Rwanda

SUB-REGION
East Africa

SIZE
26,340 km²

BIRDS AND BIRDING

SPECIES
Diversity

Afrotropical avifauna
Approximately 690 recorded species

Shelley’s Crimsonwing (Bertin Murhabale)
Barred Long-tailed Cuckoo (Tasso Leventis)
Purple-breasted Sunbird (John Caddick)

Birds best found in Rwanda but occurring more widely (BT), including Albertine Rift endemics (ARE)
Barred Long-tailed Cuckoo
Albertine Owlet (ARE)
Neumann’s Warbler (ARE)
Kungwe Apalis (ARE)
Red-collared Babbler (ARE)
Ruaha Chat
Purple-breasted Sunbird (ARE)
Papyrus Canary

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

Dwarf Honeyguide (Jacques Erard)
Regal Sunbird (Adam Riley)
Red-faced Barbet (John Caddick)
Kungwe Apalis (Bradley Hacker)

Proposed new species or splits not yet accepted by IOC
Schuett’s Spurfowl
Cranch’s Spurfowl
Rwenzori Nightjar (B2)
Black-faced Go-away-bird
Eastern Black-billed Turaco (B2)
Grey-headed Barbet
Eastern Yellow-billed Barbet
Northern Olive Woodpecker
Grey-headed Parrot
Albertine Bushshrike (B2)
Albertine Hyliota (would-be endemic)
Kivu Ground Thrush (B2)
Stuhlmann’s Weaver
Central Red Bishop

Other taxa of interest, including ARE
Ring-necked Francolin
Hildebrandt’s Spurfowl
Scarce Swift
Great Blue Turaco
Eastern Plantain-eater
Afep Pigeon
Dusky Turtle Dove
Red-chested Flufftail
Grey Crowned Crane
Brown-chested Lapwing
Rufous-bellied Heron
Shoebill
Cassin’s Hawk-Eagle
Mountain Buzzard
Fraser’s Eagle-Owl
Red-chested Owlet
Bar-tailed Trogon
Forest Wood Hoopoe
White-headed Wood Hoopoe
Black-and-white-casqued Hornbill
Cinnamon-chested Bee-eater
Western Tinkerbird (hildamariae)
Spot-flanked Barbet
Double-toothed Barbet
Fine-banded Woodpecker
Elliot’s Woodpecker
African Broadbill
Yellow-bellied Wattle-eye
Lagden’s Bushshrike (centralis)
Many-colored Bushshrike (graueri)
Marsh Tchagra
Pink-footed Puffback (nandensis)
Lühder’s Bushshrike
Papyrus Gonolek
Black-headed Gonolek
Grey Cuckooshrike
Souza’s Shrike (burigi)
Mackinnon’s Shrike
Mountain Oriole
Blue-mantled Crested Flycatcher
White-necked Raven
White-tailed Blue Flycatcher
White-bellied Crested Flycatcher
White-tailed Crested Flycatcher
Dusky Tit
Kakamega Greenbul
Olive-breasted Greenbul
Cabanis’s Greenbul
Yellow-streaked Greenbul (olivaceogriseus)
White-browed Crombec
Brown Woodland Warbler
Mountain Yellow Warbler
Papyrus Yellow Warbler
Evergreen Forest Warbler (barakae)
Cinnamon Bracken Warbler
White-winged Swamp Warbler
Highland Rush Warbler (centralis)
Trilling Cisticola
Chubb’s Cisticola
Carruthers’s Cisticola
Long-tailed Cisticola
Black-faced Prinia
Black-throated Apalis
Chestnut-throated Apalis
Grey Apalis
Grey-capped Warbler
Miombo Wren-Warbler
Black-faced Rufous Warbler
Green-capped Eremomela (citriniceps)
Rwenzori Hill Babbler
Green White-eye
Mountain Illadopsis
Black-lored Babbler
Grey-chested Babbler
Violet-backed Hyliota
Slender-billed Starling (theresae)
Waller’s Starling (elgonensis)
Stuhlmann’s Starling
Sharpe’s Starling
White-tailed Ant Thrush
White-eyed Slaty Flycatcher
Brown-chested Alethe (vandeweghei)
White-bellied Robin-Chat (rufescentior)
White-starred Robin (ruwenzorii)
Equatorial Akalat
Miombo Rock Thrush
Sooty Chat
Bronzy Sunbird (kilimensis)
Scarlet-tufted Sunbird (dartmouthi)
Northern Double-collared Sunbird
Red-chested Sunbird
Black-billed Weaver
Northern Brown-throated Weaver
Vieillot’s Black Weaver
Brown-capped Weaver
White-collared Oliveback
Yellow-bellied Waxbill
Shelley’s Crimsonwing (ARE)
Abyssinian Crimsonwing
Red-faced Crimsonwing
White-breasted Nigrita
Black-crowned Waxbill
Kandt’s Waxbill
Crimson-rumped Waxbill
Red-headed Bluebill
Dusky Twinspot
Oriole Finch
Thick-billed Seedeater (tanganjicae)
Streaky Seedeater (graueri)
Yellow-crowned Canary

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 montane forest species, including Albertine Rift endemics
Akagera NP for savanna species, including Red-faced Barbet and Ruaha Chat
Nyabarongo wetlands and Rugezi marsh 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 Afro-Palearctic 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
The Rwanda Biodiversity Information System (RBIS) takes bird observation records that are stored in a variety of sources and formats and puts them into a standardized format on a viewing platform for stakeholders to access and use the information
Birding & Educational Tours Rwanda

Blogs
Rwanda Dreaming – 10,000 Birds by Dragan Simic (2018)
Birding in Rwanda by Marcell Claasen (2009-2013)
Rwanda on the Wing by Jared Cole (2011-2013)
The Beginner’s Guide to Birding in Akagera by Leigh Woods (2017)

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
Rwanda Women Birders
Rwanda Youth Birders (RYB)
CEDINYA (formerly Inyange Club) 
Association Rwandaise des Ecologistes (ARECO)
Rwanda Environmental Conservation Organization (RECOR)
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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