fed on a wide variety of insects and worms and could be approached to within 2 m.

Red-faced Barbet Lybius rubrifacies was found to be still common in what remains of Akagera National Park, where at least 13 were seen on 1-2 June 2005; this species has a very restricted range and Akagera is probably the site where it is most easily observed.

In June 2003, a short, hassle-free trip to the country produced the following records. In Nyungwe Forest, the majority of the Albertine Rift endemics were found, including Handsome Francolin Francolinus nobilis, Rwenzori Turaco Ruwenzorornis johnstoni, Abyssian (Kivu) Ground-Thrush Zoothera (piaggiae) tanganjicae, Grauer's Swamp-Warbler Bradypterus graueri, Red-collared Babbler Kupeornis rufocinctus, Stuhlmann's Double-collared Sunbird Cinnyris stuhlmanni and others. Uniformly dark swifts, uttering tic calls similar to those of Scarce Swift Schoutedenapus myoptilus but much less frequent, possibly were Schouteden's Swift S. schoutedeni, which has been recorded less than 70 km away. In Akagera National Park, which is now about one-third of its former size but has the new boundaries apparently properly defined (and marked on a new map), sightings included Shoebill Balaeniceps rex and Red-faced Barbet Lybius rubrifacies.

In Nyungwe Forest Reserve, the endangered Grauer's Swamp-Warbler Bradypterus graueri and Kungwe Apalis Apalis (rufogularis) argentea (the latter treated as a race of the widespread Buff-throated Apalis Apalis rufogularis by the African Bird Club) were still well represented and easily found along the tarred road around the campsite, during a short and quite safe visit in June 2001.

Latest page update January 2019.

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