Rwanda

SUB-REGION
East Africa

SIZE
26,340 km²

BIRDS AND BIRDING

SPECIES
Diversity

Afrotropical avifauna
Approximately 690 recorded species

Dusky Crimsonwing (John Caddick)
Barred Long-tailed Cuckoo (Tasso Leventis)
Purple-breasted Sunbird (John Caddick)

Birds best found in Rwanda but occurring more widely (BT)
Barred Long-tailed Cuckoo
Albertine Owlet
Short-tailed Warbler
Kungwe Apalis
Red-collared Mountain Babbler
Ruaha Chat
Purple-breasted Sunbird
Papyrus Canary

Birds best found in two territories but occurring in more (B2)
Handsome Spurfowl
Black-billed Turaco
Rwenzori Turaco
Red-faced Barbet
Dwarf Honeyguide
Rwenzori Batis
Doherty’s Bushshrike
Albertine Sooty Boubou
Willard’s Sooty Boubou
Stripe-breasted Tit
Grauer’s Warbler
Red-faced Woodland Warbler
Grauer’s Swamp Warbler
Collared Apalis
Mountain Masked Apalis
Kivu Ground Thrush
Yellow-eyed Black Flycatcher
Red-throated Alethe
Archer’s Ground Robin
Blue-headed Sunbird
Rwenzori Double-collared Sunbird
Regal Sunbird
Strange Weaver
Dusky Crimsonwing
Western Citril

Dwarf Honeyguide (Jacques Erard)
Regal Sunbird (Adam Riley)
Blue-headed Sunbird (John Caddick)
Strange Weaver (John Caddick)

Proposed new species or splits not yet accepted by IOC
Rwenzori Nightjar (B2)
Eastern Black-billed Turaco
Common Bare-faced Go-away-bird
Northern Olive Woodpecker
Albertine Bushshrike (B2)
Albertine Hyliota (would-be endemic)
Stuhlmann’s Weaver
Central Red Bishop

Other taxa of interest
Ring-necked Francolin
Shoebill
Cassin’s Hawk-Eagle
Mountain Buzzard
Brown-chested Lapwing
Red-chested Owlet
Scarce Swift
Cinnamon-chested Bee-eater
White-headed Wood Hoopoe
Spot-flanked Barbet
Fine-banded Woodpecker
Many-coloured Bushshrike
Papyrus Gonolek
Black-headed Gonolek
Souza’s Shrike (burigi)
Mountain Oriole
White-necked Raven
White-tailed Blue Flycatcher
White-bellied Crested Flycatcher
Kakamega Greenbul
Olive-breasted Greenbul
Cabanis’s Greenbul
White-browed Crombec
Brown Woodland Warbler
Mountain Yellow Warbler
Highland Rush Warbler
Cinnamon Bracken Warbler
Evergreen Forest Warbler
Trilling Cisticola
Carruthers’s Cisticola
Long-tailed Cisticola
Black-faced Prinia
Chestnut-throated Apalis
Grey-capped Warbler
Black-faced Rufous Warbler
Mountain Illadopsis
Black-lored Babbler
Rwenzori Hill Babbler
Grey-chested Babbler
Slender-billed Starling
Stuhlmann’s Starling
Sharpe’s Starling
White-bellied Robin-Chat (rufescentior)
Equatorial Akalat
Black-billed Weaver
White-collared Oliveback
Shelley’s Crimsonwing
Kandt’s Waxbill

Grauer’s Warbler (John Caddick)
Red-throated Alethe (John Caddick)
Rwenzori Double-collared Sunbird (Peter Hills)

MAIN HABITATS
Montane forests, swamps, savanna

BIRD AREAS
Albertine Rift mountains Endemic Bird Area
Dry woodlands west of Lake Victoria Secondary Area
7 Important Bird Areas

BIRDING SITES
Nyungwe National Park (NP) for Albertine Rift endemics
Akagera NP for savanna species, including Red-faced Barbet
Nyabarongo wetlands for Papyrus Canary and other swamp species

TIMING (Jan, Jul–Aug)
Best in the dry season (Jun–Sep) when most birds breed
Dec–Feb is drier too and Palaearctic migrants are also present then
Avoid the main rains (Feb–May, Sep–Nov)

RESOURCES
Apps
Birds of Africa (iOS or Android)
eGuide to Birds of East Africa

Field guides
Birds of East Africa by Terry Stevenson & John Fanshawe (2020)

Site guides
Wild Rwanda: Where to Watch Birds, Primates, and Other Wildlife by Ken Behrens, Christian Boix & Keith Barnes with contributions from Jason Anderson & Claver Ntoyinkima (2015)
Birding Rwanda: in Search of Red-collared Babbler, Albertine Rift Endemics and More by Callan Cohen, Peter Ryan, Marcell Claasen & Claver Ntoyinkima (2010)

Further reading
Birds in Rwanda: an Atlas and Handbook by Jean P Vande weghe & Gaël R Vande weghe (2011)
Birds of Rwanda: a Checklist by Gaël R Vande weghe (2018)
Rwanda by Samuel Kanyamibwa in Important Bird Areas in Africa and Associated Islands: Priority Sites for Conservation edited by Lincoln D C Fishpool & Michael I Evans (2001)
Enquête Faunistique et Floristique dans la Forêt de Nyungwe, Rwanda/Survey of the Fauna and Flora of Nyungwe Forest, Rwanda edited by Robert J Dowsett (1990)
Articles in Scopus, Bull. ABC, Malimbus, Le Nectar (ACNR newsletter), etc.

Websites
Birding & Educational Tours Rwanda

Blogs
Rwanda Dreaming – 10,000 Birds by Dragan Simic
Birding in Rwanda by Marcell Claasen
Rwanda on the Wing by Jared Cole

Facebook groups
Rwanda Birding Club is a group for posting pictures of Rwandan birds and discussing aspects of birding in Rwanda

ORGANISATIONS

There is currently no BirdLife Partner in Rwanda

The East African Rarities Committee assesses records of new and very rare birds occurring in Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Rwanda and Burundi

Bird or conservation organisations active in Rwanda include –
Rwanda Wildlife Conservation Association (RWCA)
Association pour la Conservation de la Nature au Rwanda (ACNR)
Nature Rwanda
Association Rwandaise des Ecologistes (ARECO)
Rwanda Environmental Conservation Organization (RECOR)
Rwanda Women Birders
Rwanda Youth Birders (RYB)
CEDINYA (formerly Inyange Club) 
Albertine Rift Conservation Society (ARCOS)
African Parks: Akagera National Park and Nyungwe National Park
African Community & Conservation Foundation (ACCF)
Planet Birdsong
Fauna & Flora International (FFI)
WCS Rwanda

The ALU School of Wildlife Conservation in Kigali is the first of its kind in Africa, dedicated to growing the next generation of world-class conservation leaders on the continent

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